Letting go of the butterfly


Time Lapse Compilation: part 3

If you’ve been here before, you’ll know that lately I’ve been documenting my art journaling process through a series of time lapse videos.

It’s curious to relive a visual journey. There’s nothing like filming the process to relive the ‘why did I do that?’ moments. These came up a lot early on but I’m noticing a desensitising effect with practice, and letting go of expectations. Process is process.

Nonetheless, the push and pull of loving/hating the direction it’s taking remains real. It took a really long time for me to catch on where this one wanted me to lead it.

The irony of the words that fell onto this page is not lost on me, from an interview with
Sabrina Ward Harrison: “Splendidly Imperfect and Alive”.

This video is a compilation of little time lapse videos taken over a few weeks of back-and-forth-ing on this spread.

The more time I spend in art making, the more I find parallels between a creative practice and all the other everyday-everythings. Seems to me, how we make tends to mirror how we live – bravely – messily – stubbornly – inconsistently… all of these are here!

Releasing the butterfly

This particular spread got so sticky because I reeeally didn’t want to lose that butterfly. I painted and drew around him until I had such a mess there was no other option, ultimately burying him under a new layer of paint to ease the intensity of so much going on.  I was resisting letting go.

I’ll post the next in this series soon. To catch it ahead of everyone else + get monthly-ish updates on my other colorful studio antics, join up for my newsletter here.

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2018 looked like…


2018’s been a soupy sort of year, it feels like all the days and weeks swirled up together, undefined and drifty. It’s fun to go back and look at these memories I caught as they floated by. It feels like a reset: Ready to begin again.

New year: new art journal. Finding connections, exploring rabbit-holes.

“What the caterpillar calls the end, the rest of the world calls a butterfly.”

 – Lao Tzu

Inspired by……………….
Ali Brown
Hali Karla
Michele Theberge
Following the White Rabbit

Re-exploring Watercolor, Birthday weekend in Barcelona. Beginnings.

You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.

– Mark Twain

Studio spring-clean, surprise snow, finally spring.

“The chief enemy of creativity is good sense.”

― Pablo Picasso

listening to……………..

“Start Where You Are”Pema Chödrön
“The Butterfly Effect” – Jon Ronson
“What is the Bible…” – Rob Bell
Reply All Podcast

The start of the 100 Day Project (still a work in progress – watch this space!)

listening to……………..

The Sketchbook Project 2018 (planning 2019’s book already). Painty Paws.

What if the question is not why am I so infrequently the person I really want to be, but why do I so infrequently want to be the person I really am?”  

~ Oriah Mountain Dreamer

Heatwave, Human Design, Resistance, Repeating patterns, Reminders.

“Our job in this life is not to shape ourselves into some ideal we imagine we ought to be, but to find out who we already are and become it.” 

― Steven Pressfield, “The War of Art”

listening to……………..

Extraordinary English Summer!!

listening to……………..

Sewing, Sari Silk, Daydreams, Doodles.

“Your life is your life.
Know it while you have it.
You are marvellous.
The gods wait to delight in you”

―   Charles Bukowski

listening to……………..

The Tiny Book Collaboration, Dying Paper & Fabrics

“The thoughts we choose to think
are the tools we use to paint the canvas of our lives.” 

―  Louise Hay

listening to……………..

“Do the Work” – Steven Pressfield
“The Untethered Soul” – Michael A Singer
Peak Human Podcast
The Mormon and the Meth-head Podcast

Gustav Klimt in Paris, piles of pebbles in Cyprus. Shavasana.

“Just for now,without asking how, let yourself sink into stillness.

Just for now, be boundless, free, with awakened energy tingling in your hands and feet. Drink in the possibility of being who and what you really are – so fully alive that the world looks different, newly born and vibrant, just for now..”

―  Danna Faulds

Inspired by……………….
Stasia Savsuk “Change your pants, change your life”
A Small Wardrobe
Frank James
Katwise
Susannah Conway

listening to……………..

Accidental art from my desk, Deliberate art on Etsy. Full circle.

“We’re all just walking each other home”

―  Ram Das

Whatever 2018 has brought to you, I wish you a shiny bright new start today. X


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2017 reflections 1 of 3


January:

TWELVTY – YELLOWNESS – ETSY

Beginning in January and running all through 2017 I’ve been travelling around the color wheel with a group of fabulously inspiring artists and creatives. 2017 is the first time I’ve shared this journey, although it’s by no means my first Year full of Color. 

