Minimum

When reading, I can appreciate an author taking some liberties and playing around with language to enhance the readers understanding or enjoyment of a story. I can also appreciate when language is succinct.  There is a rhythmic and poetic quality to the writing of a great author whether they are verbose or concise.  My latest efforts drawing and painting have been focused on squeezing as much poetry as I can out of just a few lines.

Drawing by Brian Bailey

Brian Bailey © 2015

I spent some time at the beach this week drawing the Golden Gate Bridge and some gestures.  When drawing from a real-life situation, it’s impossible to reproduce every detail.  I think the best anyone can do is to capture a sense of feeling.  The more I work at drawing and painting and the more I study the work of others, I’m convinced that I should focus my efforts on simplifying and letting go.  With these drawings and all of my recent work, I’m hoping to capture a sense of life with as few lines as possible.

Drawing by Brian Bailey

Brian Bailey © 2015

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Letting go

I went out last Friday to the beach about 30 miles south of San Francisco to spend some time painting and meditating.  I don’t follow a particular school of meditation practice but find that being alone on the beach and trying to be present has a lot of value.  The waves come in… the waves go out… and it becomes obvious that my brain can easily get clogged up with thoughts about the past and future. I need to take a few minutes, breath and be right here, right now. Then the world comes more into focus and I feel better about what I’m doing.

Painting can have a similar effect.  I think a lot of activities can help you to become present and let go.  Running or riding a bike can also force your brain to pay attention to what’s in front of you and it can be powerful.  I want to improve my painting and I work hard at it but, at times, I get in my own way.  Working hard and trying to improve can easily bleed into judgement and self doubt.  The greatest strides that I’ve made in painting or anything else have mostly come out of letting go.  Improvement comes from getting to the point where I’m working hard but I’ve abandoned the idea that what I’m doing is either good or bad, I’m just doing it. And that’s where I’m at, painting and writing this blog, regardless of any judgement or doubt. Thank you to everyone that reads it for your time and encouragement.

Here is a painting from that day at the beach.

Beach with Rocks