Art for Self-care

Art for Self-care

Art as Self-care

The use of art as self-care is well documented.

Art can be therapeutic and many people say this is true.

In a busy digital world, there is an urge to disengage from text-based connections with others.

Drawing and sketching may help bring balance to the input your brain gets every day.

Healing

Personally, I turned to art at a time in my life when I could not deal with another conversation as I seemed to be going around in circles with the issue at the time.

I’d wake up and immediately start ruminating about what happened yesterday and replay conversations and situations in my head.

I would think, “I should have said this or that” or “I should have done things differently.”

There was no let up.

I became weary and tired.

Art Journaling

I turned to my art journal and began again.

I now write my thoughts on the right-hand page and draw a corresponding picture on the left-hand page.

I am right-handed so it’s easier to write on the right-hand page and usually there is more paper underneath to support the pen.

We used to do this type of work in grade school way back where it is still used as a learning aid.

Memory

You remember things better if you hear them, write notes about then and draw an image about them.

Clearly you can go further and make a model out of cardboard or macaroni, dance it out, pen a poem, write song lyrics, sing about it or do a play.

Write and Draw

Let’s keep to the writing and the drawing.

Words and image.

Make notes and draw a picture about it.

This technique is a basis of art journaling.

Aspiring Artist Activity

Art Journaling – Coffee Shop

Take your art journal, a pen and go to a coffee shop.

Get a cup of coffee and settle down at a table.

In your art journal please do the following:

Sketch

  • Sketch the cup and maybe the people at the other tables.
  • Add the coffee shop name and logo to the sketch.
  • If you have a croissant or other pastry, draw that in too.
  • You can add as much, or as few, details to your journal spread as you like.

Words

  • Write the time, date where you are enjoying the delicious coffee.
  • Note the coffee shop name.

You have now completed your first art journaling sketchbook entry.

Doodling

Doodling is the act of drawing squiggles and mini shapes and characters on the corner of a page.

It is what you do when they put you on hold on a phone call with your pen in hand.

Doodling can be lines, curves, faces or whatever.

But it is an outpouring of what’s on your mind and in this way it can be helpful.

Daily Art Practice

If you look carefully, you can eke out a quarter of an hour each day for your daily art practice.

Fifteen minutes of drawing daily can soothe your mind.

Draw Your Day

For my daily art practice, I have a special small A5 sketchbook just for my quick daily art drawings.

These sketches are unlikely to ever see the light of day, but they can often be the basis for later more complex drawings that I create.

I like the idea of letting sketches incubate until they turn into something else.

Simple objects around you are great subjects to draw.

Benefits of Daily Art Practice

To establish a daily art practice is of huge benefit for several reasons:

  • You get to improve your art.
  • You express your innermost feelings
  • You can express yourself through words and images
  • You can begin to create a body of work
  • You may realise what your favorite art medium is
  • You initiate the foundation of your art style

Daily Art Practice Examples

Here are some examples I did of daily art practice with pencil sketches of flowers:

Breath Drawing

Breathing, we all do it, in and out, in and out, in and out…

Regular breathing tends to be shallow and has the same count for in and out.

You breathe in for a count of three and out for a count of three.

Inhale one, two, three and exhale one, two, three.

This is natural breathing.

Aspiring Artist Activity – Controlled Breath

A controlled breath helps to calm the mind and reduces blood pressure.

Breathe

Try this activity and the trick is to control your exhale.

  • Breathe in fully for a count of three, and out fully for a count of five.
  • In one, two, three and out one, two, three, four, five.
  • Fully empty your lungs in a slow controlled exhale.

Draw

On your paper and with a black pen please do the following:

  • Start at the left-hand edge and draw a line up when you breathe in.
  • Draw a line down as you breathe out.
  • Continue across the page.
  • Turn the page one quarter turn and repeat the line.
  • Continue filing up the page with your breath movement lines.
  • You will end up with an artwork that looks like neurographic art and now you can curve the intersections and color in.

Neurographic Art

Neurographic art is an art movement that I recently discovered as I was searching for art and mindfulness.

I began with some basics and now enjoy making neurographic art.