January was the month of Yellow, and the month I opened the doors to my Etsy shop

Listening to: Birocratic ~ Invisible Office Hours ~ Serial Podcast (Season 2) 

February:

BIRTHDAY – GAUDI – MINSGAME

February is my birthday month and this year I took a trip to the Tate Modern and then had a few days in Barcelona. Sunshine, paella, and the Gaudi buildings I’ve wanted to go and see for the longest time. I was giddy with excitement all trip. There just aren’t enough superlatives!

This was the month I began in earnest, my quest to declutter my space. Spurred on my podcasts and youtubery, I began shifting bags and boxes of stuff out of my life. It’s a process, I’m uncovering layers of past (not just mine, I’ve the bequeathed hoardings of others amid this mess.) It’s gonna take some time.

Listening to: Moranthology ~ The Slow Home Podcast ~ Joe Dispenza

March:

TIMELAPSE – TREE OF LIFE – SPRING GREENS

This month I revisited a design I came up with ten (no – wait – is it?…. yup, ten) years ago – the Tree of Life – and I recreated a new version to celebrate. This design started out as a watercolour painting that I developed in Photoshop – which is how I still see it in my mind – so it’s kinda cool to see it reinvented again as a design on leggings and phone cases and all these things!  

(I’ve got Santa on board this year and he’s ordered me a set of the zippy bags in “Tree of life Blues” for Chrimble. I’ve heard good things about these bags – I’ll let you know when they arrive)

March was also the month I really began exploring time-lapse as a way to share my art. I love sharing what I do and make, but even more  I love to show you the process, the stages it goes through – the lost layers – the ephemeral bits. 

That’s what this blog was all about to begin with (that’s how it got it’s name) this month was the fifth anniversary of my very first post here.

watch a painting come to life, and see the hidden layers that are out of sight forever now!

Listening to: Mark Nepo ~ Duncan Trussell’s Family Hour ~ Dyalla

 

April:

TURQUOISE – BLUEBELLS – PAPER DYING

After a long hibernation, finally springtime … trips out to London to the V&A and museums, walks in the woods with the bluebells. TWELVTY was all about blue-green in April and this teal-turquoise range is my happy place in the color wheel (well… maybe one of them)

I began playing with paper dying again – messy fun – a technique I shared with my Twelvty group and it’s inspired me to create a mini ecourse in paper dying for the new year (watch this space)

Listening to:  Limes ~ Two Keto DudesKelly Howell

I’ll be back with the next instalment of reflections tomorrowish. Meanwhile………

 

 

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the planner rabbit-hole


There are two sides, separated by a void. There is no middle ground between. The title of this post will either have meaning to you or not, and that will depend on which side of the void you reside.

If you’re a list-writing, journaling, planning kinda person, if you’ve explored the online circus of delights that cater to folk like us, you’ll understand the mental-quick-sand-iness of it all.

Alternatively you might live a hundred lifetimes and never know such wonders exist.

Folks in the latter group: click away now. Anywhere. Just away. You won’t like this.

I’m going to geek about diaries. If this isn’t your jam, click away now. I wasn’t joking about the quicksand. It’s very real. (In a metaphorical sense)


A while back I happened on the system of bullet journaling.

As a long time list maker and glutton for stationery, this appealed to me on a number of levels, and for almost two years this system served me well.

bulletJournal2015-17

This Leuchtturm 1917 book was my travelling companion, my mental back up, home to a hundred post-its and the landing place for my brain dumps for longer than a usual diary, and I like how it provided a home for the lists that would otherwise be swirling inside my head.

But before moving forward, we need to rewind…

It was in the quest to reduce the anxiety-inducing levels of chaos I had going on in my life that lead me to discover bullet journaling. It’s when I first encountered these youtube rabbit holes: these whole communities of planners, people with planners, people planning their planners. A number of these folk have planners to organise the videos they make about organising their planners on youtube. It’s pleasingly meta and terrifyingly quicksandy all at once. That is why this is a blog post, not a video.  

As I neared the final pages of my trusty turquoise book I revisited some of the many channels devoted to listing, journaling, planning, and the like. Because it had been a while I was ready to reconsider my listing and planning options. I was ready to hop back in the quicksand.

The that thing I missed when bullet journalling was having a readily fill-in-able set up for the months ahead. (There are ways around this – downloadable-printables, suggested hand-drawn-layouts, and more. But in two years of trial n error none of these gelled with me.)

