Posted in anxiety, characters, Courses, creativity, Cross Hatching, Drawing, Drawings, Editing, life drawing, Sketches, skillshare, visual diary, Water Colour, Water Colours

Ramping up my Art Practice

In the last month I’ve ramped up my daily art practice. Sketching and using water colour paints in my sketch books most of the time. I’ve also been to another life drawing class, attended my first water colour painting class and today, I have just finished a Sktchy course on cross hatching.

So if you’re interested… here is some of my work.

The cross hatched portrait below is my first one using black pens. It is the image the teacher used in the Sktchy course so you may see it around and depending on who drew it, it might be better rendered than I’ve done here. But having said that, I’m pretty happy with the way it turned out. I just need to practice the art of seeing and capturing shadows with fine cross hatching marks.

Below is my graphite pencil sketch of the guy we did in the Sktchy course. I put him in a frame as I needed to mark out lots of lines to get his features down on the page with accuracy.

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A lot of people like this pencil cross hatch and I’m super happy with it.

I went to a beginners water colour class and learned about blooms and glazes and all sorts of other techniques. I’m a bit heavy handed with the delicate medium but it’s fun to learn, make mistakes and see where they lead.

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Above is my finished water colour mushroom. I had a lot of fun creating this small art work on the paper we stretched. It was a great class run by Holly from Life Drawing Caloundra.

I’ve been doing a botanical workshop on Skillshare and that’s stretched me a lot. Here’s one of the pieces. It’s a vintage inspired flower with petals and stem.

 

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I think I like the stem and leaves the best. It’s all water colour and took a while for me to layer. I’m not the best realism artist but you got to start somewhere right?

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Above is my botanical alphabet project from the skillshare workshop. It turned out pretty good, but I’m not a big fan of fancy fonts. Maybe one day I will embrace them but it irritated me a bit because I kept making mistakes with the pen and had to keep starting over. For me that’s too painful to do and I doubt I’ll become a calligraphy lover… at least not someone who does calligraphy, but I’ll always have respect for anyone who does the art form!

Then it was off to life drawing class on the 29th May to celebrate their first year of regular classes. It was a great night with every spare spot taken up by artists trying to capture the gesture of the model. Above are two of my pieces. I gave drawing on black paper a go and it worked out pretty good. Quite a few people liked that drawing with the soft pastel.

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Then, totally inspired by Sketchbook Skool, it was time to sketch book my way through my life and capture everyday moments. This image as you can see is of my M&M slippers which I picked up in London in late August 2018. I love them and taking time to draw my feet on the coffee table was excellent fun. No need to feel precious about my lines and marks. It was just an impression of my life and an opportunity to practice drawing what I am seeing rather than what my brain thinks it can see.

I intend to keep practicing and learning new techniques. I hope that as I grow as an artist, I will also be able to create better skillshare courses of my own. I’d like to pass on things I’ve learned but only after I’ve practiced enough and made the techniques my own. I’m not very comfortable in front of the camera yet and it has taken me a long time to learn how to video my art as well as to think about the classes I could teach and how to teach creative writing from my own perspective. I face a lot of internal fears every time I come to create a skillshare course, but I’m moving through my fears and into creativity. I even made a course to help other deal with their fears around creativity based on the tools I use to manage anxiety.

They say one of the best ways to learn is to teach and I’m on that road now too.

On the creative writing front.. I’ve been chipping away at my edited manuscript and had to change a few characters which has lead to a chain reaction of changing what they do and don’t do. I’m about a third of the way through my manuscript and I’m so grateful I’m doing lots of art because it stops me from having anxiety brain.

When I write, I feel a lot of angst to get things right. But when I do art, most of the time the angst just vanishes. I can spend hours and hours doing drawings and not even realise time has sped past. I love writing, but it is a different experience for me. It’s a complex and sometimes analytical experience which somehow triggers off the inner critic in me more than art ever has.

I guess this is all part of a learning curve for me. I’d like to publish my story and I’ll keep at it, and I’ll keep drawing every day because the practice is so good for my mental and emotional well-being.

Until next time, happy creating!

Posted in anxiety, Drawing, Drawings, Editing, life drawing, visual diary

Life Drawing

Recently, I decided it was time to start sharpening my observation and drawing skills. So, I did a bit of research and found a fortnightly life drawing class held in Caloundra, Queensland. I’ve been to two sessions so far. The first one had a male model the second had a female model. They were great to draw.

This charcoal drawing was done in 10 minutes and I thoroughly enjoyed drawing this model. She had beautiful curvy lines to follow and when she sat in this position, I loved how her legs crossed and she sat up. The photo has a few charcoal smudges but that’s because I had to flip the page and move on to the next drawing fast and I didn’t erase any of the marks before taking this photo.

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Charcoal on acid free paper. Life Drawing, 10 minute drawing, 15/5/2019. Artist: Selina Shapland

The last time I did life drawing class was in the first half of 2005 when I was at Art School in Melbourne, and I remember it being quite a challenging class as I had a lot of difficulty getting proportions and drawing what I was actually seeing in front of me.

Now fourteen, nearly fifteen years later, I have jumped in to life drawing and it’s been a lot of fun. I was nervous returning to life drawing class, but I am so happy that I have done it. I am connecting with other artists, being inspired by their approach to drawing what they see and I am deepening my ability to observe and draw with more accuracy.

This drawing below is in graphite and I was pleased with the result as it was accurate in proportion and I finally got the hands right. I find hands, noses and ears really difficult to draw. I will have to keep focusing on them and develop that skill.

