Manic layering 

Part 1 

Christmas and New Year are always bitter sweet for me. Over the years they always meant a lovely time and great food with my Mum. She has been gone 10 years now and they never feel quite the same.

 This year we had illness and drama and so much travelling. I have been like a  maniac making art since we got back . I am still addicted to tea staining and I have bought so many turquoise mark making implements that I need locking up.

Did you know that you can buy my favourite uniball eye markers – in 3 different versions – plain and decorated barrels ? Only 1 of which type has permanent ink? 

It presumably doesn’t usually matter, unless you spend hours alternating pens drawing mandalas  – covering the design in gel medium and tea dipping – expecting to see half your design disappear rather than all of it? 

This is the level I am functioning at, hyper vigilant – I am having a manic menapausal episode with very little sleep – hot sweats and bonkers dreams

Since December I have been working with turquoise. In the New Year more horrid things happened.  I needed  orange. I love using complimentaries so this wasn’t really a problem but I only have one decent small pen in orange and it’s waterproof. I needed to look in my pen stash. 

 My one word for this year is supposed to be ‘passion’but after the week we had had , I think it might have to be ‘equnamitity’.

I  thought about balance and what that represents to me , but couldn’t think of an image that encapsulates the concept that I liked – I found a pattern on the internet that used circles and squares. I decided to try  and incorporate orange/ blue as a way of  trying to cancel out how I was feeling and behaving. I still wanted to use the tea dipping but to develop something new 



I enjoyed the process but when I looked at the  images they weren’t speaking to me. If my art is going in a direction that I like . If  I look at the images and I can see faults but they  say things  like “Yes” or “Somethings happening  here”.   My unadulterated mandalas don’t talk to me either. 


There is a sense of pleasure  – when I produce a new design, but they don’t feel part of me, they are just there. Before I realised I needed orange , I smeared fluorescent pink and yellow onto two  tea dipped pieces with a credit card . I didn’t take pictures because the result was horrid, I added more paint and made  it worse.

 Orange struck, as I  was searching through my pen stash  I found something called a “Crayloa Spider Pen”. The ink was fluorescent orange and came out all sticky – I have no idea where it came from or how long I have had it. I started scrawling all over my reject pieces. It’s fabulous, I don’t think Crayola make them anymore …….. These are yelling at me. My sister will complain  “why are you drawing my migraines?” 

Part 2 

I had to stay out of the flat yesterday – there was too much mess in the kitchen , my blue  images were not speaking to me. There was piles of tea stained paper towels and newspaper. I had emptied my pen stash out all over the sofa and got blue ink on a new dress. 

When I got back after a full body massage and a jacuzzi session I decided to reduce my pile of work by making small pamphlet journals.  These are the same format as letter journals but rather than just folding the A4 pieces in half I trimmed them down to 8×8″ and kept the strip of paper that was left to make mini journals. Some calm reigned for an hour or so. 


After scrawling all over my rejects with the spider pen I wondered if some of my other work could do with one more layer? I drew big mandalas in dark blue Sharpie – they were flat and unresponsive – White Signo pens work well over Sharpie …. 



It felt like a eureka moment – so I drew on top of my least favourite spider pen design as well – the orange was not as punchy when the ink dried . 


Last night the pictures were yelling at me – this morning my sister will definitely complain when she sees them on Instagram lol. 

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4 thoughts on “Manic layering 

  1. Hi Tess. Really loving the images above. Your blog is such an inviting conversation. Glad I checked it out! Cheers. Blessings. fae

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