Ardent Shadows

Gothic Fantasy paintings by Jemima Mantle



Mindfulness Monday #40

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.

Mindfulness Mondays 40

Mindfulness Monday #7

After MM:5 I decided I wanted to play around with incorporating text as a focus into these drawings. This week I chose a relatively long word, but something that is most important to mindfulness practice, breathe. Your breathing is such an important tool, not just for mindulness, but for any sort of work where you’re trying to instill a sense of calm. You can even use your breath as something to be mindful of. So I drew the word first then formed the rest of the piece around that. The first time I used text I just left negative space amongst the patterns whilst I was drawing. There was no plan to include text at all which created something very organic. This week’s differed quite dramatically in my experience which consequently effected my ability to remain mindful whilst drawing.
I felt quite limited this week. As it’s quite a long word, which ran the length of the page, I felt like I spent a lot of time working on the letters themselves and the space immediately around them. Furthermore the position of it across the page was not very pleasing to my eye. It wasn’t quite in the center of the page, but too far down it to think of the area under it as a separate space. Whilst I think the finished piece is visually pleasing and ‘breathe’ is certainly a word I connect with, I’m not sure I enjoyed the activity as much this week.
I will endeavour to create another piece with text to see if there’s an alternative way I can plan an element of the design whilst removing the difficulties experienced this week.

Mindfulness Drawing 7

Mindfulness Monday #6

This week’s pages were started in a different way. The binding shows on these pages and I thought that instead of trying to hide them or work round them, that it would be interesting to highlight them using negative space. I then used these shapes as the starting point for the whole design. It was fun to work on something that grew from the central point of the double page. I always try to start in a different place so that I vary the experience I get from the exercise. I’m very keen to avoid these drawings becoming in anyway planned or predictable. I want to ensure that they continue to demand my full attention. I feel that if my approach becomes systematic, I will lose a lot of the freedom and mindfulness which I’m currently enjoying.

The choice to draw more hearts is something that I think has come out of allowing myself to add my husband’s name last week. It’s always something I’ve doodled absent minded in notebooks but it was lovely to incorporate it into a mindfulness drawing and reconnect with what it really symbolises. If mindfulness is about calm and focus, shouldn’t we also find a way of celebrating love and happiness. I don’t know why it’s only just occurred to me. Of course these things go hand in hand. Is there anything in this world which makes us feel more calm, and more ‘in the moment’ than love. Whether that’s love for a partner, your family, your pets or just looking at a stunning view and connecting with how that makes you feel. I certainly feel that love is something I will be connecting with a lot more in my mindfulness drawings from now on.


Promise by Ardent Shadows, giclee print to fir 11 x 14 inch frame. Print to order.

by ArdentShadows (30.00 GBP)

Smite the Raven – Original ink painting by Ardent Shadows

by ArdentShadows (75.00 GBP)

Smite the Raven II – Original ink painting by Ardent Shadows

by ArdentShadows (70.00 GBP)

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