Friday, 31 May 2013


I'm afraid life's been pretty busy. I haven't had much of a chance to do art lately. There's been a little crafting around the edges, but I'll talk about that in my next post. One thing I've been doing regularly though, is ... writing! How did that come about?

I asked for and received The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron for my birthday last month. I first heard of it years ago, and knew that literally thousands of people swore by it. I suppose something finally fired up in the back of my mind and made me want to delve deeper and start making more meaningful art. (...Muchly influenced by my Creative Warriors journey I think!...) I've started having thoughts like, "I deserve to explore the creative part of myself! Using all the resources available to me!" I started reading the book straight away after receiving it. It consists of a twelve-week course of assignments and activities designed to work through blockages and open up your creativity.

"Twelve weeks!" I thought, "there are 10 tasks in the first week alone! I should allocate about a month for each 'week', just to be safe."

Before the course even starts though, the Introduction specifies that there are two compulsory activities: firstly The Morning Pages, and secondly the Artist Date.

Firstly, the Morning Pages. I had reservations about whether I could commit to writing three whole A4 pages, every day! I decided to try doing it for one month. To be honest, some of the tasks in Week 1 were a bit confronting for me, so I thought starting with just the Pages would ease my way into it. Then I planned to start the course proper after the month had passed and the Pages habit was (theoretically) ingrained.

Catch: the thing about getting up half-an-hour early every morning just doesn't work for me! I googled to find out other people's experiences, and was reassured to find out that there seem to be as many approaches to Morning Pages as there are creatives out there. I spent the first week experimenting with different times of day and quickly landed on 7pm. It's not first thing in the morning, and it's not last thing at night, the times that most other people seemed to choose. One of the habits I'm trying to kick is not comparing myself to other people though! 7pm fits into one of the few available free timeslots in my day, and it works for me.

And guess what? I'm proud to say I've been doing my Pages for just over a full calendar month! Perhaps it's because I enjoy using the beautiful pens and paper. Perhaps it's because the book told me to, and my Inner Child is obeying! Perhaps it's because on some deep level, I'm finding the combination of having some time alone and writing out my thoughts to be relaxing and therapeutic. I can't say I've come to any earth-shattering epiphanies (so far!), but I've noticed a few subtle changes in myself. I have fewer doubts when thinking of starting a project or practice. I'm more open to starting the Artist's Way course proper. I've start reading The Fluent Self blog again after a long hiatus, and am actually following some of the principles this time. Yup, I've been calling on Metaphor Mouse, having imaginary conversations with different parts of myself, and I'm thinking of starting a Book of Me. Self-improvement can be fun!

All photos taken by me on walks around the city last Summer.

Sunday, 12 May 2013

[Creative Warriors] March Project

I've only just had the inspiration to start on the Creative Warriors March project last week. What can I say? Inspiration comes when it comes. I've done just the first half of the project so far, which is to do a self-portrait on a loose piece of paper, incorporating something from the month of March that's personal to you. I ended up drawing myself with a crochet hook. Even though I didn't actually do much, I was thinking about craft quite a bit, since the weather had finally started to get cooler and I was in the mood to start handling fibre again.

This was a big step out of my Comfort Zone! In the last few years I've done barely any figurative drawing. I've stuck mainly to abstract doodles, swirlies and mandalas. The last time I drew a large, realistic face was over 3 years ago. This was hard! I can't tell you how many times I rubbed out various features and tried again. Showed it to Husband and said, "how does this look?" I couldn't picture how a nose would look straight-on, so I took a photo of myself on my ipod and propped it up next to my sketch book for reference. I did the nose, lips and chin that way. The hand I drew from looking at my own hand. Then I did the colouring with watercolour pencils.

Overall I'm happy with the drawing, as long as I keep reminding myself it's just a first attempt! I like the eyes and nose, but I think I need more practice doing lips, and my chin is longer in real life. I also have just a blank space under my chin instead of a proper neck and shoulders. (Not to mention clothes!) But I can fix that in stage 2 of the project. I think the hand is quite good, though. I haven't been very good at hands so far, but perhaps some more detailed studies like this one will help.

As for the colours, I really liked the shading of the face - just a very pale pink around the edges - and the eyes. The hair could have done with a few highlights: it just looks like a flat plane. I tried to draw purple mascara eyelashes with the watercolour pencil, but they turned out all blobby so I made them into eyeshadow instead. And the hand! I was trying to make it a slightly different colour to the skin of my neck to differentiate it. I didn't meant to make it bright orange! It's so unnatural! But remembering Journal Girl's lesson about playing with colour, I let go and realised I kinda like it.

Part 2 of the project involves incorporating the drawing into an art journal page. Hopefully I'll be able to work on that next weekend. I've already learned a lot from Part 1. I'm better at drawing than I thought I was! I feel more comfortable to study my own face and use it as a source than I might have been in the past. I've also realised that I really like using watercolour pencils. I think I even prefer them to watercolours in a pan for most things. I'd like to get some nicer ones in a larger range of colours.

Stay tuned for Part 2 and other arty/crafty goodness!

Thursday, 9 May 2013

[Creative Warriors] Drawing and Zine Submission

Today's post is to update you on my arty activities lately, though I'm afraid progress has been slow at times. Members of Journal Girl's Creative Warriors Course are given monthly assignments, but I have to admit, after an initial look I've been putting them off. I guess I haven't been in the mood for anything out of my Comfort Zone. Or even anything inside it!

I did, however, wite a submission for the Creative Warriors May e-zine. This is a pretty big step for me. I've been blocked from writing zines for about 3 years now. Not only am I writing a personal story and doing an Out-of-the-Comfort Zone drawing, but it will be included in a forum which is bound to receive much more attention than my individual zines ever did! Eek!

I'm going to show you the drawing. I feel pretty embarrassed to show it - but it's meant to be a re-creation of a work I did as a 13-year-old, to go with the theme for my submission. It's not meant to be A-No.1-Standard. I wouldn't use that medium or style now.

Leaves. Coloured Pencil.

I was planning on doing a painting as well, and I had a picture of it in my head. But when it came down to it, I just couldn't squeeze out the inspiration in the time limit. It wasn't essential to the story anyway. Perhaps I'll do it one day still. It's still floating around in my head.

To find out the story behind this drawing, you'll need to get the Creative Warriors May zine when it comes out!
(I'll be announcing when it does!)

Saturday, 4 May 2013

Right Now : Saturday 4th May, 12pm

Today I'm working under the theory that, not having done anything to post about shouldn't stop me from posting. Actually, I've been doing some things in the last week or so, and I'm currently working on writing and taking the photos to be able to share them. Today though, I'm going to do a little activity I saw on another blog called Right Now.

feeling: restless.
reading: The Black Dahlia by James Ellroy.
following: Journal Girl
in love with: Pens!
eating: a home-made ham & cheese croissant washed down with a strong coffee.
waking up: glad there were no nightmares last night.
dreaming about: paint. the brighter the better.
grateful for: all the support that's out there if I choose to reach out for it.
listening to: the breeze rustling the tree outside punctuated with a female voice yelling "come on!" from Husband's computer game!
fantasizing about: rolling around in paint with abandon, and not caring about spills or stains!
working on: changing the way I think.
undecided about: which option to try next on the path of my inner life.
dreading: cleaning the house!
feeding: my need to write.
excited about: all the sources of inspiration I'm drawing on right now!
looking forward to: Eurovision!

Autumn. From Pinterest.