Some days I enjoy taking time to unwind. With a sketchbook and a pen in hand, I go to the beach, sit on a log and simply stare at the ocean for a while. Gazing at the seaweed, the shells, scrutinizing rocks, observing the birds, breathing in the sea air and listening to the waves is enough.
Slowly I begin to relax and look more closely at my surroundings and the desire to start jotting down bits and pieces in my sketchbook takes over. I don’t have to make a picture, just record random unconnected thoughts and minute things I notice.
Paying attention to what’s around me, without the notion that each picture I create has to be something terrific feels good. Paper is cheap. Taking a playful approach to sketching, to discovering and learning what does and does not create an interesting and fresh image, replenishes my need to reconnect with the outdoors, filling me to the brim. If you feel like someone is looking over your shoulder, critiquing all you do, try the following suggestions to unwind.
Unwind with these 3 steps
1. Engage your senses
Shut your eyes and feel the sand, rocks and driftwood (or grass or leaves depending where you are) with your fingertips or bare feet. Listen to the waves, the wind, the birds, and smell the seaweed, the ocean. Breathe and roll your shoulders. Jot down a few words that describe your observations. Is there a breeze? Do you hear sandpipers in the distance?
2. Stop putting pressure on yourself
Give yourself permission to be less than perfect. There are no mistakes, only learning. Focus on and be proud of your efforts, rather than your finished product and value your lines even if they don’t look correct. Leave them and draw new lines on top.
3. Develop an attitude of play
Develop an attitude of play, experimentation, and inquiry and focus your attention on the present. Shut your eyes again and when you open them, rather than seeing “things”, look for shapes, lights and darks, textures and lines. Record a few of these observations.
Each time you put your observations down on paper with pictures and/or words, you create a detailed impression of the day and each page in your journal becomes a delightful memory to savor at a later date.