One Old Man, the Fox and Some More Mandalas

June 27 was 137 days ago. That means the last time I posted something here was 137 days ago. It has been long time and there are a lot I want to share with you. But I try to keep long story short and instead of writing a novel here I try to mention the most important things.

First of all, I have studied a lot. Maybe you remember that in one of my latest posts I wrote that the key to become better artist is to learn. I admit I neglected my goal to “educate myself about basics of light and shadow and how colours work” almost immediately after setting the goal. However, I have improved my skills in both Inkscape and GIMP. Especially my development in GIMP is what is worth mentioning. Because, now I see how little I knew about the program, when I drew my Prince picture. And I believe that this is the main reason why I left it unfinished. I hope that one day I pull myself together and complete it.

But my studies do not only include art. I also started learning one programming language Python in September and resumed my self study in Russian (it’s quite essential to know Russian if you live in Estonia). Very helpful tool for me has been the Duolingo app. Of course you can’t learn language only by using the app, but it’s very good tool for keeping you motivated.

In the same post, where I wrote about how important the learning is, I also mentioned that I had to create mandalas because of my work. And the reason I had to draw these is because during the Code Week our library participated in the exhibition Generation Code: Born at the Library. This was the interactive exhibition showcasing the top innovative digital exhibits from public libraries across the EU which held in the European Parliament during the 17-18 October. Our exhibition was about digital drawing and we made the mandalas with the Inkscape, using Wacom Intuos Pro drawing tablets.

During all this time I prepared for the exhibition and the time we were there (and even after that) I have done so many mandalas, that I think I have enough of them for the rest of my life. 😀 Here are only some I’ve made:

 

One of my co-worker discovered interesting and very easy technique to do more complex mandalas. They seem difficult and hard to do, but are really only few minutes work. Of course if you have done these as many as I have, you can produce them with lesser than a minute:

Complex Mandalas

The speed was important factor, because in the exhibition we had to show many people how to do these and we had to do it quickly

I have also start using more colour pencils recently. One picture I want to share with you is the old man with the beard full of berries. I drew it for one challenge I made with my friend Dorit (she is excellent with watercolours, take a look at her blog). Long time ago, in the beginning of the summer, we were talking about how she draw mostly animals and I mostly girls, so we made a deal to draw one old man.

One Old Man

I had a plan to make the digital version of it, but haven’t done yet (and I’m not sure anymore if I ever do). I got the inspiration from one Estonian children’s book named Naksitrallid (to English it’s translated as Three Jolly Fellows). It’s written by Eno Raud, who I consider as one of the best writer from Estonia and illustrated by the wonderful Edgar Valter. The book is about the adventures of three peculiar little men: “the composed and close-to-nature Mossbeard, the irritable city dweller Halfshoe, and the sensitive poet Muff” (http://www.elk.ee/?page_id=6943). The same character Mossbeard has a long soft moss beard, where beautiful red cowberries grow.

The second picture I want to share with you is the drawing of the red fox. Nothing special about this picture, but it is the FOX and do I really need the reason to share the picture of the fox? 😀 There cannot be too many foxes in one day, can it (and in one sentence also)?

The Fox.jpg

 

Oh, I would almost have forgotten. At the same time I was in the exhibition in Brussels, my library set up the exhibition about our library workers’ hobbies. I also brought four of my pictures there. It was so weird but as the same time exiting to see my pictures hanging in the wall.

Library Workers Hobbies Exhibition.jpg

There were so many cool things in the exhibition: photographs, paintings, clothes, felted animals, knitted and embroidered things, woodwork, basketwork etc. It shows how many talented librarians work in the Tallinn Central Library. You can take a look here.

I must finish. I have already written too much. I hope you can make it til the end. 😀

It’s really nice to be back!

Спасибо за посещение и до следующего раза 😉

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The Importance of Learning and Other Thoughts

Mandala black and white illustration Inkscape

Maybe some of my lovely followers have noticed that I’ve not been very active lately in blogging. The truth is that I needed a break for drawing to decide how to move on with my art. I’ve felt recently that my artistic progress is too slow. The reason is that I only draw, but I don’t learn.

1. Don’t compare yourself with others

Nowadays it’s standard that people always hurry and they feel the pressure to become ,,someone‘‘. It’s common that young people in their twenties already run businesses, are famous singers etc. And everywhere you look you see people who are more successful, more wealthy, more beautiful than you. And then you desperately try to keep in track. You make schedules and plans and time tables to be more productive. You sweat and cry and despair, but you still not be good enough. You never be good enough. There is always someone “better”.

