Simple Delights of Doodling

My wife doodles. I might even say she is a professional doodler with some of her concoctions filling up an 8 1/2-by-11-in. piece of paper! Most are on scraps of paper lying about the house in desk drawers or on a spouse's computer, asking for an opinion.

I have framed some of my wife's doodles because I consider them art, and have nailed them up right next to our family portraits in store-bought frames.

I consider doodling the widest, most inclusive usage of art knowledge in the world. It has multifarious forms, expressed in gibbous, sweeping shapes that contain symbolic, naturalistic patterns. Which is to say doodles can be anything, everything a doodler wishes them to be. Although it's not the cutting edge of art, doodling has been regarded by some as the ultimate expression of avant-garde drawing.

It's a common activity, an everyday excursion into the realm of lazy loops, addled angles, and crazy crops of dots doing little, if anything. Doodling is just a step away from being regarded as serious art.

I wonder what my wife is thinking as her pencil moves in soft swirls, punctuated periods, or feathery shading. Her doodles are so abstract that one can see shapes, form, and shades drawn in feathery flights or spheroidal snowflakes falling over a migratory muss. But does it matter?

The ''why'' is unimportant, because the simple act of interpreting what we see allows us to view the world in new ways. It causes us to challenge ourselves; better yet, it enhances what we have been thinking.

Doodle drawing is not conventional. The very purpose of drawing a doodle is to take away convention, to let thought simply express itself without confinement, to reflect the needs of the individual in reflecting feelings and thoughts sometimes not understood.

Saul Bellow said, ''art has something to do with achievement of stillness in the midst of chaos. A stillness which characterizes prayer, too, and the eye of the storm.''

When all is said and done, some calmness will come upon the artist; perhaps that is the real purpose of doodling: to bring peace to thought so decisions can be made, whether the doodler is aware of such a need or not.

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