Hi everyone, I have been doing some creative collage work in an old sketchbook. Hope you like them!
I was inspired to put together this kind of sketchbook back in may, when I received a 1500 page (!) catalogue by post from Gerstaecker, an art shop. Flipping through the pages and looking at all the color samples filled me with inspiration (especially these long, rectangular ones which are actually pigments in their powdered state, they have a different color vibration in their textures as opposed to plainer ones, it really pained me that I could not use the blue ones printed on the opposite side, but oh well!, it can’t be helped, I can only use one side of a page). I just kept gazing at them and at first I had no idea about what to do but slowly the idea started seeping into my head that I could cut them up and do some kind of collage work and finally I started making grids for Munsell charts and filling them up by pasting in the appropriate hue, value and chroma in each slot. As you know, the rows represent increasing chroma and the columns increasing value so that the most saturated ‘real’ color appears always in the right extreme side of the table. Some colors I found in other magazines, and I cut out some images from ‘Wohnen und Garten’ and pasted them in as collages in the pages of the rest of the sketchbook so it would serve me as a ‘color inspiration’ book. I didn’t feel the need to ‘finish’ it, the labels are only pencilled in and some of the colors I didn’t find, I figured I could always paint them in later and ink them properly. These pages are of 7.5RP, 10RP, 2.5R, 5R, .., 7.5YR and 10YR. Some other pages I will post at a later time. Enjoy!!
Here I have made some notan studies from imagination. They are of white dominant, gray dominant and dark dominant but I have substituted a light tan for light gray and a green for dark gray as I don’t have grays with me right now. The pens that I have used are tombow and pigma brush pens.
These studies I am doing are for lessons and exercises at the Virtual Art Academy, an excellent online art school:
The state known as ‘flow’ cannot be reached through a process, or in other words, through a step by step of do this, then do that,.. it has to be come upon in the present, found anew fresh everyday. Stories can be used in a powerful way to to dvelve into the self and I found the audio books by Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés very unusual and innovative in this regard. The first time I read her book was, I think, two years back and the very first story was like a shock to the system. Dr Estés says that fairy tales have been cleaned up and they originally did not have the happy endings that they now have. The characters in the stories were symbolic and represented archetypes, the various themes in the stories have universal meaning. You come upon the different states within yourself and the state of your relationships with the people you are with or in contact with. And one is no longer living on the surface, not knowing why certain things are happening or why certain things are just stuck or so rooted within that one never seems to be able to get away from some modes of thinking and being. Just the understanding of what is happening within oneself helps us to find ways to circumvent obstacles and come upon those fallow lands inside so as to tend to them and cultivate them and so to reap a rich harvest and so as to sow seeds again and earn dividends hopefully in a continuous prcoess. Because creativity is not something that can be switched on and off like a light switch but rather something that happens in cycles and it’s darned exciting to discover these processes and cycles within oneself!
For me, planning creative tasks is extremely difficult; I mean, the planning itself is fun and easy but getting down to actually do them when the time comes for it… ahh!.. that’s another matter altogether. I have a couple of calendars and planners as proof of a lousy follow-through. When I have, written down, in my planner, one kind of task (like designing or anatomy) I am usually in the mood to do another kind of task (like color studies for e.g.) This has been a problem for me for quite a long time because I like to plan in advance and have a regular routine and know beforehand what I am going to be doing so that I can have ideas with a particular object in view and not have random sparks bouncing off in my head which I might not even get down to doing something about in the near future. I have spent some time learning the ‘GTD’ system, its a time-management system developed by David Allen and it was quite an interesting time for me, its an excellent system and I would recommend to anyone the book authored by him. I have written ‘looong’ lists and lists on what I wanted to accomplish for myself art-wise and I have a boiled-down version of it (not yet complete) at the back of my planner to refer to when I am planning:
Finally, after looking at loads and loads of utube videos on planners and organisers and thoroughly enjoying myself in the process, I stumbled upon “Vegan Organiser” ‘s take on the Hobonichi Cousin and the way she uses it which got me hooked on it and I will forever be grateful to her for it (she is a professor and a planner-addict and I love her videos):
Now with the Hobonichi Cousin, I have gotten a lot more organized and because of the various layouts it has, I have room to write down everything that comes into my head and it’s such a relief. (though it still doesn’t have space for everything I need to write down and I also use another sketchbook for project planning) The thing that sets it apart from other planners is that it has all four types of spreads, the daily, though weekly, monthly and 6 months on 2 pages spread which makes it so much more useful to plan for every area of your life in one book.
