a week of doodles


100 days: 36-42

Whether you succeed or not is irrelevant, there is no such thing.  Making your unknown known is the important thing.”

~ Georgia O’Keeffe.

Since the beginning of June I’ve given myself a bit of drawing time. Usually it’s the first thing I do in the morning although some days it spills out into the evening, or some grabbed minutes while I’m waiting (something to boil, something to upload, something to dry or begin or finish… you know those waits, don’t you?).

This project has become part of the punctuation in my days. In my daze.

 

 

Here is week 6:

day 36

36 36a

I always find sanctuary amid trees.

Light filtered through leaves and birdsong can right a lot of wrongs. I’ve done this ever since I can remember. As I wander, my mind wanders, to all the other folks who’ve walked amongst these trees over the years, the centuries, all of time.

Then I think about the tree roots reaching out and touching under my feet, the myriad of patterns and connections, home to zillions of bugs and small beasties.

And squirrels. I love squirrels too.

 

day 37

I like capturing the minutiae of my world because that’s where the memories are stickiest.

I bought these brass bells in London when I was a teenager and they’re among the few things I have from that time. The beads came later, in my 20s I got into glass beadwork.

This bundled collection of things lives on my wall of inspiration. I can look at it through someone else’s eyes and see a cacophony of color and mayhem, but what I see is the  time line of oddities that brings me to now.

 

day 38

Today celebrates scribble. Something in the movement of a good scribble scratches the mental itches and unwinds the brain tangles. A big, full bodied scribble is the best exercise for body and soul, this little condensed few square inch scribble is the next best thing. Today’s photo is a Henry Moore sculpture in Kew Gardens, those swooping swerving curves are perfect to scribble around in.

 

day 39

 

Over in another ongoing project I’m immersed in purple this month, and look how one idea spills out into another: the ceiling at the Royal Albert Hall in all its gloriously sumptuous splendour. These domes are for acoustic effect, but they’re a delicious feast for the eyes as well like hundreds of satin jellyfish hovering over your head. Just magical.

 

day 40

Last summer I travelled through part of the US by train. One day I’ll edit together the video footage (it’s on the list!) meanwhile I look at the photos and I’m right back in my little sleeper carriage looking out, open mouthed, at the enormity of the scenery.

This is Utah.

Oh my days!

 

day 41

One of my most favourite things: street art. This face was smiling out from a metal shutter, watching the world go by, somewhere in Barcelona. I’m fascinated by his eyes.  

 

day 42

 

42: the answer to the great question of life, the universe, and everything. And the image from the same exhibition I began this book with, Pink Floyd at the V&A. When I was a young thing, their music was my 42.

So it inadvertently came back round full circle. As things seem to do.

 


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

Week 1 ~ Week 2  ~ Week 3 ~ Week~ Week 5

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!

penngregory_Mailchimp12TEtsyBanner

 

(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 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

 


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!

penngregory_Mailchimp12TEtsyBanner

 

(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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https://mixygecko.wufoo.com/embed/z1pfxfus0jq7ftl/

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

yearfullofcolorbypenngregory_page_01

 

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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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‘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

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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

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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

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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!

penngregory_Mailchimp12TEtsyBanner

(and I’ll send you my ebook A Year full of Color as a thank you for joining)
yearfullofcolorbypenngregory_page_01

 

TWELVTY Q&A


Still wondering if TWELVTY is for you? 

Not sure what TWELVTY is all about?

Read on…!

Q.  How long is the program & how much time will I need?

A.  TWELVTY runs from January through December 2017. Each month is dedicated to a single color.

How much time is your call, some months & colors will feel more inspiring and some months you’ll be more occupied in life. That’s how it goes 😉 It’s yours to fit in as it suits you – one month can blend into another like one color blends into another! 

The content for each month will take maybe an hour or two to read through, watch and absorb.

The material is full of prompts & inspiration more than tasks & homework – this is a resource you get to keep forever and can return to as often as you like, feeding it into your existing creative practice.

The online forum will run all year and be there to dip in and out of as you choose.

I will pop by the Facebook group at least 3 or 4 times a week, and you can email or message any time with questions. I aim to get back to you within 48  hours (usually much quicker!)

