Posted in characters, creativity, doodle, Drawing, Drawings, illustration, portraits, portraiture, Procreate art, Sketches, visual diary, Water Colour, Water Colours, watercolour

Sunflowers and the Arty Lifestyle

I couldn’t walk past a trio of sunflowers while out shopping for essential groceries. The bright yellow drew my eye and I whisked the sunflowers from the bucket and into my basket without a second of hesitation.

I new the moment I saw their pretty faces that I wanted to draw them and paint them with watercolour. And here they are. 03B68C32-EAB2-4F5F-87F3-A26BEA9174E3

I spent all day sitting on the veranda sketching these beauties into my watercolour visual diary and the rest of the day painting them in an attempt to capture the life of they beamed at me.

It was a day of pure creative happiness. Blissful time spent drawing and painting without worrying about anything at all.

I did several other drawings/watercolour paintings of my sunflowers. They were too beautiful not to capture them from various angles.

Earlier in the week, I played around with more black ink and watercolour to create this beautiful King Protea. Unfortunately, while I was outside sketching it something small and green fell on the page. F7FD804E-8CC6-46AA-8EBA-69C61BD43D3C

I thought it was a seed pod from the over hanging tree. When I brushed it off the page it squished a small insect creature into the paper and so this one is very close to nature.

I’m so sorry little nature bug – I didn’t mean to turn you in to art collage in my visual diary!

It was so delightful to see this flower evolve on my page. I do love it.

My arty lifestyle has been developing each day and each time I draw. I’m still doing my 100 portrait challenge but needed some time out to focus on drawing other subjects. Since my last post, this is the only portrait I’ve done.

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This guy is from Sktchy app and he’s an artist too. A brave guy willing to allow others to draw him in the ‘all-together’. I did this one on Procreate (I’m still learning the program – it’ll take me my whole life time to figure it all out I think) and practiced foreshortening as well as anatomy drawing and getting a likeness.

Then it was on to drawing my partner’s motorbike. It’s his pride and joy, and he is so happy that the Government have allowed riders to go out on their bikes again. Although that’s for a test period to see if we can ease some restrictions and still reduce the amount of cases of COVID-19.

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So I probably won’t see him much over the weekend as he’ll be hitting the road with this baby.

I drew his motorbike on my iPad with Procreate too. It’s my first go at drawing his motorbike. It seemed too complex for me at first but then as I slowed right down and focused on negative space and then just the shapes – circles, squares, curves etc – came together on the virtual page. I am very happy with this first go and am thinking of developing a series of drawings all about his motorbike. It could be fun and that’s what art is really about for me.

Now my arty eye has been draw to illustration and in particular how to create characters on the page using objects (as well as myself 🙂 ). I am having so much fun with this style of drawing and it is so freeing for the imagination.

First you start by drawing what you see and going for some accuracy. Check out my drawing pens.

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Then you start to be playful with the pens and pencils, creating joyful characters of them.

Here’s a page from my A5 visual diary. On the left you’ll see my ‘Playful Pen’, then you can see how my imagination is starting to grasp the idea of turning pens and pencils into playful characters.  On the other page, I have more realistic drawings – my Lamy Pen and my watercolour pallet which I did from observation. Down in the bottom corner, I drew my own eye watching my drawing to show how much I was looking, looking, looking at what I was doing.

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Lastly, I’m learning how to turn myself into a character. Here’s me showing my art and writing to my fan base – my fur-babies, Jack, Rocket and Miss Poppy.

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This was soooo much fun. You can expect to see more doodles like this showing up on my blog as I keep playing around with ideas and documenting my daily life in fun ways.

Until next time, I hope you are staying safe and indulging yourself in a creative life. Creative expression, no matter what form it takes, helps you to come home to yourself and see yourself through the things you make.

Go get some ‘Big Magic’ like Elizabeth Gilbert talks about and just have fun!

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, Gratitude, Procreate art

Art inspiration during tough times

Aslan and Lucy – a Procreate impression
Artist: Selina Shapland
Created: 1st April 2020

I’m working from home and am almost through my eighth week of recovering from a bulging disc in my lower back. Brisbane is in a kind of partial stay-at-home level of lock down, so it’s important for me to have hobbies to focus on.

As I have felt better I have been able to do more art and what a sanctuary it has been during these tough times.

As the news updates me on the current situation of the spread of the coronavirus, I have been able to spend time with my iPad Pro creating the image above (with thanks to an excellent inspiration photo from the Sktchy App).

