Full to the Brim…

Some days I enjoy taking a sketchbook to the beach, sitting on a log and simply staring. 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.

Beach observations

It feels good to pay attention to what’s around me without the idea that each picture I create has to be something terrific. Paper is cheap. The process of drawing for myself, minus the thought that someone has to like it or the feeling that I will be judged for my final product, allows me to loosen up. 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 to unwind.

Engage your senses

Shut your eyes and feel the sand, rocks and driftwood (or grass or leaves depending where you are) with your fingertips. 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.

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.

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.


Pencil sketches of shells

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.

Interested in creating illustrated journals? Contact me here for classes…

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Patricia Bentham
Phone: 250.474.7162
Email: info@patriciabentham.com

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