Close Your Eyes and Create

June 11th, 2009

Creating to music can be a wonderful thing. It can be especially interesting when you allow yourself to be moved by the music, to respond to what you hear.

The following exercise is a wonderful way play with sound and creating intuitively. I share a similar exercise in the Art Picnic workshops and the next one is coming up Wednesday, June 17th, 8pm EST. Get all the details and sign up here! I would love to create with you!

I've set this post up, so that you can use the song here (if you're reading this in rss or email, click through to the blog to listen) or use your own music.

sketchbook hummingbirds

The Exercise: Have a pen and piece of paper ready and get into a comfortable position. Take a few deep breaths to center and ground yourself, then begin the music. Let the music play for a moment, then put pen to paper and close your eyes. As the music plays, let your pen move freely across the paper. Move it in response to the music and let your hand move whichever way it wants to go. Don't think about the end result, just let go.

You can do this for the whole music piece or just for 30 seconds, depending on how much time you have to play with. Letting the drawing go for the whole song can be a wonderful exercise, but do as much as you can.

When the music has stopped, take a deep cleansing breath and open your eyes. Take a moment to look at what you've scribbled. Do you see anything there? Maybe a face? A monster? A house? A fish? Or maybe a tree? Whatever you see there, take a moment to bring it out. You can color it in or just make it more clear. The image here is an example of what happened when I developed the image with colored pencil.

Often the symbols that pop up through an exercise like this relate to something going on in our lives or have some kind of message for us. Sometimes they don't. But either way, it's fun to play with. You could do some journal writing or dialoguing with the symbols that come up for you and see what they have to say or develop your doodle further with some paint.

This is a fabulous way to get started if you're feeling particularly stuck creatively. It takes all the pressure off of performing (your eyes are closed, so what can you do?) and allows a more intuitive response to come forward. Plus, it's just fun!

p.s. The fabulous Jamie has written about her experience of turning business meetings into Art Picnics right here. So cool! Love that idea!

p.p.s. Christine at BlissChick has posted a great interview with me at her blog, which you can check out over here.

p.p.p.s. (That's way too many p's! Be sure to stop by tomorrow for the featured Creative Every Day Challenge Participants post!! I've got some wonderful work to share with you!)

Click below to expand post and view music player.

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Hope you enjoyed the exercise! And I hope to see you at a future Art Picnic!

12 Responses

I love this idea, off to set up my drawing area and find Carmina Burana by Orff. That should be interesting.

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Bit different idea to what I normally do – mormally have music playing in background while I create to relax me – never thought of closing my eyes and drawing with it. Will have to try it.

When I’m stuck w/my writing, I’ll often sit at the computer and type with my eyes closed(a ‘touch typist,’ i can do that). While it’s not so free-form as drawing and then seeing what wants to be born of the images, it can be pretty interesting to see what shows up on the page when I’m not SEEING what I’m writing as I write it. I find that I take more detours without feeling the need to explain them to myself, and while I make typos galore and it can take quite a while to figure out what I was going for once my eyes are open again, I think it has a similar effect to what you propose: it opens up a new pathway that wasn’t available before. Always fun, that. :)

I had done this in an art class and totally forgot about it. Thanks for reminding me.. I’m gonna try it with the kids.

I can’t wait to try this, Leah. The idea to color it afterwards really pulls the artistic pieces out – I love that. Yours is fantastic.

I play music everyday so I’m going to find my favorite song to try this with.

I’m about to make a sketchbook (my creative piece of work for today) to place gridded pages inside. I’m going to do a thumbnail sketch everyday, to remind me of this challenge.

I’m with Cheryl ~ I’m going to try this in my art camp next week ~ I think the kids will love it…as long as I can dig up some music they might like :)

Hi, Leah. So THIS is the post you talked about that is similar to the one I used recently. Cool! I LOVE the idea of letting the music move your hand (with your eyes closed too!) Now I need to do it again using this variation. How fun! I liked your music selection too. Thanks for sharing it!

I love this! I did this in an art therapy group recently, but not to music. I can’t wait to try this. I love your drawing!

I used to do this as a kid – completely forgot about it and it was such a joyful exercise (hmmm…haven’t used those two words together in a while). Thanks for the reminder! I’m going to do it tomorrow – and get my six-year-old to try it with me. :)

Loved this exercise. Thanks, Leah.

This is so terrific. I had alot of fun playing with this.
Thank you.

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