Drawing on Metaphors continued…


100 days: 29-35

The urge to draw must be quite deep within us, because children love to do it.

– David Hockney.

I’ve made a nest of art supplies at the table where I play each morning – I can’t use the studio – too much to get distracted by. Instead it’s me, my coffee, my phone (photo album & podcast player) and an ever growing amount of art supplies.

I’m getting more into watercolor – I love the immediacy – quick coverage instead of painstaking doodles. I’m sure to flip between these two approaches as the 100 days winds by. Maybe? We’ll see…

 

Here is week 5:

day 29

Do you get as excited as me about tiny mosaic tiles? Gold coloured ones? Yep, I thought so. I needed something undemanding today, something fun. Like lots of different ways of making lots of different little squares in pencil and pen and paint. Some with edges and outlines and scribbled bits and some with none. Each one beautifully individual. And essentially the same. 

 

day 30

 

If there was room in my backpack, I would have bought this thing without hesitation. But that’s the case for too many things in this shop of treasures I stopped at travelling through Washington. Ah, but this thing, with it’s mirrors and circles and spaces in between, it is all I could ask from a beautifully pointless object. I love how the design is so simple yet tangled me up in drawing it, getting lost in the connections and the spaces.

Another day, another metaphor for life.

 

day 31

Something about lizards and geckos really fascinates me. (Don’t get me started on axolotls). I saw this little guy in Barcelona. Now he’s scuttling forever through my scribbled thoughts of the day.

 

 

day 32

 

Things I’m realising in this #100dayproject : the photos I think will be easy to draw often aren’t, and vice versa. It’s getting easier to let go of expectations and just draw, but I have to re-remember this almost every time.

In Betty Edward’s book on drawing she recommended when copying from a photo to draw upside down. This was in the back of my mind today. Only, of course, a photo like this doesn’t have an upside down. My brain, instead, chose to try and mirror image what it was seeing. … Poor little brain, sometimes this game is more of a stretch that it wants before the coffee has fully soaked in. 

 

day 33

Who could resist this ferocious toothy beast? I can’t remember where he came from. But he’s here now.  I wish I could credit the original artist, but somehow all memory of the origin of this has escaped me.

 

 

day 34

What a difference a color makes, this flint wall has turned into opal. Have I discovered my own alchemy here folks?

Why revery? It’s just a word I heard, it travelled from my ear straight down my arm, out through the pen onto the page. That’s all. Defined as a ‘state of dreamy meditation or fanciful musing’ – I think the word knew it belonged on this page and didn’t need to consult me.

 

 

day 35

“You can get the monkeys off your back, but the circus never leaves town.” ~ Anne Lamott 

Of course these aren’t monkeys, these are zombie kangaroos. But I heard this quote while I was drawing and it would be long forgotten if I didn’t write it down.
Today is another window view, this one from Seattle. I like the blended worlds of reflections and the other side. Inside/outside mish-mashed into a form of ephemeral art of its own. 

This is a place I’d like to explore more. (The ephemeral-reflection-art-idea-place. And Seattle too)

 


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

Week 1 ~ Week 2  ~ Week 3 ~ Week 4

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

 


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My Indigo June


Twelve Colors in Twelve Months: 2017 is my year full of color. I called it Twelvty. Because that’s just the way my mind works… and because I like made up words.

Each month I take another step around the color wheel, and focus on making art in just this color.

I like the liminal places – like dawn and dusk – neither one nor the other – just on that tipping edge in between. So naturally, I’m especially drawn to the tertiary colors (which is great – there are six –  so every other month I’m back into one of my favourite color zones).

 

Last month’s color was blue-violet: the moody-mauvy, midnight-indigo, and the fragrant bluebell & lavender space in the spectrum.

Last month also marked the half way point through the year, which is a place I like to step back and reflect.

These are some thoughts on the story so far.

 

Each month, along with its own color, has its own flavour, it’s own particular energy. It moves in its own speed, and I’m coming to realise, this is something over which I have next to no control.

Each month as I focus my creativity in the current color, I’m learning to bide quietly and see what comes out. To begin, I thought this was from the associations each color invites, but now I’m  seeing it’s also from the cumulative volume of spirit this entire investigation is amassing. 

