I spend a lot of my time in my day job as an event manager having to be very precise with logistics and planning. I find it very satisfying putting everything in order. But the other side of my personality is messy and free-flowing. Illustration and writing feeds this to a certain extent but drawing the picture book for example still needs an element of structure. This is why abstract painting is something I often come back to. I start with an empty page and watercolours, acrylics, washi tapes and pens and just see what comes. I'm a big fan of using words in art and at the moment I often find myself inspired by one word which I'll meditate on so it can become colours and patterns.
My favourite mug : )
I finally had time to go back to my drop-in life drawing class today. I hadn't realised how much I missed it. Life drawing has really helped me to start drawing figures as they actually are, rather than as I think I see them. You start to see the body as lots of shapes that work together with weight and light and shade in the limbs. I really recommend going along even if you have never drawn before. It's absorbing and meditative and a lovely way to spend a Saturday morning.
I've been enjoying watching Roxanne Coble's YouTube channel since I saw a couple of her Vlogmas videos over Christmas. Roxanne, also known as By Bun, is a multimedia artist and illustrator based in LA who shares her work and life online in daily vlogs. Her art combines patterns, colour and collage, line art and words. I love how free her style is. Watching her videos and learning more about her style has encouraged me to play with my art a bit more, to try collage and layering and to combine media more. Her videos are friendly and absorbing, click here if you fancy a look (they also feature her two super cute pugs!).
I squeezed in a peek into the National Gallery with some friends on Sunday. We only had an hour but it was enough to see this painting by Pierre Mignard for the first time. I must go back and gaze at it again. Those colours.
It's called The Marquise de Seignelay and Two of her Sons if you'd like to visit and take a look.
I began to be more and more interested in Jim Henson's creative process a couple of years ago and received this fantastic book as a Christmas present. At the time I was struggling to make sense of the connection between creativity and money. Money was very much a thing you had to WORK for. It seemed out of reach to earn it by doing something purely creative. I read a brilliant article on Brainpickings.org about how Jim Henson had made the connection that if he made money from art, he could make more art... and something clicked. I wonder if this shift actually went some way to fuelling my creative ambitions and believing in myself more.
The book, Imagination Illustrated, contains an detailed insight into Henson's story, ideas and sketches. It's like looking into his mind. I loved finding out that the Muppet Show was turned down flat by American television and found its first home in the UK. I had never thought before about the fact that doing something that brings you so much joy will also bring joy to others. Now there's a thing.
I really love art that is made with words and light such as Tracey Emin's neons. Robert Montgomery is new to me and came to my attention as he was featured on this weekend's BBC 6 Music Art Weekender. He turns his poetry into light, using solar power to illuminate his creations by night. I found this short video that explains a bit more about his work. I also love the use of billboards for art instead of ads. Lovely.
For the past two years, BBC 6 Music have dedicated a weekend in November to art. Mary Anne Hobbs hosts the show and encourages listeners to draw a piece of art inspired by the music. Everyone then posts their creations to Twitter with hashtag #6MusicArt. It's an absolutely lovely thing to take part in. Sitting alone drawing from 7am - 10am feels like drawing in a huge studio full of artists all using different mediums and all passionate about creating.
Today I was inspired to draw the illustration below by a Kate Bush track that was played and also by Robert Montgomery, an artist who I confess I hadn't heard of before but who talked beautifully about the power of words in art. Magical.
I'll be writing a blog post about mindfulness soon as it's something I practice and think about every day. For today, I wanted to share a little ink creation of mine. Mindfulness doesn't have to be about sitting quietly with your eyes closed. I find some of my most mindful moments are when I am creating. Drawing a pattern like this is so calming. I find myself totally absorbed in the moment and as my mind stills it starts to create things that I didn't even know existed in me.
"I think the thing is really just to do it... If you can draw... Have fun with it..."
Every November, Mary Anne Hobbs on 6 Music has a special theme for her weekend breakfast shows called #6MusicMakeArt. Listeners make art as they listen and share it on Twitter. There are also interviews with artists. Last year, Mary Anne spoke with the magical Judith Kerr who is one of my heroes. Now in her nineties, Judith is still creating beautiful picture books. The story goes that she enjoys a walk in the fresh air and a little tipple each day. I can only hope to be like her in my old age.
I come back to this interview time and time again. It's a lovely listen.