"From the very beginning to the very end,
pointing to our own hearts to discover what is true
isn't just a matter of honesty
but also of compassion and respect for what we see."
- Pema Chodron
Let go of everything you know.
Learning to draw can be uncomfortable in the beginning, because it forces you to challenge the things you were taught (that you "know" to be absolute truth).
Beginning and even experienced artists wrestle with the inner conflict between logic and appearances.
For example, we all learned in school about the cube shape. The cube is a six-sided form, and each side is a square. Each square is four lines of equal length that join together at four corners which are 90 degree angles. The squares themselves join together at 90 degree angles to form the cube's corners.
But now let's look at the cube and draw it.
Do you see squares? Do you see right angles?
In the image above, Figure A shows a cube, and we do not see any right angles or squares from this point of view. Figure B shows a common error I see my students making: trying to put in a right angle somewhere, because they "know" that there "should" be one.
In drawing, we need to let go of what we know. It isn't helpful.
You know what you've been taught, and it may be "true" . . . but it is only true on one level, in one dimension, from one point of view.
Here we are in a new moment, with a new set of circumstances, and what you know as absolute truth has no meaning.
Do you see the difficulty of drawing? It isn't with the drawing itself, which is merely making marks on paper.
The difficulty is in your mind.
The difficulty is in the conflict between what you perceive with your senses, and what you you know, that you've been taught and programmed to believe.
Now everything is uncertain, and you must question it all.
Now comes fear: the fear of being "wrong."
Now you understand that what you "know" doesn't look "right" in your drawing. Your inner critic is probably telling you that you're doing it all wrong.
Fear of being wrong makes you unable to move forward. But you must move forward. No one ever got anywhere without being willing to take action. That means taking the risk that sometimes you will be wrong.
Ignore the inner critic.
Ignore what you know.
Let go of easy answers and habitual thought patterns.
Learn to be aware of the present moment, and find out what is true for YOU.
Trust your senses.
Trust your perceptions.
Trust that your point of view is valid.
Put down the mark even though you aren't sure if it is the right one. You must take the risk of being wrong, just to take action, just to move beyond your mind.
So what if the mark is the wrong mark?
If you did it in pencil, you can erase it. If you did it in pen, it's permanent, but guess what? It's no big deal. Did anybody die? I don't think so. Keep going!
Experience the discomfort, the uncertainty, the unknowing, and move through it.
Feel your way through it. Allow your senses to guide you.
You will come out on the other side with courage.
You faced your resistance, you trusted yourself, and you have a new understanding of what's real and true, based on your own perceptions.
You are becoming more aware, awake and alive. You are opening your heart and your mind to discovery.
You are tapping into an intelligence far beyond intellectual knowledge and facts. You are tapping into sensory intelligence, and experiential awareness, which is fluid and ever-changing.
Get into the flow and keep going.
When you begin to maneuver through life with your full range of senses . . . when you let go of limiting beliefs . . . when you release the resistance to the truth as you experience it . . . then the conflict will be resolved . . . the fear will dissolve . . . the world will open to reveal more potential than you were willing to see, before.
Every moment is a new moment, a new experience to learn from. It doesn't matter if you've drawn something one time or a thousand times. Every time you draw will be a fresh experience of curiosity, questioning and sensing.
Life is so much more interesting, captivating, and beautiful when allow yourself to experience it with full awareness.
Let go and be free. Learn to live with beginner's mind, with the artist's eyes.