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Trying to live a more minimal and conscious life in search of pure happiness and joy

Me and My Other Interests: Art



So it turns out I haven't blogged about one of my "other interests" since September and that is just shocking. Last year I started a mini-series all about my other interests that don't get as much coverage on NB for various reasons. As much as I love makeup and fashion, I also enjoy a wealth of other topics and activities that some people don't necessarily know about. So as it has been so long since my last post like this, and as I haven't mentioned this properly yet, I guess I better tell you all about how much I love to draw and paint.

So as you can imagine, drawing and art stuff started a really young age for me. I've always loved drawing and used to spend a lot of my time as a kid drawing or painting, tracing things, drawing with chalk all over my grandparent's back garden, using a crayon to rub over embossed things... Every opportunity to do something arty I would. I have such a clear memory of spending my weekends at my grandparents house and I had a The Little Mermaid big picture book that I absolutely adored. I would trace and trace and trace the scene when all of Ariel's sisters are in the clam shells and she's not there to sing the main part and every time I remember beating myself up that my tracing didn't look anywhere near as good as the image printed in the book. This kind of love hate relationship with art is something I've contended with from a young age it would seem.



I'm sure most people know that feeling of feeling a bit inadequate in something you enjoy doing. It's quite a difficult to get into a positive and carefree mindset - a one where you're not worried about your abilities and you just do something because you love it - and I guess that's why I don't share any doodles I usually do because well, I'm pretty self-critical. As I've grown older, I've spent less and less time on this hobby due to time constraints and also this feeling of it "not being good enough" which I realise myself is just ridiculous because the quality shouldn't be the focus at all. The focus should be how the activity makes you feel and art makes me feel at ease and like my time has been well spent.

Due to this I've went back to the drawing board (see what I did there?) and picked up my pencils and paints again. I've given up on perfecting what I'm doing - I tend to leave every single goddamn piece of art I attempt half done and I guess that's just the way things are always going to be. I'm also trying to not criticise myself too much. Who cares if I can't draw things symmetrical and that I can't draw hands for toffee, I'm trying and enjoying the process so that's the main thing.



Art is definitely something I'm making more time for in 2017. Far too often with these sorts of hobbies, they get put on the back burner and they become prioritised less and less which is what has been happening for me for the last few years. Mix that with a defeatist attitude and it's a recipe for disaster. It sets my anxiety levels ablaze when I try to create something because "I'm rubbish and out of practice" so it makes the enjoyment of it something I have to work hard to achieve. To counteract this I've been doing things like using adult colouring books much more and also just doing quick, freehand, not much purpose to them sketches here and there just to get those creative juices flowing. I'm hoping over the next year I can make more time for it because once upon a time, this was all I wanted to do all of the time and the spark is always there, I just need to throw a little fuel on it to get it burning bright again.

I guess the main person I have to thank for this is my mam. She was always drawing all sorts for me when I was younger and she was pretty damn talented. She drew every Disney character I could want drawn and when my little brother started to get into Kingdom Hearts well, boy oh boy was a jealous of some of the quick sketches she produced for him. Drawing has always been my crutch as it's what I feel, artistically, I can produce the best work from whereas painting - especially with anything other than watercolour - is what I struggle with the most. Give me some charcoal to smudge all over a piece of A1 and I'm all stations go but give me some acrylic paint and I'll botch it up somehow. So 2017 is the year of the acrylics and the year of my beloved Bob Ross.



Bob Ross is quite honestly the main reason I love art so much. He makes it such an easy creative outlet to enjoy and watching his shows makes me feel like I can create anything. It might sound bizarre to some people but I think he's such an encouraging soul that I don't really feel like a fuck up when I do fuck up now. I just try and rectify what mistakes I've made, try to alter it to take a new form, or just try to have the confidence and comfort to deal with the fact that sometimes ideas just need to be scraped and that is okay.

But it's not just Mr Ross who has inspired me. I love visiting art galleries and have a special place in my heart reserved for religious art and the kind of things you'd see in a 18th century German church. Give me a stained glass window with hidden symbolism or give me something that's supposed to represent Dante's Inferno and you have a winner with me. From Salvador Dali to James Jean, I love the mix of styles, the ideas behind it all and just the fact that all art gives a small snippet insight into another person's personality and imagination. Not to mention how much of a central part art plays in some of my other interests. Video games such as Final Fantasy and Dragon Age rely on exceptionally good and breathtaking artwork and it's probably no surprise to know my favourite artist is Yoshitaka Amano who basically made Final Fantasy what it is. I also really love graphic novels so again, some of my favourite artists contribute to that realm and the artwork of a comic or graphic novel is definitely one of the factors that draws me in. Art is everywhere in so many ways for me and appreciating it and making time for it just seems to shed such a positive light on my life as cheesy as it may sound.

So just to finish off this post, I'll give you a wee list of just some of my favourite artists of all time (in no particular order but you know Amano is my number one always): Yoshitaka Amano, Nicomi Nix Turner, David Stoupakis, Kris Kuksi, Christina Mrozik, Dan Hillier, Mark Ryden, Sin Eater Illustrations, Salvador Dali, Caitlin Hackett, Maskull Lasserre, Yuka Yamaguchi, El Curiot, Caitlin McCormack, Nick Sheehy, Charlie Immer, Richey Beckett, James Jean, J.A.W. Cooper, Liza Corbett, Estela Cuadro, Rose Ellen Swenson, Christopher Lovell, Sarah Benning, Joao Ruas, Esao Andrews, Joan Cornella, Jaz Helena, John Kenn Mortensen, Oana Befort, Nana Williams, Jeff Faerber, Samuel Humphreys, Julie Pond, Hellen Jo, Victoria Clare Gray, Jessica Weymouth, Andrea Dezso, Bill Crisafi, Tom Findlay, Robin Eisenberg, Louis Barquet...

So Bob Ross, mam, and every art gallery I've ever visited and the countless hours I've spent scrolling through some of my favourite pieces of art on Tumblr... I salute you.


- A.
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