It seems at the moment that no sooner do I get back on track with things than something comes along to derail my good intentions.
I’d just got on top of the whole food prep and planning thing, making packed lunches, planning lots of weekend riding, and a few commutes to work when BAM! I come down with a lurgy, my second in two weeks.
Well, hello there blog. It’s been a while, and a roller coaster of a year.
There’ve been a lot of highs; the Soapbox Science events I was involved in went exceedingly well, I was recruited by Immediate Media to develop BikeRadar Women, one of my best friends got married, I’ve had a few little pieces published in MBUK magazine, I attended the Juliana product launch in Downieville, California – one of the most amazing trips I’ve ever been on…yeah, pretty good.
I can’t quite believe how quickly the last 3 weeks have flown by. One minute, it’s the beginning of March, and the next thing you know it’s nearly the end. I’ve been a bad blogger and not put anything up for ages now, but on the upside it’s because I’ve been doing lots of stuff. And which is better: writing about doing stuff, or actually doing it?
I’ve always had a spare pad of paper, notebook, or dedicated few pages at the back of my school book where I could draw. These range from random scribbles while on the phone, to slightly more involved patterns and pictures, moving ever so slightly more towards the more drawing, rather than doodling.
I tend to draw things on a theme. I like doing female faces in a kind of cartoon or manga style. I’ll draw tattoo-flash style pieces featuring script or things I like such as bicycles and mountains. I have a thing for drawing squid and octopus, in a stylised way.
When I’m drawing, it’s almost like mediation. I’ve always found focussing and letting go in the kind of meditation I’ve tried before, where you sit still and empty your mind, extremely difficult. I find it much easier when focussed on a task. Having read up more about it recently, I guess what I’m doing is a kind of Mindfulness – focussing completely on the here and now, rather than letting my thoughts get scattered around the place. There’s some good information on benefits of Mindfulness on the Headspace website, and also BeMindful.
I’ll sit for hours, literally, drawing lines, dots, shading, colouring. I have a particular thing for clean lines, which may or may not be inspired by my early love of celtic knot work, or perhaps I love that because I love lines. Who knows. So most of the doodles I do involve clean lines of various thickness. I like pointillism for shading.
My favourite pens in all the world are very fine black pigment liners. Ideally, I’ll have a 0.5 for thick lines, and a 0.3 and 0.1. The 0.1 is my favourite, as I can make beautiful, thin, precise lines that snake and weave across the page.
The joy of building a picture, of filling a blank page, of seeing how the picture turns out as it comes out of my head and into reality, is addictive and soothing and reassuring.
Sometimes, I can’t draw. It’s usually the fear of the blank page. I want the image to be perfect, but how can it be when I haven’t made it yet, when I haven’t mapped it out. It has to be created before it can be refined, and it’s taken me a while to work out that just starting anywhere is okay, that something is better than nothing, and that an idea can be beautiful even if it’s not what you thought it would be.
When I’m drawing, everything else disappears. I get lost in the process, filling areas, joining dots, planning which line will go where next. All the chatter, all the stress, all the million things I always have to do disappear for a little while, and it’s just me, the paper and the pen.
Why doodling and not drawing? I think for me doodling sounds less formal, and therefore holds less pressure of having to make it good, make it something that people will judge. Doodling is mostly just for me, and if it’s good, if I’m happy with it, well – that’s a bonus.
I stopped doodling for a long time over the last 2 years, and have only really started again. I was so busy and stressed with other things that I didn’t allow myself time to do it. ‘I don’t have time to doodle’ I thought. ‘If I have time to do that, I should be doing the other things that I have to do!’ But I was wrong. A few minutes, a few hours spent doodling, and I’m full of ideas, and feeling much calmer, so it’s time well spent.
First off, I must apologise for my radio silence on the blog. I know the golden rule of blogging is update the site regularly, but it’s also true that sometimes life just gets in the way. And I have had rather a lot of stuff going on! What have I been doing? In summary:
This morning I arrived into Edinburgh on the Caledonian Sleeper train. I came out of the station, in search of breakfast, and the the first thing I noticed was imposing rocks of Arthurs Seat, silhouetted in the morning sunshine, visible from my vantage point in the centre of town.
Having worked on Total Women’s Cycling for over a year and half, helping it grow both in terms of visitors and content, I thought it was way past time to pop my thoughts, deeds, plans and musings together somewhere for myself. I also thought it would be a good place to aggregate the work I’ve done over the years, not just for Total Women’s Cycling, but also for Science & Media Exhibitions Ltd, and of course The Natural History Museum. So the plan here is to create a site that reflects what I’ve done so far, my thoughts and opinions on various things from the present, and my plans for the future. Oh, and I have some pretty cool photos to add too. Here goes!