The Zen of Seeing by Heather Walley

“It is in order to really see ever deeper, ever more intensely, hence to be fully aware and alive, that I draw what the Chinese call ‘The Ten Thousand Things’ around me. Drawing is the discipline by which I constantly rediscover the world.

I have learned that what I have not drawn, I have never really seen, and that  when I start drawing an ordinary thing, I realise how extraordinary it is, sheer miracle.” – Frederick Franck The Zen of Seeing 1973


Making art is a form of meditation for me as well as being a creative response to the beauty of the world. Drawing requires of me a quality of presence that focuses attention on the world before me in that moment and presents the challenge of capturing that moment even as it passes: the fugitive light, the wind, the weather, life constantly evolving before my eyes. The act of attention could be said to be a form of prayer, as it requires us to see the world as it really is, not as we think it is.


Drawing also requires being willing to inhabit that creative place of ‘not knowing’ how to do a thing; always as I’m drawing, I have the sense that I don’t know what I’m doing, because it is impossible to perfectly re-create the moment before me, and this is part of the excitement of making an image. Not knowing how my interpretation is going to turn out, whether or not I will succeed in capturing something of the essence of what inhabits the subject, the sense of wonder I feel at the beauty of the world, the attempt to re-create a moment creating something new in and of itself.


When your brain is weary of its verbal chatter, drawing is a way to quiet the chatter and to grasp a fleeting glimpse of transcendent reality”. Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain – Betty Edwards

heather_rockHeather Walley has been a resident member of the Newbold Community for over 5 years and before that, lived on the Isle of Erraid as a member of the Findhorn Foundation community there. As well as being an artist, she is a certified Esalen Massage practitioner, teacher and enthusiastic horsewoman!


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