My drawing practice has been taking twists and turns. I’m still working through my 100 portraits and practicing the human face using various techniques (as you can see from my digital and pen portraits below), but I’ve also been fascinated by lions lately and above you can see three of the studies I’ve been working on. The first one is pen and prismacolor pencils in my tinted visual diary and the other two were drawn on my procreate program. I particularly like the big boy in the centre. I fell in love with his jutting chin and had to catch a likeness of my own.
I do like the girl with the red lips. All of the portraits above are inspired by people posting their photos on the Sktchy app so that artists can draw them. It’s been an invaluable app for providing inspiration and tuition to continue to develop my portrait practice challenge. I’ve done 98 of 100 portraits as of this weekend. Only two more to go.
In between this, I’ve also rewritten/edited fifteen chapters of my novel, but have found that I’ve needed to return to my drawing more often to fill my creative inner bucket.
So recently I’ve started to explore the idea of sketching daily and learning urban sketching. I’ve got a lot to learn in art but particularly in urban sketching and perspective drawing. However, I’ve also decided that it’s about the process of drawing and enjoying the story I create on the page. These drawings of my world and the way I see things, and I’m very much looking forward to developing this new sketching interest over time.
Here’s some drawings I’ve sketched in my small Jasart visual diary over the weekend.
I sat down and sketched my partner’s motorbike. It turned out pretty good even thought there are heaps of inaccuracies and a few skewed perspectives on it. Still I’m so happy with this drawing as it’s only the second motorbike I’ve ever drawn.
I actually like this kind of sketching. It is so enjoyable. There’s a flower I saw on the side of the street the other day and a super cartoony sketch of my hand with my pen.
And above is a sketch of my poodle waiting patiently for his chicken jerky, and my other fur-baby hanging out on the couch with me.
This is one of the things I love about sketching in a visual diary. I can record the world around me and focus in on what is important or interesting in my life.
Now I need to sneak around with my sketch pad until I can draw my cat. It’s a challenge as animals have a sixth sense about being watched and move almost immediately. Anyway, I’ll get there.
And I’m going to keep drawing and doing my best to learn urban sketching and all sorts of perspective.
Until next time, I hope you have a wonderful creative day.
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.
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.
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.
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’ve been exploring mindful creativity through my art and journal writing practice. It is way of connecting with my inner creativity and continuing to learn that art and writing are tools which bring me completely into the present moment.
My portrait practice has slowed but I am continuing to make progress both in creative expression and accuracy. The images below include portraits 30 and 31 out of 100. There are also graphite drawings of eyes with glasses which I did as part of the Sktchy course with France Van Stone.
As I draw a portrait, I have found that I am looking at what is in front of me and my mind is engaged in seeing the tones and values, the contours, the various shapes and I am no longer labelling what I see. It is as if my mind enters a space of surrender to what is before me. It is a sweet space to occupy and it allows my subconscious mind the space to unravel things that need to be contemplated.
I have also been writing a daily journal with the prompt, ‘today I noticed’, and I what I have noticed is that I am more in tune with what is happening inside me but not in a self-aggrandisement way. Reflection on my inner self through this journal exercise has given me space to explore who I am in the moment and to learn to allow the thoughts that float in and out of my mind to pass through while I only catch the threads I choose to connect with. It is a mindfulness skill.
This writing exercise is also helping me to be fully present in the moment. One day in recent weeks I found myself jotting down how the swallow-like birds zoom around me as a walk to work in the morning. They race each other zooming around in ever widening circles. They movements filled with playful joy. Their inverted ‘V” tails flashing past as these tiny blue-black birds whoosh past my legs, hovering two feet above the grass and dancing on the air currents.
Taking a moment of time to notice these gifts of nature helps my creative life to expand. I write down what I notice and my imagination expands. My vocabulary for writing expands and so does my visual vocabulary of symbols increase.
Being creatively mindful isn’t about the end result or producing something that I can sell or show off. It’s about the moment, the journey and the experience within.
I am loving this mindful creative living through art and writing. I love that I can learn and grow and play. It is refreshing and positive.
If you have read this far, then I hope what I have said here inspires you to develop your own daily mindful creative habit. And it is my hope that you will find the richness of the universe in those moments too.
Until next time, happy creating and being in the present moment.
I’m circling back around to my arty side this year.
In recent years, I have taken a big break from painting and drawing. I needed a breather but now I have realised just how much I have missed my art practice.
So, I got myself a moleskine art journal (my first one) and have started sketching and water colour painting in it. I am totally inspired by author and illustrator Kate Knappe with her cute little birds, so you will see an image that I drew to honour her artistic expression in the photos below. If you see her work around – there are a lot of greeting cards with her artwork in Australia – do support her if you can and if you like the art of course.
I’m all for supporting living artists who can do with the dollars in their bank account so they can live life and continue to do what they love.
Here is one of the pages out of my moleskine art journal.
