Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Hippo Birdies Day, and new small adventure for you

Thank you everyone, for flowers, which arrived five minutes after I got home, impeccable timing, lovely edibles,  good wishes, cards and other celebrations.  Great fun.  I must say this birthday is a lot better than this time last year, when I was deathly sick, also injured, and wondering if I would even survive the day, well, that's a slight exaggeration, but only slight. Anyway, today's great, I feel wonderful, energy back in full force, and I have a new Thing to offer you.

Okay, take a few sheets of paper, not smaller than 8x11, printer paper is fine, doesn't have to be special.  And a marker, preferably black.

Now face your Inner Critic.  You can see her right there, business suit, sharp white shirt, briefcase, highly polished closed toe shoes, looking grimly at you.  And turn her gently toward the door and give her a big shove out there, explaining she's not invited here right now. Her turn comes much later.

Okay, back to your paper.  Take the first sheet and using your whole arm, holding the marker very lightly, not in the deathgrip of writing, but the loose hold for drawing.  

Draw one curved line. Do it fast, without pausing. You can see two edges of the paper, to see the size of this one. Breathe.

Now do that again, but a different curve, different angle. Breathe again.

And the third one, crossing the others, to create a lovely little balanced drawing.  A little bend at the end of this one is nice, gives a natural effect. 

Continue breathing!  this is important, since as you draw you need to be relaxed, your whole arm involved, big generous movements.

Do several of these.  Vary the curves, as long as one clearly crosses the others.  I did thousands of these years ago when I was first serious about art and wanted to train my hand to calm down, focus and do what I asked.  You can do this with a nice fat charcoal stick, too, turning it to vary the width of the line, and indicate depth.  

This isn't a doodle, and it's not the sort of thing you just do in an idle moment, or on the phone.  Art is done with total focus even just for a few minutes.  You can do this as a meditation.  And you can notice it reminds you of Japanese art, of early drawings, of all kinds of art passages.  And of the rule of three.  

And it reads left to right. This pleases Western eyes, which tend to see visuals in that order, also top to bottom.  Hence the placement of news items in the paper -- big story top left, next big top right, below the fold bottom left next in importance, and last, just making it onto page one, below the fold bottom right. 

Readers of other languages see right to left, or vertically, but most of your viewers, if you're in the West, feel happy with the left to right emphasis, and a bit uncomfortable with right to left.

Anyway, this is a true piece of art you just created.  And no doubt you already have ideas on how to incorporate it into crazy quilting, and stitching, and painting and printmaking, or just to enjoy making these simple drawings for fun.

That's today's gift:  banish your inner critic, then just enjoy making your own way.  The thought police are on vacation for the foreseeable future.  In fact that's true of a lot of things in life.


  1. i love your meditations, Liz...and hippo birdies, for sure =)

  2. Happy happy birth day to you!! And thank you for the art exercise...I'm going to try that.

  3. Birthday love to my Saj sister and art mentor, dear Liz!

  4. You forgot to mention the IC's perfect hair. Heh.
    Happy Birthday, Liz!

  5. Hippo Birdies to Ewe,
    Hippo Birdies to Ewe,
    Hippo Birdies, dear Ewe,
    Hippo Birdies to Ewe.
    --Sandra Boynton


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