Instructions

“Instructions for living a life:
Pay attention.
Be astonished.
Tell about it.”

Mary Oliver

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Another little slideshow, this time showing the progress of my ‘Akaroa’ illustration/colouring page, painted by hand on the computer. Yes, it took ages.

Both the coloured version and the colouring page are available as printable instant downloads on Etsy (as is ‘Port Chalmers’). And… on to the next one…

Another week…

‘Akaroa’ colouring pages

…another colouring page (or three)…

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…and another slideshow showing the progression from reference photograph (taken oh so long ago in 2009) through to the final line drawing. Available on Etsy as a printable instant download for your colouring pleasure : )

Lost in the trees… a.k.a. Good reasons to nurture your inner artist

Here is my finished ‘Port Chalmers, Dunedin’ colouring page (WIP slideshow below).

I did a little research online and, as well as being an easy way to relax and have fun, colouring pages ~ especially intricate designs ~ can help to:
* reduce anxiety and relieve stress
* encourage positive thoughts and feelings
* improve mindfulness, connecting us with the here and now
* improve focus and concentration, and help with problem solving

I coloured this on my computer using a crayon-style brush to give it a subtle texture…

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The best thing about doing it digitally was that I could change my mind about what colours went where; the worst thing about doing it digitally was that I could change my mind about what colours went where : ) I’m really happy with the end result and I’m now wondering if it might inspire some canvas paintings later in the year. We shall see.

Who loves a challenge?

‘Port Chalmers, Dunedin’ colouring pages

Colouring pages for the virtual traveller, for the stuck-at-home self-isolator, and for those of you who love a challenge… It has taken me over a week to draw this Port Chalmers scene. What was meant to be a single, printable, A4 page has ended up being so detailed (what was I thinking?) that I have created a two-pager as well, to make it a little easier to colour in (all three are shown above). I’ve just started colouring the single-page version ~ I’ll post it here when it’s finished.

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The slideshow shows my progress ~ from the reference photograph (taken in 2017), through the stages of drawing the church, the buildings and the many plants and trees, to the final colouring page. Available (without the annoying © info and watermarks) on Etsy as an instant download for printing and colouring in or to use on computers/devices with art apps. Enjoy : )

Drawn to drawing

As New Zealand prepares to enter a four-week nationwide lockdown (thanks, COVID-19), I have been wondering if there might be some little thing that I could do to make life a little lighter and brighter for those in isolation from their normal lives. And so the first of my colouring pages is being born. Of course I have picked THE most complicated scene to start with… and it’s taking ages to draw… but I figure that if I’m not bored, anyone colouring it in might be not bored too.

Port Chalmers colouring page ~ a work in progress

I’m planning to do at least three New Zealand landscapes as colouring pages. My first page is based on a photograph of Port Chalmers with the historic Iona Church in the foreground and a large congregation of houses and trees in the surrounding neighbourhood. It may take a day or two (or three) to finish… and then it will be available via Etsy as a printable instant download.

Inner Critic

I painted ‘My inner critic is no expert’ as a reminder : )

There are days when we are so critical of ourselves… days when we think we can’t or we try but things don’t go well and so we decide we won’t… days when the little things overwhelm us and the bigger picture is nowhere to be seen.

Even if they are few and far between, these days still lurk. They return time and time again. Maybe I’ve just painted* the best thing I’ve ever painted and I feel on top of the world. I move on to the next one and nothing goes right. But why? Yesterday it was easy. Yesterday was a joy. Yesterday I even felt like an artist.

Mark Romer famously referred to this as part of The Creative Process and Danny Gregory has devoted an entire book to the subject (‘Shut Your Monkey’). Yes, I’m a big fan of laughing at our inner critic. We do not ~ repeat NOT ~ have to take them seriously.

Okay, sometimes it’s easier said than done. But worthwhile things are very rarely easy. And creating art, no matter what anyone says, is most definitely worthwhile.

* feel free to substitute any creative activity you enjoy for “painted”

Light and shade (and Happy Easter)

A Rose By Any Other Name — acrylic on canvas, 250 x 250 mm, 2019. Available.

“God bless our contradictions, those parts of us which seem out of character. Let us be boldly and gladly out of character. Let us be creatures of paradox and variety: creatures of contrast; of light and shade: creatures of faith. God be our constant. Let us step out of character into the unknown, to struggle and love and do what we will. Amen.”

‘A Note on God’ by Michael Leunig

Drawing Lessons

Way back in December 2009, I reinvented myself and became an artist. It has taken quite a bit of practice to be able to say that without giggling or feeling self-conscious. Some days I revert to describing myself as a painter or a graphic designer, but the good days find me happy to tell it like it is. I still remember discovering Danny Gregory’s book The Creative License: Giving yourself permission to be the artist you truly are ~ I bought a journal and a nice black ink pen and have never looked back. Well, obviously I’m looking back now… but you know what I mean.

A DECADE has now passed since that first illustrated journal and so I’ve decided to put together some quote+art images inspired by the rather good ‘All I Really Need to Know I Learned From Drawing’ list written by Danny Gregory. ✍🏼✍🏼✍🏼

P.S. The background image (minus Danny’s quote) is from this student project (2011).