looking at glass

I’m sure you’ve heard people say, “I’m terrible at art.” Or, “I can barely draw a straight line.”  You may even be one of these people saying this yourself.

Like with most other things, drawing comes with practice. I guess it’s just the law of probability. The more you do it the better you’ll become.

Here’s the thing, though.  I don’t think drawing is wholly dependent on skill.  It’s probably equal parts skill : seeing.  Some of you are probably thinking, well of course drawing has to do with seeing! (duh!)  But I don’t just mean seeing something with your eyes; I mean really looking at it – for a long time.  If you pause and look at something, you can see how everything  in our world (more or less) is made up of different geometric shapes. See what I mean?

Still don’t believe me?  Okay – look at the object closest to you. (No, not the device you’re reading this post on.  The other thing closest to you.)  Break it down.  What shapes do you see?  You may have to take artistic ‘license’ with this practice, but still, you were able to see a few different shapes, no?  This is one of the first things they teach you in art class – break everything down into geometric shapes!

The same thing is true for colour.  We all know clouds are white, the sky is blue, sunlight is yellow and grass is green.  We’ve been colouring them this way since kindergarten.

If you happen to be sitting by a window, look up at the sky and ask yourself this: How many colours do I actually see in the cloud outside this window?  How many shades of green can I see in the grass over there?  What’s the colour of sunshine on that stretch of pavement?

In general, glass isn’t really something we pay much attention to.  We use it to drink from, to dip jam out of, to store food in. But it’s such a mutable thing.  Looking at glass in sunlight makes it appear to be an entirely different object than if it’s sitting on a dark surface or against a plain white wall.  I love glass for this reason.  It’s probably the only mercurial thing I enjoy looking at.

So what’s my point in all this, you ask? 
Well, only to say that this is a really simple way of slowing down and pulling yourself into the present, of becoming more ‘aware’ – of being mindful.

And here’s a tip.  If you’re ever feeling anxious or overwhelmed, pause and notice the subtle shades of colour or the shapes of things around you.  

10 Comments Add yours

  1. Amna Mohamed says:

    You are very right.
    Being mindful is the key. Look at ONE object in its space. Look at it in relation to the things around it. What shape does it assume in its position in space?
    Look at the way it depends on light to give it shape and dimension, color, texture,
    I think art is the relationship between light and shade.
    So LisiTana, do you think art is your perception of how objects assume their shapes in space?
    I like your idea that everything is made up of a set of different shapes eg the human form is a set of circles and ovals set into each other in proportion.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Bill Fence says:

    Love the photos in this blog


    1. Lisi-Tana says:

      Thanks Bill!


      1. Eileen says:

        I love the ideas of breaking things down or simplifying it. Not just to paint/draw, I try to use this strategy whenever starting new projects; writing, cooking, and even cleaning! I appreciate your suggestion of being mindful at each moment, as well. I think it’s really important to be more aware and appreciative of what we can see, hear, smell, taste and touch. Once I fully feel these sense and focus on it, taking a deep breath, I get to feel much better. Thank you for sharing amazing ideas!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Lisi-Tana says:

        PLEASE share how you use this technique to clean and cook! Talk about extending a concept to all spheres of life!


  3. Ausiya Baksh Mohamed says:

    Yes, I am one of those people saying that I am terrible at art. However, I love geometry and shapes. After you mentioned that everything can be broken down into a shape I am looking at everything differently, and I am now thinking that maybe art is not impossible for me after all. So I guess what you are really saying, and I am receiving from reading your piece, is that this lesson is not only about mindfulness, but also perspectives and perception. Perhaps if we can approach problems in the same way, by breaking them down into parts and shapes, instead of things being one great big problem, then they become manageable pieces, that are not overwhelming. Thank you, this gives me something to think about.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lisi-Tana says:

      Thank you for your thoughtful response. I think you’ll find that once you start practicing the “art” of breaking things down into shapes you’ll find that the next step is also not difficult – transferring that onto paper.

      It’s true what you said. It is also about shifting perspective. Today I was feeling a little melancholy about the state of this world, about how humans don’t always seem to care about what they do to the planet, and someone reminded me of what I said in this blog post, that I should look at the shapes of things, the colours – focus on that. There is simple beauty in that.

      Thanks again!


  4. There is one saying in China that is ” Make it simple”. Your writing makes me think of this. I always talk to myself “Deep breath, calm down and relax.” However, it’s hard to follow that. Like the drawing, I see you separate the glass into some shapes. It seems easy to draw. Maybe our life has the same easy way.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lisi-Tana says:

      Hi Lulu,
      I think you hit the nail on the head. If we could all make things simple perhaps we would find greater joy, greater pleasure in our every day lives.
      Thanks so much for your comment.


  5. Hessaun says:

    Ahh .. a post about mindfulness.

    I love this .

    I also love how you’ve made me immediately aware of the nuances of colour , rarely is green just green .

    Liked by 1 person

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