“I believe that anyone has the ability to draw – you just need to silence that critical voice in your head,” said local artist, Leoni Aucamp of AUCAMP.STUDIOS, at a meditative drawing workshop that she offered last month at Fernkloof Nature Reserve.

Observational drawing, meditative drawing, art for wellbeing, non-dominant hand mapping and nature journaling are some of the ways to describe this series of workshops.

“It forms part of my endeavour to facilitate a space where it’s easy for anyone to access his or her creativity. Drawing, and specifically this method of drawing, is extremely meditative. It’s also a very special way for us to connect with nature.” 

Leoni was introduced to the process of meditative/non-dominant hand drawing 14 years ago and recently started her workshops as a way to teach this method to others. 

“The world opened up to me when I started meditative drawing,” she said, while demonstrating the process. “It is very simple to explain, but it takes a lot of practice and patience to reap the full benefit. You focus on a subject matter (preferably three dimensional, such as nature or a human figure) whilst using the non-dominant hand to ‘track’ what the eyes see without looking at the paper or lifting the pen. 

“Every three minutes you change your vantage point so that you can ‘3D map’ the object or subject and start to see how it works. After about 45 minutes, your non-dominant hand and your eyes become coordinated and flow together, and scribbles that you created at the beginning of the process later become cohesive drawings.”

This process requires that you really look at the subject matter, and to allow your hand to follow what your eyes see. This can be quite a challenge at the beginning for many, as not only are you drawing with your non-dominant hand AND not looking at the paper, but you have to accept that it isn’t going to be a perfect or ‘pretty’ drawing (quite difficult for us perfectionists!). But, once you really get into the process, it can become very relaxing and even meditative.

A few years ago, Leoni had the privilege of introducing this method at a youth camp, to a group of teenagers from severely abusive backgrounds. Most of them had never been exposed to art, let alone drawing. In six hours over two days, the teens were able to draw and produce some inspirational pieces that Leoni believes may have changed forever how they view their own creativity. 

“I hope to have this opportunity here in Hermanus – to work with children from all walks of life to activate their creativity,” she says. “As Van Gogh once said, if you hear a voice inside you say ‘you cannot paint’ then by all means paint – and that voice will be silenced. Oil painting and working with other media can be expensive and may require time commitment, but when you draw, all you really need is a pencil and a piece of paper.”

Leoni’s workshops are held every Saturday in a different beautiful location. You can find her on Facebook under Aucamp Studio or contact her via email at leoni.aucamp@gmail.com or call 082 9255 663. The workshops will be held for the duration of October and November. Each session is three hours long. Pre-book them for R300. She also offers Oil Painting Classes from her home in Voelklip every Tuesday.

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