This past week, I've been getting my studio at Allison's Wells back in order after repairs were done to fix a leak. When I was finished, I decided to try my hand at Touch Drawing, an intuitive drawing process developed by Deborah Koff-Chapin. I had heard about Touch Drawing a year or so ago and have been eager to try it, but had not had the opportunity until now. There is much I need to learn, but I wanted to share what I've done thus far…
Happy Face (Stacy Wills, 2014)
acrylics on craft paper
Day 1...This was my first attempt…using acrylic paint (not recommended!) that I had applied too thickly onto the glass. The "happy face" that came through though was exactly how I was feeling about having my studio back in working order!
Spirit Dance (Stacy Wills, 2014)
acrylics and NuPastels on craft paper
Day 2…try, try again! This time I used a more fluid type of acrylic paint and got a better result. (Acrylics are generally not a good medium for touch drawing as they tend to dry too quickly; water mixable oil colors are best.) I added the color later using pastels. As I was coloring it, I still could not say exactly what this is a picture of, but the name, "Spirit Dance" came to me. Looking at it now, I think it could be interpreted in many ways…in the moment of drawing, however, the feeling was one of freedom…of moving with abandon…of energy spiraling up from deep within seeking release.
Blue Moon (Stacy Wills, 2014)
acrylics and NuPastels on craft paper
I'm still trying to get the hang of putting the right amount of paint onto the surface of the glass. BlueMoon actually was a "failed" attempt at touch drawing. When I pulled the paper away, it was pretty much one blue blob! I thought perhaps I could salvage it by creating a mandala out of it, so I drew a circle and waited. There were two very small, faint marks that I could detect from my original touch drawing - the sharp slants of the eyes - I started there and a face began to emerge. As I was working, I was listening to the audible version of Barbara Brown Taylor's book, Learning to Walk in the Dark. I was listening to the last few chapters where she describes a cave sitting experience and also a visit to Chartres Cathedral to walk the labyrinth. That led to some moon stories…and...well…I think you get the idea. Creating while listening to the spoken word…be it a book read aloud, a lecture, sermon or interview…is my favorite way of doing art. It serves as a form of lectio divina, where the art I'm making becomes the response to what I'm hearing…it becomes my prayer.
I have been incredibly busy this spring...and have really neglected my blogs, which I'm not too happy about. Hopefully, I will be able to establish a workable rhythm and get back to some proper blogging. Even in the midst of a hectic schedule, however, I still feel the need for some creative R&R. I get itchy...and twitchy...if I'm not able to create. So this afternoon I was able to enjoy a few uninterrupted hours in the studio experimenting with putting alcohol ink into some of my water brushes. It allows for more control than I've ever had with this medium which made it fairly easy for me to make this simple mandala. It's still a work in progress - like most good things in life are - but I'm pretty pleased with the direction it's heading.
At the beginning of 2014, I decided to take part in 12 Mandalas in 12 Days - a creative project put together by California artist, Judy Shintani. Judy invited us to make one mandala a day for 12 days using any media we chose, and then post that mandala on a designated Facebook page along with a word connected with our mandala. Our own 12 mandalas would then represent the twelve months of 2014. "Happy" was my first mandala of the set. The project attracted enthusiastic mandala makers from all over the United States, and beyond. After the initial 12 mandalas were created, many of us didn't want the experience to end. Judy graciously and wisely extended the project, inviting us to go deeper with the process by creating 4 more mandalas each month using the original one for that month as inspiration. The four mandalas below were inspired by "Happy" either directly, using it as a source image, or in spirit, using the bright color palette as my starting point. Of the four, do you have a favorite? I do...can you guess which one it is?
"Light from Light" by Stacy Wills, 2014
(digital mandala using "Happy" as a source image)
"Lighthouse" by Stacy Wills, 2014
(digital mandala using "Light from Light" as a source image)
"In Touch" by Stacy Wills, 2014
(3-D mixed media on canvas)
"Inversion" by Stacy Wills, 2014
(digital inversion using "In Touch" as a source image)
I am a contemplative artist, combining traditional mediums and digital technology to create unique images. I have two blogs: A Magic Mom and Her Mandalas, dedicated primarily to the art form of the mandala, and The Sacred Alter, which focuses on what I can only describe as "art birthed from the soul." I hope you will enjoy visiting both.