Q.   I only like *a specific color* – can I join for just that month?

A.  TWELVTY is about diving deep into the whole color wheel. I’ll be focusing in on a single color each month, but the real value is seeing each segment in the context of the whole.  If there are some colors you don’t much care for, then it’s only a month until we move on! And you might be surprised how much you find you like other colors when you explore them!

Q.   Can I join any time in the year?

A.   Because of the volume of content the doors to TWELVTY will close to new members at the end of February. If you join after January you will have immediate access to all the material up to the date you join.

Q.   What kind of content will there be & how often?

A.   At the start of every month I’ll send you a 15-20 page fully illustrated ebook  with loads of information about the month’s color. Something different each month to keep it inspiring from design, art through the ages, fashion,  color in nature, associations and meanings connected with the color, historical and cultural links around the world …loads of resources to follow up further if something really grabs your attention.

PLUS I’ll send you a weekly newsletter where I share videos & posts about my process as I work with the month’s color.

Q.   I’m a *specific kind of artist* is TWELVTY suitable for me?

A.   The program is adaptable to any medium, as the common link is color. Already we have a range of creatives including a writer and a weaver – so there are no limits on how color can be used to inspire!

I work mostly in mixed media and textile art, but every member of the tribe will bring something unique to the group, so the more diverse the group, the more inspiration we’ll be able to share together – I’m really excited to see what the group brings! 

Q.  How does the TWELVTY forum work?

A.   The forum is a private Facebook group for just the members of TWELVTY 2017 to share images of art they make and information they wish to share with the group. If you’d like to collaborate with someone in the group this is a great place to begin! When you sign up I’ll send you the link so we can add you to the group. 

Each month/color has its own Pinterest board where links to color related articles & such-like shared on the Facebook forum can be mirrored to build an online collection of resources color by color.

Q.   What materials and art supplies will I need?

A.   Part of the challenge of working in one color & restricting your palette so your imagination gets stretched. Less really is more in this case! So unless you’re asking for a reason to go shopping, you can probably use what you already have! 😉

That said, how you choose to take TWELVTY into your practice is a personal choice. 

Ideas for series you might want to play with:

Photography: each month’s color in nature, urban landscape, people and animals, fashion, architecture…

Painting (watercolor, acrylic, oil, pastels, digital art…):  each month’s color in portraits, landscapes, abstracts… One big painting or a series of small ones each month… One BIG canvas divided in 12 that you work on through the year…

Art Journalling: each month’s color for page backgrounds – painted, printed, collaged, mixed media techniques. Journal about how the color makes you feel, connections it has in your life, memories it conjures up. Find quotes and poems and inspiring words to add.

Textile Art (Sewing, knitting, quilting, weaving, embroidery, patchwork…): A piece each month in each color that can be combined at the end of the year… A fabulously colorful garment or large work you add to through the year…

Poetry, Prose, Word Art: Take the information on each color to inspire your writing, develop a character, set a scene, describe an atmosphere… Maybe set a weekly/monthly word count target for each color. Decorate your writing with the color to fully embody it.

Video, Film, Vlogging: Find ways to bring the month’s color into your scene, discuss what the color means to you, where you find it, take us on a journey to seek it out! 

Incorporate the color in your life: Not a creative practice, per se, but keep the color in your awareness by keeping something with you: maybe an item of clothing or piece of jewellery, or something small like a badge or pin you can wear through the month.

Maybe set the wallpaper on your phone or laptop to the month’s color, or an image you love in that color. A little reminder your subconscious will notice long after you forget it’s there!

Or how about a note to yourself, an affirmation, a quote, written in/on that color to keep in your pocket or wallet, or somewhere you’ll see it everyday like a bedside table or on the fridge or mirror…

What else? Let me know! Let’s jump into 2017 and bring the color alive!

Want more color inspiration? get my Year full of Color ebook:

yearfullofcolorbypenngregory_page_01

Be well, my friends, Much love to you all X

**********************************

(Your email is absolutely safe with me, I’ll just pop by and check up on it time to time, feed it biscuits, plump up its cushions, that sort of thing.)

the ‘because’ of art journaling


 

I’ve got old journals – the ‘dear diary’ variety – dating back over decades. Of no interest to anyone but occasionally me, I see what me-in-the-past was up to on this day however-many years ago.

At art school I began to keep sketchbooks, filled it with thoughts and plans, doodles and scraps. Mainly visual references and test grounds for techniques and materials. And they’re as rich in memories to me as the purely wordy versions that preceded them.

