Thursday, September 9, 2010

Doodles and Icons

While it is very rewarding to spend hours drawing or painting something suitable for framing, little compares to getting so lost in the doodle zone that you lose a sense of time or troubles. You are not self aware. You are not drawing to impress or please anyone else. In fact, you are not even drawing with intent to please yourself. The drawing just emerges while you observe.

It is similar to that feeling that you get reading a great story or watching a really compelling movie: you are transported to another world.

I don't recall where this doodle began - probably with the face - that is usually where I start. The starting place is always a self-aware decision. It is sometime after that as the drawing begins to take shape that you stop trying to draw and just draw. That is why doodling is somewhat therapeutic as a way to relax.

This sort of doodling is a faint echo of an even more significant form of artwork that transcends personal therapy: iconography. For monks who paint icons, the process of painting is a form of prayer as they paint, understanding that the finished icon will be a vehicle of prayer for others. I am not trained in the method of painting icons, but the general concept is one that we can embrace. Several years ago when I was drawing portraits for a living I took this concept to heart and adapted it for my work: while I was drawing the subjects portrait, I prayed for him/her. It transformed the way I thought about the subject and the process of producing a piece of artwork. It was no longer just a creative effort or a business transaction, but took on a sacramental significance.

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