Monday, August 10, 2015

I'm a Documentarian of Sorts!

I'm a documentarian of sorts...I've always been addicted to paper and pen. I like to record ideas, notes, and happenings. As a child I used those yellow writing tablets with a No. 2 pencil and if I erased too much the paper would tear. My mom taught us to write letters to our grandparents and thank you notes for gifts. I remember buying my first stationary with money I earned babysitting. I also remember buying my first fountain pen...a red Parker. I still have it.

I also wrote in a diary that had a lock and key. I wrote in composition notebooks for years, but today I primarily use Moleskine notebooks. I carry one everywhere. I record ideas and draw character sketches for a story. I doodle. I free write and I capture bits of my days on these pages. Often I will have a go at writing practice by defining a starter sentance such as, "I feel.." or "I wish I wouldn't have eaten..." I may start out writing about the sunset and end up describing the time I was very young and went to my first funeral, where I found things to be more peculiar and funny than sad. The idea is to write without punctuation if you want, but to keep the pen moving and let whatever comes to flow onto the page. (No monkey mind allowed!) In the example to follow I chose the starter, "I feel five years old and..."

I feel five years old and I could go to the beach and build sand castles if I wanted, or I could read all day as if the world and all of those "you should be doing this or this..." are not there at all, or I could sketch little pictures of birds onto notecards, or maybe paint a mermaid on my adirondack chair in bold colors of aquas and pinks. I feel five years old today and I want to ask Mom to bake a cake, to sit on the porch swing with me and play I spy. I feel five years old today and I could fall asleep on the floor watching TV, and Dad would scoop me up and carry me to bed. I would have five year old dreams of dancing and swirling in the sky while the moon smiles at me. I feel five years old today...

I love to browse through my journals and find little surprises. Perhaps I find I am still talking about a situation that doesn't really matter so I consciously let it go, or I may find a gem of a sentence to start a story with. With this particular writing I loved the part describing dreams of dancing and swirling in the sky...and I went on to write this children's story from that.

Shine Moon, Shine

After the sun sets,
I'll make you a bet,
That the moon hovering high,
Shines so you won't sigh
'cause it's nighttime and
your mama says, "Off to bed you go."
So you won't sigh
'cause you have to close your eyes.

Shine Moon, Shine,
For the nighttime magic show begins...
The fairies dance,
The bats glide low,
The peppermint candy drops from your nose.
The owls screech,
The gargoyles preach,
Your dreams aren't really dreams
But your nighttime life so sweet.

Purple skies where you can fly,
Happy dust colors your eyes.
Wishes come true when you turn blue,
Any shade will almost do.
Orange and red, and pink your hair glows,
All kinds of information you will know.
Dancing stars in shiny tap shoes,
Fireflies glide by to release sweet perfumes.

If you wake before the princess serves cake,
Simply close your eyes,
And count to ten a hundred times,
Then back to the nighttime magic you'll fly,
Just try to keep the happy dust out of your eyes.

After the sound of the great clocks chime,
The hovering moon descends the sky.
So, be ready when the sun sets low,
And your mama says, "Off to bed you go."
For the nighttime magic show begins...
Shine Moon, Shine!

Happy dancing and swirling dreams,

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Zebra Cartoon

Happy Hump Day!

Monkey Mind

Oh yes, I've had my share of monkey mind days in the jungle. That fear based mind chatter echoing between my ears can put me in a frumpy mood and keep me from creating if I'm not aware. It can block imagination and the motivation to rock it with my ideal projects. It can squish my ideal self and talk me into being lazy and frumpy in a matter of minutes.

Being aware (meditating, healthy eating, good sleep, listening to self) saves me. Routine (going to the studio the same time EVERY DAY) saves me. Some of my self talk is funny and helps me through procrastinating or simple fears, but other self talk can be damaging if I'm not aware I'm doing it, (i.e. you are so fat, or you're never going to get published!)

When I find myself in this jungle I simply say, "Stop it Darlene." Immediately I replace the negative self talk with deep breaths. (Count to yourself as you inhale to 4, hold for 2, and exhale to 6.) Do this several times and you will feel immediate lightness and calmness. Then I  say a positive affirmation out loud to cancel out the negative one, or I write it over and over in my journal. For 2015 I've chosen one special affirmation and I use it before meditating, I write it at least twenty-five times in my journal daily, and I go to sleep and wake up saying it to myself. It's also good to actually smile while you say affirmations out loud.

