it’s the little things in life…

…that make it all so interesting. If I take the time to draw them, I am not just observing them, but am truly seeing them. I am truly present with them, and they are present with me.

It is a form of meditation, or as Frederick Franck (author of The Zen of Seeing, and Zen Seeing, Zen Drawing) calls it, “meditation-in-action” or “seeing-drawing.” In The Zen of Seeing, he wrote: “It is in order to really see, to see ever deeper, ever more intensely, hence to be fully aware and alive, that I draw what the Chinese call ‘the 10,000 things,’ around me. Drawing is the discipline by which I constantly rediscover the world. I have learned that what I have not drawn, I have never really seen, and that when I start drawing an ordinary thing, I realize how extraordinary it is— sheer miracle.”

Here are three of my 10,000 things:

A flower. I drew first in pencil, and then added layers of colored pencil, aqua pencil and gouache.

A cup. Media: pencil, aqua pencil and gouache. I like gouache because it can create dense, opaque areas. I can also work with wet gouache on top of gouache layers. What’s underneath blends and mixes with what I’m putting on the page, for some interesting effects.

A pine cone. I drew this with pencil, colored pencil, and aqua pencil. A pencil is my tool of choice for drawing what I see. It doesn’t run out too quickly, it responds to my touch with fainter or bolder line, and I don’t worry about mixing color.

When I do go back into a drawing with paint, then I am engaging more left-brain calculation to mix and apply color. I think more about composition and abstraction. There is a new feeling which emerges from a drawing.