Quote from The Zen of Seeing

The Zen of Seeing – Art & Nature Club

“It is in order to really see, to see ever deeper, ever more intensely, hence to be fully aware and alive, that I draw what the Chinese call ‘The Ten Thousand Things’ around me. Drawing is the discipline by which I constantly rediscover the world. I have learned that what I have not drawn, I have never really seen, and that when I start drawing an ordinary thing, I realize how extraordinary it is, sheer miracle.” — (Frederick Franck- Quote from his book, “The Zen of Seeing”)

Open Window Sketch Club


The Daily Gift of Time in Nature

It doesn’t need to be a long time. It doesn’t need to be far from home. Nature is everywhere, even on the window sill, or just outside the door. The gift is to take a moment for ourselves, to sit and draw . . . to notice.

Our Okanagan Art & Nature Club, with the Friends of Woodhaven Nature Conservancy, started last Sunday. We had a conversation online, about getting started with nature sketch journals and drawing or painting outdoors.

Here are a few ideas that I have been thinking about today. Maybe one or more of them might also work as sketch prompts for others this week.

Sketch Prompts

This week is about mindful simplicity

Warming up to get started

It is worth taking a little time to warm up and focus, just like stretching before exercise, or playing piano scales before a full music practice.

One of the best ways to warm-up and train the hand and eye, is with classic drawing exercises like blind contour continuous line drawings, partially blind contours, and quick gesture drawings. The artists in our group probably know all about these exercises, but for others this might be new. Drawing practice, including the blind contour, could be a topic for a full separate post!


. . .  Just focus and settle in with something very simple

For now, a warm-up could be as simple as putting pen to paper to draw a slow spiral. The wonderful artist and teacher, Lynda Barry, describes the process in this page from her own notes. This image was published in her book “Picture This.”

A warm-up could also just be any thoughtful swirl or mark variations with a brush or pen . . .whatever helps  you settle and focus to get started on a practice page.

“Zen comes from an approach to each situation. Each play, each moment is like a breath and a release.”   (– Phil Jackson)

Have a wonderful week!

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