This image is much more overtly a “doodle” than some of my others. I started it in a manager’s office at work, where I’d been give some space and time to recover from a severe crying meltdown in response to some bad news, delivered some six months ago. after a period of uncertainty.
I see it as being more of a stim than a piece of art. The repeated stars somewhat irregular in position and size but nevertheless predictable in shape, the comfort and reassurance of a palette restricted to seven colours, albeit bright and cheerful ones, but in muted pencil instead of loud pen – all these things served to soothe the pain of my shaken, chaotic senses and emotions.
Plus, rainbows and stars. What’s not to like?
[Image description: a doodle, in portrait orientation, of five-pointed stars outlined in black fineliner pen, and filled in with colouring pencils in rainbow colours. Some stars overlap others, and they vary in sizes.]
Another one from my little Moleskine book. Yet more horror/spooky connections, plus a nod to the literary.
I refer to a lot of these fineliner pen drawings as “doodles” because other than having a vague idea on my head about what I’m going to draw, I don’t really plan them, or sketch anything out beforehand. And I usually begin by drawing one area of the picture in detail, and “completing” this, before I move to the next. This started with a cauldron, and progressed from there.
I much prefer working in detail over a period of time to dashing things off quickly, but as per a couple of recent digital paintings and some of the more cartoon-based work, I’m having a go at doing things quickly as a way of honing certain skills. Painting and drawing quickly is still somewhat outside of my comfort zone.
The faulty foreshortenening/positioning of left arm of the witch holding the frog annoys me intensely. But never mind.
[Main image description: A full-colour fineliner pen drawing of three green-skinned witches, around a large, ornate and rustic cauldron placed on a bonfire. One witch stirs a potion in the cauldron; another holds a spell book and is about to drop a frog into the mixture. The witch in the middle holds her hands up as if casting a spell. Numerous creatures are running away from the scene, and a cat hides behind the spell-book witch. A broomstick is just in view to the left of the image, and in the background are hills, woodland, bats and a full moon.
Second and third images depict the same picture in earlier stages of development – firstly the cauldron, then with the addition of two of the witches.]
I stopped for 20 minutes painted this on the iPad on the way home from work last Thursday. It’s a good exercise in discipline to try and do art work within a tight timeframe — I prefer obsessing over detail, but I think it’s helpful to hone my skills of observation and composition, in particular, by dashing some stuff off very quickly. I also feel somewhat as if I’m laying myself bare by posting something so “imperfect”, but that doing so helps me agonise less over others’ perceptions of me.
Detail is beautiful, but for my own self-care I’m occasionally trying to let it go, as a way of addressing some aspects of my anxiety.
I still have so much to learn.
[Image description: A full colour, landscape orientation digital painting of a wooded area of an urban park in springtime. The sky is blue, and there is a red-brick building in the background, and a path to the right of the picture. The painting style is rudimentary and impressionistic. The composition is not ideal, with rather too much grass in the foreground.]
This is another image doodled in pen in one of my little Moleskine journals back in the autumn (fall) of 2017. But regardless of it not being bonfire season at the moment, there really is something about fire and flames that makes this worth sharing now.
I don’t light fires for fun.
But I find the intricate shapes and patterns caused by rising flames to be mesmerising and soothing. During the autumns and winters of my childhood, I remember so often sitting in front of the open fire, losing myself in its warmth, the gentle crackle, and the captivating, fluid orange glow. A powerful stim if ever there was one.
[Image: A stylised full-colour drawing of a bonfire, drawn in fineliner and felt-tip pens, with many swirling flames against a midnight blue background.]
Before I understood more and knew better, I didn’t see myself as autistic because I knew I felt empathy. Tonnes of it. So much so that I can barely cope with reading or watching the news. I’m particularly affected when I read about, hear about, or witness the abuse or suffering of any being who is vulnerable.
I’m finding this month difficult. I’m keeping social media, and Autism Awareness Month, at arms’ length. But the stories of disrespect, disregard, disdain, mal/mistreatment, abuse, ad nauseam, of autistic people throughout history and today still manages to permeate.
I also cry a lot. I cry at small things. I cry at big things. Uncontrollably until I’m utterly spent. It’s also my default meltdown format.
This doesn’t mean I’m depressed. My positive emotions are also bigger. I just feel too much sometimes.
A lot of the time.
[Image: Black and white digital ink drawing of Mama Pineapple, a white femme-presenting person with mid-length hair. She has her eyes shut, with tears streaming down her cheeks, and is holding her hands to her head, disrupting the fall of her hair.]