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Making Drawing An Experience Rather Than A Product!




When you make a drawing or painting or sculpture, do you start your creation with the first thought being that the product at the very end of your creating process is what you and everyone else will value above all?


Or do you only begin a new drawing or painting or sculpture with a subject already in mind and perhaps even planned out before you begin?


If so, then read on.....


To those who know me and my work, know me as a process-oriented artist - meaning that I start my creations with my first thought being, "I love this shape/colour/line", rather than, "I hope I can sell this" or "I hope people like what this becomes". I don't sit down to make a piece of art with expectation in mind. I let the material and the moment happen in the moment and I try to allow my subconscious to play without any care as to what I'll end up with when I stop.


Making art, for me is a meditation and I strive to be present in the moment of creation. If there is a goal, it is only to be fully present in the experience, which is why I hold this experience as the most valuable part of my creating process. The product that results from this is just a memory and nothing more. It has value, yes, but it is not the primary reason I set out to create.


The biggest barrier I've been facing as an art teacher over the last twenty-five years is that our education system teaches students that the end result is what is most important and will give you a future. We are always taught in school and even in our jobs that there is an end goal we are working towards and that all value is in that product we aim for. You can apply this type of thinking to anything, by the way, all the way across our society.


We are a goal-oriented society which is probably why so many overworked individuals end up having to take time off to do things like go on a holiday or learn to meditate or take up a hobby, which are all activities which require you to be present in the moment because the experience is the goal and not something you look for at the end. Although for most goal-oriented individuals, the holiday or meditation or hobby is seen as something they must do to achieve their end goal which completely defeats the purpose of all those activities.


98% of my students in the last twenty-five years have been goal-oriented when coming to me to learn to draw or paint or sculpt. Teaching someone to learn to draw is often a challenge in itself, but to then try to convey the mindset of learning to draw, is even more challenging. Especially to those who want immediate results and only see the end result as the value.


So maybe if this mindset sounds challenging to you, try it out for yourself. Get out all the art materials you use to make a creation and start out by letting the materials dictate what will happen - don't worry about wasting materials or ruining your creation or about ugliness in an image...because all these thoughts are for goal-oriented individuals. Be in the present of your art process and just enjoy the mark-making, colours, shapes, feel of what you are doing and nothing else. Turn drawing or painting or sculpture into a type of meditation and put on calm music to keep you in the mindset and just enjoy being where you are and in the happiness of creating something new.


It takes lots of practice to be in the now when creating so if you find your mind wandering or if you start to fixate on creating perfection then stop and take a break and stretch your body and then try again when you're feeling more focused.


Keep in mind that making art as a process and getting yourself into the habit of this mindset is not about time which is an end goal mindset but rather it's a way of life. So if yo