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Little ideas becoming something bigger

December 1, 2015

One of the colored pencil drawings from the Mandala seriesI think of little visual ideas as puzzle parts: put them together in the right combination and they can coalesce into something bigger.  In other words, playing with different kinds of lines on a small scale (thick, thin, broken, dark, light, etc.) in my sketchbook might pair up with patterns that I like (checks, stripes, waves, etc.), which might then join up with some shapes and colors to suggest a bigger conglomerate piece. In a way it’s like mind mapping, where you can brainstorm to help ideas evolve.

Start with one notion, create some relationships, and BINGO—you’re on your way to something that has your attention. And it’s not just about using visual puzzle pieces. You can also use your sketchbook (whatever that looks like) to record written observations, dialogue, quotes, thumbnails of artwork that catch your attention. All of these bits and pieces allow you to immerse yourself in process and play. Who knows where that might lead??

Twyla Tharp, the dancer, says this in her book The Creative Habit:book cover for The Creative Habit

The first steps of a creative act are like groping in the dark: random and chaotic, feverish and fearful, and a lot of busy-ness with no apparent or definable end in sight. There is nothing yet to research…. You can’t just dance or paint or write or sculpt. Those are just verbs. You need a tangible idea to get you going. The idea, however minuscule, is what turns the verb into a noun – paint into a painting, sculpt into sculpture, write into writing. dance into a dance.



Some time ago, I challenged myself to do a series of small drawings (each about 5 in. by 5 in.) with colored pencils. I wanted to see how many patterns I could create using templates that I designed and printed from my computer. I called it the Mandala Series. I discovered that I really do love patterns…and a lot of them now pop up in my larger pieces. I have to admit, though, that most of my work looks nothing like these.  Funny…

All of the Mandala drawings

2 Comments leave one →
  1. December 3, 2015 4:49 pm

    Reebs — wonderful website. Did you drop Yola and go to Word Press? I’m loving all your new work and your blog — I especially enjoyed your piece on “alter ego”. Donna

    Liked by 1 person

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