The power of a single pointed focus in color is in its absolute simplicity.

Restricting the dither attached to one choice frees up space to play with the others, and to maximise them beyond the usual stopping point: tone and shade, materials and media, size and shape. Or then stripping it all back to its origin: just pure color. 

 

 

I’m  compiling an art journal of my ideas and experiments as I move through the year. It’s a re-purposed world atlas (cos this is an adventure – it seemed fitting). Each month’s has about 4 pages of playing space, and at the midway point this book is bulging with inspiration, expectation, and possibilities.

Twelvty_ArtJournal_1-6.jpg

 

Would you like to see this month’s pages?

If you enjoyed that, you can see the previous month’s pages here

 


All through this summer I’m offering a special discount in my Etsy Shop to all the folks on my mailing list – so clickety-hop aboard today if you want to snag a bargain!

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

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Drawing on Metaphors


100 days: 22-28

“Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.”

~ Thomas Merton. 

Received wisdom states it take anything from a couple of weeks to almost a year to form a new habit to the point whereby it feels automatic. Of course some folk are more habitually inclined, and for anyone a habit that’s enjoyable is easier to fit into an exiting routine.

Existing routine – did you hear that? Like I understand the meaning of this phrase!

However, this daily drawing habit is a month old for me now, and I’m really enjoying it. Each day I’m learning more about myself in ways I never though would be possible through such a simple activity. After all, I probably draw something most days anyway. But this is different. This has got rules: use a phone photo. Even when you don’t want to. That’s the basis of all these drawings, even if it’s a scribbled outline with free-form-jazz-doodles going on inside and all around. And I post the drawing daily. Even when I don’t want to. So what you see here isn’t curated highlights, it’s the day-to-day ordinary.

Here is week 4:

 

day 22

   22 22a

It’s just about a year since I had an enormous revelation that I still can’t express in words. So I look for symbols instead, in the hope that by collecting them I’ll be able to turn the understanding into words I can share. It’s about connection and communication, it speaks of time and fragility. Impermanence, and the whole essence of what we’re here for. I can see it in this image and I can’t explain how. This week I had another revelation: I don’t have to have the words. I can just be with this as it is for now.

day 23

23 23a

I saw this in the V&A, I was entranced by the colours, the shape, the sheeny-shiny glaze, all those edges and faces. I want to make one of these!

day 24

24 24a

This guy was hanging around outside Barcelona Zoo- it’s ok, he wasn’t alone – there were a few of them.

day 25

25 25a

I’m back in the  Barcelona photos … cos it’s such a photogenic place! In a three day trip earlier this year I must have taken hundreds of photos. Already bewitched by the art of Antoni Gaudi, I was in bits when I found myself actually walking around inside of  it. 

day 26

26 26a

“What thinks?” Are thoughts generated somewhere inside this head? or is it a receiver for energy that’s outside of us? Today It feels like floating in a soup of information, drenched in world noise, trying not to drown.

I like to listen to podcasts as I draw. As an on/off meditator and long time student of Buddhist practice, I really enjoy the podcasts produced by the Insight Meditation Center, Audio Dharma. They get me thinking about thinking… 

day 27

27 27a

Who, what is this? He’s inspired by a series of fabulous creatures by Jane Alexander at the Tate Modern. Everyday I’m learning so much, about drawing, and on a deeper level through the drawing practice. My observation is getting sharper, but more importantly I’m getting better at course correcting when I don’t get it first time. And I’m kinder to the part of me that’s learning , practicing, not expecting a perfect representation (I’ve already got a photo- this is something else) I’m developing the art of allowing.

day 28

28 28a

When I’m not hung up on accuracy I can forget the details and just go for the essence. I can float back in time a few months and return to the awe that floated me around these magical dreamlike Gaudi buildings. I can’t pretend this is easy, but I’m learning. I am, and it is, all a work in progress. It’s such a trip.


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

Week 1 ~ Week 2  ~ Week 3

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

 

 


All through this summer I’m offering a special discount in my Etsy Shop to all the folks on my mailing list – so clickety-hop aboard today if you want to snag a bargain!

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Exploring through drawing


100 days: 14-21

“The way we do anything is the way we do everything.”

