Drawing Out the Artist Within

John Lennon once said that we’re all artists. I used to puzzle over that; is the postman an artist and the librarian? But I know now that he was right. Inside everyone is a creative self and it was there from the get-go. Children play constantly in the kinetic world of imagination, making up games and stories to express themselves and to understand of the world they live in. They even invent new worlds. Growing up takes a lot out of us. We’re taught that we shouldn’t climb trees in our good clothes or run indoors. We’re trained to get the right answer in school rather than ask questions that have no easy answers. And we can’t speak in class without raising our hands first. In adulthood, we can forget what it’s like to play and be creative. The question is, can we connect again with our true creative selves? Drawing is a way to open the door to creativity again whether or not we’re artists. When we give up drawing on the road to adulthood, we might well be giving up real freedom of expression and exploration. Just picking up a crayon and scribbling on a large sheet of paper can be hugely liberating. We can just dive in and see what emerges. That’s have the fun of drawing and it seems to awaken a joy in adults the same way it does in kids. I teach drawing and the surprise for me as been how drawing changes us. It’s a simple thing, perhaps even primal. We know that ancient people carved drawings into rocks and doubtless drew in the earth as well. How often have we gone to the beach and seen someone doodling in the sand with a finger or stick? It’s a way of becoming one with the moment and just being so that the mind can roam free. It’s the place where inspiration enters. Everyone can draw—no special talent is needed. Drawing is like meditation; it offers us a chance to get out of our analytical, worrying minds and into our imaginative minds. It also gives us a chance to observe and appreciate our world. People think they can’t draw because sometimes what they draw doesn’t look like the object in front of them or they don’t draw as well as Matisse. But drawing is simply making marks on paper and skills grow with practice. Most of us had no training in school. Drawing was considered an extra but, in truth, it has bountiful gifts to offer. If we pay attention, it teaches us to connect again with ourselves. We all need to know ourselves as artists to understand that we can explore and create solutions to the challenges we face personally and globally. Drawing trains us to dive in without a care and to imagine. Remember the words to Lennon’s great song— “Imagine all the people, Living life in peace...”  From what we imagine, we create. Time to pick up our pencils! ©Cat Bennett2010 [For The American]

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