An evening of drawing is a particularly intimidating prospect. What starts off as something that all children will do on any piece of paper/wall/treasured white shirt becomes something to be revered and separated for only those who can. There’s not doubt that some people are blessed with exceptional creative or detailed skill, but everyone can draw, regardless of how lifelike the output appears.
We have in our minds that drawing and play is not something for real grown ups, but we have a whole host to gain as well, as the small group of 6 learned who gathered for our session with The Mark Makers learned.
Founders and facilitators Anna and Becky aim to combine art tuition with mindfulness. There’s not a huge degree of education, more some guide instructions, but the ambient room, engaging set still life arrangement and gentle but passionate tones of the pair means that there is a degree of calm to the process.
It became apparent just how intrinsic this is to the creative process. When drawing an unfamiliar scene and an arrangement of disconnected objects you have to be aware and focus on what is actually there. That’s where the mindfulness aspect comes in. Much focus is put on the importance of really looking at what’s in front of us, rather than what we think we see.
I took my uncle, high flyer in finance and confessed technology geek, whose immediate gut reaction to my suggestion on how to spend a Tuesday evening was ‘no way.’ So he came. Although we agreed to put no pressure on ourselves and accept that with a gap of up to 30 years since last drawing, we wouldn’t like what we drew and that was fine, the first couple of exercises still felt a little stressful. But as soon as the time passed, the wine flowed and the muscles loosened, and we basically gave up trying to do it right and instead tried to do it for fun, things felt better.
Leaving with no new found skill, but a bunch of worksheets, drawings and tools, as well as an appreciation of the value of taking the time to sit, be and create. He even sent me this photo the next day, with the caption ‘So I find myself here…’ That’s success.