Posted in Drawing, Drawings, healing, Journal, life drawing, mindful art, mindfulness, portraits, portraiture, Procreate art, self-love, Sktchy, yoga

Portraits & Botanical Drawings

I’ve been keeping-on-keeping-on with my portrait practice. Last week I hit portrait 65 of 100 of my portrait practice challenge.

I’m happy to say that my ability to see what is in front of me and draw that is improving. This means I am becoming much better at drawing portraits that have a likeness to the person and that makes me feel great. Sometimes their features are a little out of proportion like the lady above… I made her nose a little too large and had some trouble placing her eye on the far side of the three quarter view, but overall I am pretty happy with how my portrait skills are going.

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It’s a great way to spend time when I am not working (from home). My art practice is giving me space from the stresses of the world and helping me to figure out who I am and how I am seeing the world from day to day. I have noticed that if I am having an off day, emotionally-speaking, then my drawings can either save me and pull me out of that funk or they are a reflection of the inner turmoil I have been experiencing. I think that’s one of the wonderful things about art. It allows space for the mind to process what has been happening.

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A couple of weeks ago I was missing my fortnightly life drawing class so I spent a few hours reconnecting with how to see and draw the human figure with a fabulous yoga pose provided by a Sktchy muse.

The pose was quite a challenge for me to draw and I think I did a pretty good job of it, however, I can see a few errors. It’s always this way for me. I can’t see the errors at first but after a few days away from my work, I can see where I was in the process of drawing and seeing. And I can see where I have gone just a little off course.

Still I enjoyed the process of drawing that yoga pose and it inspired me to get on my own yoga mat. I’m no-where near as flexible as the lady I drew but that’s not the point. I have to keep reminding myself that yoga is about coming to the mat and working with my body where it is. Giving myself some inner love and acceptance.

What can I say… I’m a work in progress!

So this weekend I moved away from doing portraits and the human figure to embrace some nature. I came across an inspirational idea to use a thick felt tipped pen to create botanical compositions. The above drawing was completed today and I had a blast. It’s a combination of gum nuts, eucalyptus leaves and wattle.

So many hours of work but so much fun. I’m still learning where to go darker and when to hold back. But for my first botanic composition I reckon I managed to create a lovely piece of art.

I’m also embracing imperfection and messy art. I am allowed to make it my own messy creation cause when you stand back it looks great… even if its a bit of a messy-mess up close.

Yesterday, I played with the felt tipped pen in my A5 visual diary. It’s got creamy paper and is lovely to draw in. I found an image of a Protea and created this drawing, then I had to put prismacolor pencils on it to make it pop. I do love the combination of ink pen drawings with my prismacolor pencils. It’s so satisfying to see the work come to life on the page.

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And finally, last weekend, I spent a number of hours outside observing my lemon tree which I have carted around from one home to another in a pot – always whispering promises that when I finally have a home of my own I will plant it and give its root space to stretch out.

I’m still working on finding a place to call my own. The lemon tree has faith in me.

If you’re interested I did the above drawing on my iPad using procreate. I’m loving procreate and learning how to use it to capture art in a new way. There’s so much to learn.

Butterflies have been flitting around my home in abundance lately and laying their eggs on my lemon tree. It doesn’t have so many leaves now that the caterpillars have munched their way through the green leaves!

But I don’t mind. I’m sure my lemon tree isn’t too keen on being eaten like that but it will bounce back. It always does.

The act of sitting in my fold up chair and sketching my lemon tree was truly therapeutic and de-stressing.

I hope that my arty creations inspire you to take pen or pencil to paper or to try out your own creative line work on procreate too.

In this difficult times of isolation and social distancing, I think the practice of art and creative writing, journalling, singing, dancing, playing instruments – anything creative – is a soothing balm for the soul.

Happy creativity. May you draw, dance and be wild in your creative abandon. Don’t judge yourself. Just know that each attempt is a reflection of where you are at that moment in time.

I love that.

Posted in Alzheimers, creativity, healing, life drawing, portraits, portraiture

Celebrating Art in 2019

I have been delving into a daily art practice since May this year and I want to share with you the joy that this form of creative expression brings me. To do this, I have put together a six minute video showing a lot of the portraits I have done and some of the creative ways I have drawn people and random things that interest me throughout this year. I have learned not to be so precious about my art and to be okay with unfinished drawings. I’ve learned to be self-compassionate and to enjoy being fully present in the moment.

When I am doing life drawing or sketching random people I am practicing my observation skills and my hand-eye coordination. I’m seeing and recording what catches my eye and details that are important to me. When I am doing portraits I am attempting to get a likeness, to develop my own style and most of all, I am trying to capture a sense of their spirit through my drawing.

This year, I have written my novels sporadically and I felt awful that I couldn’t write the way I wanted to. I have two novels in various stages of editing and it’s been too much for me to focus on that while also dealing with the pain of my mother’s Alzheimer’s disease,  and the flow on effect this disease has on my life. My brain has felt like cotton wool every time I have come to write my stories so this year I turned to my art practice as a place of solace and healing.

