Drawing Your Own Path: 33 Practices at the Crossroads of Art and Meditation

Drawing Your Own Path: 33 Practices at the Crossroads of Art and Meditation

by John F. Simon Jr.
Drawing Your Own Path: 33 Practices at the Crossroads of Art and Meditation

Drawing Your Own Path: 33 Practices at the Crossroads of Art and Meditation

by John F. Simon Jr.


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"Drawing Your Own Path is a smart, subtle, sophisticated, compassionate, radically eye-opening and mind-altering guide to creative and artistic liberation. Thank you, John Simon!"—Ruth Ozeki, A Tale for the Time Being

"John F. Simon, Jr., widely recognized as an early pioneer in the use of computer-generated imagery in contemporary art, has turned his attention to the act mark-making as a doorway into self-awareness and the essential touchstone of visual creativity. He leads us through a sequence of meditative drawing exercises, and shares insightful, touching anecdotes of his many years of experience as a practicing artist."—Peter Halley, Artist

"The mysteries of the mind and universe are coupled with a very practical guide to drawing. It is an unlikely but wonderfully fruitful combination, a step-by-step approach to awareness and art."—Lawrence Rinder, Director, UC Berkeley Art Museum & Pacific Film Archive

"John’s marvelous artwork emerges from a deeply inspired and intuitive unfolding. His gift of finding one’s own creative process is beautifully transmitted in this delightful guide."—Jon Bernie, Ordinary Freedom

"Drawing Your Own Path is an invitation to those who have never drawn before and a warm, informative, intelligent and lovely book to read. It offers refreshing, new ways to look at and experience the steps to make drawings today."—Sharon Louden, Artist, Editor of Living and Sustaining a Creative Life 

Drawing Your Own Path
is an account of how multi–media artist John Simon’s daily drawing discipline became a meditation practice, and how that meditation illuminated his creative source. A practical guidebook full of Simon's own art, Drawing Your Own Path offers meditators an alternative path to ‘just sitting’ and offers artists a way to mindfully examine and deepen the source of their creative ideas. Readers are guided through thirty–three meditation and drawing exercises, exploring concentrated looking, mindful sketching, and improvisational awareness, all designed to help practitioners discover the vast creativity within themselves and in their daily lives.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781941529362
Publisher: Parallax Press
Publication date: 11/01/2016
Pages: 192
Sales rank: 1,107,842
Product dimensions: 7.50(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

John F. Simon, Jr. is one of the pioneers in the development of Software Art. His seminal work "Every Icon" was included in the 2000 Whitney Biennial. In October 2005 the Whitney Museum of American Art and Printed Matter published Simon’s artist’s book and software CD, Mobility Agents, and in 2011, Simon collaborated with Icelandic singer Björk to write an app for her album, Biophilia, the first app album ever created.

Simon’s artworks can be found in the permanent collections of The Whitney Museum of American Art, The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, The Museum of Modern Art in New York, Collezione Maramotti, The Brooklyn Museum, The Los Angeles County Museum of Art and The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, among others.  

John F. Simon, Jr. grew up in central Louisiana and studied Geology and Fine Art at Brown University. He went on to earn a Master’s of Science in Earth and Planetary Science at Washington University, and an MFA in Computer Art at the School of Visual Arts in New York City. Simon currently lives and works in Sugar Loaf, New York.

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1: Wrong Question, Right Answer

With the crowd at my art opening thinning, heading to the after–party, hors d’oeuvres finished, compliments paid, big sales closed, the staff starting to unwind, a visitor to the gallery approached and began to tell me about how strongly he reacted to the work. A was a software engineer with a flair for graphics who always wanted to pursue art, he loved visiting art galleries and museums, but couldn’t decide if he was an artist. He had no desire to switch careers since he was in high demand and well–paid as a programmer. Knowing there would never be enough time to devote to making art, he disparaged initiating his own creative projects since he was sure his beginner’s flailing would be a waste of time. He was looking for me to give him a reason to justify spending more time on a growing passion that could yield no predictable professional results.

Maybe he thought I had a secret because at some point he stopped and asked me directly, "If I want to make a good drawing, do you have any tips for how I should go about it?"

Ego–inflated from my opening night, flattered by his question and slightly tipsy from the wine, I began to pontificate. I gave him my views on how one would make a good drawing only to hear all my theories second–guessed in my mind as quickly as they were spoken. The generalizations I made to him about color and composition kept missing the point. I flailed, sputtered, and eventually realized, but not until almost ten years later, that the answer to his question was in the question itself.

Table of Contents

Chapter One: Wrong Question, Right Answer

Exercise 1: Getting right into it

Exercise 2: Watching your hand

Exercise 3: Marking practice

Chapter Two: Realistic Drawing

Exercise 4: Picking an object to draw

Exercise 5: Attentive looking

Exercise 6: Noticing awareness

Exercise 7: Marking from the sense of sight

Exercise 8: Simple rendering

Exercise 9: Try perspective

Exercise 10: Working inward

Chapter Three: Systematic Drawing

Exercise 11: The circular arrow - a visual mantra

Exercise 12: Improvising between two points and finding the world in between

Exercise 13: Thought as art

Exercise 14: All four pixel images

Exercise 15: Book of compositions

Chapter Four: Improvisational Drawing

Exercise 16: Going outside the box

Exercise 17: Not breath awareness

Exercise 18: Growing improvisation

Exercise 19: Chasing the Coltrane Effect

Exercise 20: Drawing to reveal inner conditions

Exercise 21: Noticing Intuition

Exercise 22: You are the universe drawing

Chapter Five: Reading the Drawings

Exercise 23: An exact physical description

Exercise 24: Feeling the meaning

Exercise 25: The story we tell ourselves

Exercise 26: Connecting our story to a larger story

Chapter Six: The Search for the Source of Creativity

Exercise 27: Priming the source

Exercise 28: Embedded sources

Exercise 29: Sitting still at the origin

Exercise 30: Mindful of the path

Chapter Seven: Meta-Drawing

Exercise 31: Sharing with yourself

Exercise 32: Sharing with a trusted friend

Exercise 33: Sharing with the world
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