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Postcard from Interlochen 3: Blind contour drawings

Yesterday during the Journal+Sketchbook class, we got the participants to do blind contour drawings of stuff we set up for them in the Great Room. Things such as grapes, crumpled up paper bags, bottles:


And once again, after some initial bewilderment about what they were asked to do (''What! Draw without looking at the page? Draw without lifting the pen from the paper?'), they all produced highly expressive and interesting drawings, as you will see in the following slideshow:



After they draw for half an hour, Patty leads them into a writing exercise. I always show the drawings from these classes, even though this is really aimed at writers - but writers quite rightly don't want their first rough drafts reproduced on someone's blog. So you'll just have to take my word for it when I tell you that the act of moving from drawing and back to the writing often produces new directions in things they're already writing, or starts for completely new material. I guess that all writing workshops will produce this result in some way. Our students, however, remark on the heightened sense of seeing in the writing after they have been drawing. Blind contour drawing in particular forces a kind of slow looking, and meditative losing of oneself in the act of drawing, that seems to unlock sensory perceptions in the minds of writing students.
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