Does Staying Connected Keep us Disconnected?
This month I seem to be writing in a theme of sorts. It’s about our use and abuse of social media, how we utilize our tablets and smartphones to cure social anxiety or awkwardness, some consequences of which can actually be limitation of our creativity.
In honor of this upcoming discussion and dialogue, I offer you an activity that get’s you out DOING rather than thinking. Acting rather than hypothesizing. Making. Creating. Connecting.
Today’s activity comes from a great resource. The book is entitled Sketch Your World: Essential Techniques for Drawing on Location by James Hobbs. And we are going to practice a technique or two based on Hobbs’ suggestions.
It is often in times of waiting, or social discomfort that we pull out our phones. I call you to try something different. Pick a cafe or bar for you to visit alone to draw. Leave your phone in the car or hidden away, or at least turned off. Don’t pull it out to look at while you are there. Just be in the space, enjoy an ale or some tea, and draw.
Hobbs suggests cafes and bars offer a wee bit more privacy for you the artist to create without criticism or commentary because a table often separates you from passers by. So go. Bring a sketchbook or some paper. And draw.
Resources and Inspiration
Everyone has to begin somewhere, so I’m going to suggest additional resources if you are nervous or want to learn more. A whole movement has grown up around drawing from life, making art from observations around us. It’s called Urban Sketching. And I’ve talked about it before. A great website for you to check out is called Urban Sketchers. They have workshops and activities large and small all over the world. Their next big workshop is in Singapore and sounds pretty amazing to me!
If you want additional inspiration (just to get you motivated, not to get lost in and not get outside!) they have an Instagram account where members share their art. You can see it here. I’ve also embedded images from their posts in today’s article for your inspiration.
Taking a Risk
I did this the other week. And I was so nervous! I don’t know of what: perhaps judgement or unwarranted or unasked for commentary about my drawings. So I started small. I brought a small sketchbook, treated myself to a hot chocolate, and drew for 15-20 minutes. I was nervous at first, but I started to focus on the line quality and shapes of the landscape I observed. And then I lost some time, a sure sign I was getting into my creator mode.
I don’t have a big fancy finished drawing from the activity, but I do have a bit more confidence to go draw in public spaces in addition to ideas and inspiration for doing exactly that. And rather than pull out my phone while waiting for my husband, maybe I’ll pull out my sketchbook instead. 🙂
So today is a day to choose YOU. Go somewhere in public, without the crutch of your mobile phone, and draw. Enjoy the view, and maybe a snack. Be present, be mindful, be creative. We all deserve it.
Artist Strong Action: How does it feel to be out drawing in public? How long do you take to get into the zone for your artwork, where your background and the people there fade away? Do you still feel self-conscious? If people approached you, what did you say? What did they say? Tell me about your experience in the comments below. I want to know!
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