~ Martha Beck

Do you have patterns you keep falling back to?  

I’m three weeks into this 100 day project, and I’m noticing more patterns – not only the literal doodled patterns and shapes I return to in my drawings, but the patterns of thought in my behaviour and habits.

It’s the spirals and swirls, AND it’s the haphazardness and self talk that accompanies every process. The consistency of my inconsistency, how I dart between the extremes of all & nothing, the wonkiness of the line and skewed perspective, the mid range despair before conceding: this is my way. I gotta learn to like it, keep practicing, don’t stop and dwell here. Keep moving, keep learning, trust the process. 

 

Here is week 3:

 

day 14

14 IMG_8424

The 100 day project is teaching me so much already: about commitment for instance. I did not want to post this one. I could easily have drawn something else, or skipped on to the next day, and no-one but I would have known. But there’s the key: I would have known.

I’m doing this for all sorts of reasons, and getting better at drawing ‘real’ things is one of them. And showing up to myself is another thing. So here I am literally doing this! Morning panda eyes, this is me. (Oh, and how I see my hair: full of doodles.)

 

day 15

15 IMG_6591

The word that stood out in the whatever-I-was-listening-to today was Dissolve. I’m enjoying the connection between this, the meaning of ‘forming a solution’, merging to become a part of, and my unending seeking of answers. And to let all that dissolve too. Let it all go.

The photo I used is a fabulous light I saw in Barcelona. It’s like the sun ☀️ . .

 

day 16

16 Untitled-1

Somewhere between keeping it simple – 1 color, black pen & pencil – and totally over complicating with all the doodles and patterns. Both. Everything. All of it. .
One thing I’m working on in this project is the notion of leaving white space. Breathing space. Moments of quiet.

So by making quiet space a part of my drawings I’m training myself to let this into other parts of life too.

 

day 17

17 IMG_5998

I went to the Tate modern gallery on my birthday, and walking up from the station I was captivated by this image. So many lines and angles, triangles and patterns.

I just noticed the synchronicity of the numbers: Day 17, and my birthday is the 17th. I like when you his happens. I take it as a clue I’m on track with what I’m doing.

 

day 18

18 IMG_4559

‘Do What You Love’ it said, and round the corner ‘Love What You Do’.

That’s it. Right here. That’s what I’m doing.

 

day 19

19 19hat

Today is made of wonky lines of words and scribbles. Some days have more words than others, and this was one of them. Been thinking a lot about dreaming, last night was a series of distinct dreams within dreams, like Russian dolls, fractal layers.

This morning I found a podcast series about lucid dreaming, so that was my ‘morning drawing listening’ for today. .

 

day 20

20 IMG_0799

I take so many photos like this, I can’t resist the textures and patterns in stone walls 😊
The words ‘safe understanding’ meant something at the time I wrote them, but I either got distracted or overestimated what me-in-the-future would remember about the context. Nonetheless they’re good solid words to be on a wall.

There was a time when photos would exist only on paper, and once developed would get muddled and out of synch. I would not have kept the memory of seeing this wall in the chronological organisation that digital images have, so would have soon forgotten that today’s image was within minutes of the following (much more memorable) one. Things like this counter balance all that’s infuriating about digital life.

 

day 21

21 IMG_0823 (1)

I invited this girl I found while I was exploring Sacramento.  Last year I tripped across the states by train from Seattle to Chicago. I had just a few hours here between trains, it was early morning before the day had really woken up so I strolled around looking for art. And I found it!


If you missed the previous parts, you can find them here: Week 1 & Week 2

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

 

 


All through this summer I’m offering a special discount in my Etsy Shop to all the folks on my mailing list – so clickety-hop aboard today if you want to snag a bargain!

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(and I’ll send you my ebook A Year full of Color as a thank you for joining)
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100 days: 1-7


MY last trip to the art store was for essentials: gel medium and canvas. I passed through aisles filled with rainbows of paint and pens and all manner of glorious goodies. I resisted the urge to take home so much of so much. 

Until I saw this.

Screen Shot 2017-06-09 at 18.48.50
my companion for the summer

I keep seeing on instagram folks doing this #100daychallenge and feeling the tug of a challenge I wanted to play along too… straightaway I knew this little sketchbook would make the perfect companion for me through this summer.

