A friend who uses Praying in Color in her prayers wrote me with a comment and question, “I seem to have the same artistic pattern of circles & squiggles. How do I break the mold…?” I have the same feeling sometimes. My drawings always seem to have amoebas, lines, dots, and polka dots. So here was my suggestion to her and to myself. If you’re in a drawing rut, maybe it will give you ideas:
Decide ahead of time what shapes you’ll use. For example, “Today I’ll only draw squares, lines, triangles, and dots.” You could write all different kinds of shapes and strokes on little pieces of paper, put them in a basket, and choose 3 or 4. My vocabulary of drawing expands by using shapes I don’t normally draw. The limitation to only three or four choices of shapes and strokes frees me to pray without too much concentration on the drawing.
I used to teach pre-ballet to 5-7 year olds. If I put on music and asked the children to do anything they wanted, they were often stymied and did the same thing over and over. If I said, “Pretend you are in a small square. You have to have one hand on the floor at all times. See what you can do.” The limited instructions set them free to move in new and creative ways.
Here is my prayer with only rectangles, lines, and triangles. Using only three shapes did not feel like a boundary on creativity, but an invitation into a new vocabulary.