Neurographic Art Examples

Some examples of my beginner attempts at neurographic art are here:

Journaling

Journaling comes in several flavors:

  • Bullet journaling – to do lists and calendars
  • Art journaling
  • Sketch journaling
  • Morning pages journaling – Follow the guide of Julia Cameron and write three pages longhand every morning to dump your cluttered mind
  • Nature Journaling
  • Perpetual Journaling

Art Journaling

Art practice sketches and thoughts.

Some of my examples of art journaling are here:

Sketch Journaling

To my mind, sketch journaling is drawing what you did and where you went.

Nature Journaling

Nature journaling is drawing the natural world. You would typically start with plants and insects in your own garden.

This is a great activity to do with the kids or grandkids.

Perpetual Nature Journal

A perpetual journal is divided into twelve months and you capturing some images each month.

Example pages:

Pin this image to your Pinterest board.

Perpetual Anything Journaling

A perpetual journal could be for anything that interests you.

The benefit of a perpetual journal is that it is evergreen and grows every month.

Perpetual journals can easily become records of your life and can be handed down to the family like an heirloom

Think back to Edwardian women embroidering stitch samplers which show what they could do. These cloths are most desirable today as family records.

Perpetual journals can be your legacy.

Perpetual Legacy Journaling

A legacy journal is one you leave behind for those that follow.

Typically, it was a family history book containing the family tree, but it can be focused on what and who you are.

Examples of a perpetual legacy journal that you could make are:

  • Family recipes
  • Our family Christmas book
  • Family tree
  • Family homes
  • Your gardening tips
  • Family anecdotes
  • A home book about the property and renovations you did

I’m sure you can think of many more perpetual legacy journals.

Thank you for spending a part of your day with me.

Love,

Alison

Alison Hazel

Author Bio

Alison Hazel is a mature woman who shares her ongoing journey about becoming an artist later in life. She creates simple art that anyone can make. She hopes to inspire you to reach your creative potential in the area that suits you.

Go here to read more about Alison's story.

If you want to send Alison a quick message go here.

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How to Draw a Fibonacci Shell – Sketchbook Art

How to Draw a Fibonacci Shell – Sketchbook Art

Fibonacci

I’ve always been interested in symbols and patterns and particularly the patterns found in nature.

The work we are about to draw is one of those natural patterns that pops up all over the place.

The Fibonacci sequence is 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21… and continues.

The numeric pattern is created when the previous two numbers are added together to make the third number.

So, 1 + 1 = 2, 1 + 2 = 3, 2 + 3 = 5 and so on.

The Fibonacci sequence continues indefinitely.

 

 

The Plant Kingdom

This pattern of numbers can be seen in nature.

Sunflower Heads

You will notice it in the placement of the seeds on the head of a sunflower.

The whorls spiral out in the Fibonacci sequence.

Pineapple

Another example of the Fibonacci sequence in plants is found on a pineapple where knobby things cycle up one way with eight spirals and the other way with thirteen spirals called interlocking helices.

These are just examples of how the Fibonacci numbers come through in the plant world.

 

The Animal Kingdom

One of the most obvious examples of the Fibonacci sequence in the animal kingdom is in the Nautilus shell.

The Nautilus is a seafaring animal that grows with chambers and measures out exactly the Fibonacci pattern.

I have a very small shell collection at home and within it I do have a Nautilus shell which I bought when I was in Mozambique.

There’s a photograph of it here.

This is the inspiration for this sketchbook piece that we are going to do together today.

Nautilus Shell

Supplies

I’m listing the art supplies I used to create this drawing, but I always urge you to use anything that you have at hand.

You do not have to go out and get these supplies.

You will probably have plenty of pens and papers in your home with which you can draw this sketch.

You Have What You Need

Don’t feel that you have to have all of this equipment and if you don’t you can’t do it.

Use the supplies that you have to hand.

You are an artist that’s why you are here.

Get your stuff out and let’s get started.

 

Drawing the Grid

We are taking the two numbers five and eight from the Fibonacci sequence.

We are going to draw a rectangle with that is eight blocks wide by five blocks deep.

It will depend on the size of your paper, but in my sketchbook, I drew a rectangle that was actually 2 x 8 which is 16 centimeters wide and 2 x 5 which is 10 centimeters deep.

