Updated: Jan 17
This month's blog post is all about drawing inspiration!
One of my new year resolutions this year was to develop a daily drawing practice. I've always enjoyed drawing but realised, like many people, that I wasn't doing enough of it. So I set the intention to do it everyday. It's had it's ups and downs but mostly it's led to a positive outcome on many levels...
I think I was lucky in the sense that I never really believed that people are either born with a natural gift and ability to draw, or not, somehow I knew that drawing was a skill that could be learned, just like maths and reading. After I left school, having learnt about lots of things I wasn't very interested in, I taught myself to draw using the book "Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain" by Betty Edwards. This book was such an eye opener for me, literally, it trained me to see what was actually in front of me instead of what I thought was in front of me. It also taught me how to access the right side of my brain, which I soon discovered, was a pretty exciting place to hang out. The right side is where the magic happens - left is logic, right is creative. I found that when I accessed this side of my brain, my ability to see and therefore my ability to draw, really improved.
That was over 20 years ago now but I still find that observational drawing, for me, is my most direct route to the present moment. There's something about the process of just looking, without judgement, at an object that shifts my mood like nothing else. What I've begun to notice is that I don't really care about the outcome that much at all now, I'm more interested in the effect of the discipline of drawing on my wellbeing. I crave the the process of drawing much more than I crave the feeling of doing a good drawing. And somehow, letting go of wanting a specific outcome, has led to the emergence of some drawings that I do quite like - they sometimes just appear on the page, seemingly, without much effort.
Drawing shows me where I am in myself, what's left on the page is a direct expression of my state of mind and it's a great way of showing me what I need. Unfinished drawings tell me I'm rushed and unfocused so need to slow down and give myself more time. Drawings I don't really like show me that I wasn't focused or looking; that I was distracted and impatient; that I was not in the process but wanting it to be over so I can get onto the next thing and it shows me that I was usually judging myself and the object (poor thing) quite badly so these drawings tell me that I need to be a bit softer with myself, less judgemental, to have patience, trust the process and get out of my own way. The drawings that I do like (mostly the ones I do when I'm on holiday) also show me what I need in life - I need space, I need quiet, I need just a moment of uninterrupted high quality attention to connect with myself and my surroundings, in order to ground myself in the present.
Here's a few drawings from my sketchbook recently:
The process of drawing slows me down, it literally slows my mind and my thoughts down and this gives me a spacious feeling in my head and body. It connects me with the world around me. I mostly draw my house plants and through drawing them, and this might sound weird, but I've developed a really intimate and loving relationship with them and they're mostly thriving and I think part of their happiness is a result of the quality of attention I've been giving them.
The positive effect that drawing my plants has had on my plants, has made me realise that drawing is an amazingly simple way of connecting with nature and therefore developing a more loving, respectful and protective relationship with it. Drawing really helps me to fully appreciate nature, admire its incredible beauty, its mind-boggling form, structure and it's quiet yet vital purpose. Then I had the somewhat grandiose thought that perhaps drawing is how we will save our planet?! Perhaps only when we slow down enough to connect with the sheer beauty of nature and recognise our dependency on it that saving it will become the most instinctive human reaction, as instinctive as breathing, and protecting it will be as intrinsic to human nature as protecting a child.
To summarise the gains of developing a daily drawing practice - I'm definitely not producing master pieces every day, but the good thing is that I don't care about the outcome as much as I care about the process and connection with the object; I am slowly gaining confidence on the page; starting is much easier - there's less of a barrier to get past to get on the page and a clear process and style of seeing and drawing is surely developing; I'm now completely addicted to drawing, getting on the page is a necessity rather than an obligation or chore, and my mind craves it as a way of accessing some form of peace, more than anything else. And my plants are thriving!
In collaboration with The Big Draw Festival 2019 - Drawn to Life - celebrating creativity and wellbeing, I'm running a free 30 day drawing challenge - The Still Point Sketching Challenge. It starts on 15th October and if you're interested in developing a daily drawing practice, click here to join and download your free welcome pack!
Do pass this on to any friends you think would benefit or be interested - the more the merrier.
Here's a few words from last year's drawing challenge participants:
"It was so much fun, and so incredibly uplifting and motivating."
"What an enjoyable challenge. Thank you everyone for sharing your work. My Facebook page has never been so enjoyable to scroll through."
"It was a wonderful experience that taught me many things: about drawing, about community, and about me. I’m deeply grateful to you, Marigold, for making this happen, and to you all for sharing so freely and openheartedly."
"It was so fun! Thanks to everyone for sharing their talents - Facebook has never been so interesting! Looking forward to keeping drawing."
The best part of the challenge was:
"Being part of a group of like minded people who feel empowered to 'have a go'at something creative."
"Shared motivation, shared ideas and new creative friends...favourite experience using social media to date!"
"The structure and camaraderie which provided the motivation to do something creative on a daily basis."
"The daily support and encouragement from Marigold the Maker through her own daily posts".
What have I been making...?
Well, I'm pleased to say that there's a couple of new Seed Pod Kits over in my online shop - Sycamore Seed and Honesty Seed have now joined the collection:
If you're interested in collecting all 6 seed pod kits in the series, the Seed Pod Series Subscription Offer is now re-open! Subscribe now, save £24 and get your first kit at the end of the month.
Where have I been?
I was recently invited to host a series of embroidery workshops at Daylesford Organic Harvest Festival in the Cotswolds, we had a beautiful, warm, autumnal day and participants enjoyed stitching their initials and designs onto linen coasters in the sun surrounded by pumpkins!
We also went to Wales and had an amazing holiday climbing mountains and hanging out with Spencer, who is definitely a contestant for "the biggest cat in the world" competition:
And that's all for this month's blog post. I hope to see you over in the Still Point Sketching private Facebook group to start our journey of developing a daily drawing practice on 15th October!