01 April 2016

Meditation notes: drawing

I wish you could also smell these blossoms. It is a delicate scent, a bit like honey, a bit like almonds. Outside, I hadn't really noticed the smell of flowering plum (from a tree that has emerged, guerilla style in a corner of our teeny garden) but in drawing these branches, I appreciated the scent just as much as I appreciated the delicacy of the white petals and tiny stamen bursts.

I was also listening to a dharma talk by Gil Fronsdal,(that most understated and friendly of Insight meditation teachers at Spirit Rock meditation centre) on noticing how we are aware, on examining, gently, the quality of attention we have when we meditate.

The talk is a meditation guide, which is also helpful in the slow process of learning to consider how I am while drawing, on investigating how I could bring a quality of 'open awareness' to my work. 

The mindfulness of drawing, if you like.

What comes to awareness simply? Am I forcing my attention somewhere? Am I gripping the pen or gripping somewhere else in my body or mind? Where is tension arising? And so on. Go on, have a listen, it's slow, quiet and lovely.

The hardest practice is, on noticing something unpleasant, not to disturb the moment with a remonstration, with the thinking 'Oh I shouldn't be gripping the pen so hard'. It's just something that is, in that moment.

Also, I remembered about letting go of the results, just enjoying looking, just enjoying the pen tracing my eye movements. Not making a project out of this moment of observing some flowers. If the drawing is good and shareable, that's fine. If the drawing totally sucks or isn't in some way right for keeping or sharing, that's fine too. Who cares? 

The main thing is to keep trying and in simple way to enjoy the sitting there, the looking, the scratching of a pen across a page, the honey scent of spring blossoms in a tiny glass bottle on a table in afternoon light.

May we all find the freedom of awakening to the present moment, may we all find real peace, real happiness.

10 March 2016

A link to my illustrations in the TV gardening show, if you want to catch up

Here are of my favourite illustrations made for use in the graphics for BBC2 gardening show, Big Dreams Small Spaces, Series Two

I scanned my watercolours and sometimes reworked them in Photoshop, and then sent them to the team at Flock who wove into the graphics to explain 'garden as envisaged by owners before Monty Don' and then 'garden plan with Monty's input' which they animated to voice overs. 

I have nothing at all to do with the animations, and generally see them on TV for the first time - an exercise in letting go of creative control and just kinda seeing what happens

Episode 2 is still on BBC iPlayer if you feel like watching (and as long as you're based in the UK). If you want to save time and just move the slider to the plant animation bits, they come up at around 07:48 - 9:51 and 15:35 - 17:20.

Hoping to save my faves to video in time, in which case they can be viewed by all. If you haven't already seen it, here's a link to the title sequence from Series 1 which should work wherever you are. (Animation was by Room60 for Series 1, and the programme is produced by Lion TV for BBC2).

18 February 2016

My plants on BBC2 again - on tonight

I loved working on this last autumn with animation company Flock, who did the graphics for Lion TV's Series Two of Big Dreams Small Spaces with Monty Don on BBC 2. It's on tonight at 8pm, or here on iPlayer soon afterwards.

Looking forward to watching all the love, hard graft and heartache that went into transforming each of the tiny gardens mixed in with  a good dose of Monty's cheerful interventions.

Of course, I can't wait to see my watercolours whizz by - keep an eye out for the plants in the animated 3D garden plans(which show the gardens before and after Monty's suggestions for improved designs and planting.

Above are two of my favourite elements, an olive and an apple tree. No idea whether they made it in the final cuts, but I was happy with the way they turned out. More plants to follow, now that I can share more of this commission.