I’m going through a reflective stage and wondering what I should do next?
Do I keep focusing on writing my novel and slogging away attempting to get it published?
Or do I study something? Something else? Should I study art? Should I study something that will help me in my day-job?
So many questions.
So much inner confusion.
I love art.
I love writing.
I love coaching.
I do enjoy learning but I am not sure what to do. What is next for me?
So this piece of artwork is a true reflection of the questions and confusion whirling around inside of me.
This page of my art journal is a reflection of how intricately interconnected we all are.
At least, that’s how I see the world.
I have recently decided to sponsor two young girls through World Vision and, hopefully, make a difference for them and their community. I didn’t do this lightly. I feel very strong about young girls having the opportunity for a good education and waiting until a decent age to be married. It is my hope that my sponsor children and their community will embrace this opportunity to have more choices and be lifted up and out of poverty.
As I was drawing this image, I was thinking about my sponsor children and how we are worlds apart, both geographically and with regard to quality of life style and education and choices. But I believe that all beings are interconnected and there are threads that connect us. I believe that one act can have a multitude of effects. A lot of the time, I do not know the effect I have on people, but it is my hope that my effect is a positive one for all concerned.
So, I’m getting back into my art. I’m thinking about things outside of my fiction stories but I am still drawn to my writing. I love it.
I’m just not keen on editing.
Editing is hard work.
I’m not averse to hard work.
I just think I’m a bit creatively burned out at the moment.
But despite my burn out, I am still returning to The Living Death of Toddy James and day by day I am making editing progress. I’m up to chapter six so far. It’s a matter of small daily habits that add up to big changes.
I won’t give up. I’ll rest and I’ll refocus, and I will edit my novel. It takes grit and determination to get these things done.
Now, as promised, here are some more photos of my awesome UK holiday from last year.
In the above collage, Dave and I went to Edinburgh and saw the city, Edinburgh Castle. We also visited a fabulous historic place called Torphichen Inn for dinner and a show.
Wow, what an amazing place. I was in love with the atmosphere, the friendly welcome and the life size cardboard cut out of Jamie Fraser from the Outlander series, written by Diana Gabaldon. The ladies at our table were a little shocked at how excited I was to see the cardboard cut out, but I had only just finished listening to the audio book and watching the series, so in my mind, Jamie Fraser had come to life!
I still love David, but it was Jamie Fraser!
I think David was in love with Torphichen. I think he wanted to immigrate and live there for the rest of his life. It was green and homey. The Torphichen Inn was filled with friendly people and the services was excellent. We had haggis. I actually ate some and David had a bowl-full.
The photo above is the Torphichen Inn.
The show had bag pipes, singing and excellent hospitality. I truly loved Torphichen and felt very warmly welcomed.
We saw the Kelpies sculptures several times as the bus took us from the hotel to Edinburgh and back on our visit. They were spectacular and it was the first time I’d heard that Kelpies were shape-shifting water spirits that take people and drown them. As an Australian, when I hear the word ‘kelpie’ I think of a type of dog, so this revelation was endlessly entertaining to all of the Aussies on the bus.
Dave and I also visited the cafe where J.K. Rowling wrote the first Harry Potter book – OMG, I almost wet myself with excitement. It’s called The Elephant House. We had coffee and cake and then we entered the toilets which were completely covered in Harry Potter fan scribblings. It was surreal. I didn’t like the way people wrote all over the toilets. It was oppressive. I think being a fan is great, but defacing property falls outside of my boundaries for appropriate ways to show adoration.
Anyway, of course, I had to buy a mug to remind me of this special opportunity to dine in cafe where one of the most famous writers of today did her plotting, characterisation and writing. I was hoping some of her inspiration and determination to finish writing would rub off on me. I’m still hopeful.
In the photos above, you can see us at The Elephant House.
We also visited Greyfriars Bobby where this little loyal dog is honoured and remembered. This church was fabulous, but for those who enjoy a bit of ghost hunting and paranormal thrills, I have to say there was a crypt there that gave me the shivers.
It’s the circular one with the dome roof. It had two doors with square windows made of wrought iron. I was too scared to get too close to this one. I kept getting the shivery sense that something was inside watching me. My writer’s imagination went wild, wild, wild with exciting ideas for creating paranormal wonder in my stories from this experience!
Okay, for my last Scottish highlight, here’s a super short video where Dave and I went hunting for the Loch Ness Monster and caught a glimpse!
Happy creativity whether you write, dance, make art or create music. Whatever you do, I hope it brings you joy and happiness.
So far I have watched just over half of the course. As I learned about shutter priority, aperture and ISO, I fiddled with the manual settings and had a go at taking a photo or two.
Here’s a couple of photos of Rocket. I know these photos are not professional in any sense of the word and I’m not even sure what settings I used but I love them!
