Art, meditation , Buddha 

For the last 5 years or so I have been working with a small meditation group – we meet up on Wednesday mornings. For the last two years I join in via Skype. We also produce art. The sessions  are led by Debbie Howard. We post on IG as #Soulseedsessions 

We have been using Thubten Chodron’s book “Guided a Meditations on the stages of the path”.  Every so often I get blown away by the images that I ‘see’ in my head . This week I was a bit behind with the group due to the holidays. The meditation was called ‘Taking and giving, the great resolve and the altruistic intention or Bodhicitta

There have been some painful family circumstances  recently.  I feel saddened and helpless by the refugees situation unfolding in Europe every night on my TV screen. 

During the meditation Chodron asked you to visuaize a plume of smoke coming out of someone’s body and  then you inhaling it – this causes an explosion of light within your body as you accept the suffering and in doing so cleanse your own. 

I felt overwhelmed by the smoke during the meditation – because it felt like there was so much to inhale , it never stopped coming.

I have been wandering around with the image in my head for 24hrs – I decided to have a go at illustrating it as a part of my graphic Novel type journal 

Below are a couple of stages    
  With my ubiquitous black mail lettering added   
 
Below is my final head I wanted to join it up with the figure  on the left – it felt like it belonged too much to the figure on the right  . I am still borrowing heavily from Picasso /Guernica in this journal.

  

  

 Chodron quotes Shantideva 

“Upon mounting the chariot of Bodhicitta 

Which carried away all despondency and weariness

What sensible person would despair

At progressing in this way from joy to joy? 

Page 126 Chodron 1950 Snow Lion Publications USA 

I do not feel that I take on board all that I encounter in this process, but I am open to the experience and it has been a good learning practice .  Especially during our  move away physically from friends and family to Edinburgh .

Letter Journals and mail art 

I have been exchanging art with people on Instagram for 2 years now- it started as an exercise to relieve loneliness when we first moved up from Edinburgh. It is such fun and I have learned a lot aboutworking in different  formats and  ways of working – Artist trading cards, postcards, journal pages, pocket letters and then over the summer letter journals 

These are 8″x4″ and are made as collaborative pieces that fit in a business envelope to keep the cost of postage down -4 sheets of paper  8″x8″( and a cover) sewn together 

I like the idea of them travelling – the relative cheapness of the miles – the fact that other people work in them and the opportunities for me to doodle away. 

By the end of the process I was cutting , stamping holes and ripping pages – in my books.

   
 A selection of my covers from over the last few months  
I have been teaching occasionally at a friends art group in Edinburgh. The organiser has asked me to do a session on letter journals to encourage collaborative work within the group. The sessions are 2 mornings with potentially 40 people 

   Paper cut to size and ready to make up 

  Sewn and some covers decorated 

  45 flower doodles 

  Striped pages 
35 journals down 10 to go   
I hadn’t intended to work in them but – you know me (lol!) And there was a lot of scrap paper created-  converting from A4 into inches. And what else is a girl to do watching the TV in the evenings – Jon and Deb were amused any way

  
You can find a really nice video which shows how to make a letter journal on YouTube – this is by my Instagram friend Cfalbro – she isn’t the  originator of the format – but it is easy to follow 

Edinburgh castle 

I wanted to have a go at ‘doing’ Edinburgh castle in a similar style to my tree from the other week. It was much more difficult adding black and white to the paper and swirling it around with the blue and green 

   

   
  
Last time I messed about with paint under the stripes to get the shape of the trees- I am obsessed with finding strips of paper that match my colour schemes at the moment- so the stripes went on first this time.

I was a bit scared about how to proceed with the next stage so I printed out a couple of copies to try 

Here’s a doodle version – gotta be brave and get acrylic  paint out on top of the other one. It’s too easy doodling – however I don’t think work would have approved of me painting all over the desk whilst answering the phone and using a mouse . 

 
 
   Having a go at painting some photocopies of my castle – I am pleased with the sky  – but the colours are so off the originals I gotta be brave and paint on them now. 

  
I quite like this one with just the outline of the castle drawn with a stick 

Altered books 

I have been altering old books and preparing backgrounds in them to use as art journals. I like the way drawing and painting ontop of text can disrupt the images and add texture. 

 

A front cover   
 

Initially it was scary damaging books – I kept thinking about how my Mum would say – don’t draw on books or rip the pages – look after them – I am not sure if she would be horrified or not 

Recently I have been ripping and folding pages, layering them to create  sculptural effects when you flick through the book.

   
    
 
I have been obsessed with stripes over the summer and have been adding these over the top of doodled backgrounds. 

   
 
I also smear left over paint and glue extra pages from other books to created different textures to work on top of 

  
  
On holiday this year I picked up some French language books and magazines so I made a series of spreads in French – this lead to random word pages and more and more layers

  
Which is not helped by being posted on here upside down 

Walking Edinburgh 

  
I walk through the centre of Edinburgh every week on my way to work as a voluntary receptionist. The sunshines regularly and I look for different ways of recording the city in the light. This morning I decided to stop every time I crossed a road and take a picture looking down the road to the right . 

I walk up hill from Newtown to the Royal Mile. Even after 2 years I feel disorientated that I am not walking North , the sun should give it away but my body still thinks otherwise. It is chilly but not cold the buildings obscure lots of the sun and I have to change the exposure of my images so that the shadows are not too dark. 

   
   
After the royal mile I continue to walk up to the University buildings and then down towards the Meadows. 

   
 Looking at the images and architecture I notice red cars, an old type telephone box and then the trees and shadows. If I took this picture walking to work in Oxfordshire,  it would be all post 1950’s residential buildings and big skies.   

 
This is very nearly my walk using Google Maps

I decided that it would be fun to do a series of these – today I walked up the hill taking pictures on the left before I crossed the road 

  It’s interesting this view isn’t quite so green 

Love I loved the picture I took walking infront of the national gallery across the railway lines- very atmospheric 

   

I have been making a large piece that I called ‘Edinburgh in the rain’ when I got home this afternoon the sun was shining on it and I decided to play with my iPhone Apps and my walking photographs – the Diana App allows you to overlay 2 imagesand play with a series of filters. I like the way the stripes interact with the silhouettes . 

   
    

I decided to do a series of pictures of my walk – it helps with the boredom …..lol! 

  

     

Below is not the same walk but it was so beautiful the other evening I couldn’t not include these in the series