The appointments and schedules that occur or re-occur at a fixed time are fairly easy to plan, (like doctor’s appointments and kids activities) you just write them down at that specific time and date in the weekly or monthly pages and not forget to look at it every day or have it open on your desk, in front of you the whole day. For the other, more creative kinds of tasks which can be done at any time; at present, I am in the process of writing them down after I do them (which as you know, is not planning but rather journaling), then later I look at the time of the day and week and the things I have to do before and after I do them and also check with my mood and I try to figure out the times that I am most comfortable doing a certain thing. I try to be in a ‘meditative mood’ the whole day, I want to be enjoying the things I am doing and not just do something for the sake of doing it, so when I plan wrongly it just disrupts my whole flow and I have finally come to the conclusion that its not worth it. I only want to draw when I feel like drawing and I only want to paint when I feel like painting and not because I have planned for them.
The artwork here is of another ‘tree of life’ illustration inspired by an image which I don’t know whom to credit to; I am besotted by the ‘tree of life’ and the mythology that surrounds it, it conjures up so many levels of meaning in so many different parts of the self that I just like to ‘muse and daydream’ over it:
I have been re-reading Mother’s Agenda (its a 4000 page transscripted document of tape-recorded conversations between Mirra Alfassa and her disciple, Satprem ) , things I find interesting and feel that I would want to refer back to, I sometimes jot them down in the daily pages, I am showing a page here about what animals and numbers represent spiritually. Also I’m including a small paragraph from it at the end of the blog post that I read 2 days back, it might be interesting to a few souls out there. About the artwork, bamboo formations are at the top of my list of favorites to paint. I have to check myself so that I don’t doodle the same on every page.
I have a few other things to write about but this is getting to be a rather long (I hope, interesting) blog post and I think I will sign off for now. I have another color sketchbook that I want to show you, I have cut out color samples from magazines in place of the chips in the Munsell charts and its quite inspiring for me just to flip through it. I am not at my home right now and don’t have all my sketchbooks with me, so I will blog about it in a week’s time after I fly back to Germany.
Quote from the Agenda:
And I know what he means: to deny entry to regimenting, organizing,
prescriptive, judgmental thought – he wants none of all that. What he calls being simple is a joyous spontaneity; in action, in expression, in movement, in life – be simple, be simple, be simple. A joyous spontaneity. To rediscover in evolution that condition he calls divine, which was a spontaneous and happy condition. He wants us to rediscover that. And for days now he has been here telling me (and the same goes for your work): Be simple, be simple, be simple.
And in his simplicity was a luminous joy. A joyous spontaneity.
What’s terrible is this organizing mind. It’s terrible! It has us so convinced that we can’t do without it that it’s very difficult to resist. Indeed, it has convinced all humanity. The whole so-called elite of humanity has been convinced that nothing worthwhile can be achieved without this mental organizing power. But Sri Aurobindo wants us to have the same simple joy as a blossoming rose: Be simple, be simple, be simple. And when I hear it or see it, it’s like a rivulet of golden light, like a fragrant garden – all, all, all is open.
So you see, mon petit …
Some more quick notan sketches I made with a pigma brush pen.. Notans are very easy to make from Chinese brush paintings which is quite obvious, I guess, given that that’s where the word Notan originates from… I think I am tired, I am writing gibberish… I will try to write a longer, more coherent post tomorrow. Bye for now!
I recently joined the Virtual Art Academy, it’s a four year online art course and I’m so happy and excited to be doing it that I wanted to share a few pages of what I have been doing, here with you. Just a few lessons into it and I can already sense a change in how I think visually:
I have had this Hobonichi planner since 5 months, and I love it so much, I can’t do it without it anymore, here are a few pages from it, I wanted to share these also with you; mostly I write notes in the daily pages, I don’t know , notes always keep piling up for me; the weekly pages I use for my core planning and the monthly pages for semi regular tasks:
(The last image has a tree of life illustration which is inspired from a photo in pinterest)
Quitting blogging has been on my mind for quite some time now (you might have guessed that given my increasingly intermittent posts from the past 2 to 3 years). The ending of the year seems like an apt time to talk about closures! Its been nearing 10 years that I have been writing for this blog (ever since my son’s birth actually), it has been a creative experience in and of itself apart from my artistic one. You have been great readers, thank you for coming by, reading and for sharing your opinions. I feel like I have to reflect back on my creative processes, growth and think about the way forward in terms of my artistic style. So, for now, I will leave you with my cafè painting; have a great holiday and happy goal-setting for the coming year. And, please don’t forget to check out my article at Jackson’s blog, it will be out after the festive season.
A sampling of what I have been doing with Jackson`s watercolors:
I haven`t had a chance to work on my painting this past week, I got sidetracked with figure drawing and some geometrical pattern drawing, so today I wanted to get on with it and I have transferred my drawing here to a watercolor paper:
a page from my sketches:
and meanwhile the Jackson`s catalogues have arrived: art supplies are always tantalizing; I have chosen a few and they are kind enough to be sending them to me, I can`t wait to try out their specialty brushes like foliage, fan and dagger.
These Sennelier iridescent extra soft pastels look way too tempting: