Ardent Shadows

Gothic Fantasy paintings by Jemima Mantle



Mindfulness Monday #48

I tried to push forward this week, trying to escape the set of shapes and patterns that have become so familiar to me… there was mixed success. 

Some parts of the drawing do feel abstract and use shapes and patterns I haven’t tried but other areas definately feel familiar. This week’s drawing was certainly less thought out and I never had a next step or a next shape in mind. It’s always continuing process and like any great project there’s always unanswered questions and more exploring to do!

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?


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 #34

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?


Mindfulness Monday #30


‘I shall never be a morning person, for the moon and I are too much in love.’

I think this drawing totally sums up how I’ve recently been feeling – a gothic soul giving off hippy vibes. This mindfulness project has all been about my journey in reconnecting with myself, my art and my inner peace. I feel that it’s not so surprising then that I’ve reached a time in this project where some reflection is in order.

When I was a kid, back before I discovered black as a teenager, I had a dark blue bedroom with glow in the dark stars stuck to the ceiling and sun and moon print bedding; so I find myself so happy that along with my tie dyed t-shirts and other grunge apparel, it all appears to be back in fashion. It all seems to have grown together with a huge revival of interest in the occult which is particularly apparent in alternative fashion. Perhaps it’s fortunate timing, perhaps I would have found my way here on my own, but I finally feel like I am connecting the dots and rediscovering me. That’s what this weeks drawing is all about. Finding the balance of all the things I love about nature, love, life… and finally being able to express that visually through my work.

So this week I will not be dissecting what I like and don’t like about this drawing, what’s worked well and what I could improve, but rather offering it to you simply with love. Aware that this weeks offering means much more to me than you, I would like to encourage anyone who’s enjoying this project or is on their own journey, to come forward and chat with me. Leave me a comment or direct message me your thoughts.


Mindfulness Monday #27


Coloured fractal-inspired drawing for you today. Check out the full post about fractals in Week 20’s post.

Create a free website or blog at

Up ↑