When people ask me if I will teach them how to draw, an entire life time flashes before my eyes. Years of refining and practicing, experimenting and erasing. Yet at the forefront of it all is one very clear skill set that I’ve found is not a common skill – even though most have it.
The ability to SEE!
“Of course I can teach you to draw,” I’ll reply, “But first, I have to teach you to SEE.” Without this ability, it is impossible to describe lines and perspectives, colors and shadows. Seeing is not just seeing, it is NOTICING.
A blind person who cannot see, probably sees more than the person who has this visual ability. A blind person notices. They notice various textures and temperatures of the surfaces they touch. The notice the width, the depth and the height — not just by touch, but by sound as well.
A deaf friend of mine was standing with me in a church service and asked me if I could FEEL that. I wasn’t sure what she was saying and as she placed her hands over hear stomach and heart she asked me again, “Can you FEEL the music?” She wasn’t referring to the beat, or the sound. She wanted to know if I was physically present enough to feel the vibrations that surrounded us.
Suddenly I became aware that with each note that my ears heard, my body could feel a different intensity of vibration. The moment was frozen in time as I closed my eyes to concentrate more on what my body had been feeling all along.
My deaf friend is an artist too. She’s deeply aware of textures, colors and the beauty that surrounds us. She too, gets frustrated at what people do not notice. She too is driven to express what she sees, what she feels and what her heart hears in the pottery and mosaics that she creates with such love and patience.
It’s taken me a lifetime of seeing … of noticing … of hearing … of experiencing … and wondering … the beauty and the people around me.
All of these skills come into play when I’m graphic recording. Millions of images, stories, metaphors and symbols flood my mind as I hear a speaker speak, and as I feel the energy of the room full of people who listen to the speaker’s words.