2019 has been an emotionally difficult year and I think 2020 may have a bit more of that to offer me but I am going to continue my writing and my art practice because that’s my way of living a creative life.

So, I hope, if you take the time to watch the youtube video below, that you enjoy it and that you are inspired to create, write, draw, paint, sing, dance, make music, do whatever creative expression muse calls you to do on a daily basis from now on. Because, making art is a celebration of life as we see it and relate to it. That’s what I believe.

It is also my belief that creative expression brings out the best of humanity and can call attention to important topics and causes too. So if you have something to communicate, please don’t hold back on expressing yourself through your chosen medium. Let yourself out to play, move away from judgement and into self-compassion. Move into acceptance of where you’re at and know that with every step you take you are making progress.

This is David, my partner. He is a volunteer fire fighter and last week he was out on a strike team fighting fires in Bundaberg, Queensland. These people are volunteering to save crops, animals, people and property while dealing with smoke and heat and harsh weather conditions. They don’t get paid and many of them take annual leave from their day jobs to be there for those in need.

Dave’s portrait is number 44 of 100 of my portrait practice challenge. It’s a portrait but it is so much more than that. To me, it is about honouring the volunteers who put themselves on the line for our community every time a fire threatens to devour whatever it in its path.

He sent me this photo when he had a chance. It was meant to be confirmation that he was safe and well. But I looked at it and saw a man doing his best to care for those in need and I wanted to honour that through my art.

I hope Dave’s portrait inspires you to make art that comments on the good work people do in this world too.

I may not blog again until early 2020, but before I sign off, I want to share with you that I am grateful for you touching my life, for the positive and supportive comments made and I hope that creative living provides you with a safe place to play and be yourself without judgement too.

Have a great end of 2019 and may 2020 bring you many hours of creative fun and joy! 

 

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 healing, yoga

A little yoga healing

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Image courtesy of Jared Rice, Unsplash. Effect added by Selina Shapland

I confess that I have not stepped on my yoga mat for about three or four months. Not until this afternoon have I been able to step onto my mat and move through a sequence.

Why?

I will tell you soon.

Today, I did the following Yoga with Adriene which is titled, Yoga for After Disaster, which is central to filling me up with healing and positive well being and sending that out to those in need. For me, this was a truly healing practice.

In recent times there have been so many tragedies in the world.

Much upheaval.

Sadness.

Aggression.

Pain.

Terror.

So many things out of my control.

Sometimes I feel … tragedy fatigue.

And then I come to yoga and I am once again reminded to let go, to allow and to know that I cannot control such things. Even the small pains in my life are not in my control. I must feel them and experience the pain but it is how I choose to act in response to the pain that matters most.

Now, I begin to feel a moment’s peace.

Yet there is much more to my story than seeing and feeling compassion and pain for those who have been touched by such tragedy in the world. The shootings, the terrorist attacks, the hurricanes, the volcano threats, the threat of war based in two over inflated egos.

So many disasters culminating.

There have been disasters in the past – big and small.

I feel I am rambling but this is what I must write. I need to write.

I am not insensitive to what is happening in the world, but sometimes it is all too much for me to bare and so I need a little healing. I need to turn inward. To silence the chatter of my busy mind. To silence the news, the social media and the psychic drain of those in power who seek to control others in the world and cause harm to people, animals and the environment.

Sometimes it is all too much and I begin to disassociate because that is how I cope when things get too big and overwhelming.

Thank God for yoga and meditation. I give thanks for the philosophy and the teachings that it is okay to heal oneself and then be in a position to give to others. I give thanks for taking time to find peace and relaxation inside.

So why did I walk away from my yoga mat?

About three or four months ago, we noticed that my mother’s dementia symptoms were escalating. When the realisation hit that mum was forgetting. Forgetting so much. It hurt. A deep hurt. So painful, all I could do was function in the world and get through the day.

I walked around in my own haze learning to come to terms with what dementia was and how my brother and I can begin to cope with this disease and extend the care our mother needs in a respectful and loving way.

So I walked away from yoga because I couldn’t step on the mat.

Strange that, when yoga brings me so much peace, but there you have it.

Now that the initial shock of mum’s escalating dementia has subsided I have been able to give myself my first 30 minutes on the mat and I feel so much better.

But dealing with this heartbreaking pain, the realisation that dementia is erasing my mum before our eyes and ears, has been a very hard thing to bare witness to. And even though I do not live in the same place as my family, I still feel the acute pain of losing my mother to such a wasteful disease.

Quite simply it is devastating to watch and hear someone I love so very dearly deteriorate.

In recent months I have cried many tears. I have been immobilised. Unable to give more because I had nothing left to give.

The pain was and still is deep.

I cannot express it more. Not now. But one day I am sure I will open up and plumb the depths of the grief I know I am experiencing at this time in my life. One day.

But not today.

Today, I have given myself the gift of healing and I feel refreshed for the first time in months.

If you have been going through a tough time, no matter how big or small, it is my hope that a little bit of Yoga with Adriene will bring you a moment of peace should you choose to step on the mat.

Namaste and Blessed be.