Beginning 1st June I’ve been taking my morning coffee with this new friend. Together we ease into the day. The light mornings mean my days begin earlier in the summer, it’s still quiet out in the world and nobody knows I’m awake, not even the internet.

Each day I choose a photo from the extensive collection in my phone (I’m forever seeing and catching patterns or shapes that intrigue me – finally I’m using this library – to begin my day’s doodles)

Here’s the first week of the adventure:

1/100

Photo from the Pink Floyd retrospective at the V&A – PF have been part of my life since I was a kid and I’ve got so many memories tangled up in their music. I don’t listen to it much these days, so hearing some of those songs again, I got quite emotional. When I was a teenager I went through a real hippy dippy phase. (It could be argued I haven’t come out if it yet) and I adored early PF and all the psychedelic things.

2/100

Still in the V&A, I forget what this is the detail of, but the patterns appealed and was enough to form the beginning of today’s doodle. I was listening to an Unruffled podcast, chichis where the quote “comparison and envy are just a different form of procrastination” came from. Food for thought for the day.

3/100

Today’s doodles began as I absentmindedly drew round the shapes showing through from the page before. The indentations in the paper. The shadows and ghosts of yesterday. Then the shapes from a photo in the Cathedral in Barcelona, I was really taken by this arrangement of diagonal lines and circles. It’s one of a few similar photos 😉 .

4/100

The photo that launched today’s doodle was a shop window display. My inner magpie saw those colors, those zigzags, and had to catch them. The reflections making new shapes on top were a bonus I didn’t see until later.

5/100

The photo is of a metal grid thing at the train station in Sacramento, I saw while waiting to leave on the second part of my big train trip across the US last year. I like the perspective, the contrast in grid shapes. It set the scene for this doodle.

6/100

Mmmmm…. foxgloves. What more can I say – aren’t flowers amazing?!

7/100

Continuing the theme of nature being amazing, with this twisty tree from Kew Gardens. “Healing in Expression” was a phrase I heard as I played. Which is truly what this is.

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

 


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Your email is utterly safe to me. It will be wrapped up in blankets. I will bring it tea and biscuits as required. (subject to availability)

 

 

What 3 months of color looks like…


These are the art journal pages from the first three months of Twelvty: This is the story so far.

January: Yellow

 

When I look at these pages I’m whisked back the to adventures and explorations of the first month of this year long adventure. Using just one color brings out nuances and subtleties too quiet to hear above the sound of other colors. 

I chose yellow as a starting place in the color wheel because it is simple, it is small. 

There’s not much space or contrast in yellow – take it darker and you have shades of ochre, tan into browns. Only a smidge lighter before you hit white. No room to step either way before falling into yellow-orange or yellow-green, and they have their own months in Twevlty.

Yellow is compact with well defined parameters. 

 

February: Yellow-Green

Yellow-green: the first tertiary color we explored – and suddenly there’s a depth of tone to play with. Luscious lime to opulent olive.  Chartreuse. Char-freaking-treuse, people! 

And here’s the beginning of the “is it or isn’t it?” questions that will bob up all through this year. When does it stop being yellow and start being green? Where’s the spot in the middle? We’re navigating a continuum, there are no strict boundaries. It’s all part of the fun 😉

March: Green

Another month, another step round, deeper into greens. Each collage scrap and cut out shape here has a story and will serve to remind me of ideas that were born and then took a turn I didn’t foresee. I’m only the vehicle through which these ideas come to being, sometimes I forget this and try to control them. But, like water,  they find their own way.

 

This book is the place a leave seeds of ideas to incubate: reminders to a me-in-the-future. We’re nearing the end of a month of blue-green as I type this to you, and about to dive into the ocean of blue for May. Check back to see the cool bluey loveliness that emerges!

 


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tree of life


Life often moves in a spiral motion: I’ve been here before, haven’t you?

The view is a little bit different through today’s lens but what I see looks distinctly familiar.

It feels like no time passed, in so many senses, but the numbers tell me it’s approaching 10 years since I drew this.

TOLoriginal

 

I remember so vividly, when this drawing came through me. (Not to me, most definitely through me)

Have you had this happen too?

