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Ardent Shadows

Gothic Fantasy paintings by Jemima Mantle

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practice

Mindfulness Monday #12

And now for something completely different. You may look at this week’s drawing and think that it’s not really that different so read on to find out why that’s not the case!

I have been experimenting with my creation method and trying to find new ways of getting lost in my drawing. This week’s is so different because I began by drawing free flowing lines without an aim of what I wanted to create. I haven’t experimented with sort of technique since my college days. You simply put your pen to the paper and let the music move you.  The tree is a brilliant example to discuss as I have left this area quite raw and you can still see a lot of the initial lines I put down. It was lovely to break out of the very controlled patterns I have been working on. It reminded me how successful if can be to allow the pen move where your mind takes you rather than aiming to create something specific. I also allowed myself to have a lot of fun with this abstract landscape decorating the tree with hearts and flower rather than feeling the need to create a more traditional leaved tree.

The other thing I really love about this mindfulness drawing is that I’ve created a sort of landscape where you can keep noticing more and looking beyond your initial view. The more you look, the  more you see. For example did you notice the skull in profile at the bottom left the first time you looked? I like the fact that with a mindfulness landscape I could also use this for my meditation practice. Being a fantasy obsessive I would always prefer to journey to somewhere strange and new than say the beach or something else more traditional. This is a great way to integrate mindfulness drawing practices with other methods of relaxation.

Project reflection and book recommendation:

This week I also want to discuss a rather pleasing side effect of sharing a regular project. I am used to being solitary in my art practice, so it has come as a pleasant surprise to find that my mindfulness drawing project has opened the door for friends and family to give me their input. Most recently a colleague, at the day job, loaned me a mindfulness book with a twist; ‘The Ladybird Book of Mindfulness’ (you can find it on the Penguin Books website). This book reuses original illustrations from the original Ladybird books but brilliant repurposes them to give a satirical look at Mindfulness. I’ll skip straight to the end and tell you I love this book! For a start it’s a very lovely looking book and the traditional cover brilliantly keeps up the facade of it being from the original Penguin Book series. It’s very helpful to remind yourself that mindfulness should be a practice which is easy to utilise and enjoyable to do. This tongue in cheek look at the practice definitely reminds you not to take the whole thing to seriously. Have fun with your practice and make it work for you.

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Mindfulness Monday #2

This week I want to discuss how I got started. This is how I managed to get over staring at a blank page, wondering how to begin.

I started by thinking about the sort of patterns I find attractive. A few years ago I became interested in tribal fusion, mainly due to the incredible videos of Zoe Jakes and Rachel Brice, which led to some exploration of Mehndi. I really enjoyed drawing these patterns once I began recognising the common shapes and patterns. At the time I started incorporating this into my portfolio pieces and although it’s not something I’ve used for a while, I decided with my basic understanding that mehndi could make a very good starting point for my mindfulness drawings.

Secondly you can see clearly here where I have added in some straight lines to segment the page. The first week’s drawing was a real discovery and I slowly learned that it was easier to almost force a break in a pattern to avoid getting caught up in concentric circles. Additionally, as I’m not using any drawing tools except a pen, I learned that drawing straight lines is a lot easier in one quick motion rather than going slow and steady. Also thickening a line afterwards can hide any wobbles!

You can see the influence of mehndi a bit more clearly in this week’s pages. It’s also a lot denser and darker. I think this is due to feeling more confident about the patterns I’m working with and the effect of the solid black ink against the page. It’s very strange for me to be working in finites but it’s quite freeing to be working with absolutes.

mm2_ardentshadows
Mindfulness week 2

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