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A Gellyroll Mishap and Thoughts on Starting Again

A few pages from the 5x8" moleskine in pink gellyroll.

After 60+ days of 100+ temps this summer, it dropped to the 90s and the pool was lovely again. After swimming I hung out in the sun while the girls splashed. I drew the mandala and the lighter pink words.

Then I gracefully dropped the pink fine tip gellyroll on the cement.

Tip first.

The ink proceeded to flow like a junky fountain pen, rolling out but not actually dripping. It was all very gobby, yet entrancing. I was curious to see what would happen.

I kept writing and drew patterns and dots, mesmerized by the dots. I kept drawing on the facing page. That's 16" of goopy marker!

I wrote about the cityscapes I used to draw. I put all of them on the table this weekend and got overwhelmed. Seeing them dated mid 2010 psyched me out. Like, I don't think I can draw lines that straight any more, or little windows that cute.

Why did I stop drawing little cities? How do I start again? How do you get the mindset of an earlier project back? Can you? I'm mad at myself for stopping. I feel like if I would have drawn more cityscapes, even just a little at a time, I might not have lost the track I was on. 

I kept drawing with this goopy pen for DAYS and it is starting to run out (1000x faster than usual).

With art, it could be keep it up or lose your memory of it. Not the literal "how" but the mindset you need to be in to create what you created. Like writing 75% of a story, leaving it sit for a few years, and trying to pick up all of the pieces and characters. You can get back on a bicycle and remember how to ride, but not so easy to start pedalling again on an old project. You lose your flow.

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Reader Comments (8)

Some lovely patterns and designs there. I wonder if you'll ever be able to recreate the effect of the pen in the future. Maybe it's a lesson in how creativity really is in the moment and like you say... So hard to recapture once you've lost your flow? Poignant stuff. Thanks for sharing!

09.17.2011 | Unregistered CommenterLianne

Totally love this post - that third image is just amazing!!! Love it!!!

09.17.2011 | Unregistered Commenterse7en

lovely post.

I do find it's sometimes possible (for me anyway) to recapture the mindset by copying old work until it starts to flow again. Often the intervening time adds a new flavor to it, which may or may not be a good thing. I've done that before with some things and it's an interesting experiment.

09.17.2011 | Unregistered CommenterCaitlyn

Lianne, Thank you. It was a really interesting experience in many ways.

Se7en, Happy you like the doodles? I don't know what "drew" me in by the gooey pen, maybe it was just that it was different and a different feel to the lines. It's like I wanted to get all I could out of the pen!

Caitlyn, I've not tried copying old work, but your point gives me an idea - I don't have to recreate the wheel, just get back into the groove. I am definitely going to try but it is scary.


09.17.2011 | Registered Commentergypsy

Have you seen this doodled prayer rug? So cool - it's all done in black Bic pen! It reminds me of your beautiful work!

09.17.2011 | Unregistered CommenterRobin

Robin, I went to check it out - what cool designs with a regular in pen, we are really not limited by our materials.


09.17.2011 | Registered Commentergypsy

Tammy, your post sums up how I felt about art all this summer.

I hadn't done any artwork for years since my kids were born (they are 8 now) and somehow stumbled across your blog. I was inspired by the lovely colors and the freedom to do anything you want on a small index card, so I did. I loved it and had a wonderful summer of creating and revisiting some of my earlier art projects. I didn't do anything with them, just tried to remember the mindset that i had while creating them, and realized that since I'm in a different place now, they would have a different "finish" -and not look the way that I'd intended when I first started.

I set them aside because I had different things calling to me and in a sense, I was finished with them. And I was okay with that. Happier to be doing fun things with art again, with new tools, techniques and way different energy!

09.18.2011 | Unregistered CommenterYuki

I am so inspired by your doodles! I need to get back to doodling and playing in paint. It's been a while, just feeling a bit uncreative and blah lately. Thanks for perking me up :)

09.18.2011 | Unregistered CommenterRambling Heather
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