Drawing to Improve Your Mood

April 8, 2024
Sakura Pigma Professional Brush Pen FB and Schmincke Pan Watercolors in a Strathmore 500 Series Mixed Media Journal (soft cover, 7.75 x 9.75 inches—my favorite commercially available journal).

Recovering from the  iliac vein dissection has been difficult. It’s placed limits on my mobility and energy. I’ve had to change how I think about exercise. My heart is broken that I can’t cycle any more.

One morning I wrote this caption on the next page in my journal, after a painful effort of exertion. I was tired of living on will. But we all have to do that, more than we probably would like to admit, or remember.

At the end of the day the text was still staring at me.

We have to take a first step when that happens.

I  asked myself, “What cheers me? Drawing chickens.”

I rummaged up some of my chicken photos from past Minnesota State Fairs.

Immediately I had to laugh, because of the “crossing the road” connection between rooster and text. (Birds can be of philosophical inclination—which you would know if you had ever lived with one.)

But then I realized I was simply breathing again. And in the exploration of textures and pigments and personality there was great happiness. 

I hope you find the subject matter, approach, or tools that will help you get something down on paper that matters to you, clears your mind, and allows you to see possibilities again.

Drawing always makes the next step easier.


    • Georgy
    • April 8, 2024

    Oh! I wonder if you realize – when you share from the heart – you help.

    (probably a LOT of us . . . But, the way I know for Certain is YOU Help Me . . )

    SO, thank you for lifting me up by sharing YourSelf.

    You Are A Gift,

    1. Reply

      Georgy, thank you for your very kind comment. I appreciate it.

    • bill b
    • April 8, 2024

    Love those chickens. I’m sure our little dogs would “love” them too. That rooster looks like he would give them a run for their money. Your drawings always lift me up. Thank you.

    1. Reply

      So glad you enjoyed this rooster—I agree he has attitude!

    • Paul
    • April 8, 2024

    Just looking at this sketch improved MY mood! LOVE the glorious colours and textures👍👍. Keep painting!

    1. Reply

      Thanks Paul—aren’t those colors fun?! Lots of people think chickens are boring, but when you really look at them there are colors on colors on colors. I want to go to the FAIR so much.

  1. Reply

    Ooh Roz, I’m so glad you are wise enough to remember that drawing brings joy! Your posts bring me joy and remind me to draw too. Sending affectionate thoughts to you from me- one of your many loyal followers x

    1. Reply

      Alison, thanks for your kind thoughts and for stopping by. I hope you get some drawing in today!

    • Jeanne
    • April 10, 2024

    Roz, I love your chickens (and turkeys); I love your dogs; I love your birds, I love your T-Rexes! You’ve even painted a few cats, and they are full of energy (I lve them, too). Thank you a million times over for sharing both your wealth of knowledge and your very large heart. I have really enjoyed the Strathmore 500 MM sketchbook but have gotten frustrated when it wouldn’t lie flat when I needed it to. What are your thoughts on its sibling in hard cover?
    All the best, Jeanne

    1. Reply

      Jeanne, I thought I posted a response to this last week! I find that the Strathmore 500 Series Mixed Media Journal with the SOFT cover from Strathmore opens really flat. The soft covers facilitate that. I simply open to a page and push down to the center for the first few spreads and after that it’s easy-peasy.

      If you want it to stay open when you’re holding it in your hands and sketching as I do at the Fair you might want to use bull dog clips to hold the pages together. I’ve also clipped it to a piece of foam core plastic in those situations.

      However I find the hard cover version Strathmore makes doesn’t open as flatly. I have a couple left in storage from when they first came out. (I think they released the hardcover ones before the softcover version but I might be misremembering and only bought the hard cover ones because in general hardcover is my favorite type of book.

      Regardless, I didn’t like using the hardcover version and I will eventually use those books because it is a favorite paper, but I always recommend the 7.75 x 9.75 inch Soft cover.

      It’s the ideal book size for me as well.

      And speaking of size, if you’re using a smaller size of the soft cover that may very well be harder to keep open and open flat. There is a point at which paper fights and fights, until of course the sheet gets large enough that if the binding is accommodating it stops fighting and gives in and goes flat.

      Happily for me for this paper that’s at 7.75 x 9.75 inches with the soft binding.

      Sorry it isn’t working for you.

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