The Grace of Gazing (On-line art lesson #20)

Lillian Kennedy, weeklyartlesson, drawing irisLook how the iris starts to unfold.  What intriguing colors.  Click on image to enlarge.

This week take up your pencil and softly gaze at a living plant. Watch with wonder to observe the signs of life and movement.  Although this exercise will improve your drawing and observational skills, it will do much more than that; you are likely to  slow down, breathe deeply, and experience how truly awesome your little example of nature really is. You will  connect your heart, eyes,  and hand  with the plant, and you will hover around that feeling of becoming one with another living thing.  You’ve heard the saying, “To know you is to love you.”  My experience is that, “To draw it is to love it”.  And when I feel this growing tenderness towards life in one form, it spreads to all else.  That can’t be a bad thing now, can it?

How to Pencil Gaze Meditate:

  1. Choose your plant / flower and sit in front of it.
  2. Let yourself feel gratitude for this time that you have to commune with it.
  3. Turn it in all directions until one view seems to inspire more interest.  Now you have gone from choosing one plant to choosing one view of it.
  4. With soft eyes and heart, note how all the parts connect; think about how your plant grew.
  5. Breathe deeply and roll your neck.  Shrug your shoulders and smile.
  6. Begin by lightly indicating the overall shapes on your paper at a scale and in a position that is pleasing to you.
  7. Refine the big shapes by slowly continuing to note with your eyes and pencil the subtle and elegant beauty of the whole form and the tiny details.

Feel restored?  My whole day goes better if I take a few minutes to draw with no goal other than to see deeply.  How about you?

Lillian Kennedy, weeklyartlesson, drawing iris

There goes another one.

Lillian Kennedy, weeklyartlesson, drawing irisAhhh. To think it was a bud just yesterday.


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4 Responses to The Grace of Gazing (On-line art lesson #20)

  1. Doris and Janet says:

    This is a great exercise; one I first learned from you many years ago. I love the way you write about it; your words give me a little of the relaxation experience and the sense of connection. Thanks, Lily

  2. Janette Rozene says:

    Lillian, This is another wonderful lesson. I always think of painting as a kind of “runner’s high”, but yes it is also like yoga meditation! Thanks to you, I am painting again.


  3. Hi Lilly! …I’m finally home from all my traveling. Jenny and I spent the weekend up in Breckenridge, and the daffodils were in full bloom. It reminded me of your wonderful video on painting them. I can’t believe it’s already iris time here again. How is it possible that another whole year has gone by? Thanks for the inspiration. My sister’s favorite flower is the iris, and I keep saying that I’m going to paint some for her. Maybe this will be the year!

  4. Pingback: Drawing Flowers from Life is More Inspiring – (Online art lesson #59) |

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