First I decided to collect my materials before I gave any thought to the 4 feelings we are asked to express using lines. I decided to use: charcoal, fountain pen ink, oil pastel and prismacolor black pencil (Each page has these materials used in the same order Top left through to bottom right). I have never really worked with ink before and am very limited experience with everything other than coloured pencil, so this was quite an interesting experience for me I was already thrown out of my comfort zone. I was given 3 feelings and asked to come up with another for myself.
The feelings provided were:
I chose: Anxiety
After planning my first goal deadline I set about trying to make other connections to the feelings that would help me best express the feelings. As you can see from the photo above this is my first mind map – Sorry for the roughness, it’s been a while.
I began with ‘Anger’:
This page was quite fun, I really engrossed myself into the feeling. I felt like I was attacking the page (I even broke my charcoal stick with the amount of pressure I applied). I tried to express anger as a fire that can sometimes be quite uncontrollable and all consuming. With the ink I was trying to express how anger can sometimes lead us to saying hurtful/cutting things. I used a BBQ skewer and as you can see although I applied a lot of pressure, because of the sharp point the lines have mostly appeared faint and mostly grey. My oil pastel attempt was showing child like anger, where lots of little things can make us angry at the same time, I used tight messy lines to include the frustration we’d feel with every problem we felt angry towards. My final coloured pencil attempt I drew all the lines quickly and in one direction; this was to express when we have anger and direct it all towards another person or object. I quite enjoyed tapping into this emotion as I often try not to let myself get angry. My children have come to teach me the importance of patience and if I fail – the importance of trying again.
As mentioned above I have 3 young children and so the feeling ‘Calm’ very rarely if ever exists in our home, so I found this particular feeling quite hard to access. With the charcoal I decided to turn the stick slightly sideways and tried to continue one continuous, calm line. With my fountain ink I first of began with a plastic fork as I was wanting to create a wave effect, I quickly learnt that wasn’t going to happen as plastic does not absorb, so retreating back to my trusty BBQ skewer I continued to create curved lined to try and depict a calm pond, at this point I realised that the skewer was absorbing more of the ink so I kept having to re-dip meaning the waves weren’t as smooth and calm as I had hoped. My oil pastel was depicting a nice calm breeze on a summers day, one which I would like to spend my time sunbathing in our back garden. After finishing and looking back on the work I notice that my charcoal and coloured pencil look very similar, but in reality I was trying to express a slow dance with my husband, looking at the variety of lines you will see that we really aren’t the best dancers but when we were dating I always had a real sense of calm when he held me and we danced. (Seriously, sometimes I feel I’m old before my time).
I have so much joy in my life so expressing this and noticing it wasn’t as difficult as ‘Calm’. The charcoal was showing how we can be bouncing off the walls. I moved the skewer quickly in all directions with the ink to show that when we are happy we move around more and sometimes quicker. Explosions of joy as shown in the oil pastel, I chose the oil pastel to express this as I really liked the intensity of the colour, it moved smoothly across the paper, but at the same time there was still enough friction that the oil pastel tapered to a point at the end of the line. The coloured pencil was mostly inspired by my children as the love to play dizzy ducks and have endless amounts of fun spinning around and around and their little laughs bring me great joy.
I thought I’d even it up and do a more serious feeling when I chose ‘Anxiety’. The charcoal was really good to express this, as sometimes those with anxiety can’t always tell you why they are feeling that way so I used the tip of the stick and smudged the lines to show its not quite clear. With my fountain ink and trusty BBQ skewer once again I pressed with some force to create these tight sharp lines to show agitation, what I didn’t expect was the splash effect I got after from the friction between the skewer and the paper, but I really like it and that it gives a little more depth to what I was doing. The oil pastels I used in more structured, squared lines. They look a little like mazes which sometimes you can feel very lost, and enclosed by feelings of anxiety. Again with my pencil I wanted to show the frustration that accompanies anxiety, with the confusion and mess it can sometimes cause.
Whilst doing this exercise, I enjoyed trying new materials, I realised that I’m not a fan of the texture of charcoal and I would like to maybe try more things in ink as I feel this has more potential and variation that I would like to discover. I found the positive feelings a little harder to express and this concerns me as I am not a particularly negative person, but I guess I can use this as an opportunity to continue to try and express my happier emotions.