For many years I have felt a disconnect or short-circuit between the two sides of my creative life. I have mastered the ability to create a professional piece of art “on demand.” I don’t think about my desires in this, I simply create a portrait, or needed illustration, poster, advertisement, or whatever. However, there is another part of my creative soul that has become the “poor stepchild.” When I need to access this pure, creative, truly FUN part I can do that too but the path to get there is very hard to access. It feels as if it is full of downed treelets and covered by weeds. It takes some finesse to find the trail, let alone follow it easily. For many years I have taken pains to put down different sorts of bread crumbs to mark this trail so that when I do want to travel upon it, I can even find it!
Recently I realized that this disconnect is causing me physical sadness. I wished to find out where the short-circuit was and heal it. I took some time to consider the right path to do this, finally coming to a book called “The Creative License,” by Danny Gregory. Gregory also wrote “Everyday Matters,” and “An Illustrated Life.” When I picked up the book at my local bookstore yesterday I saw that it had a recommendation from the author Sark on the bottom edge of the cover. When I saw that I knew I’d found the right book. I’ve always been a huge fan of Sark and her books, like “Living Juicy.”
I started reading it today. The beginning exercises are similar to Betty Edwards’ “Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain,” a book I have always loved and taught from for many years. But this book has more in it, that much is clear. It seems to be about giving yourself artistic permission to play. At least that’s my initial impression. It’s something that I could really use a hand with.
Already familiar with contour drawings I started moving through the book’s exercises today. Here are the series of blind and mostly-blind contour drawings. I have always found these simple drawing exercises quite beautiful to do. Peaceful in execution and they always look “right.” Although I have more commercial projects on my table at the moment, I’m going to give myself the gift of making time to add Gregory’s exercises into my artistic routine. This feels really good to me. It’s high time to get both sides of my brain working together in harmony.
Contour Drawings from Sunday