Monday, November 5, 2012

A Fresh Look at an Ordinary Day

It's Monday and that means that it's time for this week's "working with your sketchbook" exercise.

No matter what kind of art or creative expression you want to pursue, the best place to start is right where you are. Right here. Right now. Wherever you are in the world, right where you are at this very moment is perfect. And your best subject matter to mine will come directly from your life. You can fantasize about other worlds or other lives or draw inspiration from many different places, but the best and most authentic art was created from the artist mining their own life.

Let's start with the most basic thing that I can think of, your daily routine. Let's think about your daily routine and how you can depict it in your medium of choice. I want to stop you for a second. I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, "My daily routine? Isn't that boring?" 

I want to tell you that, first off, you are an interesting person. Whether you believe it or not, you are fascinating. All art is merely a process of discovering, uncovering and revealing parts of yourself to the world.

In this entry (or more, if you feel so inclined), I would like you to both words and pictures. Try to make your descriptions as much "yours" as you can -- meaning your original words and pictures. Sometimes song lyrics will come into my head, so I jot those down, as well. I really want you to get into your senses in this exercise. Get into your body. Get into your emotions and your memories. Dive deep and notice any details or flights of fancy. For example:

Generic: "I wake up in the morning and I have coffee."

Original: "The first thing I am aware of as I emerge from the world of my dreams is the comforting feel of jersey cotton on my skin. Soft and feeling like home, I smile as I hear a familiar giggle. I smile with knowing and open my eyes see the fresh, peaches and cream face of my daughter. Her blue eyes sparkle me into daytime-being as her Papa encourages her to play the "uncover Mama" game. The first sound I hear is her giggle which must be what fairies sound like when they're born. The comforting smell of freshly brewed coffee, its' Arabic scent of earth and fire, wafts to me from my bedside table where hubby has placed my morning cuppa, made with French Vanilla creamer to my tastes, perfectly. It's each morning that I start the day, joyful and with the marrow-deep knowledge that I am blessed."

My Pookie's "just woke up" face

See the depth, the freshness? Really take a look at your life. In your memory, slow it down and notice the details. Sure, everyone knows what a fresh cup of coffee smells like, but no one knows what a cup of coffee smells like to you. Experiment with this. Write your day and illustrate it with pencils, pens, marker or paints. Add glitter or stickers. Be spontaneous and make it fun!

Mine your own life for your original experience. Don't worry if some of your descriptions sound funny or absurd. Watch the movie Dead Poet's Society for the scene where Robin William's character gets Ethan Hawke's character to focus in on the detail of a picture in his mind. "A sweaty-toothed mad man"? Yes. It's poetic and spontaneous. Don't edit out these little gems. They will give your art power and originality.


If you feel like sharing, please feel free to post some what you've come up with in the comments. I'd love to read them.

Until next time, my lovelies, please remember that we are all visionaries. We just have to figure out where we excel.

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