Me and Brain – Our First Conversation

It pains me to think that I used to love blogging, and it’s been 6 months since my last isolated post.  I neglected to feed my ‘inner artist’ for a while, choosing study and workaholism instead.  I felt like I forgot how to be an artist, bereft of the joy it brought to my life.

You may or may not have heard of Julia Cameron, or the book she wrote called The Artist’s Way, but in it she talks of your creativity as an energy like a child.  It is your duty to nurture this ‘artist child’ so that creativity can flow.  I found it interesting to think of creativity as a separate entity that existed within me.  It gave my now neglected ‘inner artist’ a different sense of self.

In the thick of my study-and-workaholism time, I set some time aside to ‘go be arty’.  Having previously chosen to spend all my art time as study time, this ‘go be arty’ scheduling was an oasis of fun in a desert of seriousness.  I readied my pencil.  Draw something.  Anything.

The blank page stared back at me.  The oasis was dry.

Frustrated, I angrily berated myself for not being inspired. I had put aside precious time and my inner artist was not performing as I was instructing it to.

And that was when my inner artist spoke back.

As I grew to understand that my creativity could be a separate entity, it gained its own voice.  This is how my inner artist manifested itself – as Brain.

Brain showed me that my inner artist is not a performing monkey.  Brain argued back when I was busy telling it off for not being inspired.  Brain would make me realise when I was being totally unreasonable.  Brain is often the uncensored me.

As I had this conversation with Brain, I drew and wrote it down.  At first I tried to make it neat, so that drawn Laura looked more like real Laura but the speed in which I needed to get the drawing on paper wouldn’t allow for neatness.  So I drew myself as a stick person; Brain was a sort of speech bubble with squiggles.

I have since had several conversations with Brain, always helping me stay true on my path of creativity.

Below is my first conversation with Brain:

me-and-brain_1sm

Misfortune Tellers

One of the things I find interesting about existing as a creative being – and hearing about other people’s interpretation of being creative – is the concept of having an idea.  Sometimes I feel it’s not that ‘I have an idea’ but ‘an idea has me’.  It’s my duty then, to bring that idea into being.  If this sounds a bit trippy – writer Elizabeth Gilbert has a nice way of explaining it in her Ted talk.my artist desk at hamilton house art studio

So, with inspiration in my heart, I created some Fortune Tellers last year – The Ultimate In Fortune Telling Technology.  The idea wasn’t quite done with me and this year I’ve been sketching and painting and writing so that I can craft fortune tellers that are even more super awesome.  As my new creations are being printed as we speak, it felt right to show you a sneak peek behind the scenes and show you my work in progress.

My fortune tellers have a macabre slant to them, so they became known as Misfortune Tellers.  Within that, I’d written several themes, so you can discover your future in a variety of worlds.  Whether mythical stories or horror flicks are your thing, I’ve got a grisly future for you.

Work In Progress

As I enjoy both writing aclose up photo of day of the dead inspired fairytale skullsnd drawing, the path of a project will either start with written content or drawn sketches and doodles. It is my intention for both to come from a place of play and instinct.  Expanding on the written themes. I wanted to create colour sections that suited each written theme.  I’ve always liked the Day of the Dead aesthetic and as well as feeling the overall theme was relevant to my written misfortunes, the skulls I designed took inspiration from both the sugar skull decoration, and various aspects of the given theme.

Once I was happy with the designs, I traced them onto watercolour paper and inked them up.  I prefer to use dip pen and ink to get the variations in the line.  I love effect you can get with sticks (which I’ve used for past artworks) but they’re definitely less accurate.  The skulls were quite small and detailed, so dip pen it was.

Once the ink was dry, I mixed up my colours and painted all the skulls of one colour in one go to keep the continuity between the themes.  Then when that was done, I used a black(ish) ink to fill in the outside, screen shot of work in progress for the misfortune tellersmaking the skulls stand out against the background.

Scanning them and formatting them was the next step – where my paintings and written work were finally combined.  Once saved, I sent them onto the printer and am currently waiting excitedly…

I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.  Watch this space for photos.

If you live in the Bristol UK area, I’ll be telling misfortunes at an exhibition opening for The Art Troupe, themed on Circus Splendour.  It’s on Thursday 19th November at The Edwardian Cloakroom, come say hello, and get your misfortune told if you dare…

If you’re not about, then you can still join in the fun – visit my Drawesome page on Facebook and/or Twitter to get your misfortune told and be in with a chance to win yourself a pack of misfortune tellers!

There’s More To Carving A Pumpkin Than Carving

Scarved squash with seeds for teetho what do you do if you want to carve a squash but you’ve already eaten some of its delicious squashiness?  We’re well and truly into squash season and since discovering that there is so much more to squash than the pumpkin offering you get in your average supermarket, I’m trying to cram as much of the glorious food group into my diet as possible.  So upon deciding that I’d like to make a halloween blog post, I was confronted with my ‘Baby Bear’ squash with most of what would be its ‘face’, already sliced off…

Although to be honest the cavity looked like a gaping maw, so that gave me something to start with.  I still had the seeds so thought I’d smoosh them into the flesh to make teeth.  A word to the wise – it may be best to roast your squash seeds first.  Trying to wedge seeds into the flesh is a bit like washing your hands with an especially slippery, freedom-leaping, bar of soap.  Next, to the spices!  Good ol’ cloves… They make perfect little black eyes…  Et voila!  Using ‘props’, I present one ‘not-carved’ squash.

 

Monster Party Workshop

pencil drawing of a feathered monsterEveryone loves a good monster – especially as we enter autumn with the nights drawing ever closer in.  Soon we’ll be spending the last day of October trying to scare the pants off each other as monsters (and other creepy beasties).

One thing I love about monsters nowadays is that they’re so varied.  There are monsters of every size and description, from Frankenstein to the cast of Monsters Inc.  They’re big and scary or small and friendly and every iteration between.  Thanks to this quality, monsters are fantastically easy to draw.  Whatever you come up with, that’s a monster.  In my mind, there’s no such monster drawing as: ‘but that doesn’t look like a monster’.

Monsters are just so much fun too – which is why I’m running a Monster Party workshop as part of The Art Troupe.  As adults, we don’t get to spend much time playing and doodling for our own enjoyment.  I’m aiming to inject fun and spontaneity into monster drawing with a series of collaborative and solo drawing activities, where at the end of it all, you get your own monster book.  The activities are like ‘artistic sprints’ so as to get around any niggling thoughts of ‘Ok, this monster needs to be good, what shall I draw?  Do I give it three legs or four?  Should I start at the tail or the teeth?’ and you enter into it with more of a ‘Yaaaay!  Monsters!’ instead.