London Workshop

Back in rainy Boston after a great time in rainy London! We held the 2-day creativity retreat in Covent Garden and such wonderful people came. Some were artists who had gotten away from art-making due to the pressures of career and life, some were just beginning, others were practicing artists, architects and writers. We even had a former policewoman whose job it had been to do forensic sketches!

In the workshop we use drawing as a way to elude our usual chattering minds and enter into that imaginative, peaceful right-brain place where we connect with ease to our creativity. In school, we’ve all been taught to get things right or that we need to get things “right” to get a good grade. We’re all creative and all have something unique to offer. We don’t need to worry about that. We just need to focus on our strengths, work hard and be willing to fail. Mostly we need to find our way to that place of calm where ideas can enter. Drawing can be a meditation—a place where we can look at what we’re doing with detachment and discernment—a real yogic practice.

We began by working big and just scribbling. Some scribbles expressed inner feelings, some were explorations of form and material—all were magical because they were honest. When people start drawing big like this to music, it’s absorbing and liberating. It brings us fully into the moment to the place of total focus so critical to the creative process. It was hard to get people to stop once they started—I’m happy to say.

We drew objects and the figure—great exercises in learning to look at the world around us with care and to see what we notice. We also drew from imagination, a way to get playful, even surreal, by pushing the boundaries of expectation. The real point wasn’t to grow our drawing skills but to get to that willingness to dive in, explore and have fun. This kind of conscious drawing also gives us a chance to watch our thoughts and see where we inhibit ourselves or discourage ourselves. Once we know how to go to the creative zone, we can get there very easily even if we might need to draw for a bit first.

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