Last year I experimented with Julia Cameron’s morning pages in an on-again/off-again fashion. Not every morning has the space to accommodate all those words, but a bigger block is that part of me resented the paper it required for long, one-way streams of consciousness that I shouldn’t want to revisit. And the thought of scrawling longhand every last niggle and fuss didn’t sit comfortably either. I get the ‘better out than in’ motive. But I didn’t want to hold volumes of this in my life thought; that seemed to be merely displacing it from my head to another place of permanence.

 

Three things about things I do in books.
Without much connection beyond my voracious consumption of stationery.

Until I read this blog post by Deanna Jinjoe where she speaks of the power of transformation in burying words, thoughts, sentiments into the soul of our art we can transform them into a new beauty.

So the art journal I’m working through now is starting to embody this essence. With traces of the therapeutic brain dumps that keep my mind clear, intertwined with the doodles and splatterings of colour that keep my spirit buoyant.

Book of my days


I’m making a journal for the new year, which as the Solstice starts a new moon too, I began from it then. I’m enjoying the making process, and it’s another invented as it goes along adventure. And like all the rest of them, it’s a work in progress that isn’t exactly finished (the making stage) before beginning (the using stage). Kinda overlapped.

Over the years I’ve used regular diaries, journals, notebooks, sketchbooks, heaps of loose paper and the backs of envelopes to record the events, the thoughts and feelings, the minutiae, that collectively forms my days. On assessing the amount of rescued and recycled paper I’ve amassed, this time I decided to make my own book. I was surprised how easy it turned out to be. If you’ve ever considered doing this, here’s how I did mine…

IMG_3533
Obsolete letterheads, beheaded.


Here’s a thing about shop bought books – you wanna stick in new bits and pages, lists and the like, scrips and scraps and souvenirs and reminders. So either you gotta make space by extracting some of the pages it was bought with often leaving the binding loose and flimsy or severed and prone to accidental page-drop…. Or you live with a bulging wedge shaped book that won’t shut flat. Which is fine, in both cases, absolutely fine.

But if it’s a book of my own inventing… can I bypass that whole thing?

This fitted with the predicament of using recycled letterheads: once the letterheaded part was sliced off, the resulting folded in half size makes for fairly small pages. Not so compatible with big loopy writing that makes up words who need space to play in. So here comes the multipurpose wide page/thin page idea!

IMG_3534


I’m thinking the thin pages will be ideal for post it notes and small folded pages to be stuck in. And they are list shaped too and I love a good list! Consequently my book is starting it in the reverse wedge shape and will, in time, plump out into a flat book shape.


IMG_3545


The actual binding part (this is Coptic, but there are numerous ways to string a book here). My teacher is Sea Lemon. She is very neat and precise and I am not, so please don’t judge her instruction by my results! I looked at a few how to videos and found hers the simplest to follow. Then went ahead, broke all the rules, and did my own thing loosely based on this technique. People fall into two camps: those who embrace the slapdash yet sturdy approach and those who wince at the evidently hand cobbled outcome. If you fall into the latter camp, brace yourself, or click away now.


IMG_3537
measured, templated, holes completely off the line. idk. Accuracy just isn’t in my DNA. And wonky works too.


The paper is neatly cut to size approximately and the stringing holes were measured. Perhaps not really accurately. The knots are good and knotty.


IMG_3552
Not beautiful, but workable. I’ll settle for that. Neatfreaks: please Tut now.


I guess my reasons for sharing the guts of this cobbled affair with you is to say – If you’re at all interested in converting a pile of unwanted paper into a book you can use for whatever you fancy – scrap booking, journaling, some form of record keeping or and fancy schmancy writing and drawing doings – then even if you’re a careless, cack-handed hurrier like me – it can be done! Go and give it a whizz. If it doesn’t work…? well if the paper was already destined for the recycling box then you only postponed its destiny, used up a little but of time and in all likelihood learnt some useful life lessons along the way.

 

wishful painting


the wish book continues
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the modelling paste and stencil thing has been a recent obsession so my pages are getting lumpier, but in a pleasingly ordered, symmetrical way!
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Mmmmm, snippy paper bits too. Lots of them.
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and as though to reiterate.
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(Yes, that H does look upsidedown, I thought that too)

all things reddish


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all about the yellow


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