If you are using inches, it might be easier to draw your box 8 inches by 5 inches or any combination of those numbers.

When you have your rectangle centred on your page it’s time to draw the grid.

Divide your rectangle into eight columns wide and five rows deep.

Drawing the Blocks

Look at my diagram to see how to further divide up your blocks.

On the left-hand side draw a thicker line after five columns.

Now looking on the right-hand part, which is now 3 columns wide, draw a thicker line 3 rows down.

From the bottom right corner draw a thicker line two rows over and two rows up.

Finally divide the last two into one cube each.

Keep looking at the block diagram to make sure that you are dividing your rectangle into the squares correctly.

Drawing the Curves

When drawing the lines with your compass make sure to press lightly.

You just want the line to be a guide we are not engraving on the page.

The pencil I have in my compass is a 2H pencil.

Make sure the tip of the compass point and the tip of the pencil are at the same place (when the compass is closed) before you start.

 

Steps

  • With your pencil compass place the point at the origin position shown by the red dot and draw two quarter circles over the one cube blocks.
  • Move your compass point to the origin position marked with the dot and draw a curve two blocks wide as shown.
  • Move your compass point to the third origin position shown and draw a curved line over three blocks.
  • Move your compass point into the final five block origin position and draw an arc five blocks wide as shown.

Dividing the Segments

Now we are going to divide each of the number blocks one, two, three and five into segments (like an orange) to indicate the growth of the shell.

Number One Blocks.

The number one blocks do not get divided as they are just one.

Number Two Blocks

The number two block division is from the origin point (where we put the compass in) draw a line at 45 degrees dividing the number two block into two segments.

Number Three Blocks

Considering the three blocks, place your protractor crosshairs at the origin point (where you put your compass point in) for the number three blocks, remember to reference the drawing.

We’re going to divide the number three block into three, so that will be 90-degrees divided by three will result in 30-degrees per segment.

Make a light mark at 30-degrees from the horizontal and 60-degrees from the horizontal on your page.

With a ruler, join the origin point for the number three blocks with the 30-degree and 60-degree mark lightly in pencil.

Do not extend the line past the curve.

Number 5 Blocks

We are going to divide the number five blocks into five segments.

Place your protractor cross hairs at the origin point for the number five block.

To divide 90-degrees by five each segment will be 18-degrees wide.

Counting up from the horizontal, make a light mark at 18-degrees and then one at 36-degrees (2 x 18 = 36).

Next, counting left from the vertical, make a light mark at 18-degrees and one at 36-degrees.

Take your ruler and lightly draw a line from the origin point to the marks you have just made.

You will draw four lines here thus dividing the five block into five segments.

Do not draw these lines past the curve of the shell.

Erase Marks

Lightly erase any pencil marks that are now unneeded and unnecessary before you start to color.

I also used a kneadable eraser and lifted quite a bit of the graphite from the page just leaving faint lines there as a guide.

Coloring the Shell

I chose to colour my Fibonacci shell in tones of yellow and the background in tones of blue.

Yellow and blue is always a great color combination to use in artwork and you can see this to great effect in Van Gogh’s “Starry, Starry Night” painting.

Take your time as this is the fun part.

Color in the background with different colors of blue.

Relax and color in each little segment withing each block carefully.

There will be many triangles and slivers of block now.

Finally, I went over with a heavy black pen and redrew the curve of the Fibonacci shell and the artwork outline.

Completed

Voila, and there is your completed sketch.

It is a fascinating shape as the Fibonacci shell continues to spiral outwards from the centre point.

This shape resonates with us as it is part of the natural world.

What Not to Do

When I first started drawing the Fibonacci shell, I couldn’t get it quite right because it’s quite a tricky pattern.

I tried several times, over a few days, to divide the shell because I wanted to you to see the striations and stripes on the shell which is how the actual Nautilus shell looks.

Now I’m going to show you my first few original efforts, so if for some reason you do make a botch, you will be happy knowing that it happens to everyone.

These first two drawings are examples of what not to do when trying to draw the Fibonacci shell.

The third one is correct.

