Negative Space

vase-croppedQuote of the Moment: “Let seeing/drawing be the celebration of the eye in love, instead of pictures to be framed.” Fredrick Franck – The Zen of Seeing

A few weeks ago I decided to take a drawing and watercolor class with Anne Brooke, a local artist and art teacher. Having finished my book I wanted to reconnect with the artistic part of myself while downplaying my business focus for the rest of 2016.

Part of designing and living the life I love is reawakening what I previously enjoyed doing. It so happened that with art, I let it go when I was young. I was so stressed by school and the dynamics at home that capturing perspective on paper became difficult. As a child I decided I couldn’t do it right, so I wouldn’t do it at all.

When I became licensed in Educational Kinesiology in the early 90s, I took a course called Visioncircles, which I eventually became licensed to teach. The course invited us to play, draw, sculpt and write poetry as a means of exploring the developmental stages of our visual system. I surprised myself with what I could do in this safe and playful environment. In The G A P between finishing my book and beginning my next project, I was referred to Anne who allows local authors to debut their books at her art gallery, Art Presence, in Jacksonville, OR. When I read Anne’s blog, I decided to take her class first.

Our first assignment was to draw every day. This would help us develop or deepen our eye/hand coordination for drawing. As I did each drawing, I found myself repeating her instructions and feeling them fall into a poetic rhythm while attempting to fit an image to the page.

The last two stanzas are my addition, after drawing an hour a day for a week.

Negative Space

Draw a four-sided edge
that will contain it
this marks the focus
of your subject.

Notice the shape
of the space
between the edge
and the image
it will hold.

Sketch the interesting shapes
around the form.
Forget about what
the picture will be.

Become the space,
like the air around your body,
the sky above a mountain
or the ocean reaching
for the horizon,
that place where creator
births beauty and
defines itself in curious
and unique ways.

I find my view of negative spaces in the world as well as in nature reframed as a result of this drawing activity. It allows me to embody the ability to see with compassionate eyes when I look upon people and events of this world. Light cannot exist on paper or in this dimension without darkness to set it off.

Does drawing help you switch on your brain, so you see with your Innate Intelligence?
What other activities do you use to wake up your senses?
Do they help you be more peaceful and compassionate?

May you find Light in the midst of all your negative spaces.
Jo Anna

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Comments 4

  1. Beautiful poem JoAnna, you have such a gift! I so appreciate your transitioning negative drawing into the reality of life and experiencing abstract thinking and things.
    Thank you

  2. Post
  3. Hi Jo Anna,
    It is interesting, that you mentioned Ann Brooks. She was a part of my first wife art circle. I have been out of touch with her for over 25 years. I have dabbled in the book. Learning to draw from the Right side of your brain. I have dropped drawing for a few years now. Moving into writing and speeches.
    What is interesting is, in the last couple of weeks I have been thinking about bringing out my pencils again and just drawing still lifes for the fun of it. It does really help me see more deeply and it forces me to slow down and become more conscious of the moment I’m in.
    So thank you for the reminder.

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