Saturday, May 27, 2017

The Zen of Seeing/Drawing

I'm looking back at my earlier drawing experiences.
Above, a simple drawing from the 80's.
From the 70's, drawings from old sketchbooks. 
I had not intended at the time to show them to anyone.
 I was in a state of wonder,
observing & drawing what was in front of me, 
learning revolutionary ideas that enhanced my pleasure.
My cats provided endless opportunities for focusing on
changing forms & wondrous poses,for enjoying their "catness".
(The brown spots are from aged non-archival glue.)
I've been sketching less lately, but making a lot of notes 
in my Art Learning Journal. From books, museum visits, workshops.
 Early on, Frederick Franck was the influence that changed my life. I learned that I could savor the experience
verses be conscious of what the drawing looked like. His philosophy & methods were perhaps different than a lot of approaches to sketching & drawing, the "How To's". He stated that his drawing process was not about "sketching" to record an image, it was a deep, sensitive, spiritual, Zen experience, an empathetic response, a focused state of being in love. I suspect some Urban Sketchers integrate some of this approach. My best experiences happen when I'm free of thinking too much...But technical learning, such as perspective and proportion, also enhance my experience of drawing/seeing.
Paul Hogarth's Creative Pencil Drawing (1964) was another strong influence on my drawing, back in the late 60's, early'70's. I loved his loose "interpretations" of his reactions to nature & to man-made phenomenon. 

So: I'm reminded: 
If I'm drawing with only the end goal to show my work, or to sell my work, I can lose the "Relaxed Fluency" that Hogarth talked about, & the wonder of seeing that Franck spoke of. 
Not everyone who shows & sells loses this fluency, & the best art retains the influence of the heart & soul.

Conclusion: Studying various approaches to any discipline 
makes that discipline richer.


  1. Thanks for sharing your art and insight

  2. we are ever-evolving until the moment we become stardust again. thank you for sharing part of your journey.

  3. I LOVE F. Franck's work! My English professor suggested The Zen of Seeing more than 30 years ago -- and I've been picking up his books ever since .. My Favorite is Zen Seeing/Zen Drawing - he is such a great inspiration!

  4. I have a hard time being Zen in drawing..from your earliest work..I see Zen:)♥
    I am more Zen in my gardens..yet still strive for primped..

  5. I especially love your cat drawings! And oh, to peek into your sketch book. I can get zen with painting -- less so with drawing! But it all takes practice!

  6. Rita - what a delight to see some of your earlier work. So glad you shared these drawings as well as some wonderful thoughts. Hope you have a great day. Hugs!

  7. Love, love, love your sketches. I believe I have The Zen of Seeing on my to-be-read list. Always looking for a little sketching inspiration.

  8. Catching up on your blog here, obviously! I really enjoyed this post, it was something I needed to be reminded of. Lately I have become too focused on improving, perfecting, "getting it right" - to the point where I am not having fun anymore when I sketch and paint. I am not particularly interested in selling my work, so if I am not having fun, why bother drawing at all? I am going to see if I can track down these books you mentioned, thank you so much for this post!


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