Emotional Truth

Look at me, what do you see? (DSCF0290)

What should be the direction of my photography? I’m constantly asking myself. Catching the moment, is that it? No, to me, it is way more than that.

Looking through my photos, most of them  (except for photos with my daughter) that I took are just for myself. I wasn’t trying to please anyone, but to explain the world to myself. To find peace, to find beauty, to find love, to find me.

Photography to me is a journey of finding emotional truth. I am opening my arms to entering the world through it.

Free of mind does not require free of time

twisted mind

“I wish I have more time to learn and improve my photography skills.” This is my constant complain.

I have too much work to do, I need to take care of my girl, I need to cook, I need to do the laundries, I need to go shopping, etc. How can I ever had any free time to do anything else? Are these the true reasons that I stop taking photos or just excuses?

When I first got into photography, I just simply wanted to take pretty photos, mainly to take photos of my daughter. Later on, it became more and more personal. When I looked through the view finder of the camera, I could see a reflection of another soul who has been trapped inside of my body. I could feel this soul wanted to jump out when I captured an image. This soul that I have noticed long time ago since I was very young, it has no gender, nor color, not in any forms, but full of anger and crazy thoughts. it wants to  run, to fight, to scream, to explode, but mostly wants to SEE and COMMUNICATE. It wants to be released. This is the reason, fear to open myself and find out who I really am. So I just stop.

The best composition is to make the importance to be seen.

Edward Weston defined good composition as “the strongest way of seeing”.

The art of photography is to make the mind of the photographer and viewers to fly and to breathe together. In order to achieve this, the photographer has to willingly open up and show with completely honest. This is the barrier that stop me from keep moving and improving. Indeed, free of mind does not require free of time, but willingness, and I am ready for it.

Photography is not simply the act of picking up a camera, pointing it at something, and pressing the shutter. It is a process of thoughtful consideration of your own point of view overlaid upon the scene. It requires creative thinking, which is not easy.  – < The Art of Photography > by  Bruce Barnbaum

Blind Contour – meditation for your brain

Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain: The Definitive, 4th Edition recommended to do blind contour to train your brain to really see what is in front of you, and not to worry about what your drawings really turned out to be. Once you get the hand of it, it was quite a special experience. Before each drawing section, starting with blind contour will be like the medication for the brain. It could calm your busy mind down and make you concentrate better for the following drawing section.

A few of my blind contours.







Discovered the difference between the left side brain and the right side brain

Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain: The Definitive, 4th Edition started with detail explanation of the difference between the left side brain and the right side brain which was eye-opening to me. It also gave this magical exercise to let me experienced the physical impact of both sides brains conflicting with each other.

By shutting off my left side brain, I was able to achieve the following drawings even they were well above my drawing skills at the time.





Finally, I found the holy grail book for true beginners

After reading lots and lots reviews online, I took another chance to purchase my third instruction book – Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain: The Definitive, 4th Edition. With a very skeptical attitude, I have found the holy grail instruction book. This is the book every beginner should read. It teaches you to overcome the symbolism shortcoming of every adult has, and teaches you to really “see” the world in the artist way. I have been able to make dramatic progress by following the instructions and doing every assignments. If you only have money for one book, this is the book to get!

Before I started my training, I have done the following drawings to record my skill level at the time:

I will record all my learning processes in my future posts. And then comparing the end results with this post to see if I truly improved my drawing skills. More to come.

Pinterest – a great tool to find drawing tips

Before reading the book Sketch The Non-artist Guide to Inspiration Technique and Drawing Daily Life, I had no idea what “cross hatching” was. I then googled it and the site which gave most of the information was Pinterest.com. In fact, not only the information about “cross hatching”, it has a lot of other drawing techniques and tips as well. It is like a drawing techniques Wikipedia. I have been using it everyday after I discovered it. Thanks to all the strangers who are sharing their knowledge for free.

Here are my quick studies of “Hatching”:

The second book that I purchased

Keys to drawing is the second book that I purchased.It is a better one in my opinions.

It taught in a more natural way, not like the first one which felt like reading a textbook. This one came from the artist’s personal experiences, and it is more fun to read too. It has a lot of good assignments and all the chapters are arranged in logical orders. I had pretty good results after the first chapter. Here are my drawings from the assignments:

However, I did not go through this book as well due to the disappointment of the pomegranate drawing below. Don’t get me wrong, this is an excellent book, but seems a bit advanced to an absolute beginner like me. I will definitely read it again after I had more beginners’ training.


Attending Classes or Learning from Books

Signing up a local art class or buying a few books to learn by myself. I picked the later option because I have a full-time job as a development programmer and I am a full time mom. Going to a class after work will be a stretch. I would like to learn this in my own pace as I can’t promise myself to practice everyday.

So the first book I purchased was Drawing for the Absolute Beginner: A Clear & Easy Guide to Successful Drawing (Art for the Absolute Beginner). It was a descent book for beginners. Especially the one points, two points perspectives explanation was excellent. However, it was a bit dry and not enough exercises.


My drawings by following the instructions of the book. This was as far as I could go with this book. I switched to another book after that.