This week – all of my favourite things!
Its all about Halloween for me…
This week has been a week of reflection.
I didn’t have anything in particular that I wanted to draw this week. Usually I’ll get an urge to start with a skull or a flower or perhaps I’m yearning to create a little furry creature, but not this week. So I thought back to some old techniques, freely drawing shapes to the music. This technique allows the music to effect the breath, to move the pen, to create shapes devoid of conscious thought. I used this to build a framework for the two pages and then started to fill different areas with different patterns as the mood took me.
What’s interesting to me is that it almost acts as a showcase for what I’ve learned over the last 40 weeks. This is a collection of patterns, lines and forms that I’ve become very comfortable with over the course of the project. They have come out of a mindful concentration not on the drawing itself, but on the emotion behind it. When I’m painting I get very focussed on what I’m doing and it’s mindfulness in a different state. It’s the total abandonment of everything else. This project however is almost about the abandonment of art. It’s not drawing to create art, it’s drawing to tap into the calm and peaceful state that painting takes me to. In a way this week’s pages are a showcase of forms which are visual representations of the process of accessing calm, and accessing your breath.
The last two weeks have brought some diversity into this project, which is important developmentally but I felt I needed to get back in touch with the heart of this project. I wanted to get lost this week, think about the pen moving across the page, the flow of the breath working with the flow of the ink. Whilst I felt this connection with the drawing from Week 37, filming it definitely interrupts the process and takes you out of the experience.
So I feel that this week’s drawing is very pure, very honest and speaks to me on quite a personal level. I find it very calm and comforting. I wonder… how does it make you feel?
After last week’s excitement, another Ardent Shadows video in my YouTube channel, I headed straight into an all new drawing. Whilst I was going about my day to day life something triggered my memory of the fish in Disney’s Fantasia. I always remember feeling that scene was incredibly peaceful and almost hypnotic. This quietly worked away in the back of my brain until I reached a point where I realised that my fantasy world of paintings and drawings is very much land based. In many ways the deep dark depths is a real life fantasy world. The ocean is still the most unexplored parts of our planet. So I thought maybe it was time my fantasy world headed underwater. True to form it starts above water with a flowering lily but I think you can really see the Fantasia influence in the fish. I also had in my mind the underwater scenes of The Sword in the Stone and Bedknobs and Broomsticks, two other childhood favourites. It was fun this week but I think my drawings will be moving back onto dry land next week.
I’m delighted to share another video with you for this week’s mindfulness drawing. Admittedly it was a true labour of love to produce this video and I think i future I’m going to need to invest in some new equipment or software to speed things up.
This difficulty couldn’t be more in contrast with how I feel about the drawing itself. I couldn’t be happier with the drawing and I really feel a strong connection to it. The only idea I had when starting out was, knowing that I was going to video it, that I wanted to start with semi circles. I really wanted to show that you can produce beautiful art not by measuring, planning and tracing but by feeling your way around the page and letting the flow take hold. My circles are not even, not symmetrical, but I don’t think anyone could argue that there’s not something beautifully honest about them. I don’t believe art should be perfect and there’s no better way of illustrating that better than by doing this video.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this week’s post. Please support me by liking and sharing this video if you enjoy it!
(Link: https://youtu.be/GmN5Rp8XIe0 )
Whilst I really love the whole design this week, a sort of female greenman, what I like the most about it is the filigree. I feel that I’ve really improved this drawing style drastically. It felt very natural and flowed perfectly as I was drawing.
It took a long time to complete this week’s because I drew the face in mainly a 0.1 pen and then went back and thickened lines as neccessary. I was so happy with the way the face turned out that I couldn’t imagine anything else to go with it that would be quite as lovely. Filigree was the only thing coming out of me this week so I decided to continue across the page in the same style but with the green pen, which was also thicker. A decision which has created a really beautiful drawing which gave me a lot of very satisfying practice this week.
When I showed my husband this week’s post his first comment was “woah its been years since you last drew women with wings, you used to do it all the time”; further evidence that this project has started to tap into something fundamental in my artwork. I don’t know whether this side of my art had been put aside, forgotten or simply demoted in favour of other projects. It’s so nice that I now feel I have a project where I can explore all manner of subjects and themes with little consequence to my portfolio. The problem with my larger paintings is always the time it takes to complete them. Because they take longer, I can only follow up the strongest and best ideas. I don’t have time to investigate the fleeting ideas and perhaps more importantly ideas which don’t steer my overall portfolio in the strongest direction. (Oh woe is me, the trials and tribulations of the poor artist working a day job to pay the bills…)
This was an interesting drawing this week, an idea which grew from nothing other than the starting point of wanting to draw a curled up figure. I was doing my mindfulness practice on my lunch break and was really tired at the time, wishing that I could curl up myself. The wings and horns are examples of those classic elements where I can honestly say “I don’t know why”, just that they felt right at the time. I think something like this would be lovely in a full colour piece where these mysterious little plants could be painted exactly as they are in my head, as bioluminescent plants belonging to a fantasy realm.
I hope you enjoy the gif that I’ve put together for this week’s mindfulness post. I am also keen to do another timelapse/speed drawing video but this will have to be reserved for a week where I can find more time to carry out my practice at home. So until then, enjoy:
I love my mindfulness drawing this week. I feel like it ticks all the boxes for me. It’s serene, beautiful and quirky enough that it still feels like something that belongs to me.
The face is probably the most successful so far being simple and attractive. My biggest love this week has got to be the peonys though. The little black heart-filled centres just give it a little hint of something girly and gothic. They’re also an example of where I have been able to create something using some very loose flowing lines whilst having some fun giving them a more stylised twist. The stripes in the background also make it feel very much part of me. Sometimes there’s nothing more beautiful than some simple black and white stripes.
At several points in the creation I felt that the outline of the composition was creating something beautiful in the negative space of the white page. The beautiful empty shapes and balanced perfectly across the page. The striped areas have done a nice job of keeping a sense of what I loved about the negative space but everything considered I feel that I could have left these white areas blank. So far I have been stuck in the concept of completing a full double page each week. Perhaps it’s only natural that the parameters of this self-directed project will continue to developing as I move through the weeks?