Aspiring Artist Activity

In your sketchbook, please draw the Fibonacci shell by doing the following:

 

  • Measure the blocks carefully
  • Draw the curves carefully
  • Divide the segments carefully
  • Colour in and embellish your artwork as you see fit.

 

Share

Share your artworks on social with the hashtag #AHAFibonacci.

 

Alison Hazel

Author Bio

Alison Hazel is a mature woman who shares her ongoing journey about becoming an artist later in life. She creates simple art that anyone can make. She hopes to inspire you to reach your creative potential in the area that suits you.

Go here to read more about Alison's story.

If you want to send Alison a quick message go here.

Third Age Art for Women

Third Age Art for Women

Get some ideas on finding your unique creative art expression as a woman in the Third Age of life through a journal activity.

Neurographic Art – Basics

Neurographic Art – Basics

Inventor

Read more about the Neurographic Art inventor Psychologist Pavel Piskarev https://www.neurographica.us/author.

 

 

Thought, Word and Deed

Everything your do in life comes from the thoughts you have, the words you say and the deeds you do.

There is a direct process from one step to the next.

You cannot do something (such as make art) before you have thought about it.

The practical decisions you need to make before you can make art are to find a pen and get some paper.

What you will draw is the magic that come through a neurographic art practice.

Benefits

The benefits of neurographic art are subtle, but many.

Through creating a neurographic art practice you can:

  • Relieve anxiety.
  • Find peace.
  • Reduce stress.
  • Calm your mind.
  • Gain clarity.
  • Get things in perspective.
  • Help yourself.
  • Help others.
  • Use images to express your inner feelings.
  • Allow abstract thoughts to pop into your head.
  • Make fabulous art for your wall.

Principles

When you draw and make art, your hand holds the pen and your brain moves your hand.

Thus, there is a direct connection between your hand and your thoughts.

Intuition

Neurographic art can be related to an intuitive scribble.

A scribble has no form and just appears on the page.

An intuitive scribble is brought forth when you focus on a problem or a decision you wish to address.

Energy flows around your you, through your body and in your brain.

When energy is blocked it usually happens at a harsh wall or obstacle that you cannot overcome.

Three Methods of Neurographic Art

There are three main types of neurographic art, specific, popular and combination.

There may be others as subsets of the above, but most artists will work in one of the three methods whether knowingly or not.

1 Specific Neurographic Artwork Method

To be specific when you create neurographic art you need to use the special neurographic line (see below).

The neurographic line will tap directly into your mind and help you build new neural pathways in your brain.

The neurographic line is the best line to use for deep meditation, self-awareness and for anyone on a consciousness raising journey.

2 Popular Neurographic Artwork Method

The popular neurographic art method is to simply draw curves and swoops on the page, or even straight lines and shapes, in the artwork.

They then curve the intersections and may add shapes and color.

This type of artwork is fun and good to start with.

It is not strictly neurographic art as it may not carry the full mental health benefits of using the neurographic line.

Additionally, people will add dots, flowers, starts or other exciting embellishments to their art piece.

The popular neurographic art method is suitable for kids and is often used in schools.

3 Combination Neurographic Artwork Method

Combination neurographic artworks employ smooth lines, neurographic lines, loose shapes and embellishments together.

This is where most people are most at ease with neurographic art for their drawings.

The combination neurographic art technique can bring light meditation properties to the process and create a meaningful piece of art as well.

Even a small piece of the neurographic line will be of benefit.

Be mindful of what you are trying to achieve.

Do you want:

  • Therapeutic mental health strengthening.
  • Casual feel-good art.
  • To have fun exploring a new and trendy art movement.

The Neurographic Line

Not all lines are created equal and the neurographic line is no different.

What Is a Neurographic Line?

  • A neurographic line does not repeat.
  • A neurographic line changes direction as soon as you are aware of its route.
  • A neurographic line does not end in the middle of the page, it either flows to the edge of the page or it blends into other lines or shapes like circles.

    What is Not a Neurographic Line?

    • A straight line.
    • A smooth, wavy or curved line.
    • Smooth shapes like circles.

      3 Ways Neurographic Art May Benefit You

      Let’s have a look at three ways that creating neurographic art can benefit you.

      Of course there will be many other ways as well, but these first three are the easiest ones to start with.