After I started digital drawing, I entered the so-called Art World. By that I mean I have subscribed many great artists, liked many art pages in Facebook, explored art in Pinterest and so one. Therefore I’m always surrounded by art. And I love it. Everyday I open my computer, I see many incredible pieces of art. But sadly, it has one not so positive effect also. It can make us doubt in ourselves. And that’s exactly what happened with me. Everywhere I looked I saw talented and successful artists, making gorgeous artwork, plenty of them working when travelling or working from home or having great studios. And I felt I am nothing compared with them. I felt frustrated with my own art and my own life. Therefore I pushed myself, I tried different schedules and plans to discover how I am more productive. I constantly compared my work with others and made the conclusion: my artwork is the piece of crap. I even thought that I am not the “real artist” because I don’t draw every day like “real artists” do (not that I have a clue how often other people draw, it was just my assumption). What’s worse, I wanted to finish my drawings quickly, so I have something to show. But doing so, I didn’t actually make something big. And I didn’t learn something new. Good pictures may take time and good pictures need learning. Instead of getting better, I started to feel pressure and I didn’t grow as an artist anymore.

2. Too much pressure, too little joy

When I first started digital drawing, it was pure joy for me. But then, at once I felt sad that no one can see what I make and I started to think about having a blog or website. I still remember the happy feeling when I made the WordPress blog and the first blog posts. Even if my English was quite bad and my writing style was not the best, if I now read them, they feel so honest, so genuine. They bring back good memories. Then there came the first likes and comments and first followers! I couldn’t be more happier.

But with all the pressure I mentioned before, I lost most of this joy. I admit that some pressure is good for me because it keeps me going, but there was just too much of it and it was the wrong kind of a pressure. I love my life and I don’t want to ruin it by feeling like I’m not so good as others. Also, I am drawing because I love drawing, not because I must become the greatest artist in the whole world. Of course I want to become better, but I need to accept that there is always someone more excellent. I am unique in my own unique way, I can’t be like everyone else. The societal pressure to be the best and the pressure we put ourselves so often rob the enjoyment and fun from our activities. Like we are always hurry to reach some point where we finally are “the perfect”. Only that there is no point or top or climax in the life. Life is not a movie and if we are not living here and now, we are not living at all. As I read from somewhere: “The perfection is an illusion.” Thus, I’ve realized if I want to be happy it’s important to enjoy every moment and everything I do just now. The “real artist” is not someone who draws every day or has the great studio, it’s the one who values the creative process as much as the work itself. Maybe I’ll achieve something one day, maybe I’ll not, but if I live happy life and enjoy what I do, then it’s already success. I must not pressurize myself by comparing myself with others and accept that I what I am: the person who has her “cycles” – sometimes I read much, sometimes I draw much, sometimes I do nothing for a long time. And it’s okay. Because the more I let myself be free, the better results I have. If I try to change it and force myself to schedules and plans, then my work suffers and I suffer.

3. Don’t be afraid of quitting:

The same applies to the finishing the pictures. I always felt I must finish all the pictures I’ve started, even if I didn’t have any idea how to do so. And therefore it often happened that I subconsciously started avoiding drawing. I think that if we always try do finish what we have started, even if we don’t want to do it anymore, it can result that we put all our effort in “dying projects” instead of making something fresh and new. And then we linger and postpone and make excuses for not doing it and in the end we make less and we make it worse. If we don’t feel joy doing our things and feel the pressure always to finish them, it can cause that next time we don’t start something new at all.

Of course it isn’t always easy to distinguish what is out of our comfort zone and what doesn’t work for us. I suppose that we at least should give it to try, and then we can see, if we really want to do it or we don’t. But then it’s important not to feel guilty if we quit.

4. Most important – take time to learn:

If I want to become better, it’s not enough if I fabricate every day tons of new drawings, instead I must learn new skills and techniques. I need to educate myself about basics of light and shadow and how colours work as well as find out the opportunities offered by the programs I use. Here’s one example which shows how important learning really is. Few weeks ago I had to create mandalas because of one task in my workplace. Therefore I watched first time the tutorial videos in YouTube about Inkscape and I discovered many new possibilities in the program. Watching only couple of videos made me learn new things about program I’ve used almost four years! If they were difficult things then it would be not so big matter. But these were simple things that I should already know by that time. Now I ask myself, why on earth I didn’t watched tutorials before?!? What’s wrong with me that I didn’t want to learn?

Here are some mandalas I’ve made:

In conclusion, I decided to devote more time to learning art. I don’t say that I’m not gonna make any finished pictures, because it’s also possible to learn by this way. But I allow myself to not complete these pictures if I want to start a new one. I allow myself to doodle and sketch a lot and watch YouTube tutorials and read articles about art. And if something in my “journey” is worth sharing, I would share it with you. 🙂

Here is one great thought about mandalas by Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Carl Jung:

“I sketched every morning in a notebook a small circular drawing, … which seemed to correspond to my inner situation at the time. … Only gradually did I discover what the mandala really is: … the Self, the wholeness of the personality, which if all goes well is harmonious.”

Thank you, everyone, who have come so far to read my gibberish. 🙂

Special thanks:

to Dorit, for all your advice and help you’ve gave me. 🙂

to Nina, for stimulating my thoughts. 🙂

Links of the video tutorials how to make (sort of) mandalas in Inkscape: