Have you ever played that game where you sit across from a friend and you each draw the other without looking at the paper and without lifting your pencil? I always loved how grotesque those drawings turned out and they were always hilarious. A rollicking good time. Those drawings required concentration and a good dose of will-power. It was really hard not to look at the paper as you were drawing and stay focused on the face of your friend.
I’ve been reading — working through, really – two books lately. One is Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain by Betty Edwards. The other is The Zen of Seeing by Frederick Franck. Both are about drawing, but even more about learning to see differently.
Today I did an exercise in seeing – I crumbled up a piece of paper and drew it without looking. Slowly. Very slowly. And as I drew this crumpled-up piece of paper, an amazing thing happened. I began to see an iceberg.
Now I’m not advocating drawing as the new hallucinogen. What I mean is that I became so absorbed in the experience of seeing that it was as if I went inside the iceberg. Oops, I mean crumpled paper. See what I mean? I felt as though I was exploring the cavernous expanse of an iceberg, making my way toward the shaft of light in the center.
I don’t mind telling you that I’ve been a little high-strung lately. Nothing serious, just the normal ebb and flow of life, the human condition and all that. And like the puzzle of Two Dutch Girls, drawing – without worrying about what it looked like – just doing it, and doing it slowly, settled me down.
The light in the center. That’s where I went. And when I came out I felt centered and full of light.