Adventure 317 ~ Daily Sketching Practice [Day 7]

Daily sketching practice Day 7It’s raining really heavily here today. It’s nearly dark. Winter is on the way.

After lunch, I sat down on the sofa to do my sketch for the day. I noticed that the rain caught my attention ~ in fact, today it seemed like the only thing in the world was rain. I watched the rain. I listened to the rain. I noticed how the rain made me feel. And then I drew the rain.

I let myself draw automatically, without thought. I had a sense of discovering what I was sketching rather than knowing what I was sketching.

As with some of my other sketches, I created a colour key. I noticed which of the colours in the sketch drew my attention first, and the second, and so on. I waited for an association to come up for each one. This is what came up :

1. Black = stability
2. Pink = optimism
3. Red = enthusiasm
4. Green = new growth

I think the sketch is a good reflection of how I’m experiencing both myself and life right now!

This is the final day of my sketching adventure. Now what I’m supposed to do is leave the sketch book for a while and come back to it later. When I come back to it, I should be open to noticing what I notice : maybe emerging patterns, colour combinations I might want to explore further, common themes and metaphors.

I’ve got a lot out of this adventure. Much more than I expected I would. I can see how I might integrate art into some of my other work and practices (like journalling and storytelling). And I was pleasantly surprised by my inability to judge my own art one way or the other : it’s just my art. It’s my art and it’s another way of becoming connected to the outside world and to the inside world. And that’s pretty cool.

I am just going outside and may be some time.


Adventure 316 ~ Daily Sketching Practice [Day 6]

sketching diary Day 6Today I sketched the tree seeds I planted back in October. I’m not sure what called me to sketch them, but I listened to the call and sketched them anyway.

As I was sketching, I got to thinking about all the metaphorical seeds I’ve planted over the the last 316 days. Some have already grown and blossomed, some I’m not expecting to blossom for some time ,and others may not blossom at all. That’s just the nature of planting seeds!

When I returned to my computer to upload the image of the sketch, I opened my emails only to be completely surprised and delighted to have received a letter from a publisher who is interested in my children’s story, The Faerie Thorn.

So that seed is beginning to grow! The publisher has requested the remainder of the manuscript and we’ll see what happens next 🙂 . I’ll keep you posted.

I am just going outside and may be some time.


Adventure 315 ~ Daily Sketching Practice [Day 5]

daily sketching practice Day 5I had the fullest intention of going outside today, of connecting with an aspect nature and drawing it. But it just didn’t happen like that : it’s lashing down with rain, the wind is sneezing huge gusts in every direction, and my sketchbook is not up to those kind of conditions 😛 .

Instead, I sat on the sofa and waited for something to call my attention. I was scanning the room, expecting a call from the outside. As I was waiting for the sign, something came up inside me and it surprised me!

What asked to be sketched today was a business idea for next year. I’ve been developing this idea for a few weeks now and so I was curious to see what would come out.

I created a new colour key after I’d created the sketch :

1. Yellow = momentum
2. Purple = transition
3. Pink = creativity
4. Red/orange = passion, energy
5. Black = direction, cohesion, connection
6. Green = the past
7. Blue = synergy and collaboration

You can’t see the whole picture in the blog post image, but you can in the video. In summary, the image I created has plenty of positive associations : plenty of energy, direction and creativity. It shows transitioning, collaboration and connection – and whilst ot looks like the past is being left behind, you can see (in the central spiral) that the past is also integrated into the new business idea.

I wonder if there’s anything missing that should be present? I’m totally comfortable with, and even excited about, what is already present in the picture.

I am just going outside and may be some time.


Adventure 314 ~ Daily Sketching Practice [Day 4]

dog in the garden sketching diary day 4For today’s sketching adventure, I drew a picture of my dog as we were sitting in the garden together during my lunch-break. Again, I let my fingers do the drawing and also let them select the colours without too much thought.

My friend Stephanie, an art therapist, looked at the picture I created yesterday and offered some observations and some top tips for helping me to connect with what’s going on in my sketches. You can read her observations about yesterday’s sketch here (please scroll down – her comments are below the video).

She suggested creating a emotional colour key for every sketch. You do this by making your sketch, selecting 7 or 8 key emotions, and then allowing yourself to be drawn to a particular colour for each of the emotions. Now look at your sketch : what’s present and what’s missing, emotionally speaking?

I created a similar type of key for my sketch today. I made the sketch. I then took each colour I used and allowed an association to come up. Today’s colour key is as follows :

1. Red/orange = love, high energy, fast-moving energy
2. Yellow = hope
3. Black = solidity, connection, firmness, groundedness, very slow-moving and dense
4. Green = growth
5. Purple/pink = peace
6. Brown = wisdom
7. Blue = neutral, like a carrier oil, allowing movement

Unfortunately, you can’t see the whole picture in the blog image, but you can see it on today’s video. I explain my interpretation of my sketch in today’s video. The highlights are : it’s an image full of hope, peace, energy, growth and connection. I’m at peace and connected to my dog, to the earth and to myself. My feet reach down through, and into, hope, connection, growth and wisdom. My dog’s nose, ears and tail are all loaded with wisdom too, and he’s full of energy and hope 🙂 .

