Doodle Mind and Writing

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24 x 24 acrylic

The idea for this painting originated in Italy; after observing a tiled, stylized cross in a church, the shape reminded me of Native American capes that people wear at village dances and potlatches. I am deep in the process of writing a fiction project about a Yup’ik boy who comes of age while enduring the hardship of his best friend’s suicide, in combination with his love for a visiting teacher who is, at best, cavalier with his feelings. Post high school, he travels to New Mexico to attend art school, and to his astonishment, realizes an expanded and compelling worldview. He finds, through sculpture and painting, the beginnings of renewed hope and healing; a newly fabricated sense of self and over-arching purpose that guides his future actions. In the end, he marries a woman from his village home, fathers a baby (with fetal alcohol syndrome), and carves out a life, fraught with pain and difficulty, though deeply lived with appreciation and great love.

Much of this derives, I’m sure, of my love for the Alaskan and New Mexico landscapes and people. Both  of them gritty, raw, wild, astoundingly beautiful. One whose winter sun barely clips the horizon for several long, dark months; another whose summer sun cracks the desert ground into patchworks of brittle clay. I am drawn explicably to both, and icons of both worlds, though largely imagined, are evident in this painting.

Donato Di Zio

At a museum in Florence, I bought a book of Donato Di Zio’s work in pen and ink. I have no idea what it says, as the text is entirely in Italian, but his remarkable drawings are so engaging I couldn’t put the book down; it just had to ride home in my backpack so I could peruse its contents many times over.  

Some of his work is reminiscent of a Native American style of sorts; at least that’s what came to mind upon first viewing. So fluid with motion, and little color to distract. I love how he uses thousands of little sperm-like creatures to make the piece come alive with movement.

Donato Di Zio

The Japanese artist, Sagaki Keita creates amazing drawings of classic works of art and other iconic images with a whimsical twist–look closely: the drawings are in fact made up of hundreds of cartoonish doodles.

I guess you could say he has raised doodling to a fine art!

Painting and drawing and collage-ing helps tremendously in igniting the process of writing for me.  The act of drawing (on paper with pens & paint; not Photoshop…which has another purpose) loosens the over-structured, root-bound approach I often take (hold-over from graduate school maybe…all those papers) and  lets in a deeper, more soulful indulgence to create without rules. 

I sorely need that, and give myself permission to sketch and paint and take photographs for no real or imagined immediate purpose; except the knowing that you never know.

You never know how an image or poem or doodle may be used at a later time, and weave its golden thread through another fresh and creative project.

0 thoughts on “Doodle Mind and Writing”

  1. OMG Monica – this is an amazing! I agree that art is such a huge chalice of creativity. I love the art you posted. I also loved how you put this: Both of them gritty, raw, wild, astoundingly beautiful. GREAT! I am always doing some kind of art, whether it be photography or coloring. I am not good, but I love looking at people who are.

  2. Oh Monica, this post is a complete manifesto for my work, for the Powder Keg Sessions and the workshops I offer…letting our hands and minds loosen and connect to our hearts and you never, ever know what will lead to what. Just 2 weeks ago at the Women Writers Artists Matrix there were numerous stories of magic being woven by these supple hands. What a wonderful look in to your process Monica. My big open heart bows to yours with love, S

  3. I have an extra measure of admiration for artists whose gifts are multi-disciplinary. The best 'stuff' of creativity takes place beneath the level of conscious thought, so, yes, it reassures to see what all the doodling and daydreaming can give rise to. Your art is really beautiful, and I always look forward to your posts.

  4. Oh my, thank you for the introduction to Sagaki Keita's work, Monica! I followed the link and was very impressed with his images – he really has raised doodling to a fine art! 🙂

    My sister lived in New Mexico for about a decade, and my cousin lived in Alaska for a few years, but we never made it to visit either state. Kind of kicking myself now… Fascinating how both places draw you with different invitations.

  5. I did smile to see your comment about the "over-structured, root-bound approach". When I began my blog, I said I wanted to use it to learn to write. A few folks thought I was nuts. After all, I can spell, I can construct a sentence, I can use the subjunctive properly.

    But what I knew – intuitively at first, then more clearly – was that I had to move away from the ways of writing that had served me so well in academia. That didn't mean starting to use "ain't" or letting every thought trail off as I…

    I didn't know exactly what it meant. But I know it's happening. It takes time, because it's more than technique that has to change.

  6. That's one of the perks of being committed to a blog: it forces me to sit down once/week to think and write, no matter what. I follow your blog because the writing is so engaging, Linda! Thank you.

  7. I'm so right there with you. I need to doodle and cut and paste and get really a way of loosening up and getting at my creative juices. Love the 'doodle art' you've shared here!

  8. Wish I lived closer Suzi…you have inspired me in so many ways—from a distance!
    Thank you for the Babes Anthology, and the gift you have for connecting women, near and far.

  9. Yes! I'm wondering how to use photographs in an organic way, combining painting, collaging, adding text, etc. independent of PhotoShop. There's something about working with the hands that's appealing…feeds the heart.

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Welcome to the creative playground of Image, Sculpture, Verse.  I live in a river town nestled in the Chugach Mountain Range of Southcentral Alaska.



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