Now it was time for me to re-explore a more structured planner route for a while, to find out if I could mash up a hybrid of the bits of all the systems I like.

Back into the rabbit hole of youTube. 

In the intervening years the rabbit hole had become much deeper, much more rabbitty.

[There are squillions of videos devoted to this challenge: the quest for the system that fits an ever-changing, ever-busying life. Deep down we all know there isn’t one solution, but we enjoy the quest too much to stop. Because of all the reasons.]

I emerged bleary-brained some long while later, ready to invest more than I’d usually consider because this could be the ‘Neo of planners’, the one true solution to any papery chaos and confusion. Also, these particular journals have an almost cult like following – and I needed to know why!

Unavailable in the shops here, I ordered my first Hobonichi planner through Etsy (the 6 month: July-December version) in order to dip my metaphorical toes.

2017hobonichiavec

There is no limit to how much you can spend in Hobonichi stuff: all the special covers and stickers and doodads that can go along with. I didn’t. I used a clear plastic cover intended for another this-size book & a postcard of a peacock to make it pretty.

The book itself? I’m kinda sold on it. I mean, enough to try a year long experiment and see if I can make this fit. These are my impressions after a few months…

Hobonichi Pros & Cons

Pro: Paper

One of the features that gets folk all ravey about the Hobonichi books is the super thin Tomoe River paper. It’s crazy thin, so much that a book with a year’s worth of daily,  weekly,  monthly, and other pages is still under an inch thick, but this paper isn’t so flimsy it tears and lets bleed through. What the what?

If I’m honest – that in itself is what almost sold me the first book. Then there’s the other big thing:

Pro: All the options

Daily pages with a time line for appointments, weekly spreads with hourly timelines on each day, monthly spreads with a good size box for each day. And the year with 6 months to a spread. Too much? almost certainly! But until I give it a good thorough try I won’t know which part is superfluous, so 2018 is my year of discovery.

Pro: Box grids.

I’m very much into box grids instead of lined paper. I have a dislike of lined paper which gives me flashbacks to school, but boxes and dot grids have a multifunctionality that appeals to me.  It’s a yin/yang with my outside-the-edge-what-edges?-?-inherent-inner-discord-and-anarchy.

They are in an unimposingly faint print too.

IMG_2726.JPG

Con: so many the options

4 months into my current half-year book, I find I’m still bouncing lists chaotically between the weekly and the daily pages. One will win out over the other before long, cos I’m stubborn by nature and hate to write the same thing in more than one place.

Right now I’m enjoying having a page that ‘belongs to today’ in order to list what I’ve got to do.  But what doesn’t get done today has to float unfinished in the near past, and that unsettles me a bit. The Bullet Journal system made more allowance for floaty ‘to do soon’ lists. I think this will figure itself out into a system before long. I’m nothing if not inventive!

So……

I have two new planners lined up for 2018: My first full year long version for 2018 A5 size Hobonichi Cousin which I anticipate will become list central and the Hobonichi Weeks which is a year full but without the daily pages so it’s just regular diary size and can travel about with me. This one’s also got dozens of blank pages at the back which I plan to utilise for the bullet journal style lists. (BuJo folks call these collections, which is just gratingly quaint for me. As is BuJo. I’m absurdly sensitive to words and things, but also lazy and will take the easier typing option.)

Moving along…

pencilCase2017

Look! I got me a new pencil case. It’s predecessor (which is almost as old as me) has been retired to box of sentimental nonsense. The part of me that associates ‘new pencil case = new start’ did not leave when I finished school.. That was the best bit of school!

Are you a planner person?  … I figure if you’ve read this far either you’re already a lister, a journaller or a planner of some kind, or you’re considering it as an option. What’s you book of choice? I’d love to know!

These new books of mine are part of a larger getting my ducks lined up strategy.

They’re coupled with another new found interest – the Getting Things Done methods of David Allen. I also discovered him somewhere in my rabbithole adventures and was instantly hooked, I listen to GTD podcasts, I bought his book which systematically  working through.

The essence of this system is the idea the human mind is better used for thinking things up than stuffing full of things to remember. If we have an alternate, external way to store all the what-I-gotta-do-next things all that brain-RAM can work more efficiently too.

These are going to lead me into 2018 with my act far more together than ever before!

