Sunday, December 19, 2010

Drawing in Church


There is an idea floating around the creative community that piques my interest.  And though I am not one to follow fads, this idea dovetails nicely with my nature.  It is the concept of Zen drawing.

Now before there's any eye-rolling, or fleeing from the blog, lemme' esplain.  No.  There ees no time.  Lemme' sum up:

-I believe firmly that 'Zen Drawing' is somebody's catchy phrase to either sell something or to make themselves feel cool.  Nothing wrong with feeling cool.  Or selling things.  It's just that I'm about as cool as I'll ever get (not very) and I don't really need more things.  Really.  House full.  Money limited.

-I am a chronic doodler.  It is a condition I've had from a young age and will carry to my death.  My daughter recently was peeved with me for this very habit.  I had a long phone call.  There was a pen and an envelope near by.  I covered it with mindless patterning.  The envelope was important to my child.  This habitual practice is hard-wired.  Right up there with hangnail-picking and lip-pursing.  An investigation of the loose paper in my home will reveal meeting agendas, old bills, graph paper, letter heads and the occasional receipt covered with black ink, preferably felt tip.  No napkins though, never napkins.

-I focus better while doodling.  This is a proven fact.  ADD runs in my family.  I probably have it.  If my hands are empty and I have to sit during any kind of meeting, I will create endless tasks for myself, even if only in my head.  I will make mental notes, watch the clock, look for faces in the wood grain, check out everyone's wardrobe and hair.  It's detailed business.  You ever been to my church?  I probably know what you were wearing and can give you a rough estimate of how long you've owned that garment.  I know when people have haircuts and when the shade changes a minute step towards red, blond, brunette, etc...  This behaviour is not by choice.  The grey matter demands activity, stimuli.  It is a slathering, hungry beast.  And it must be fed.

Doodling (or knitting or spinning, especially spinning)  satiates that beast.  Simple activity calms the stimuli-hunger pangs just enough for another part of the brain to absorb information on a different level.  It's as if I can feel part of my mind hovering above the inner gears of basic function.

-This is not new.  Lots of people doodle.  Some of them use props.  Some of them are more free-wheeling.

-This is also not suddenly my new medium that's going to make me rich and famous.  Yes, my most successful artwork has come from extensive doodling.  Yes, perhaps at some point I will turn from felt tip pens and scrap paper to India ink and a high quality surface.  But not now.

Still reading?  Alrighty then!  All of that blather is to say that I have begun to draw during church.  It helps.  A lot.  I can listen to readings.  I can focus on the sermon.  I can sit through a Bible class.  I can stay awake.

I will, starting today, post these drawings here.  It may not be weekly.  I may fall behind.  Or forget.  Or become depressed.  But I will try.  Starting now:


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