When I uploaded the artwork shown above to my facebook page, a dear friend/author/excellent editor, commented that it reminded her of Aslan and Lucy in the Voyage of the Dawn Treader where Lucy is grown up a bit more and Aslan said she wouldn’t be coming back to Narnia.

My dear friend made me look at this artwork with new eyes. She pointed out that that moment in the story was beautiful and poignant.

I was so touched by her comment and it made me look at my artwork differently. Initially it was just a digital drawing of a lion and a woman looking out into the vastness of the unknown, but once she put that comment on my photo… it felt right to me.

Blue biro fantasy drawing in my A5 Visual Diary
Artist: Selina Shapland
Created 31/3/2020

The night before I was inspired to draw another Sktchy inspiration (same muse) with a fantasy edge. I had a wonderful time exploring her form on paper with my blue biro pen and creating the horns.

I can see that my hand eye coordination is improving as I continue to draw, and I am so grateful for the life drawing classes I had been going to before things shut down for our own safety. Thankfully there are many online art resources and connecting with creativity isn’t too difficult to do as long as you don’t indulge the inner critic in the process.

I try to shut my inner critic in a small room with a puzzle to work on while I am busy creating. She kind of helps me sort through complexities in my life and doesn’t bother me too much when I need time out of life to draw, paint and write.

Rocket and I spending quality time together


Life as I’ve known it, as we’ve all known it has changed since the Coronavirus has moved from one area to another spreading illness.

I am doing my best to love and appreciate all the people I have in my life and my animal companions. I’ve been reminded once again just how precious life it. All life.

And we can all play a part in stopping the spread of the virus by staying at home, washing our hands and practicing good social distancing. It’s a tough change for everyone and for some it is heartbreaking.

So, please take care. Care for yourself, your loved ones and the stranger down the street. We’re all interconnected and this virus has proved it in a way I never could have foreseen.

In this time of interconnection, I want to send out my heartfelt gratitude for all the people who are on the front line of healthcare, managing essential services and those who are keeping us safe by ensuring we’re following the guidelines. And I send love and hope to those who are feeling afraid. I send love to all who have lost loved ones to this virus too. I can only imagine how tough lock down has been for people around the world and the grief many are feeling as those they love have passed away.

My own mother is in a care facility and we are not able to see her for safety reasons. I am grateful that this safety measure has been put in place. It’s tough not to see her and to know that she doesn’t understand why we can’t come to visit, but it is for her safety and the safety of every other older person in residence as well as the marvellous staff who care for them.

I hope you can take a mini break and be playful with a touch of creative expression. I believe it is a heal balm for tough times.

Farewell for now and let’s all pray for a cure for this virus.

Posted in Alzheimers, creativity, Drawing, portraits, portraiture, Procreate art, Writing

Still Standing

My lumber spine is recovery slowly and I am standing more than ever! I feel like singing, “I’m still standing, yeah yeah yeah!” – lyrics from some song by Elton John. I never said I was a big music person, but I do love art and writing. And I love creative living.

I’m standing at the breakfast bar typing this up before I go to the osteopath to be pulled in all sorts of directions which has been helping my back to recover.

It’s been a difficult couple of weeks as I haven’t been able to do as much art but it’s given me plenty of time to lay facing the ceiling and contemplate my novel’s next steps.

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As the two weeks have gone by I’ve been able to stand more and I was able to do this portrait on procreate. I am so happy with it because it’s my first procreate drawing. It took my mind off the pain and helped me learn some of the pencil and pen tools in the app. I’m not sure I’m going to be a big user of digital art apps but I did enjoy this process.

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My best friend helped me get to the art store so I could get an easel. That adventure resulted in a messy charcoal portrait of this guy. I think I made him into a cross between a zombie and a caricature. I had a lot fun doing this one, even with his creepy eye.

Then as I have been able to sit for slightly longer periods of time, I have been reading Fiona McIntosh’s book, How to Write Your Block Buster. It’s the second time I have come to her for inspiration to get my creative writing heart beat pumping. And it works. She has such a down-to-earth approach to writing that inspires taking even the smallest action on my novel.

I’ve been jotting down the plot for The Living Death of Toddy James and editing the manuscript in 10 minute intervals as that’s about how long I can sit for.

It feels good to be living a creative life even in the smallest of moments of the day.

I feel like my novel is going to start deepening and broadening as I go now and that’s wonderful. Writing stories is a creative activity that fills me up. I need to make more time for this creative expression, and I will. As I heal my back and move through the emotions of my mother’s Alzheimer’s Disease my mind is clearing and the fog is lifting.

I’m so grateful to be writing as well as doing art again. Creative living is rich living.