On March 5, 2016, Daniel Smith Artist Supplies in Seattle, WA, sponsored a Mysterious Night Vision Field Journal workshop by Cheryl Renee Long and Sandy Brown Jensen. This video captures that event and the spontaneous art produced by the 13 participants. The pool is still open–jump on in! The registration button is on the home page of this blog post.
Remembering Childhood Art
Somewhere far back in my childhood, a visionary teacher asked me to draw around my own hand and color it. I remember feeling delight when I drew my hand and frustration with the blunt and wimpy crayons. Even then I longed for intense color and precise drawing tools.
This morning at 3:20 am, my art naturally gravitated to black paper and gel pen. December 6 is only 17 days from winter solstice and the longest day on planet earth. There is something translucent about winter art. The barrier between waking and sleeping seems sheer. The conscious and the subconscious talk to each other more clearly under the blanket of a dark and rainy night.
Tonight I draw my hand as an elder, many years from the kindergarten art class. I think of it as a secret letter to myself. Who am I now? What have I become since 5 years old? Is this a life well lived so far?
DRAW YOUR HAND EXERCISE
Sometimes the simplest, most childlike art-assignments-to-self can yield the most piercing insights into ourselves. I don’t need to tell you for that for this one, place your hand on your black paper journal and draw its outline. Do you see how that looks like an image on the ancient cave walls? This is a really old art exercise!
Now enter into the drawing trance of childhood, adding words and images to your hand.
DRAW A MAP ON YOUR HAND
Because there is a little cartographer in each of us, an evocative variation of this exercise is to draw a map on your hand, as Gretchen Jones does here:
DRAW A DREAM IMAGE OF YOUR HAND
This is another approach to the hand exercise by Sandy Brown Jensen. This hand appeared to me in a dream where I dreamed the late Tibetan dream yoga master Tarab Tulku placed a very ancient blue agate eye in my palm.
Have you tried drawing your hand and then “entering” it with words and images? What was your experience? Tell us in the Comment field above.
NOTE: The comment field is at the top of the blog post. If you are the first to comment, it will helpfully read “No comments.” Click there!
Getting started with your Mysterious Night Vision Journal couldn’t be easier. This short video will get you up and running in no time.
Here is the drawing I did for the video in sequence:
Second: Let spontaneous play ensue!
Use whichever colors appeal to you. Bring out faces or landscapes or whatever you “see” as you scribble.
Keep on going!
Give it a title! Sign and date it.
Last but not least: Do a little write about your image. Who or what emerged? What might that mean to you?
Hooray! You’ve begun your beautiful Mysterious Night Vision Field Journal!
How did that go for you? Please share your thoughts and experiences in the comments!
The Silly Woman With Red Boxing Gloves
By Cheryl Renee Long
She slowly cycles her way in and out of my dreams, each visit announcing a new chapter in my life. She silently enters the black screen of my night vision from stage right, confidently steering her wobbly, decrepit blue bicycle. She pauses in the spotlight and looks directly into my eyes. Time for change. She lifts her red boxing glove, signifying a fight may be in my near future. She implies that I should do no harm and draw no blood either physically or emotionally.
The Silly Woman shifts her gaze and she wheels the wobbling bike stage left. I wonder, is she silly? She looks silly. Or is she wise?
By Cheryl Renee Long
Before I could talk, even before I could walk, my young mother would scoop me up and dance with me in her arms. By 3 years old, I was her tiny dance partner. I knew all the big band sounds, the crooners and the words to the popular songs of the 1930s and 1940’s. I didn’t learn to dance – it was full immersion from birth.
The Jitterbug Dancer sketch came from a Mysterious Night Vision gel pen scribble. I did it with my eyes closed. The fun and the creativity came when I “saw” something in the scribble. I used Gelly Roll gel pens and Prismacolor colored pencils.
Our mom is now about to turn 90. She still loves Glen Miller and she still dances in place. She is my Jitterbug Dancer.
NOTE: Cheryl Renee Long’s “Color Your World” Colored Pencil Sketching class begins Jan. 4, 2016 and is only $50. Click here to view the sales page and/or to enroll: https://app.ruzuku.com/courses/11010/about
NEW CLASS ANNOUNCED
In late February 2016, Cheryl Renee Long and the hard working behind-the-scenes crew at Toucan Create! will introduce a brand new online class on how to loosen up your creativity and really explore your artistic imagination drawing with gel pen or colored pencils on black paper. This is your Mysterious Night Vision Field Journal!
GETTING READY FOR THE CLASS
Here are some tips about some supplies you might like to get you started.
TALKING ABOUT PAPER
First things first! Check out the Toucan Artists Bookstore or your local art supply store and buy yourself a black sketchbook. Size is up to you, but personally I like something small that says “field journal” to me. The one I just started is by Artagain and is 9″ x 6″. It’s pretty spendy at $29.70. If I had my way, it would be about 5 1/2″ x 5 1/5″.
If you like working on a little larger format, the Pacon Basic Black Sketch Book, 8.5″x11″ is a good choice and only costs $4.99. I have been known to buy a sketchbook this large then take it down to my local copy center, cut the pages in halves or quarters and have the resulting custom-sized sketchbook spiral bound with my own cover on it.
TALKING ABOUT GEL PENS AND COLORED PENCILS
When it comes to gel pens that glow in the darkness that is your Mysterious Night Vision Field Journal, one pen rules them all: the one, the only, the fabulous Sakura of Gelly Roll fame. Their huge line of pens glitter, glow, and pouf. Here are a couple of charts to help you better evaluate which pens do what:
Of the pens that look great on black paper, Moonlight at $6.99 for a pack of 10 is the best. I know Souffle looks good, but it is a weird, three-dimensional ink that takes a couple minutes to dry, and then if you flip another page down on top it, the poufiness crushes down into a peculiar mess. Proceed at your own risk!
On white paper, again, the Sakura 10-Piece Gelly Roll Moonlight Gel Ink Pen Set rules.
However, gel pens are not the only choice for your Mysterious Night Vision Field Journal; colored pencils work great, too. Cheryl Renn Long recommends Prismacolor: