Thursday, 30 October 2014

Putting pencil to paper

One random day a few months ago I suddenly felt that sketching and uploading my drawings to my Instagram was no longer enough so I googled 'illustration' and found Illustration Friday. An illustration blog from Illustration Age featuring professional illustrators portfolios and tips as well as a weekly competition of sorts where readers submit illustrations based on a weekly theme. It seemed as good a reason as any to get serious about this drawing caper so I have been submitting as often as I can for the last couple of months. The challenge of thinking outside your own ideas makes drawing more engaging. It forces you to look at your favoured subjects in a different way as well as looking at subjects you might not have drawn before. 

Here are some examples of my entries

Theme 'Octopus'

Theme 'Metamorphosis'

Theme 'King'

Theme 'Puppet'
Now I do realise that there is an overriding theme of my own on display here but I promise you that this is extending my practice. Instead of drawing rabbits in all their fluffy glory I'm finding new ways to draw them and I am starting to practice other animals too, the baby birds featured in week 2 are an Illustration Friday entry as well. 

I am thoroughly enjoying my time with Illustration Friday. If you are looking for a way to challenge yourself or grow your creativity then I couldn't recommend this kind of platform more. The weekly timetable provides just the right amount of pressure without the stress of competition or judging. Whether you are chronically ill or not art and craft make ones life happier and healthier so pick up a pencil or some knitting needles and get making.

Next week we will return to the Whimsical Woodland where you never know who you'll meet.

Monday, 20 October 2014

Special request

This weeks post is a special request from a friend who shared with me her immeasurable knowledge on museums, photography and writing when I did an internship with her a couple of years ago. Although I am not putting these skills into practice in the way I had originally envisioned I am finding new ways to curate a life full of creativity. 

In that spirit Chronically Whimsical Tales presents to you lovely reader and to my friend a new bunny friend for Mamma Rabbit and her sweet babies. After a long day running through the leafy trees and flowers Bunny must make sure his fur is immaculate before he goes to meet his new friends for dinner. Perhaps they will find some juicy wild herbs to eat.

Bunny makes sure each ear is squeaky clean after a long day
hopping and
binkying through the Whimsical Woodland. 
If you have a special request please leave a comment below. There are many more creatures in the woodland just waiting to meet you all. Until next week enjoy your wanderings through the woodland.

[Please note that it is never safe to submerge your pet rabbit in water. Rabbits are very good at cleaning themselves and rarely need help. If they ever need extra help use a damn cloth with only 1cm of water in a small dish. Never get your rabbits face or ears wet or leave them alone. Make sure they are dried immediately, they are highly susceptible to pneumonia.] 

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Make do and mend

The thing I love the most about drawing or creating of any kind is the feeling I get from taking a blank piece of paper and creating this

An artist's tools, begging to tell a tale.
This fluffy little chic leaps out of the nest for their first flight through the Whimsical Woodland. 

As a writer a blank page is a terrifying menace but as an artist it is like being handed a key to somewhere fantastical, a place I never get tired of visiting. Creating has an effect on the mind that is immeasurable, both in it's healing power and it's entertainment value but being chronically ill has an effect that can be more destructive than constructive. 

One of the most difficult parts of living with a chronic illness is the sense of loss. Mobility, brain function, sleep and independence are just some of the things that are negatively effected when you have a chronic illness. Add to this the extreme pain and isolation and the 
task of living day to day begins to feel insurmountable. The degree of loss varies for each person, starting with where they were in their life when the illness began and fluctuating as the illness either improves or progresses. Your identity is forcibly rewired when you find yourself constantly recovering instead of working or studying towards your goals. It is enough to break a person. 

So I draw and crochet and sew and cross stitch and bake and write, what I can when I can because it has a positive and healing effect on my life. 

This is how I use art and creativity as medicine. I literally fill the negative with positive. A blank page becomes a vibrant drawing that I turn into a birthday card. My time spent resting after physiotherapy etcetera is filled by the creation of a physical object that is passed on to someone special, transforming my otherwise unproductive recovery time into something that  also makes someone else happy. Suddenly there are a lot of constructive things happenings everyday, little things, but little things are big too in their own way. 

So go on make something and start mending. 

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Welcome to the Whimsical Woodland

Almost everyone has a list of favourite animals. Sometimes that list exists as a menagerie of creatures that frolic about in no particular order, others meticulously rank their favoured animals by degrees of cuteness, type or power. The majority of us however recognise a supreme number one. An animal that conjures up so much love, joy, strength and general awesomeness that it very often turns into an obsession fuelled/enabled by our loved ones who both love and loathe said animal. My spirit animal through no fault of my own always has and will always be the rabbit.  

Some of the people in my life, possibly all of them, consider my rabbit appreciation to sit firmly on the obsession side of the fence. In the nicest way I am sure. My enthusiasm for rabbits was decided by a small yellow bath toy chosen for me by two of my brothers before I was born, so, I feel that I own very little of the responsibility and should therefore be left to my rabbit loving devices. A quick stocktake of my house quickly reveals just how much my loved ones enable me and this makes me very happy indeed.

But lovely reader before I delve further into that I should introduce myself to you and to Chronically whimsical tales. I make art, I love photography and I make craft. For as long as I can remember I have loved to draw and make animals. It is what makes me happy and at this point in my life that is a very important thing. I am living with chronic illness so creating brings me pleasure and it gives me a sense of productivity, it is a distraction from the pain and a positive addition that fills in some of the things that chronic illness has subtracted from my life.

The Whimsical Woodland is full of tales of sweetness, strength and creativity. I hope this will be a place where I can share my love of whimsy with you and perhaps increase awareness about living with chronic illness too. 

Let us begin our journey at the very beginning on the edge of the Whimsical Woodland where mamma rabbit and her precious little ones are on the hunt for something sweet to eat and something fun to do. This woodland is a safe place for the bunnies to live, perhaps that is why mamma rabbit looks so strong and contented as she leads her babies forward into their new home.


Mamma rabbit and her babies set off into the woodland in search of sweet flowers to eat.

Until the next chapter lovely readers have a safe and happy journey.