Orchids – with a note on creativity and inner peace

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Imagination is an odd thing. It’s quite unnerving sometimes how drawings can take on a mind of their own. I find it impossible to draw an image that has already fully formed in my head – any attempt to replicate the mind’s-eye illustration in physical media will always end in disappointment, it’ll never be perfect to how I’ve seen it in my mind.

Therefore, I never think about illustrations in depth before starting them. Yes, in many cases planning in needed, but this occurs in the form of quick pen sketches on paper to remove the ideas from the mind before they can be overdeveloped. The development process and perfecting is then carried out on paper and built up with bits and pieces taken from the initial pen sketches.

In the case of illustrations I create at my own leisure however, I find it best to have little if no idea of what the end product will be. The illustration above for example began as a simple pencil study of orchids to practice drawing plants. But at some point the entity that is can only really be considered as ‘imaginative concentration’ kicked in. I’m sure all artists and craftspeople experience the same disconnected state of mind when they’re totally engrossed in their work – a quieting of the world, where time, emotion, reality cease to exist. There is only the piece in front of you, growing and evolving past anything you imagined at the start. It’s almost as if a second personality lays dormant inside, taking control of your physical form only in order to produce art. And at the end, you wake up from the trance and find that you have created something – an illustration, poem, sculpture – that didn’t exist until the very moment that you made your last brushstroke.

Of curse, not everyone appreciates the effort. Art will always be graded from person to person, some will love, some will hate. Looking back at a piece in the months or years that follow, you yourself may even come to judge your own pieces harshly. But that doesn’t take away the experience of creating it. For when you are in that creative state – where the mind and body share the same vision and become one – you know only enjoyment.

This trance state of creation truly is the only place that I find complete inner peace and it is extraordinary to experience, even if I’m unaware of it at the time.

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Illustration for ‘Paths of Desire’

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‘The Forgotten and the Fantastical 2’ stories – ‘Paths of Desire’. Finola Scott’s fairytale tells the story of another young selkie, ripped from her ocean home to become a wife to a human male as the folklore dictates. He promises to do anything to make her happy but as she fails to bear him a child over the following months, the pressures of trying to conceive begin to take their toll…

‘Paths of Desire’ sits alongside 16 other short fairytale-inspired stories in ‘The Forgotten and the Fantastical 2’ published by Mother’s Milk Books. Copies are available from their online store.

Illustration for ‘The Worm’

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‘The Forgotten and the Fantastical 2’ stories – ‘The Worm’. Sarah Hindmarsh’s tale retells the story of the Lambton Worm from English Folklore, an eel-like creature unwittingly caught by Lord John Lambton whilst fishing. Initially in fear of the monster, Lord John begins to feel a strange affection for the beast, but as the creature grows and becomes more vicious in its Master’s absence, the people of Lambton begin to suffer the consequences of John’s actions.

Sarah Hindmarsh is the author of the ‘Animal Adventures’ series and her first book ‘The Mouse Who Howled at the Moon’ was shortlisted for the SpaSpa independent book awards. ‘The Worm’ appears alongside 16 other short stories in ‘The Forgotten and the Fantastical 2’ published by Mother’s Milk Books. Copies are available from their online store.

Illustration for ‘Seal Woman’

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‘The Forgotten and the Fantastical 2’ illustrations – ‘Seal Woman’. Selkies are mythological seal-like creatures, widespread through British and Irish folklore, that shed their skins and assume human form when on land. Rachel Rivett’s tale follows a young selkie, captured by a human male on her first trip to the land and her years of longing to return to the sea. For to steal a selkie’s sealskin is to keep her captive. Without it she can never return home and must stay on dry land to yearn for the ocean in her weakening human form…

‘Seal Woman’ appears alongside 16 other short stories in ‘The Forgotten and the Fantastical 2’, published by Mother’s Milk Books. Copies are available from their online store.

INKtober Challenge: – Day 27 – ‘The Passing of Mononoke’

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Will the forest survive once her protector is gone? This really wasn’t meant to be a sad picture. I’d originally had the idea that Princess Mononoke had discarded her mask as she was no longer needed to protect the forest but once I’d filled in the Kodama’s faces, they looked more sad than happy. I suppose San is mortal after all.