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Monday, June 19, 2017

drawing calm–a book review

Every now and then I receive books to review. Earlier this month I was sent four of them. This is the first one.

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The idea behind this book is to give you some exercises to do exactly as the cover states.  If you’re a creative person, you know there are times when you have a bit of a lag in your art OR on the flip side, you are so overwhelmed and have too many things you want to do. It happens to all of us and both situations can be very frustrating.

This book gives you exercises to do to help redirect your energy and bring you back to a calm place to recharge your creative batteries.

The first part of the book is called Warm-Up Exercises. Right from the start she made me think “hmm”, because she recommends “drawing your grocery list”. You’re going to draw with your pencils or whatever you use, pictures of things on your shopping list. Who would have thought.

The next chapter deals with “delight”. Delight in your work, draw, paint things that are delightful to your eye and that make you feel good. Throughout the chapters she guides you with suggestions on how to achieve the goals she lays out for you.

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Chapter 3 is about Quiet. I like peace and quiet when I work, so this chapter would be good for me. Quiet means different things to everyone who creates and this chapter and here the author encourages the reader to find that Quiet place that works for you, be it the medium you use, and create art that evokes stillness and quiet. I love this piece, and of course a blue theme again which is my go to colour. This piece is called Birch Tree by William Turner (1789 – 1862).

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There are nine chapters in this book. You will see a consistent theme throughout. Warmth is easy, it’s that warm and comfortable feeling that comes with certain art pieces through the palette. This chapter takes you through some exercise with the palette of warm colours.

Chapter 5 is about Harmony. Harmony being art that is complete. It’s art that has come together and has all the components that compliment each other. Ms. Evenson again takes the reader through an explanation of the chapter by showing how Harmony takes shape in whatever you use for your art, be it paper, paints, pencils or water colours.

The art below is called “A Small Cloud” by Arkhip Ivancvich Kuindzhi, a Russian painter from 1842-1910) The author refers to this painting as “simplicity of composition, with a palette that feels relaxing and quiet.”

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Chapter 6 is Calm, very simple to understand. The palettes that such as blue (again with my blue) is very calming. Have you ever looked at a painting that maybe makes you feel tense or just does nothing for you and then you see a painting in soft tones and simplistic images, how does that make you feel. That’s what this chapter goes through, she explains how art can come together to express that sense of calm through colour, order and content.

Chapter 7 discusses Light. There is beauty in light and dark. The author discusses how light, whether it be bright or dark or somewhere in between, can evoke a certain mood. This watercolour over pencil is “Woodland Scene, Paul Cezanne (1839-1906). It reminds me of a field wildflowers and that makes me happy.

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Chapter 8 is about Rhythm. I look at big tall birch trees in my neighbourhood on a windy day and I always think that they are laughing. They have delicate leaves that flutter in the wind as though enjoying something very funny amongst themselves. Art should be like that. It should have a rhythm to it and a lightness or a depth of light that is pleasing to your eye.

I listen to Spa channel music much of the time, it calms me and keeps me focused on what I’m doing and I have a diffuser and essential oils that envelope the room with whatever scents I want to enjoy, it’s amazing how much that can influence your art.

That’s what this chapter speaks to. How to bring your art together in a rhythmic way to create that calmness in your space. When your space becomes disorganized, does that confuse your mind. It does that to me. I generally will clean up after projects, put away what I’m not going to use again, then vacuum the room and wipe down my work table, then start again.

The last chapter of this book is about Maintaining the Calm. In this chapter there are references to how to stay focused and calm and a few more exercises to achieve that. For anyone who struggles to find that peace and quiet in their head in order to create, this is a great little book to accomplish that. Someone once told me they went to a secluded cabin with no amenities and it was there that she realized how much noise was in her head. She said having that experience helped her so much. If you create and struggle to find ways to get out of a slump, this would be a nice book for that.

There are exercises using a variety of mediums and she takes you step by step throughout to help you find that calm place you need to be in to find and be that artist you are, that maybe you didn’t realize you were. ;o) Enjoy. I will have more reviews coming up shortly.

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