The art-making process is tied to ritual, and that repetition puts you in the correct mind-set.

Steve Huston, Figure Drawing for Artists

As a developing urban sketcher and novice artist, I'm seeking to infuse my work with deeper meaning and purpose.

Over time, by reading books and learning from gurus like Steve Huston, I've come to realize that developing a ritual and mantra helps me focus my intentions and cultivate a stronger connection to my process and art.

In this blog post, I'll share the journey that led me to create a unique ritual and mantra tailored to my identity as an Effects-Based Sketcher.

The process began with a desire to celebrate the sacredness I find in everthing done by hand with good intentions.

In a world increasingly dominated by technology, I wanted to honor the simple yet profound act of creating something by hand.

This realization led to the first part of my mantra: "Everything I do by hand is a sacred act."

Next, I wanted to encapsulate my artistic identity and approach. As an Effects-Based Sketcher, I strive to capture the 3D effects I observe in the world and translate them into my two-dimensional sketchbooks. To reflect this, I added the following line to my mantra: "As an Effects-Based Sketcher, I seek to capture the beauty I see in the ordinary, embracing my imperfections along the way."

The core of my artistic process is rooted in a strategic to tactical decision-making system I learned in the military studying John Boyd... The OODA Loop—Observe, Orient, Decide, and Act. This iterative cycle guides me as I sketch, helping me break down the complex world into simpler elements or effects, as I refer to them.

My mantra now includes a reference to this process: "I Observe, Orient, Decide and Act, feeling edges, abstracting shapes and constructing volumes, to capture life's story in sketchbooks." The part about the edges, shapes and volumes comes from Liz Steel, another one of those gurus I follow.

Finally, I wanted to address the importance of sharing my art without falling into the trap of comparing my work to others. This is so hard for some of us and especially me. Liz Steel's program and the entirety of the New Masters Academy I am enrolled in taxes me in this regard. This led to the final component of my mantra: "I share but don't compare.

To turn this mantra into a daily ritual, I decided to recite it while preparing my morning coffee or afternoon tea. This simple physical act or ritual helps me center myself, focus my intentions, and prepare my mind for the creative work ahead.

Lastly, having created mantras and slogans for difficult things I've had to master in past lives, I have learned that I am not static. I change. Therefore, my mantra or internal dialogue has to change with me. My life experiences over time change me and therefore, I must change my internal dialogue.

But here is likely the most powerful thing I've learned. I can change my internal dialogue and that will change my life experience. There is change that comes to us from the outside world, but there is also change we can affect on the world that comes from inside of us. At least for me, the later begins by changing my internal dialogue. I write mantras and script my internal dialogues to change myself from the inside out and have a postive effect on the world outside of me.

In conclusion, the creation of this Steve Huston and Liz Steel -informed ritual and mantra has been and will be a personal journey of movement, self-discovery and intention-setting. 

By embracing my artistic identity, values, and process, I've developed a ritual, mantra, and practice that grounds me and enriches my work as an Effects-Based Sketcher. I encourage fellow artists to explore the potential of ritual and mantra in their own creative journeys, tailoring these practices to their unique styles and approaches.

As I prepare my morning coffee or afternoon tea, I remind myself that, "Every thing I do by hand is a sacred act." As an Effects-Based Sketcher, "I seek to capture the beauty in the ordinary, embracing imperfection along the way. I Observe, Orient, Decide and Act, feeling edges, abstracting shapes and constructing volumes, sketching my life's story. I share but don't compare."

¡Viva la Meseta!