It’s been an Artistic Winter, but – Is it Spring Yet?

Holy buckets I’m tired of winter!

I will say that this winter has been very good for one aspect of my life. The long winter nights have been conducive to spending quality time with my ink journal. I’ve also joined a couple of artist’s groups on Facebook which has turned out to be both fun and inspiring.

I’ve met some great people and it’s fun to sign onto Facebook and see the latest ink journal entries, doodle art, and mixed media pieces. There are so many amazing artists in the world, it boggles my mind.

When I started drawing in my ink journal, I called each entry a ‘doodle.’ What I didn’t know or appreciate at the time is that doodles aren’t just the shapes someone draws on the edges of a notebook while they’re waiting for a boring meeting to end. Doodling is an art form and an excellent way for me to relax.

I learned about an online class called “Doodle Arts and Lettering” through one of my new Facebook groups. On a whim I registered, bought the supplies, and started the lessons.

Each lesson includes an extra doodle assignment at the end, the first one was to draw nature, specifically leaf inspired doodles.

leaf inspired black and white doodles

The drawings for each lesson will be completed in a journal. I’m using a small journal with watercolor paper. The assignment to create cover art was a little intimidating, but I’m pleased with how my cover turned out.

cover art_first journal_February 2014

I’m in love with the white ink that spells out the sentiment for the class, which is to “Let it Flow.”

An interesting and unexpected outcome of participating in the online groups is an increased feeling of confidence in my own artwork. It’s freed me to try new colors and combine techniques and to use real life as inspiration.

five daisies

Five white daisies morphed into four brightly colored abstract sunflowers bursting out of a green and blue background and framed by swirling purple curly cues. I guess that’s what one would call an interpretation. ūüôā

dancing flowers_3

The bright yellow, blue, and purple sunflower bursts pop out of the background and remind me of creativity and ideas bursting out of an imaginative mind.

Participation in the groups and the online class has fueled my courage and my imagination to go beyond drawing flowers and experiment with new ideas.

This drawing started out as 4 wavy swooshes and it somehow turned into a psychedelic serpent or snake.

swirling serpent

I’m guessing it’s not what most people would expect to be on the page behind the “Let it Flow” cover, but it is and I think that’s quite cool.

Another interesting thing about keeping an ink journal is that I can’t wrinkle up and toss aside the drawings I start and don’t like. They stay in the pages of my journal and more than one of them have turned into pieces of art.

A failed attempt at a rose turned into a vivid blue sunflower bursting with life.

burst of life

An abandoned flower peeking out from the corner of the page gave life to ribbons of color and light.

Bursts of Color and Life

Last night, after a particularly stressful day, I created this hypnotic web of colors out of an “X’d” out center of circles. I’m not sure if it represents emerging from the eye of a storm or feeling like I’m caught in a web.

eye of the storm

It reminds one of my friends of the “Wheel of Fortune.” I like that image, maybe if I give it a big enough spin, my winter of flat tires, power outages, and car repairs will end and the Spring will be full of prosperity and joy.

Here’s to Spring!

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