The Art of Meditation through Ink

Several months ago I was at Michael’s looking for inexpensive writing journals for my sometimes daily stream of consciousness. I found a few, one of which was clearly oriented around sketching and painting rather than writing.

Sketch, draw, live, express- Sketch book cover

I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with it, but at $2.00 the price was right and I figured the inspiration would find it’s way to me when the time was right. The unlined pages of the journal intimidated me for months.

My only experience with drawing outside of a classroom setting was after I learned how to make handmade paper. The pieces of handmade paper turned into tiny canvases and the imperfections in the paper were the foundation of many beautiful abstract pieces.

I started using only black ink and sketching things that were familiar and felt comfortable  to draw. For whatever reason I drew trees, trees, and more trees.

tree drawing on handmade flax paper

I don’t know what prompted me, but I was inspired to add color to the drawings and the trees took on the colors of fall through the use of watercolor pencils.

tunnel into fall

Even the most “perfect” pieces of paper were full of wrinkles, creases, and uneven textures.  The veins and arteries that ran through each page were the foundation for the shapes that emerged from my pens.

abstract ink drawing on handmade paper

The drawings quickly became more about the process then the outcome. The world and my worries disappeared for a few hours each night while I put pen to paper. The colors, shapes, and possibilities mesmerized and comforted me. It was a sad day when I ran out of handmade paper. (one of these days I’m going to make more)

For a variety of reasons my creative self went into hiding after I completed my last ink drawing on handmade paper in March. Then one night in September an image came to my imagination so strongly I had no choice but to try and release it onto paper.

tulip ink drawing

I was so thrilled with how my flower turned out that I stopped drawing again. I know that makes no sense, but it’s what happens to me sometimes. When I create something beautiful it makes me wonder if it was just a fluke and I talk myself out of trying to create something new just in case it was.

The funny thing about my ink journal is that there are no dates and the entries are completed in anything but a chronological order. I’ve even given myself permission to do the unthinkable and use an abandoned entry as the beginning of a new piece.

a work in progress_0

The outcome was surprising.Bursts of Color and Life

The backside of each drawing is almost if not equally as beautiful as the front; an unexpected and delightful bonus.

Sunflowers in Winter

Sunflowers in Winter - The Reverse Side

The recurring theme throughout the journal is sunflowers. I’m not entirely certain if I continue to draw sunflowers because I know how, or because they were the subject of my first drawing, or because they are a symbol of happiness. Maybe it’s a combination of all three.

I don’t suppose it really matters.

The Gift of Life - Ink Drawing of a Sunflower in Bright Inks

My ink journal is not a place where I create masterpieces or finished works of art. It’s a place where I let my mind wander and rest at the same time. It’s where I express myself without words with my medium of choice – ink. It is how I meditate through art.

I can’t wait to see how my latest meditation piece turns out.

hearts and tears_3

5 thoughts on “The Art of Meditation through Ink

  1. Hi, Beth. Your drawings are beautiful and vibrant, such a look of spontaneous inspiration! I was wondering , if you have any extra time, if you would be so kind as to share some knowledge, or a good source of knowledge regarding the process of creating the flax paper that you used for the tree drawing. I am an artist in Humboldt county, California. I work with ink, and really would like to do some work with handmade paper, especially with that warm golden tone or pale earth tones. I haven’t a clue how to make paper so it takes ink nice and crisp, or if its possible to mold and press it with raised relief to add dimension to my drawings. plus, Im wanting to work with sheets in the size range of 2-3 feet x 4-6 ft. ANY tips or just basic equipment and steps would be SO appreciated! Have a good night Beth.

    1. Travis, Thank you so much for your kind comments and compliments.

      I’m an amateur when it comes making hand made paper. I had a great opportunity to learn it from a local artist here in PA. Here’s a link to the post that I describe the process of how I learned it.

      My paper is tiny compared to what you’d like to work on -it’s about 6 x 6 inches. 🙂

      I did come across this workshop through an on-line contact – it looks like it’s quite a distance from where you are in Cali, but could be a good starting point for research and finding resources.

      This article gives a good overview of the entire process – however it doesn’t really address the size of sheets you’d like to create.

      Starting smaller might be easier to begin with anyway – just a thought.

      My favorite paper to draw on is the flax paper – it seems to naturally dry so it takes the ink nicely.

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