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Ardent Shadows

Gothic Fantasy paintings by Jemima Mantle

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mindfulness

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, www.ardentshadows.co.uk/mindfulness , but here’s one of my favourite highlights: (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GmN5Rp8XIe0)

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.

All New Range of Giftware, Homeware and more…

Magic Skull, from Mindfulness MondaysDo you remember this piece?

Maybe you loved the YouTube video too?

Well now you can buy lots of lovely products carrying this design. I’m so excited to share the launch of my new Redbubble shop. I’ll slowly adding more designs over the next week so let me know what you’d like to see next!

 

My all new shop!
My all new shop!

Mindfulness Monday #45 and #46

This week’s a double bill – the drawings from this week and last week. Both of these weeks were incredibly relaxing and a joy to work on. The first captures which something of a personal mantra – choose happy. It’s a simple idea but if you make this the first thought of the day you set a tone for your whole day and with some work maybe your whole life. Like many things in life happiness sometimes requires hard work, determination and dedication. Just like your body can’t thrive without exercise and a healthy diet, your mind needs feeding with positivity. This week I invite you to give it a try. Choose happy!

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 #39

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?

20160926_170805

Mindfulness Monday #38

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.

Mindfulness Mondays 38

Mindfulness Monday #37

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 )

 

Mindfulness Monday 36

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.

Mindfulness Mondays #35

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:

ArdentShadowsMM35

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