Observation as art

Last night I began a six-week class with Danny Gregory, an artist who has developed a following for his illustrated journals.

Rather than journaling about thoughts and feelings, he encourages people to remove preconceived assumptions about the objects around us. To sit still long enough to observe what's really going on: at the breakfast table, in your medicine cabinet, even with your favorite pair of shoes. (Last night we started by drawing our hands.)

A topic close to my heart—and what brought me to my first life coach—was how to be creative in my daily life. I loved traveling to Italy to an art workshop in the mountains and taking classes like this one that introduce new ideas. The real challenge is bringing the lessons and energy I get from these experiences into the day-to-day.

I still have to clean the bathroom and pay bills, but that doesn't mean I have to be stuck in the mundane. It also doesn't have to be mundane. Could there be a way to enjoy chores? If there is, I'm definitely interested.

Gregory's premise is that illustrated journals can easily fit into your life. As children, we drew all the time so the muscle was fully developed. Picking up a pen and conquering a blank sheet of paper may not feel natural to start, but it will come back. Observing and recording the objects around us can take anywhere from 2 minutes to an hour, and can be scribbled on the edge of a piece of paper in a ballpoint pen. Creating this way means the work doesn't have to be perfect. It can happen anywhere. And most important—it makes all of us artists.

Sure after a while you may get bold, like he has, and incorporate watercolor and produce your own books. In the meantime, enjoy it for what it is: quiet time for observation.