Another way to help with monkey mind madness is to take action. I take a little artist date for myself by myself. Perhaps a day at the Kenyon college campus to draw and read. Lunch, tea and organic dark chocolate. An author reading, a stage play or a quiet walk down the mile-long middle path. I usually treat myself to a book,  a pen, or watercolor paper. Simply a quiet, arty adventure that leaves me feeling content and all jazzed up with creative ideas.

I call a day like this "arty idle time" and it is necessary to me to refuel the imagination. I schedule "arty idle time" on my calendar now!

What do you do to push aside monkey mind and to recover your creative imagination? I'd love to hear and perhaps learn something new from you.

(Oh yes, I might add that a nap is always good.)


Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Self Portrait

Happy summer days in the sun and fresh garden food! I'm ready for strawberry shortcake and corn on the cob How about you?


Thursday, May 14, 2015

BIC is My Favorite Ball Point Pen

BIC wins the Prize for my favorite ball point pen. (I buy them by the box full.) There are not any BIC pens I do not like but this is my all - time - stand - by for note taking, journal writing, list making, doodling, and drawing. It's a smooth writer and never spits ink back at me. Blue ink makes me happiest with this particular pen.

Click here for happy.

What's your favorite ball point pen?


Monday, May 11, 2015

Crosshatching Kitty Fur

Giving these kitty's fur some style with crosshatching using a Micron Pen. I am so tempted to add a bit of color was to the hats but am focusing on B&W only. Need to purchase a pen in grey shade.

The reference source for these drawings from a newspaper article about the newly released book, "Cats in Hats: 30 Knit and Crochet Patterns for Your Kitty," by Sara Thomas. (Running Press)


Sunday, May 10, 2015

Kitty Hats

I saw an article in the newspaper about this newly released book and I knew I had to draw the kitties in hats. Here are four. I will draw the other five so stay tuned.

Sara Thomas author of "Cats in Hats: 30 Knit and Crochet Patterns for Your Kitty." (Running Press, 112 pages, $16.95)


Tuesday, May 5, 2015

This and That in a Teeney Sketchbook by Lapin Barcelona

These sketches were done in a teeney sketchbook (3.5 x 5.5). The sketchbook cover is designed by Lapin Barcelona.

Art by LAPIN

The paper is smooth and a light cream color ( I prefer white) but I wanted a book by Lapin. I found it at the Kenyon College Bookstore where I find many unique things. I'm working to fill the pages with simple drawings of ordinary things.


Sunday, May 3, 2015

Big Head Drawing

One of Lapin Barcelona's assignments for Sketchbook Skool was to draw Big Head portraits similar to his style. He draws using live models but I didn't have a model at the ready so I used the following photos for reference.

These are my daughters (yes, artistic and creative souls). This is the set up they staged for a Halloween Trick or Treat night outside my house. I live in a huge stone house that appears "castle-like" or "haunted"...take your pick. So it was the perfect backdrop for this Halloween magic. They did not move. They appeared mannequin or doll-like. A child would approach to look closer and maybe reach out to touch when one of them would move. The child would scream and run off. Perfect Halloween fun!


Thursday, April 30, 2015

Sketchbook Skool With Lapin Barcelona!

I'm experiencing week two of Sketchbook Skool  with instructor Lapin Barcelona, the French illustrator. He is staring into Koosje Koene's eyes as he draws her portrait. He says he always draws the eyes first and must get the eyes right as they are the key to the story he is drawing. He is famous for drawing "big head" portraits. He uses old ledgers to draw in and when he is finished he asks the model to sign their portrait using a BIC 4 color pen. His drawings of vehicles are also fantastic.

Koosje and Danny Gregory founded Sketchbook Skool. We're in the second year and I can't imagine missing a session. There are three sessions a year with each session running for six weeks. A different instructor is introduced each week. Sketchbook Skool is "Art 4 All." Perhaps you'd like to join us.


Monday, April 27, 2015

WOW! Sketchbook Skool With Jonathan Twingley

I ccould ramble on and on about experiences at Sketchbook Skool  (this is my second year), but I'll keep it short and say "WOW!"

I had the joy of studying with Jonathan Twingley.  What an impression he made on me...and obviously Zebra. I'm fired up to work with inks and collage. Merci Jonathan.