      1 To Make Intentions

      To make an intention with your graphic art is to bring a focus to a situation challenge or issue that you are facing.

      You would do this before you start the artwork for example perhaps you were trying to decide whether you should quit your job and take a new job that has been offered to you and you’re not exactly sure what to do.

      And while you can consider the pay increase, adjusted hours, a better commute or how it may improve your actual career prospects, you also want to consider this action that you’re going to take on an inner level and that you could certainly do with neurographic art.

      How to make intentional Neurographic Art

      Take the sheet of paper that you’re going to make the artwork on and on the back right one or two words that you need to focus on which clearly explain the dilemma you are facing.

      In the example of, “should you take the new job?” you would simply write the two words “new job” on the back of the sheet.

      This intentional writing of the words is to focus your mind as you create the artwork.

      You are intentionally creating an artwork that will help you decide whether or not to take a new job offer.

      The idea is not to have a simple yes or no answer at the end, but during the course of creating the artwork (which would probably take you at least one or two or five or six hours) you will focus your mind on all of the options and permutations which taking the new job would entail.

      Ideally at the end of the artwork you will have a clearer understanding of whether to take the new job and how you feel about it.

      2 Neurographic Line

      Neurographic Line in Neurographic Art

      Using the Neurographic line when you create neurographic art.

      As you may know not all neurographic art uses the neurographic line.

      This is a specific line:

      • it does not repeat
      • it is not a straight line
      • it does not curve smoothly
      • it generally wiggles along

      The idea is that as you draw this line as soon as you become conscious of the direction in which you are going you have to change direction.

      Non-dominant hand

      One great tip when drawing a neurographic line is to use your non-dominant hand.

      That means that if you are right-handed, you would put the pen in your left hand and if you are left-handed you will put the pen in your right hand.

      Crossing the center line

      By crossing the centerline and putting the pen in the opposite hand you are forcing your mind to see these paths differently than they would through the automatic way that we naturally go if we are perhaps right-handed.

      Signature – Sign Here

      You can clearly see the benefit of working with your nondominant hand when you come to writing your signature.

      If you are naturally right handed, as you write your signature John Smith after years of practice you just automatically swish out all the letters and dash of your signature.

      It is very often not very clear to see, but because you have been writing it for so many years, your brain will automatically sign your name without thinking and you do it with your dominant hand.

      However, if you put the pen in your non-dominant hand and you try to sign your signature suddenly your brain has to actually work.

      This means that you naturally tap into a new neural pathway as you think about what you are doing.

      It does not come naturally to you because you haven’t worn a pathway in your mind, so it’s something new for your mind to grapple with.

      You create new connections as you learn how to sign your name with your non-dominant hand.

      3 Smooth Connections

      Curves

      Once you have the main lines down on your page, whether they be circles shapes, swoops, or the neurographic line, you are now at the point of smoothing out the connections.

      To smooth connections you take your black pen and you curves where every line intersects another line.

      Generally, there will be four curves at each intersection.

      How to Curve Intersections – Neurographic Art

      One of the main principles of doing basic neurographic art is curving the intersections.

      The intersections occur where two lines cross or where a lign crosses a shape such as a circle, an oval, or another shape.

      Where two lines intersect there will be four curves required at that intersection.

      I’m going to share with you best principles for curving your intersections in neurographic art.

      Intersection Meaning

      As a reminder where two lines intersect in neurographic art, and you curve the intersections, these are the points where the new neural pathways are being built in your brain.

      This means is that this is an opportunity for new thoughts ideas and inspiration to come to you.

      Pathways

      It is a bit like tramping out a path in the woods.

      To start with you must hack through the undergrowth is to create a new pathway.

      After you’ve been doing that for a week you can see a vague footprint footpath through the bush.

      The more you walk the same path and use the same ideas the stronger the pathway will become and overtime it will widen.

      Eventually pathways which are used frequently will become well entrenched in your thought patterns.

      The idea is that to branch out and create a new pathway means going in a different direction and make new connections.

      This is symbolic these lines and intersections in neurographic artwork are symbolic of new thought patterns, ideas and ways of thinking in your mind.

      Plasticity

      This leads to brain plasticity and a growth mindset.

      Line Thickness

      When creating neurographic art one must consider the thickness of the line you are drawing.

      If you use a very thin line, you will have smaller intersections and if you use a thicker line, you will have bigger intersections.

      Circle Template

      To understand how to curve connections in neurographic art you would technically use a circle template.

      This is not necessary, but to understand the principles of where the curves are coming from it may be a great guide.

      You can eyeball the curves you need in your neurographic art and depending on the thickness of your line will depend on how large your circle diameter will be.

      All intersections that are on the same drawing would technically have the same radius curve at their intersections.

      If your main lines are too thin, on your intersections are too big, the artwork looks a little unbalanced.

      If your lines are very thick and your intersections are very small, again the artwork looks unbalanced.

      It is better to find a happy medium between the thickness of the lines on your drawing and the curves you are making at your intersections.

      There are no hard and fast rules for this.

      With practice you will find your own individual art style when working with neurographic art.

      Basic Shape

      In a basic two-line intersection, the lines will cross horizontally and vertically.

      The lines will be at 90° to each other.

      To curve the intersection, you would take your template and with a large radius describe the curves on each corner.

      Use the same size circle to create the curve for each connection.

      Angled Connection

      Where two lines intersect and are at sharp angles, your connection looks slightly different.

      Still use the exact same circle template with the same radius and draw out the four curves.

      This means that on the very wide, or oblique, angles the curve will be shallow and low.

      On the very narrow, or acute, angles, the curves will be deep and high.

      Curved Intersections

      When two lines that intersect are curved, there may be a variety of widths to the main connection.

      Take the circle template with the exact same curve and the same radius and draw in smoothly the curve on each of the four sides of this connection.

      This may result in a larger connection area that is all in black.

      Multiple intersections

      If your drawing has multiple intersections, where more than two lines are coming together in the very small area, it will create a far larger connection hub overall.

      There will be more than four radii being described out to smooth the connections, but it does depend on the artwork.

      This is a very interesting situation as it allows a very large hub or node to appear in the drawing.

      This more defined intersection will become a higher focus for thoughts and ideas in the artwork.

      In the example below note that the inner triangle has been fully engulfed into the node. This increases the magnitude and focus of this connection.

      Focus

      To draw multiple connections on an artwork can be laborious.

      This is the moment where you have to take your time with your artwork as you bring focus to what it is you are doing.

      The activty of drawing small curves soft curves onto the page is very meditative.

      Now you can consider the intention you wrote from step one and think about it as you, almost mindlessly. draw in all the curves on your artwork.

      All Artworks

      No matter what type of neurographic art you are doing whether it is simple basic or combined there will be connections to be smoothed.

      This is a very satisfying part of the art creation process and it is not to be taken lightly.

      As you are drawing each curve consider the question, issue or what you wrote on the back of your page.

      At this point you can let your mind wander to provide you with other ideas that you may not of thought about regarding your situation.

      Yes or No Answer? Probably Not

      Again, you are not necessarily looking for a yes or no answer.

      What you are trying to do is to open your mind to further possibilities or other ways that this situation could be addressed.

      Aspiring Artist Activity

      Make a piece of art and bring all three techniques that benefit using neurographic art to the work.

      Get a piece of paper which you will be working on some pens, paints or other art supplies and please do the following:

      Intent

      • Write your intention on the back of the page this could be one, two or three words to bring focus to what you are trying to resolve.
      • Start your artwork with a black pen at this point you can do circles if you wish, but bring in neurographic lines and not only straightforward lines.

      Connect

      • Curve all the connections and consciously focus on your intention. Take your time and let your mind wander.

      Embellish

      • Continue adding colour and embellishments as you see fit to make a beautiful artwork of which you are proud.

      Take Notes

      When you have finished your artwork put it aside and make a note of ideas that popped into your head while you were crafting this artwork.

      Share on Social

      Share your artwork with us under the hashtag #AlisonHazelArt

      Alison Hazel

      Author Bio

      Alison Hazel is a mature woman who shares her ongoing journey about becoming an artist later in life. She creates simple art that anyone can make. She hopes to inspire you to reach your creative potential in the area that suits you.

      Go here to read more about Alison's story.

      If you want to send Alison a quick message go here.

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