A Time to Draw

In that drifting place between awake and sleep, I wanted so much to draw what I was seeing…to see if I could draw dark upon dark…shapes and shadows lovely in their streetlamp glow. I hovered there taking it all in, relishing the abstractness of night, but willing myself to stay right there and not go downstairs to grab my sketchbook. I fell asleep content that I even have this desire to draw, and glad for tomorrow…a chance to drawcument moments , sketch small inconsequential things.

There is a time for drawing. And there is also a time for desiring to draw. I suppose one might say that all of life can be seen through the binoculars of pen and paintbrush, whether they’re being used or merely resting on my drawing table. It is not the drawings themselves that are noteworthy. It is the whisper that comes through them, a voluminous assurance that all is well and all will be well. I cannot tell you how this is.

In attempting to tell you I might say that the act of sketching in a sketchbook is a bit like the dandelion I saw yesterday morning on my walk. Truly it was (or seemed to me) the only one growing along the sidewalk. I snapped its photo, intent on drawing it later, savoring the golden ruffle of petals in a sea of green and purple weeds. Today, as I walked, the entire yard of that same lone dandelion was dotted with so many of them, I wondered if I just hadn’t taken the time to really look yesterday! They were everywhere…as if the one brave dandy had told them all that it was safe to come out now. Golden gumdrops all waving their pretty little heads at me as if to say, “Draw me next!”

That’s how it happens. One sketch opens a doorway to so many more! I am thoroughly enthralled with lines and dancing colors on white pages and am now in that familiar state of quivering-with-delight-bordering-on-anxiety that I won’t be able to sketch them all! This kind of overwhelm threatens to shut me down completely, and has on many occasions. But I know how to work with it. I know what to say to the clamoring though cheerful dandelions. It is to sit down with them, each in their turn, and to assure them…”All in good time, dear…all in good time.” Then to walk away relishing the desire to draw as a good and perfect gift from above.

I will not be able to draw them all. Nope. Not even remotely. I share with you just a few of the recent “golden dandelions” in and around the yard of my life. There are more to be sketched. And many that will not make it into my sketchbook. I will still treasure them and listen for the whispers they send me…words from an expansive world of light and loveliness, so needed in my day to day comings and goings, tragedies and triumphs.

I’m off to live the day. There’s a pen and sketchbook in my purse. Ready for drawing a dandelion.🌼

Noticing

It seems to me that one of the chief benefits of drawing is to allow us to really notice what’s right in front of us. I’ve been walking the sidewalks of our neighborhood, almost daily, for the past 17 years and I discover new things all the time.

There are certainly days when I’m hunkered down, either due to the weather or to so much going on in my head, and I’m speed walking through the circuitous path of cement ribbons. On most days I’m able to look around, to marvel at the seasons changing and all that this evolving miracle brings.

This spring, I’ve noticed the trees more acutely. Drawing does this…particularly when one has narrowed their focus to a certain subject to draw for an entire year, one notices more than usual. Or perhaps it is noticing what one knew to be true but had forgotten one knew it.😂

As Spring blazes through the neighborhood, I cannot help but notice the Cherry trees! Gorgeous, pom-pom shaped blooms hanging from limbs everywhere! I feel as if I’m walking through a fireworks display…explosions of color everywhere, some shooting out in every direction, some swirling in twists and curves (the red buds!) , and others cascading down, as if blooms were tossed up in the air and then fall to the ground. And on windy days…the most delectable kind of snowfall, pale petals floating down, gathering along street edges, begging to be walked through.

By the end of my walk I can scarcely contain myself…it’s as if joy came showering down on me as I walked! I feel refreshed and renewed even in the midst of this strange time. It reminds me of a quote by playwright and poet Bertolt Brecht—

“Everyone chases after happiness, not noticing that happiness is right at their heels.”

This daily practice of drawing, is my way of noticing the happiness that is right under my feet. Whether I’m drawing what I’ve seen on a walk, or something out of my imagination, happiness fills the page in front of me, claps two hands on my face and kisses my cheek, saying, “All will be well!”

I suppose there is a way to notice without drawing. Most of the time I only realize the fullness of what is at my heels as I draw. Something to do with seeing and putting pen to paper. I imagine writers and poets have this sight too, as they craft words to show us what they see.

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I draw primarily so that I myself can see. In sharing with you what I’m seeing at my heels, I hope that you too might sketch a bit in order to really see what happiness may be right there at your feet, despite how upside down the world seems right now. To encourage you in this wondrous practice of daily drawing what is at your feet, consider my ebook of twelve lessons filled with instruction and encouragement! For the price of just a few cups of coffee, you may just stumble upon a new way of seeing beauty in your life!🙏💖