I think I love these photos so much because they really capture the cute attentiveness of Rocket. These are the first photos I’ve taken of Rocket in a very long time where I have been able to capture what his face looks like.
Having a black poodle is one of the greatest things in my life – I treasure him. He is my loving and ever present companion and I want to take images of him as he is, showing his sweet face to the world.
This tiny creative success has inspired me to keep watching the course on Skillshare.com and learning how to use the camera to take photos that I want in my life.
Also, learning a little bit of photography is a great way for my brain to rest after such an intense time of creative writing. I’ve found lately that my creative writing has slowed down and that I need to take a pause. To allow my creative writing bucket an opportunity to fill up again.
Learning a new creative skill helps to enhance all of my creative skills. And I get to share this with you too!
I’ve been cutting out the things in my life that no longer bring me joy or add value to my life. And I’ve been focusing on uncovering my highest values so I can live in accordance with them.
Creative expression is one of my highest values. I love being creative. Drawing. Writing. Painting. Mixed Media. Photography.
Each one of these creative activities helps me to take a breather from a fast paced world and allows me to see what is truly before me. Creative writing helps me to understand the human condition, as does reflective writing and journaling.
I am so grateful for creativity and the journey of continued self-expression.
If you haven’t tried something creative for a while, maybe it’s time to slow down the pace in your life and take a moment to put a creative desire into action.
I’m starting this blog post off with some shameless self-promotion. Today I got inspired and made a youtube video on how you can use dream interpretation to help you with your art and writing. Or … at the very least, I had a go at it.
Here’s the video.
I had loads of fun making it. I’m not sure I uploaded the first version with high enough definition but this is all about learning and growing into new skills.
I took a short course, How to Make a Great Talking Head Video (even when camera shy) by Lucy Lambrlex on Skillshare.com and this is my first attempt after the class.
I hope you enjoy it and pick up a tip or two that will help you with your creative expression.
I dedicate this blog post to L. Frank Baum, who published his children’s book, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz in 1900.
This story has touched millions of people who have read it. And in today’s culture, children everywhere have surely seen the movie adaptation. I grew up watching it.
And, it’s hard to believe that this story, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz has been in print for one hundred and sixteen years!
What a wonderful legacy to leave behind when the time for eternal rest knocks on one’s door!
As I handled the soft cover and contemplated the quote I thought deeply on the importance of journalling for creative writers.
In my opinion, creative writers need to noodle around inside the pages of a journal where it is safe to be exactly who they are – without censorship. They need to do this as a daily ritual.
Because the act of daily journaling develops the writer’s voice.
It doesn’t matter what the topic is. It is about the process of coming to the page. Pen in hand. Imagination and observation utterly engaged.
It is the place where magic begins to weave it’s way through the world and give the gift of sharing in this human life through story.
Some people don’t know what to write about and feel it to be a futile endeavor. I disagree. I see a multitude of things to write about and even when it comes to visual art, there is inspiration sitting right beside me if I take the time to engage in life and become a part of the flow.
Developing the writer’s voice is vitally important if you wish to write fiction. I’ll focus on fiction because that is where my creative heart lies.
Daily journal writing will open a doorway to the psyche, and reveal deep truths about human behavior including patterns you would not normally see. It may provide you with treasures you may have dismissed otherwise.
To write fiction, we writers much engage in the world. Watch the world. Feel the world. Taste it. Love it. Hate it. Be forged in the fires of dark and light to know the wide spectrum of the characters who will eventually knock on our creative doors, asking for their time on centre stage.
To write fiction, we must learn to listen deeply. Hear sub-text. Observe body language and see the correlation between what is being said and what is not being said, but is shouted at us through the body itself.
Writing in a journal develops our power of observation and we can noodle around, telling stories that make us happy or capture the deepest of sadness within. That is the gift of writing in a journal.
And I return to the quote on the cover of this novel journal from L. Frank Baum’s book, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.
True courage is in facing danger when you are afraid.
It’s hard to face oneself on the page, but it is so worth the effort.
I’ve been writing journals since I was 24 years old. That’s nineteen years of developing my writer’s voice. In that time I have recorded emotional turmoil, my hopes, my dreams and heartbreak down on the page. I’ve jotted down niteteen years of human experience that now helps to add depth to my own fiction writing.
My journal writing has become a doorway to expressing relatable characters and conflict on the page. And it has kept my secrets better than any friend ever could have.
So, when I found this ‘novel journal’ in the bookstore today I felt instantly inspired by the quote on the front cover.
In a strange way, the quote spoke to me. So much so that I picked it up immediately and purchased it.
The quote whispered to my creative writing soul.
It said, “If you take the time to be true to who you are and write inside me with wild abandon you will discover untold treasures.”
I am not one to dismiss such creative whispering, and so I handed over my money and took possession of this beautiful lime-green journal; eager to discover what treasures will appear inside these pages.
Writing, art, anything creative is an expression of the human experience and I believe it is a legacy worth capturing.