Exercise 1 – Experimenting with expressive lines and marks: CALM

The finished piece for the emotion calm.

Words: clouds, meditation, flowing, imperfect, wavy, fluffy, music, tea, lavender, not trying so hard, no worries, hakuna matata, gentle, slow

For me calm is when I’m relaxed, have soothing low lights, have time to do things and can meditate.  I get images of softness, clouds, free flowing lines and thoughts, not dwelling on anything, not worrying about things being perfect.  There is a lot of free movement in my drawings, not having an end goal in mind but taking time to slowly and lightly make marks without worrying what they are going to make in the end.

The top left is done with a medium charcoal pencil, I applied very light pressure in an almost massaging way.  I naturally made swirly cloud type shapes that were drew very slowly without any real intent.  My mind almost closing down to thoughts.  I experimented a little with how light I could make the lines but couldn’t stop myself joining the end line to the starting one.

The top right is with a wooden skewer and thin fluid body acrylic craft paint.  Again the movements were slow and dragging, with gentle rolling of the skewer across the paper.  Some areas naturally picked up more paint than others.

The bottom left was using black pastel.  I used the long edge of the pastel rather than the tip, again repeating the same slow wavy movement to create a soft sponge like texture.

The bottom right was with watercolour pencils – a soft grey and a black.  I repeated a similar movement to the first rectangle but this time felt like shading in some of the shapes. Almost like spotting shapes in clouds and making pictures as you lie back on a summer day.  It became almost meditative the art of colouring and finding the shapes, again with no real intent or need to stay in the lines.  It reminded me of the walk the line drawings I would do as a child but this was more relaxed.

Having a calm mind isn’t something I find that easy to do.  In order to get to this state I had a nice cup of tea, turned the lights down low, put on some relaxing music and spent a few minutes just focusing on my breathing before starting.  As I got into the work I found myself relax more and I think this is shown in the finished results, I feel rectangle 4 is more relaxed and calming than the first one.