I know it’s popular to joke ‘things won’t change though’ in a self-deprecating way, but I really feel this becomes a self fulfilling ‘see – I told you I’d screw up again’ and I just don’t have time to spin in circles like that any more. 

It took getting really ill a few months ago, have most the time and energy sucked out of my days to make me realise I need to stop floundering about and get organised. I don’t know how it’s going to take shape yet, but I do know that it will. For now that’s all that matters.

 

I share my journey, my creativity and random thoughts, each month in a newsletter you could have delivered direct to you emailhole. You’ll also get special discounts on things I make like online creative classes, and actual tangible things too. All you have to do is pop your email address in here and I’ll do all the rest.

(and I’ll send you my ebook A Year full of Color as a thank you for joining)

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If you love learning about color, you’ll love my Year full of Color eCourse: TWELVTY. Find out more & Register now for 2018

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100 lessons from 100 drawings


“Life imitates art” but art imitates life too.

(I read that as ‘art irritates life’ just now. Also true) 

 

100 daily drawings taught me a lot more about drawing, more than I realised I didn’t know. Drawing techniques, practicalities, possibilities, and all that comes along with steady daily practice.

But there seemed to be bigger lessons showing up as well.

These were observations I heard over and over again in my thoughts, page after page. Of course many of these revelations aren’t really about drawing. They are about everything.

In no particular order, these are the top 100 realisations that accompanied this project.

  1. It’s been an exercise in letting go of expectations, of ideal outcomes, and the accompanying paralysis of progress.
  2. I’m learning to let go of ‘finished looking’  – being finished – being a ‘piece of art’ (whatever that might be).
  3. Letting go of what other folks think, a neediness for approval or validation.
  4. Letting go of the rules. This is my book: my rules. Rule 1: there are no rules.
  5. ‘Drawing every day’ isn’t even a rule.
  6. Drawing for 100 days doesn’t mean 100 consecutive days.  Don’t make up excuses to stop. Pick up and start again. Keep doing this. Just get to 100. 
  7. The photo is only a guide, a suggestion, a jumping off point. This isn’t an exercise in copying. A drawing can’t be wrong.
  8. It doesn’t have to have the same colors, same shape, same perspective.
  9. It doesn’t have to be the same every day – the same time, the same ‘style’, the same anything. Just another day, another page, another drawing. Keep exploring the other-ness
  10. Some days have a flow to them – some days have an awkwardness – some days are fuelled by imagination – some days are an uphill slog.
  11. Some are bits of all of these and flit and flicker between.
  12. Some pages have words – information – data – facts – important-to-remembers.
  13. Some page’s words and rememberings are from another day and don’t make sense any more. And that’s okay.
  14. Some days are unfinished. They will stay that way. I don’t have to go back. (there is no real ‘finished’).
  15. Some days get lost and forgotten.
  16. Some days are just made for catch ups.
  17. Some catch ups are liberating – rejuvenating – expansive – explosions of imagination.
  18. Some catch ups are uncomfortable and riddled with angst.
  19. Some catch ups are a cold hard slog and bring up all the WHY???s


  20. Sometimes it feels like a trajectory that cannot fail.
  21. Sometimes it feels like losing footing – in slow motion – in the dark.
  22. Sometimes it feels like treading water – waiting – waiting – waiting….
  23. Sometimes it feels like falling – sinking – drowning.
  24. Some drawings take on their own life with unseen meaning.
  25. Some drawings take on their own life with an energy that didn’t come from me.
  26. Some drawings have their own momentum – I watch them take shape with the curiosity of an outside observer.
  27. Some drawings just don’t care. I could learn the most from these.
  28. Some drawings have to be inched out slowly.
  29. Some drawings surprise me by the reactions they evoke from others.
  30. Some drawings surprise me by the feelings they evoke in me.
  31. Some drawings overwhelm, some disappoint, some pass unjudged.
  32. Some drawings have stories that let out secrets.
  33. Some drawings are stories that hide more than they reveal.
  34. Some stories are universal, everyone recognises a little bit of it in themselves.
  35. Some stories are so deep they are unfathomable.

