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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Ardent Shadows on Instagram

The tip of the #tail was just enough space to add another little #butterfly ♥ #wolf #wolvesinwolves2017 #paintingsculptures #trees #wildlife #nature #publicart #wrd #wp

Ardent Shadows on Instagram

My wolfie’s chin. I hope you’re getting excited for the project launch. They’re going out into the world 8th July (ish) #visitwolverhampton #publicart #wolvesinwolves2017 #wolf #sculpturepainting #wp #wrd

Ardent Shadows on Instagram

Lil hodgeheg at the base of my wolf – finished today! #hedgehog #britishwildlife #publicart #sneakpeek #wolvesinwolves2017 #roots #wp #wrd #linearart #hardworkingartist #iamsotired

Time to Tease – Wolf Progress

 I’m now in the home stretch of completing my wolf for Wolves in Wolves and have moved onto adding the colour this week. In order to keep up maximum interest for the grand unveiling at Wolverhampton City Centre, I will be keeping the colour of my wolf under wraps! You’ve all seen the original design so you have an idea of the end result but even I’m amazed by how different it looks large scale. I’m just staggered by the effect of the flat bodies of colour against the stark black and white trees. I really hope as many of you as possible will venture out to see it and would love it if you could take a selfie or two to share with me. Throughout this whole process I’ve really been focussed on how my wolf will make people feel and wondering what the public will think about my contribution to this massive project. I’m also going to give my wolf it’s very own page on my website. Keep your eye on the blog in the next few days for those updates and the closing pictures of my wolf story.

For now here’s the first black and white teaser of my wolf’s feet!



Ardent Shadows on Instagram

#snail added to my wolfie today. I thought I’d add a few things around the bottom for interest at a kids eye level 🐌 #linework #publicart #wolvesinwolves #communityart #wolverhampton #colouringbook #wp #wrd

Ardent Shadows on Instagram

Linework just about finished! #wolvesinwolves #publicart #community #wolverhampton #butterfly #britishwildlife #darkart #creepycute #wp #wrd #darkart #sculpturepainting #3Dpainting #wolf

Ardent Shadows on Instagram

Couldn’t resist adding a little caterpillar to my wolfie! Love this lil guy! #wolvesinwolves #creativewton #publicart #caterpillar #britishwildlife #paintinginprogress #wp #wrd

Ardent Shadows on Instagram

My little slice of the #artsfest action thanks to #patternorium and #charlotteclarkdesignermaker ⭐ Honoured to be part of the #macabremakers pop up shop in the #mandercentre this week!!! If your near Wolverhampton make sure you go check it out!! 🌛🌝🌜 #independantartist #darkartistries #darkart #macabreart #smallbusiness #gothicbeauty #wp #wrd

My Wolf for ‘Wolves in Wolves’

As regular visitors of my blog will know, I now have more time to dedicate to my art and I thought a great way to kick off this new start would be to get involved with a community art project. I came across the ‘Wolves in Wolves’ project in Wolverhampton and submitted a design which was successfully selected. I have now been working on my wolf for a couple of weeks and have been adding progress photos documenting this journey. Up until now however I have not shared the design I’m working toward, so without further ado here’s my design for the project:

Wolves in Wolves

Those of you who are familiar with my work will not be surprised that my design is based around trees and wildlife but what you won’t be aware of is that it is also heavily inspired by some of my favourites things about Wolverhampton, including feeding the squirrels in West Park. I find these animals so endearing and just full of character. I knew instantly that my design had to feature some of these furry critters, after all, this project is also public art so I  wanted it to appeal to a young audience. During my childhood in Wolverhampton I not only loved West Park but also adventuring down the Valley Railway, a beautiful nature reserve which even meets with some of the canals. It has always been a tranquil place where you can immerse yourself in the beautiful scenery.

The other influence on my design is my Mindfulness Mondays project. Those of you who were following the project last year will recognise the black and white linear drawing style and understand why I’ve chosen to free paint my Wolf instead of stenciling or drafting out my design. You can catch up on the project here, , but here’s one of my favourite highlights: (

We have fantastic green spaces in Wolverhampton and I’m really hoping my design will inspire people walking the Wolves trail to venture out into these places and discover the natural beauty that our wildlife offers. With the nod to my Mindfulness Mondays project I’m also hoping to inspire budding artists to get out their pens and pencils and enjoy the sense of relaxation and joy that art can offer.

The Wolf trail will be kicking off at the start of July so make sure you put a trip to Wolverhampton City Center in your diary this Summer!

For more information about the project and watch the continuing progress of my Wolf, sign up to my blog and follow me on Facebook or Instagram.

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