I had the strongest sense of just being a vehicle through which this drawing wanted to be made real. It could have been anyone.

TOLoriginaldetail.jpg

Of everything I’ve ever drawn, I’ve felt the least able to claim this as ‘mine’. If anything, I am its.

I remember the day it happened, I remember the big pad of watercolor paper, the watercolor pencils and paints, the frenzy of leaves and curves and wispy bits.

I remember watching it happen in front of me: Connected, and separate. Both at once.

TOLdetail2.jpg

The drawing had its own spirit, and was not willing to stay on paper.

It wanted to grow, to have more color, more depth, more vibrancy. What It had me draw was only a skeleton.

TOLfullcolordetail2.jpg

it demanded scanning and tinkering, new layers of color, new detail.

TOLfullcolordetail.jpg

Even all these years later, through it’s many incarnations and variations, it’s the most loved of all my drawings.

It’s me, and it isn’t me.

It’s an enigma.

It is, Tree of Life.

TOLfullcolor.jpg

To celebrate 10 years of Tree of Life I’ve adapted it for printables, so it can manifest itself around the world.

Would you like to give this drawing a space in your world? It’s available from Society6 in many shapes and forms.

tol_framed_S6.jpg
Art prints in many sizes, framed or unframed

Notebooks for musings & doodles, lists & lyrics, poems & plans. Cases, covers & skins for phones/ ipods. Totes & zippy pouches for carrying important things around in! And more! 

 

 All these & more can be found at: society6.com/mixy

 


If you like this, and things like this, you can get sporadic updates on my thoughts and drawings delivered right to your inbox. Hop onto my email list right here.

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

Your email is utterly safe to me. I will ensure it is guarded at all times by dragons. Hungry dragons.

contrast


Sometimes I take sideways look.

A change of perspective is refreshing and replenishing.

I’ve always surrounded myself in color, it lights me up and brings with it so many of my ideas.

And I love contrast.

I’m someone who thrives on change and novelty. I bounce along with the momentum. So alongside all the bright clashing colors I wrap every day in, I get a big zing from zebra stripes, dalmatian dots, and nothingy neutrals too.

So here I am.

After 3 months of prepping and planning and immersing myself in TWELVTY the year full of color, followed by a frantic fantastic cram-it-all-in-three-day-trip to the color-drenched delight that is Barcelona (more on that in a future post) my eyes and mind were full to bursting of full color.

I had to restore some balance before I could move forward.

Which is why, earlier this week, when I was up to my elbows in deadlines and adulting duties I had to spend time making this.

For so many reasons.

So, so many.

A slow learned life lesson for me has been fully grasping the importance of taking a few hours out of a really full day – counter-intuitive as it may seem – as this time will more than repay itself. Always.

It replaces the hours otherwise spent spinning aimlessly between tasks in the appearance of being really busy but not achieving anything. Apart from more confusion.

Cos while I work like that I only get bits of jobs dome, I don’t remember where I left off and have to do them again anyways. And it’s exhausting.

Y’know the old saying:
Too busy to find 10 minutes a day for mediation? Then you need to meditate an hour a day.
It’s how it works. 

So I made this.

The book I used is the art journal I’m working in throughout TWELVTY. Each month this year, which is dedicated to its own color, has a few pages for single colored doodles.  At the end of the year it will be a rainbow of mixed media, not unlike this.

I used a page toward the end, so in a few months time when its time arrives I’ll add some color to it. (Some time in the autumn, which will be in the Orangey-Red season – watch this space!)

Want to see this all coming into life? Here it is…

What’s your best way to keep swimming through the chaos every day life keeps throwing at you?

Have you got a creative practice that’s a sanctuary for your soul? I’d love to know.  


Would you like to get sporadic updates on my thoughts and drawings delivered right to your inbox? Hop onto my email list right here.

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

Your email is utterly safe to me. It will be wrapped up snug and nestled with a hot water bottle & a kitten until the spring arrives. I will bring it fresh socks every three weeks, or as required.

because


because a squillion things need doing.

because my eyes have soaked in so much color lately.

because time-lapse is the most fun thing in world.

 

today I made this:

Playing 


“We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.”

~ George Bernard Shaw

IMG_7227

don’t stop  😉