  36. Some projects are way larger than the sum of their parts. This is certainly one of them.
  37. Some projects are a stepping stone to a place I never knew existed before I started.
  38. Some projects are meant to be finite. Done is done.
  39. Some projects are meant to be repeated – reiterated – revisited.
  40. Some projects are not supposed to be finished. They hang….
  41. Some projects are so deeply enmeshed in a life, we are one and the same.
  42. Some projects are fun to watch – to join – to play along.
  43. Some projects never escape the confines of my mind, jammed up in the mechanism of the mental rotadex.
  44. Sometimes the purpose will shift and change midway through. Over and over. The act of shifting becomes the purpose.
  45. Sometimes the purpose won’t show itself until long after it’s over.
  46. Sometimes the purpose is only clear to others.
  47. Sometimes the purpose is only clear to me – and that’s all that matters.
  48. Sometimes the purpose is unique to everyone who witnesses it.
  49. Sometimes the purpose is unique to the season – or to the day.
  50. Sometimes the way it seems, is the way it is. Sometimes it’s not been close.
  51. Sometimes the way it seems is only a clue. It’s a seed, or a plan, or part of a bigger pattern.
  52. The more I look for patterns the more I see them.
  53. Patterns can be visual, patterns can be habitual, patterns repeat.
  54. Patterns within patterns fascinate me most.
  55. It’s ok to get stuck in one color for a while, the other colors will wait.
  56. It’s ok to use all the colors – or none of them – or not care which.
  57. It’ll never be finished, so keep moving forwards. 
  58. It’ll never be perfect, don’t ask it to be.
  59. This might not answer the questions you thought it would.
  60. This might not answer any questions. It might lead to more questions…
  61. This might have no meaning at all – right now – or ever. And that’s okay too.
  62. If a meaning wants to show itself to you, it will find a way.
  63. Whatever is underneath, showing through, is part of what is now. Let all the elements become parts of the whole. Allow the merge.
  64. Describe the drawing in words –  this is where the metaphors hide.
  65. Describe the drawing out loud,  it’s subtly different.
  66. Shift the emphasis foreground to background, positive to negative space. Dance in between them.
  67. Choose which details to use, which details to ignore, and which to make up.
  68. Choose the image from within the image.
  69. Find the art inside the photo.

  70. Notice how some images repeat, return and revisit.
  71. Notice how some characters keep showing up.
  72. Notice how some character’s expressions are the same: the face that asks: you still trying to draw me?
  73. Notice how color schemes repeat.
  74. Notice the themes of facing pages match unconsciously.
  75. Notice how time concertinas in and out when you count the days.
  76. Notice how the seemingly simple is really complex. And how the complex can be divided into manageable size bites.
  77. How complexity presents a challenge, then the victory, the good enough level of mastery.
  78. Balancing good enough against keep trying.
  79. Knowing when to stop, knowing when to keep going.
  80. How it’s all a freaking metaphor (and that’s all of these too).
  81. The bravery to pursue a doomed drawing, to trust it to turn around and turn out good, or just okay.
  82. The bravery to post a picture I didn’t like, and the ones I did.
  83. The bravery of sending these out into the wilds of the internet. It can be cold out there.
  84. The revelation that others might like what I didn’t, see a beauty I can’t.
  85. The revelation of turning the page, not looking back for a few weeks. How what’s on the page ‘gets better’ when it’s left to rest.
  86. The revelation of drawings I hated, that hold no strong feelings now. And drawings I loved.


  87. How much a background wash or splot of paint makes adds to a drawing.
  88. How much a patch of color shifts a mood.
  89. How much the character of the drawing is from the colors.
  90. How much a drawing style develops over time, but can’t be seen from such close quarters or day to day.
  91. How much a drawing style develops through simple repetition.
  92. How much simple repetition is the key to it all. How much simple repetition is the key to it all. How much simple repetition is the key to it all. 😉
  93. How ideas will hide and evade when called for, then descend en masse when it’s too late (and how it’s never really too late).
  94. How some ways of making are so ingrained I don’t know there are other ways.
  95. How chasing the other ways is part of the learning.
  96. How finding other ways leads to new kinds of learning.
  97. There are always going to be new ways of learning!
  98. The journey is a spiral. The path isn’t re-trodden, next loop around looks familiar, but the view has altered.
  99. The journey keeps going. Keeps going.
  100. The mixed emotions at the end of a project, the end of an adventure, the intangible closure.

 


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100 drawings: the closing pages.


100 days: 93-100

“I try to create fantastic things, magical things, things like in a dream. The world needs more fantasy.”

~ Salvador Dali.

100 doodles from 100 photos in my phone.

This is the final instalment of my extended summer project. I set out on this adventure on 1st June and I doodled the last doodle on 25th October. Life got in the way in the middle so it took longer than planned, but I’m so glad I saw it through. This is what the last week of pages look like…

day 93

Day 93 is another quirky animal, one of a pair of china cats in the Brighton Art Museum.

Here’s something I’ve noticed they all have in common: the facial expression that says “c’mon, aren’t you done yet?” Like they got somewhere else to be.

(China Cat Sunflower… You humming along?)

day 94

One of the lessons this project has taught me is that the images that look relatively easy to reproduce are almost always the trickiest.  There are ways around this. One of the ways is to crop it down to just one detail, just a corner, or in this case, just one bird.

 

day 95

These last few days/months (maybe more) reality seems to be sharper and more tense. So a well timed word from Mr Salvador Dali himself seems to fit today.

I got this little clip-on fisheye lens doodad for my phone, this was its first outing, and what could be better to distort than the master of weirdness himself?

 

day 96

Practice, practice, practice… faces are tricky. The trickiest. The character lies in the lines and the details and something I can’t quite get. Yet. But I am getting closer.

This is is George Morris.

A while back I was scavenging the internets to find out about my family tree. I traced my mum’s mum’s side back 100s of years, but mum’s dad was not so easy. This might or maybe get not be my mum’s dad’s dad. (A long story, not for now). But if I’m right in my research then my great grandad was a jockey in the late 1800s. This photo was a newspaper I found on eBay. I know! The internet is amazing.

 

day 97

One day last spring, a last minute change of plan meant I had a free afternoon. so I took myself off to London to find the legendary Atlantis art store. I was not disappointed. This is their sign.

 

day 98

The part of the story where Alice is either to tall to get through the door, or small enough but can’t reach the key. Oh, Alice, I know this feeling so well. I’m there.  How did the key get back up on the table? What is going on??

 

day 99

Time is such a curiously paradoxical thing. This project of 100 drawings feels like it’s been going on forever, in one sense, and yet these final days appeared so suddenly.

Huh? How does that even happen? I’ve literally been keeping count!

But the end was always  forever-away right up until page 99. And then suddenly it was almost over. This day was a pyjama day. These are my pyjamas. Seems fitting for the evening of the project.

 

day 100

The final doodle from phone photos is a mural I found in Barcelona. What are these? Are they fish or are they space aliens? Or alien space fish? Whatever they are, they made a fun end to the book.

So that’s all, folks! I’ve learned so much in doing this. I’ll tell you more about the surprising lessons soon, but that’s for another day. 

 


If you missed the previous parts, you can find them here:

Week 1 ~ Week 2  ~ Week 3 ~ Week~ Week 5 ~ Week 6 ~ Week 7 ~ Week 8 ~ Week 9 ~ Week 10 ~ Week 11 Week 12 ~ Week 13

 


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100 drawings: almost full circle.


100 days: 85-92

Imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were. But without it we go nowhere..”

~  Carl Sagan.

100 doodles from 100 photos in my phone.

This is the last but one week of my extended summer project, the last steps of a marathon. I have mixed feelings about it ending – I’ll be glad in a way – as all challenges need to come to a close. But as it’s become a part of my daily habits it will leave a gap. Already I’m looking forward to the next projects that will fill the void. I’ve been eying up new sketchbooks online…

Meanwhile, the story continues: 

 

day 85

As this project moves on I’m exploring more than just straight drawing from photos. By playing with scale, finding a detail I like, making a drawing more than just copying some shapes. As the days and the pages mount up I’m looking for more challenges.

Have you ever done something like this project? I’d love to hear what you learned in the process.

day 86

There’s looking at a thing, then there’s looking with a view to drawing a thing.And then there’s the kind of looking while drawing a thing.  And there’s a subtle, but big difference.

In redrawing this illustration of a duck I noticed it was made up of things. But until I came to draw it, I didn’t see that that thing that made it’s head was a tomato. Or the thing that made it’s eye was a spider. (Not really, but that’s what it looked like as I drew it)

This will stay with me every time I see a duck now. And every time I see a tomato. Just one example of how drawing enriches the everyday things in life.

 

day 87

I saw this poster outside an exhibition I didn’t go in to see, by fashion designer Mary Katranzou. All sorts of metaphors here: emptiness – butterflies – blindness – you make your own story up. For me on that day it stood for the empty vagueness I’ve still got lingering after being sick, a sense of merging invisibly into the background. I feel like I’m here, but not entirely. The parameters are visible, the boundaries still in place,  but the essence isn’t showing through like normal.

 

day 88

I’m trying as many techniques and styles as I can find and remember though this project. Today we have a blind contour drawing. I figured as faces and hands are the trickiest things to draw, how much harder can it be to draw without looking?

(not so much, as it turns out)

day 89

Today’s drawing is from an 18th century Indian shadow puppet in the Brighton Museum. Oh those eyes!!

day 90

It’s all about nuance in capturing a face.  The angle and weight of the line can totally change the expression and the character. And the species too, sometimes. Today’s curious beast looks like a dog in my drawing but the photo is more furious sheep (I think – can’t be certain.)

 

day 91

Anything orange makes me happy so this time of year is one of my faves. These jellyfish are everywhere in October 😉

day 92

One of the tricks to drawing I’ve discovered is not to be deterred by images that are way too complicated to accurately capture. Because accurate capture is what the camera is for. This thinking really takes away the pressure; it doesn’t matter if the proportions are skewed, the bits don’t line up, the missed details, the shapes and shadows that aren’t as they are in real life. Once those expectations are set aside it’s much easier to get on with the actual drawing. And that’s how the practice gets done.

 

Join me back here next week (-ish) for the final exciting instalment!


If you missed the previous parts, you can find them here:

Week 1 ~ Week 2  ~ Week 3 ~ Week~ Week 5 ~ Week 6 ~ Week 7 ~ Week 8 ~ Week 9 ~ Week 10 ~ Week 11 Week 12 ~

If you want to follow along this project day by day I’m posting on Instagram (where you can also see more WIP & detail pix) & Facebook


For regular monthly updates on what I’m doing, making and thinking about, direct to your inbox, hop aboard my little list here.

(and I’ll send you my ebook A Year full of Color as a thank you for joining)

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100 drawings: continuing the learning.


100 days: 78 – 84

“Only that in you which is me can hear what I’m saying.”

~  Ram Dass.

100 doodles from 100 photos in my phone. The story continues: 

 

day 78

I saw this funky door handle in Casa Batlló, the modernist building designed by Gaudí in Barcelona. Is it me or does it look like a slightly surprised, cross eyed Disney character? I guess being grabbed repeatedly by the nose would do that to any of us.

day 79

This tiny snail. I love how patterns repeat in nature, it’s a constant source of inspiration for my art.

day 80

Life might be a bowl of cherries, it might be a bowl of chillies. This is a bowl of chillies. I think I took this photo for the color, but I like the shapes too.

day 81

I saw this dude at the Brighton Museum last week (he’s a Javanese puppet). Another character in the book.

I write little notes to myself on some of these pages, some while I draw, some are on future pages. Mostly I don’t remember why. Today’s is one of them “decisions and beliefs. That’s all”.

Maybe it’s a message for another day.

day 82

Here is a wonky eyed lion. I fell in love with his smile although I don’t think it came across in the drawing… See what I mean? It’s one of those derpy smiles you can’t help smile back at.

day 83

This drawing is inspired by a close up of a tiny detail on these most incredible beaded wall hangings at Waddesden Manor, a house overflowing with outrageous opulence! Seriously – these are just tucked away in a corner of a hallway …

 

day 84

I chose this one from a whole collection of gift shop zebras. What’s not to love about a zebra? All the best animals are stripy (or cats) (stripy cats being the ultimate in animal perfection, of course).

 

Join me back here next week (-ish) for the next exciting instalment!


If you missed the previous parts, you can find them here:

Week 1 ~ Week 2  ~ Week 3 ~ Week~ Week 5 ~ Week 6 ~ Week 7 ~ Week 8 ~ Week 9 ~ Week 10 ~ Week 11

If you want to follow along this project day by day I’m posting on Instagram (where you can also see more WIP & detail pix) & Facebook


For regular monthly updates on what I’m doing, making and thinking about, direct to your inbox, hop aboard my little list here.

(and I’ll send you my ebook A Year full of Color as a thank you for joining)

yearfullofcolorbypenngregory_page_01

100 drawings: continuing the beginning.


100 days: 71 – 77

“We all have 10,000 bad drawings in us. The sooner we get them out the better.”

~ Walt Stanchfield.

100 doodles from 100 photos in my phone. The story continues: 

It’s past 100 days since I began this project now, but I’m going to see it through. I lost most of a month being sick and I’m still going slowly to catch myself up. It’s a lesson to learn, to accept the speed life moves at, with grace.

day 71

 


This sculpture is in the gardens of Claydon House. I love how the middle face is floating, and the serenity, which now I look again I see more as a sadness. Even though it’s one time I did seem to recreate the expression in the drawing, I didn’t really see it until now.

day 72

 

This is “Pinkle” on account of her pretty nose and ears, a visiting cat who seems to have made herself at home in an almost perfectly camouflaged spot. (We later found out which neighbour she (mostly) lives with. She is now called “Mr Pinkle”)

day 73

 

Another day, another lizard. This glitzy lizard (that’s his name) lives on my bathroom door. His nose is a bit beaky in the drawing, but I like his shadow. I’m learning more about drawing and more about observation with every day’s drawing practice. …

When I set out on this 100 day project of daily doodles from the photos in my phone, I had no idea what the 100 pictures would be of, so it’s interesting to see what emerges. More animals than I expected, and more little corners of my home….

day 74

 

This is a project I’ve been secret-squirrelling on this summer. I will tell you all about it very soon, because it warrants a post of its own.

This is the 3rd evolution of what I’m calling “Wishes“. They are something a little bit magical. And I think I’ve finally nailed the design. More on these soon!!

day 75

 

I wrote about this project recently.

So here’s what I’m noticing in this one: how balanced I got the proportions. Translating from the size and dimensions of a phone screen to a 5 inch square page is one of the challenges I’ve had throughout (sometimes I’ve cropped the photo to a square to make it easier to draw).

You know the saying – ‘the way you do one thing is the way you do all things’ – I think of this when my drawings are utterly out of proportion and disjointed… so perhaps I’m improving on that too.

day 76

 

This is possibly one of my favs so far.

I love the patterns in obscured glass, and the patterns it makes of all that it obscures. And in this case, the leaf pattern obscures the view of actual leaves.

day 77

 

Remarkably more difficult to draw that it should’ve been, this one, too many lines.

This is one of the many faces I always see when I look at this batik fabric.

 

 

Join me back here next week (-ish) for the next exciting instalment!


If you missed the previous parts, you can find them here:

Week 1 ~ Week 2  ~ Week 3 ~ Week~ Week 5 ~ Week 6 ~ Week 7 ~ Week 8 ~ Week 9 ~ Week 10 ~

If you want to follow along this project day by day I’m posting on Instagram (where you can also see more WIP & detail pix) & Facebook


For regular monthly updates on what I’m doing, making and thinking about, direct to your inbox, hop aboard my little list here.

(and I’ll send you my ebook A Year full of Color as a thank you for joining)

yearfullofcolorbypenngregory_page_01

the space in between


I love to look for connections, to explore ideas that bring more substance to the understanding I have of this brief blip of a life we have here in this world.

I’ve a project that I’ve been dipping in and out of for a while now, which I plan to explore in a variety of ways. The first part relates to scale.

Inner Space : Outer Space

 

 

IOMadeByMixy_01-5

 

Popular science tells us, that taking all we’ve managed to measure – from the whole known universe at the top end down to the very tiniest measurable amount – that size-wise we are in the middle.

It’s illustrated here by Cary & Michael Huang 

 

(I also like to believe it doesn’t stop there, it keeps going in both directions beyond our abilities to measure. It keeps on going forever – turtles all the way down – as the saying goes. But that’s not for now.)

Before I fall down another rabbit hole of ponderings, I have art to make:

IOMadeByMixy_05-8

It begins here with this series of miniature abstract paintings, which resulted from time spent playing with these ideas.

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We talk about looking at the overview, the ‘bigger picture’. One purpose of art is to flip reality. So this time go smaller. To tiny things. 

Each little painting offers an interpretation to the viewer, it can be any scale, a world zoomed in or out?

IOMadeByMixy_04-4.jpg

A landscape or a microscopic view. Or both.

IOMadeByMixy_12-3.jpg

Perhaps this is a fractal universe where we live, perhaps not. I like to explore these ideas without attaching to any. These thoughts fuel the desire to build patterns out of patterns. IOMadeByMixy_13-5.jpg

 

This first Series is titled Inner Space and consists of 15 small watercolor & collage paintings mounted as art cards, and will be up in my Etsy shop in October. Hop on my mailing list to be first to know more!