Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Daily Doodles

Daily Doodles is an ongoing project in which I create a drawing on a 2inch square piece of paper every day.  Each drawing presents a snapshot of one day either depicting an event, feeling, an object, scene or image from the day, a prayer, wish or thought, a journey taken or an object collected.  The doodles differ in style being abstract, illustrative, realist, cartoon-like or surrealist, they are mostly in 0.05 black pen but other media are used including found objects, paint, coloured pen, pencil and collage. Seen together they provide a gateway into the subconscious over an extended time. 

The idea of making small daily doodles originally came from a project into doodling and the active imagination that I started in university, conceived as a map of thinking and a trace of daily life.

University Doodles:

I later returned to this format in 2011 creating a month of doodles to be exhibited at 'HerStory' a Women's Work exhibition in Winchester. 

Daily Doodles: March 2011
Each drawing presents a snapshot of one moment but seen together they provide a gateway into the subconscious over an extended time. Viewers are encouraged to construct their own meanings from the often ambiguous imagery.
Since June I have continued this process of making a drawing on a 2 inch square of paper everyday.  It was suggested that an explanation would be helpful in making these doodles more accessible and so I have also started to write on the back. Although I am still unsure how much I want to say and may choose to edit or omit this written information.

I returned to a doodling approach nearer to Jung’s Active Imagination Technique in the following doodles.  I call these ‘real’ doodles rather than the depictions or illustrative type.  To start I just put pen to paper and make a mark, which leads to another and so on, the trick is to not think about what I am doing (doing something else at the same time can help e.g. listening to the radio or TV) when I get near to finishing the doodle I allow myself to consider what I have drawn.  I often begin to see things in the drawings and it can be quite surprising what subconsciously comes through in the doodle.   Sometimes I leave them as they are, although I usually continue working on them with this more informed view until they feel finished.

On Thursday 26th I went to AP Fitzpatrick, Bethnal Green, London to purchase some supplies for my upcoming egg tempera workshops, and also couldn’t resist a Redot aluminium panel to experiment with myself.  This little shop is an absolute gem, resembling something between an apothecary and an old fashioned sweet shop, with shelves packed high with raw pigments and other materials both traditional and modern the staff are always extremely helpful and knowledgeable.   http://www.apfitzpatrick.co.uk/home.htm
I decided to take my 2” square of paper with me in a bag with some pencils as I walked around London, visiting galleries and getting lost in China Town.  The idea being that the movement would cause the pencils to create marks on the paper documenting my journey.  Unfortunately this did not work as well as it had done in the past, (when I discovered this method by accident) and so later, while on the train home, I worked from the few initial marks the process had made to develop the drawing. 

the doodle for 27/01/12 was drawn with my eyes shut, thinking about how I had felt that day to guide my hand.  Upon opening my eyes I edited the mark-making by deleting what I felt were less successful marks (marks that in my opinion did not express what I wanted) with a large marker. The result is I feel quite striking.

Adding Colour
I decided to begin using colour in my doodles, mostly in a symbolic way to express feelings and moods.  Although there are conventions for the symbolic use of colour and how colour is interpreted there is also much variation between cultures and individuals.  For example in the UK black is normally associated with death and mourning while in Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, and Indian tradition, white is the colour of mourning.  Even in the same culture one colour often holds multiple and sometimes contradictory meanings.  I am reminded of Kandinsky's use of colour and his personal synesthesic connotations of different colours to moods, shapes and sounds:

“(yellow is) warm and powerful… angry looking”
“Green expresses absolute tranquillity and complete repose”
“The effect (of Blue) is self-centering… purity and longing for the infinite… apathy and silence”
“Red is considered a lively warm colour and arouses increased unease... Red tends to concentricity and signifies male maturity”
- Rhyme or Reason in Colour Symbolism? A Biophysical Analysis of Kandinsky’s Colour Theories, by Ya’acov Y. Leshem

This has led me to consider my personal use of colour symbolism:
Green = positive, happy, tranquil, quiet, cheery
Red= busy, angry, happy, fun, jovial, hectic, active
Blue= calm, tired, cold, dreamy
Black = bad mood, depressing, gloomy, miserable, tense
Yellow = happy, hot, busy
Orange = stressed, nervous, anxious, panicky, busy, hot, hectic, annoying
Purple = happy, peaceful, joyful
Turquoise = analytical, composed
Brown = mundane, bored, everyday stuff, safe
Grey = drained, fed up, weary, sapped
Not all of these descriptions apply all the time to the colours I use, but they are a general guide to my personal associations to colour. 

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