Thursday, April 15, 2010

A Beginner's Mind Revisited : Blind Free-Form

There I was, sitting at work today, with my concentration wandering and the day dragging by. So I found myself reviewing what I've done/looked at/thought about so far in the Inside Out e-course I'm taking. And something about the Beginner's Mind session and about how I used to "create art" when I was a beginner aka a kid. And I remembered something that a friend of mine & I used to do together.
Really when I was a child this friend was my creative muse..and I hers. We did art, spurred on by Pictionary. We wrote stories, poems, and songs. We made believe everything under the sun...even crafted before we were at an age where crafting was "cool". And we read books like it was going out of style. It was such a  creative force to be reckoned with. And sadly my dear Becky moved away and then we grew older and apart and we forgot.
Now that I remember this particular exercise we did, I have to brag and say we were way ahead of ourselves in the creative awareness realm. So, here's how it went:

First two people would sit with paper and a marker or two, and take 5-10 minutes to doodle while not showing the other person their work.
Once each doodler finished their "masterpiece" they wrote out instructions on a separate piece of paper of what they did to get their picture.  Then instructions only would be swapped and each doodler would try to replicate based on the instructions, the other person's doodle.
Now the instruction specificity would vary depending on the person, but even with great detail in instruction the pictures would inevitably be completely different in appearance. Once both of the artists were done, the pictures were compared. We would sign them and then keep them side by side in a binder or in a pile in our rooms to look at whenever we wanted.

I can still remember how excited we would get to compare our pictures. And we were completely giddy over it. It was a great experience in friendship and collaboration first and foremost. The art and intent was secondary. It came to mean so much to us, that we did it all the time. Tired of video games or roller skating? Designated quiet time per the adults? Escaping little brothers? Too hot outside? Bored with everything else? The answer was always to play this game and we NEVER tired of it.

About 8 years ago I got back in touch with Becky. We were completely different people and had little in common other than our love for The Beatles. It was awkward, and a little sad to discover we were so changed. We kept in contact via email a little, but didn't make the effort to connect like we had before. And then a funny thing happened one day. I received an email from the Beck-ster that was short and simple. It was a list of instructions. She had re-initiated our childhood game that I had forgot about.
I was so excited to be doing this again and finding that we could connect still on one level, the level that never changed in either of us - the power of creativity.

And so I challenge all those who would like to take a stab at it. It can be elaborate or as sparse as you like. I'm at work, so I kept mine fairly simple by having my instruments revolve around the supplies I have here at my desk. It's a great challenge because you don't have to be an "artist" to do it; it doesn't need to be pretty or perfect, and as I've learned IT DOESN'T HAVE TO BE PERFECT! Think outside the box, do it however feels good to you!

I'll post my resulting picture in the comments section so participants don't see it right away and wont be swayed.

Using ONLY 2 colors draw the following -
In color 1: 
                           1. Draw 2 squares, 1 larger than the other
                           2. Fill half of one of the squares with diagonal lines
                           3. Fill another half of the same square with diagonal lines in the opposite direction
                           4. Draw 4 circles, one within the other, with the center-most one filled in.
                           5. Draw 2 spirals
                           6. Draw 1 oval on the right side of the page
                           7. Draw 3 triangles, one with shading to make it look "3 dimensional"
                           8. Draw 1 arrow
                           9. Draw 1 squiggly line
                          10. Draw 1 shaded in, free-form blob
In color 2: 
                          11. Draw 3 straight lines
                          12.  Color/Shade in 5 areas that were formed from the intersection of lines of other objects


See, it doesn't seem all that hard, does it now? :o)

Depending on how this goes, I just may post Instructions every so often as an exercise.
I look forward to seeing what variety we get. I'm already getting the giddiness in anticipation!


Grown Hazy said...

Use this link to see the original:

Shannon said...

thank you for sharing this, april!! i will try it this weekend. you are just awesome. happy weekend to you.

Grown Hazy said...

Great! Thanks! Pass the idea along. It can be fun to see where it goes and what results.

Dena Moon Clinger said...

I love this! How fun! I'll 'follow your instructions' as soon as I find time this weekend! Thanks for the fun story and idea!

Its_Lily said...

haha....mine looks nothing like yours. I don't have my camera with me to take a pic, but I'll post it on Monday. Thanks for sharing this idea.

Grown Hazy said...

That's okay if it's different! It's supposed to be!