I am just going outside and may be some time.


Adventure 313 ~ Daily Sketching Practice [Day 3]

sketching diary day 3For today’s sketch I focused solely on my inner world and painted “me”. The odd thing is that “me” is the small hole, the uncoloured  “empty” space, in the middle! It looks like I am hiding away – and even if you look for “me”, I’m invisible.

It’s certainly true that I feel a little empty and tired today, in need of some time and space to refuel and get some perspective. And as I consider what it might mean to be invisible, I’m not sure how I’m responding to that : it neither feels good or bad … more like … interesting. Hiding away might be a good way to recharge though.

To make this sketch, I connected with “me” and my feelings and then just let my hands do the work – they selected they colours and drew the shapes as I watched. I didn’t think about what I was sketching ; I just let the sketch happen. The sketching process helped me to connect with and explore my inner experience a little further. Without the sketching today, I may have either been unaware of how tired I actually was, or (more likely) ignored the signals to take a break.

So, I’m going to respect the signals and relax this afternoon.

One of my friends is an art therapist. I may send the sketch to her and ask her what she makes of it.* UPDATE * ~ you can read my friend’s interpretation of my sketch below today’s video.

Stephanie Johnson, art therapist, makes the following observations : ” First impressions, it’s a mandala of sorts and everything is spiralling out which suggests embryonic stages of something. It is focused and centred and there is a lot of movement and energy going on but maintaining the focal point at the centre. So there’s a “radiation” type movement which makes me think that it’s driven from the inside but has yet to take a specific direction, which is an exciting point so the energy feels quite positive and cheery. Also the colour palate is bright and energetic. The centre feels quite nurtured or protected from the swirling outside that doesn’t seem connected to it in the same way as the more solid colouring. ”

I am just going outside and may be some time.


Adventure 312 ~ Daily Sketching Practice [Day 2]

sketching diary Jane TalbotToday I took my sketch book with me to the forest. I noticed what caused a “Look at that!” response in me as I walked my dog along the forest trails. At the end of my walk I sat down and sketched, placing in the foreground that which had drawn my attention :

1. The yellow-gold larch
2. The dark green ferns.
3. The other-worldly, emptying beech branches with their multi-coloured leaves and their mesmerising way of creating a kind of invitational depth (as you might be able to tell, it’s the beech branches that captivated me the most!)

Autumn yellow larch

November fernAutumn beechEverything else, I put into the background : a bokeh-blur of autumnal tartan.

As I sketched I noticed how relaxed, calm and open my environment was making me feel.

I am just going outside and may be some time.


Adventure 311 ~ Start A Daily Sketching Practice

sketching practice - day 1For today’s adventure, I have started a daily sketching practice which I will maintain for 7 days. Not in a million years did I think I’d ever hear the words “sketching practice” coming out of my own mouth!

At school I was informed of my distinct lack of artistic talent. I found art difficult. I just didn’t get it. We were taught  the technical stuff – how to create certain effects .. light, shade, perspective and so on. I was under the impression that it was something separate from me – an external act (drawing or painting) , capturing an external image (something I saw on the outside). It was something that by-passed me, the inside me. Creating art  was something that I decided not to be interested in. Art was something that held nothing for me.

Last night I interviewed my friend Erica Dornbusch as part of my Get Creative! webinar series. Erica is an award-winning Canadian artist. Erica should also win an award for her ability to describe the process of creating art in such a way that you begin not only to believe that there is something in it for everybody, but also that everyone has the potential to express themselves through art.

Instead of being an external process, Erica talks about moments and experiences which resonate with her, which create an inner experience that she pays attention to. Connecting to this inner experience, Erica then allows the inner experience to flow out onto the canvas. So, far from by-passing us, the artistic process runs directly through us.

Erica suggested developing a daily sketching practice . She also suggested reviewing the experience of daily sketching too. The game-changer for me though was understanding that I didn’t need to sketch or paint what I saw : I could sketch or paint what I felt, what I heard, what I experienced …. the essence of a moment.

Now I’m seeing creating art in the same way as I see haiku : it’s all about essence. I’m dedicating 10 minutes  day to my sketching practice. Today is day 1. I sat quietly and noticed what was drawing my attention (all puns intended!) : it was a pain in my back.

So I sketched out the pain and added in some colour. As I sketched, I noticed how I was feeling about the pain – I was very angry with it. And you can probably see that in  the sketch.

The insight that I am angry with my own body for feeling pain was really valuable. As I sketched, I soothed my pain. I cared for my pain … and the hot pain began to cool down!

I also noticed that I did not judge my “work” at all. I was far more tied up with the process of creating it : that seems to be where the real juice lies!

I am just going outside and may be some time.