Peace of Mind

Despite how much I’ve come to love oil painting, I will probably be doing more drawing and less painting in the coming weeks. Drawing is a learned skill for me, not something that comes naturally, and if I am away from it for too long, it becomes even more of a struggle. Although I do get frustrated at times and wonder if I’ll ever progress beyond the basics, I know it’s important for me to practice diligently. Improving my drawing abilities will likewise improve my painting.

So I sat down this morning and gave a little thought to where I want to focus my attention this week. The second  project for Your Year in Art  is based on empowering  words, a sort of catch-phrase or affirmation to keep in mind while doing any art work.

My first reaction to this little assignment was disappointment. I wanted something more substantial, something more direct, something more instructive. But the book, of course, is designed to give starting points to artists at all levels of creative ability. It’s not meant to tell anyone how to create. Its purpose is to guide the creative process.

So,  empowering words. I wracked my brain a bit, considered several possibilities, but nothing seemed too inspiring or too encouraging. Finally I settled on  peace of mind.

Last summer I discovered the meditative, zen-like qualities of drawing. It was an awesome experience, and for a long time afterward I looked forward to my drawing time, letting myself get lost in the movements of mark-making, letting the time slip by unnoticed. My drawings from that time period showed tremendous improvement.

Now, I want to go back to that blissful place. I want to draw for the pleasure of drawing, not simply because I’m trying to complete an exercise or assignment. I want to sit quietly, feeling the pencil in my fingers, watching lines appear as I relax and connect with some muse within.

Peace of Mind.

This has become my mantra for drawing — not for this week alone, but for a long time to come.

I browsed around a bit and found a collection of instrumental music, then sat down with my drawing paper and a set of pencils. But what would I draw? I considered sketching a peaceful, pastoral scene, but that wasn’t what I wanted to work on.

I headed off to Pixabay to look at reference photos using “peace of mind” for a search. I found just what I needed — the face of a woman. I changed it a bit and concentrated on drawing her face.

My drawing time slipped away before I knew it, leaving me with only a very rough start. Right now my shading is all over the place, but I enjoyed my art time today. I felt a new sense of freedom as I played with a dark 5B pencil and made bold strokes for her hair.

Tomorrow I want to sit down and practice shading, all the while enjoying the process and feeling very much at peace.

What can I say? This felt good. It’s filled with imperfections, and I don’t care. It felt honest and authentic, and I’ve been searching for those qualities in my art. I’m pleased with the start I’ve made, and I’m looking forward to my quiet drawing time tomorrow.

If you were to choose your own empowering words for art this week, what would those words be?



    1. That’s how I feel, as well. I will never be a great artist — either in drawing or in painting — but I’ve far exceeded my expectations in both areas. It definitely does require a lot of consistent practice, though, to maintain what skills I’ve developed.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks, but I truly have no artistic talent whatsoever. The accomplishments I’ve made have all come from long hours of persistent practice. That’s why I say that if I can learn to draw, anybody can.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. What a wonderful idea. Maybe “joy and positivity”? Daily drawing is one of my August goals, so I’ll try it out later. 🙂

    When I used to draw from life, I often worried about how the drawing differed from the actual scene – so funny, because no one is going to compare them unless you put the pix side by side (or the observer is standing there in the actual scene while you are drawing), like you did. Not saying to stop doing that, BUT, it’s interesting to consider your drawing (also) without comparing the two. And it comes out being quite lovely.

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    1. That’s one reason why I shy away from plein aire painting groups. Whatever I painted would look nothing like the scene. I know that’s all right, but still I’d feel embarrassed and inadequate.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I believe, Judith, that if you keep at it, they will be more and more by choice, less and less by accident. “Happy accidents” are a wonderful part of the process, too, though, Bob Ross fan or not. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thanks for the good thoughts. “Intentional accidents” — Wednesday’s post — happen too. 🙂 Most of my art does seem to be accidental, and it is nice when something turns out right.

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