Category Archives: Sketchbook

Being & Doing. Making happy work.

When being and doing are brought together work, in fact all action becomes play infused with creativity and joy. In fact creativity is joy.

 Everything done in this spirit becomes yoga, which transforms you. It creates as well as being creative.

It doesn’t matter if you design cathedrals or work in merchant bank. They are both important. Working in this way brining being and doing together transcend what you do.

Working this way this way requires a change of perspective. Instead of concentrating more on the future result or outcome of what your doing, or what will happen afterwards focus more on what you are doing right now. In other words be present to the moment rather that on your perceived relationship to it.

This voluntary suspension of desire, judgment and expectation as one undertakes action requires practice and in business the right culture.

It take inspirational leadership, which these days, is in short supply. Many people confuse management techniques, meetings and spreadsheets with true leadership. Its hard to imagine any HR department or management process employing this technique rather than focus instead on KPI’s, outputs and productivity.

This technique once caught and applied you will notice there is joy hidden inside every action, moment-by-moment. You don’t need to change what you do. Just change how you do it. One doesn’t need to hid away in a mountain cave or undertake extreme adventures to know this truth. The joy of being action is literally at your fingertips. Now!

When I work on my drawing board or in my sketch book I pick up my pen.. I know with right mind set and attention there is sheer concentrated joy in this if I allow myself to know it. It is natural and innate but if I stop resisting. Softness, a flowing effortlessness rises up instantly infusing the whole body.

The ideal Arjuna, is to be intensively active and at the same time have no selfish motives, no thoughts or personal gain or loss. Work and action uncontaminated by desire leads to inner peacefulness and increased effectiveness. This is the secret art of living a life of real achievement. Bhagavad Gita 2.48

Attending to what you are doing in this way you will notice, in even the smallest everyday experience, a flowing sense of potential and effortless purpose. And it will grow towards a deeper feeling of peace and resilience in your every day active life through the union of being and doing – work and joy- yoga of action.

How do we do this?

Simple, we sit back and watch the show. Its called yoga.

Spontaneous stuff….

This week we managed to put the Spontaneous Places exhibition over at the RIBA Hub. The Preview is on Tuesday evening 5.30 – 8.00pm. This is your invitation to come along…we have wine!

The work is simply stuff I do in the basement. Its intuitive and spontaneous, hence the title and its really about the process rather than the product. I rely on found material to shape these places. An assembly or a drawing starts with things coming together without a plan. You see things, stumble upon them. Its mostly accidental  but you seem to know how it works. Shapes, forms and lines intertwine, collide and intertwine again…you don’t know why this happens. It just pours out. Very much like the wine!

See you on Tuesday…

Be prepared…

brian-eno_1355749cHere is one of my heroes talking about ideas and work. Having ideas is not about waiting for inspiration to start. It’s about keeping your eyes open and having what Brian calls a ‘prepared mind’, that will notice things, see things, recognise opportunities when they appear. And they appear all the time. The effort required is simply the need to open oneself up to new things…seeing new relationships etc. No amount of analysis, or ‘doing things because we think we ought to’, will help you open, observant or productive.  I like the fact that Brian says we need to ‘surrender’ to the idea, to the work…. become the work and put any ideas of ownership or ego behind you…. very yogic, and very productive.

Enthusiasm is the key says Brian.  Its infectious but also helps drive forward ideas and solutions. Of course timing and luck is everything as well as a good dose of talent but if you are open, observant and enthusiastic the timing and luck will fall into place…

Naturally beautiful…

This week I have been working on a nice little design project in Cheltenham.  The Regency character of the town has prompted to look again at proportions and harmonic ratios such as the ‘Golden Section’. It’s been years since I looked at this. In fact probably not since Year One at Architecture School. We were all asked to fill a sheet of paper with drawn rectangles. They weren’t measured they were drawn quickly in a way that we thought seemed right and pleasing. Amazingly a significant proportion were near or exact ‘Golden Sections’. This leads me to the conclusion that getting things looking right is a matter of experience but also intuition which I don’t think is a function in CAD. We all know all when things appear to look and feel and right because underneath that perception are the universal harmonics; 1 x 1.618, which underpins the composition of everything in the universe.

So here are some pages from my Moleskin illustrating how I am trying to remember how to do it. I wonder if it’s still taught in Architecture School? Somehow I doubt it…

Looking & Seeing no: 14

Having an HD digital camera on your IPhone is great but if you really want to ‘see’ something you have to use a sketchbook. Here is a drawing made under extreme conditions, standing on the walls of Dubrovnik in 35 degrees, drawing as we circumnavigated the city defensive walls. What is magical about the city is the way it conveys its ‘DNA’. Originally  a Roman city built between the cliffs and the sea-shore, the main street defined the water edge and promenade along the sea. Now its a tourist spine as the city pushed out into the water to become the walled city we see. The main street divides Roman from Medieval which can only be truly revealed in plan and section….Wonderful!

Good tip? Find a good bar to sit in while you finish it off with your colouring pencils!