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Graphite on acid free paper. Life Drawing, 10 minute drawing, 1/5/2019. Artist: Selina Shapland

Below are two of my favourite drawings from my most recent life drawing class. The model was so beautiful to draw and she did some excellent poses that added interest and challenged all of us to stretch ourselves.

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Graphite and charcoal pencils on acid free paper. Life Drawing, 15 minute drawing, 15/5/2019. Artist: Selina Shapland

The reclining drawing below was a real challenge for me as it wasn’t easy for me to get her arms down as I saw them. But in the end it worked out and I do love this drawing.

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Graphite and charcoal pencils on acid free paper. Life Drawing, 15 minute drawing, 15/5/2019. Artist: Selina Shapland

What I love about drawing and art in general is that it takes me to a special place where time, worries and anxieties fall away. I am in the moment. Completely. Utterly. Consumed by what I am drawing. For someone with anxiety as a constant companion, it is magnificent freedom to be in a space where the constant chatter is quiet.

Art, for me, is a like a meditation. When my inner critic gets involved, my art turns out a bit crappy. But when it is hushed and nothing more than background noise, my art seems to come to life.

Here are some other drawings and sketches from my life drawing classes so far. Some of my favourite pieces are the 30 second gesture drawings where I’ve scribbled madly using charcoals so I could capture the overall twist and movement of the model.

I’ve also been chipping away at editing my novel, The Living Death of Toddy James. I do that while sitting on the train on the way in to work during the week. I have to admit that my writing is much more fun when I take the pressure off myself to make it publishable or perfect. Also, returning to art has helped to free me from the inner chatter so I can get on with being creative.

I’ve also been learning cross hatching techniques, portraiture, watercolour botanical painting and how to draw with one line and not to judge the outcome.

Over the past two weeks, I’ve treated myself to three new visual diaries to fill. One is filled with good quality watercolour paper, the other two are ‘lay flat’ mini visual diaries for drawing and mixed media. Now I just have to get over the fear of making a mistake on the blank page and fill them with the things I see.

Whatever you’re up to, I hope it’s creative. Thanks for stopping by and supporting my creative life style blog.

Posted in anxiety, Drawing, Drawings, healing, portraiture, Sketches, skillshare

Portraiture

I’ve been studying portraiture with graphite in the last two week. It’s been so good to apply my art and observation skills to the page again.

Below is my first animal portrait in graphite on acid free cartridge paper (my visual diary). It’s a side view of Miss Poppy and her fluffy ragdoll ruff.

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Below is a short time lapse that I created of me drawing the above portrait.

I’ve also been studying the basics of human portraiture using graphite. Here are some examples of the lips, ear and hair that I’ve done.

I’ve also been studying the nose and eyes with a focus on light and shadow.

I enjoyed sketching each section of the human face and learning about light and shadow techniques. I also learned about the angles of the eyes, nose and lips. Each technique built on the other and I’m another step closer to creating portraits that look and feel the way I want them to be.

I’m going through a real art phase right now. Still writing and editing my story, but for now, I find that when I get absorbed in my art, I forget about everything that has been bothering me. All the anxious thoughts disappear and I am in the moment. There is no future, no past, only the present moment. That’s why I love art so much. It is a truly healing activity to do.

Until next time, I hope your creative projects are underway and you are having wonderful time too.

For anyone interested in learning portraiture drawing techniques, I recommend ‘Start Drawing: Techniques for Pencil Portraits by Gabrielle Brickey on Skillshare. That’s where I’ve been learning all about portraits in the last two weeks. She’s a brilliant artist and a great teacher who makes it easy for you to learn and apply your new knowledge too.

Thanks for dropping by.

Posted in anxiety, depression

Resilience

When I logged on to write this post on Resilience and share a video that touched me, I saw a notification from wordpress. It congratulated me because I  have been writing here for six years. I hadn’t thought about the age of my blog at all. It was a pleasant surprise.

One of the things I like most about my blog is that it changes as I change. I like that it allows me to connect with you on a personal level even though we may not have met in person.

That’s pretty cool.

Connection and expressing an idea that resonates with another person is something I love. I particularly like that about writing, making videos and writing fiction too.

So, today I wanted to share this YouTube video of Marian Keyes (one of my favourite authors) where she talks about resilience. It’s an important topic to me as I I have anxiety and suffer with worry, numbness and disassociation at times too. Sometimes I am lost in a darkness that spirals around so fast I can’t grasp the edge to slow myself down.

I wanted to share this video because when Marian Keyes talks about worrying when she was a child, it resonated so strongly with me. I worried too. A futile practice but I still did it and I still do par-take in the act of worrying without being able to control the outcome.

Worry gnaws at my nerves until they are red-raw. I have to write those worries down and shred them or burn them (in a controlled and safe manner) so I can be mentally free of them.

So, the ability to be resilient in the face of anxiety and depression isn’t easy for me all the time but, I know (from my own experience) it can be done.

Lately, I have been on the roller-coaster ride of anxiety. There are days when I am 100% okay and sailing through things. Life’s good.

Then there are other times when I wake up in the middle of the night with my stomach curling in on itself, tightening into a clenched knot of overwhelming dread and I don’t even know exactly what is triggering it.

I’ve learned to allow these experiences to be a part of the tapestry of my life. I’m not always keen on leaning into my uncomfortable feelings but I am doing it.

Sometimes I get swept away with what the inner voice is saying.

Other times I am able to discern what the worries are and see them for the shifting sands of anxious thought that they are. That’s when I am able to step back and see the pattern playing out.

Anyway, I hope the video with Marian Keyes helps you as much as it helps me.

I’m so grateful for Marian Keyes. She’s a great person and an excellent story teller. I especially love her honesty and raw grit as she shares her own experience with depression and anxious thoughts.