Ardent Shadows

Gothic Fantasy paintings by Jemima Mantle

Mindfulness Monday #26 – YouTube Video

This week is a rather special one as this is the first time-lapse mindfulness drawing I’ve done and I’m so pleased with it! It could have been twice as long as when the video plays slower you can really see the heart of the process; all the little pauses where I’m deciding where to place the next line and there’s something so satisfying about watching the long flowing lines take shape. In these moments you really connect with the pressure of your hand on the pen as it slides over the paper.

Together with the totally gorgeous music of Rue Sibelius by Tom Vedvik and Martin Tillman, I hope that this video brings some peace and happiness into your day. Please comment, share and give it a ‘thumbs-up’ for me!

There’s so much I could say about this video I think I could have almost done a commentary track but I’ll start with what I think everyone should know.

This drawing is entirely free hand and unplanned – as are all of my mindfulness drawings. Other than knowing I was starting with a skull, I honestly had no idea where this week’s drawing would take me. I’ve watched a few ‘doodling’ videos on YouTube where you can see that the artist has drawn out a design first in pencil. To me this is totally against the purpose of the activity. You should be able to get lost in it and I believe it should develop in an almost ethereal way. Until I finished the skull I hadn’t decided on acorns and oak leaves and until I had done that I had no idea I was going to include a hare skull. I think you can see the unplanned nature of this drawing best in the acorns. At first I drew them quite loosely and gradually added to them, thickening some lines and adding pattern and texture later on. When I decide to add some additional acorns later on you can see that I draw them from start to finish in one go. This is possible because the decision making process had been done earlier in the drawing.

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A Little Progress Report

As you know, I quit half the day job at the start of this year to spend more time on Ardent Shadows, and you can see this in my work! I’ve had a fantastic few days in the studio this week so here’s a little peek at what I’m currently working on:



Ardent Shadows on Instagram

My new painting is underway 🎨 I’m just buzzing with creativity at the moment, and so in love with working on this ‘dreams’ themes. Love it!! πŸŒ™ #painting #darkart #surreal #dreaming #wip #wrd

Ardent Shadows on Instagram

It’s an oldie but an important part of my portfolio. This was the first painting where I really felt I had developed my recognisable style. Still love it! ❀ #darkart #birdcage #corset #tattoo #painting #acrylics #bluetits #cats 🐾 #wrd

Sleeping with Fishes

This was a real adventure. It was challenging but has opened up a lot of fresh ideas. What do you think of this under water special?

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Gah! Fish are hard 🐠 continuing progress on this #underthesea themed painting ⭐ #acrylics #darkart #mermaid #pearls #wip #wrd

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Working on something a little different this week #underthesea #coral #ribcage #darkart #starfish #bones #acrylics #wip #wrd

Under Milkwood Part II

I know you’ve been on the edge of your seat waiting to hear what’s the secret feature of this new piece. So here it is:

I planned this piece to work both landscape and portrait. The figure lying down and the foliage in one axis, and the sleeping animals all the other. The juxtaposition represents the balance between dreams and reality. Under Milkwood is all about seeing things that only exist in dreams. I wanted this piece to capture some of the magic of dreams.

Under Milkwood

Anyone who’s familiar with Dylan Thomas might be wondering where the connection is to his famous play Under Milkwood but this piece is not intended to be illustrative of the text. I have titled this piece to honour a single moment of discovery which instantly created this image in my head. Last year I saw the introduction of Under Milkwood by Michael Sheen as part of the celebration of the Dylan Thomas centenary. It was spectacular. The sounds and atmosphere created with the gentle rhythm of Sheen’s narration made for the perfect performance. I’m sad to say that it is no longer available to view on YouTube but hopefully the BBC has it squirreled away somewhere and it’s not gone forever.

Here’s a few key excerpts which so strongly suck in my mind from the introduction:

You can hear the dew falling, and the hushed town breathing.

Only your eyes are unclosed to see the black and folded town fast, and slow, asleep.

Listen. It is night moving in the streets.

Dewfall, starfall, the sleep of birds in Milk Wood.

Time passes. Listen. Time passes.

Again I’m not sure anyone would feel the link here to the painting I’ve created but it is so strong and clear in my mind. I find this text so hugely emotive that for me it’s connection is undeniable.

There is also an interesting additional feature to this painting which I will be sharing in a later post so please sign up to my mailing list or follow me on social media to read Under Milkwood Part II. See if you can spot what the hidden magic of this piece might

* I’m thoroughly delighted to say that I’ve found the video elsewhere so here’s the link:

Enjoy x

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🎨Nearly finished these lil mouse-babies πŸ€ #mice #webs #winter #painting #darkart #sleepinganimals #wrd #wip

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