Babe what are you doing in my head?
The irony of bloody gore imagination, aromatherapy and crystals is what I love about my morning art ritual.
A couple of weeks ago, at the start of my Xmas break, I decided to take online art classes to learn new skills to enhance my art practice. I discovered the joys of Indian ink, and my daily morning art ritual was transformed in a way I never thought possible, by becoming a powerful form of meditation.
The black ink has given me a pathway to look into the dark parts of my mind, the cobwebbed bits I keep well covered up, those components that I skip over like a needle on a record that decides to hit a scratch and miss the whole piece of the riff.
During this process I found a Taniwha, (ta·nee·fuh) the mythical creatures of the deep dark places in the ocean and rivers, dark angry monsters swirling, attacking, slashing those who dare to step foot in their realm as they look for prey to slash and feed from.
Sometimes though, there is a Taniwha that becomes our Kaitiaki (kai-tee-a-kee), our guardian. My Kaitiaki joins in the fun and shows up in the drawings as well.
On the outside my life looks like love and light to people looking in, on the inside there are times I swirl in the dark, needing to grasp on to hope, desperate not to fall into despair.
I have been drawing Taniwha nonstop for six days straight now. Not just every morning at 4am, but at least three times a day. Drawing worlds, with characters, with names. I am finding my artistic voice. Slowing down, being more patient with details. Having fun with my impatience.
My mind is going non stop, in fact it is so damn productive I can’t stop it going down these paths.
Each time I draw I get more than one Taniwha standing in my way, representing an obstacle, a story as to why I can’t do something, I end up drawing the Kaitiaki bringing in the lightness, the common sense, the detail, identifying the small steps of the pattern, the focus.
I listen to music while drawing, my hand is doing the work not my brain.
A lot of transformation, goals and planning for the future has been achieved in the last few days in the quiet of my studio, where the repetitive patterns are being drawn, following the strands of my mind into those cobwebbed corners.
The drawing ritual is an avenue for meditation and insight that has worked powerfully for me. It will be interesting to see how this all looks in three months time.
A daily drawing practice will remind me of the Kaitiaki within, she is always present, always available. My mental health feels fragile at times, this daily ritual will help me keep strong and looking forward, and to embrace the journey into the darkness using my art as a vehicle for strength and resilience.