Conte & Pastel – The Shape of Things


When I was in the third or fourth grade (many decades ago), we would have a one hour art class, once a week. The particular class that came to mind was learning about abstract art. I found myself smiling as I recalled her instructions to “just draw a squiggly line all over and fill in the shapes with colour.” The more I thought about this, I felt it would be a very relaxing project, like doodling.

Squiggly Line Thumbnail

This is my ‘Squiggly Line’ all over the page, drawn with a conte pencil. I decided to use a monochromatic pallet of colour. It really was relaxing, just meandering around using pastels to fill in the shapes, and not staying within the lines.

Colouring with Soft Pastels

After I had filled in most of the shapes, I began to see other shapes emerge. Shapes that appeared as beaks, imaginative birds, and insects. I gave them eyes and drew patterns to resemble a wing or a body, but not really. It was still doodling and their expressions made me laugh. I would work on this for a while, put it away, pick it back up, peacefully doodling. Soon I realized it had become picture.


I thought about how easy and fun this was to work on. Really, it created itself, and I was able to share in the adventure. Peaceful, mindful, doodling. Try it, you might really enjoy it, and be surprised with what happens!

Thank you Mrs. Barrett.

  1. I love this Liza! It reminds me of some cartoon characters from childhood that I’m drawing a blank on at the moment in terms of their names. I feel really drawn to the palette of colors and the monochromatic aesthetic. I can see so many creatures in this. Birds, ladybugs, snails, owls, fish. It’s awesome!

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    1. Hello Cathy! And thank you! It’s hard to express just how much fun I had letting this “doodle” create itself. It felt like tai chi and giggling at the same time 😂. I am definitely going to try another and “get out of the way.” Thanks again!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha! Sounds like a party I want to celebrate… I might try this mysterious, zen, and surprise process sometime soon 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    2. O, I hope you do! Let me know how it went for you 😁. I just started my next one…and as the process goes….who knows! 😂❤️


    3. Haha, it is on my to-do list… actually I will draw out some lines tonight and gradually build upon it! LOL, as a response to ‘who knows’ that’s the excitement of it all… it’s like the art is discovering itself as it’s painted… very exciting and mysterious. 🙂

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    4. Haha! I finished it today! My lines were very ginormous, so then they inspired ONE shape — a bird! I ended up drawing abstract bird faces to cover the rest of the page, even though it didn’t necessarily conform to the lines themselves!!!! Thank you Liza for your inspiration, very excited to do art after a long period of not doing it!

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    5. WOW, I am so tickled and very delighted for you!! That’s the beauty of creativity, joy in the willingness to invite it in, and the joy in your experience!
      Thank you so much for sharing your fun with me, it’s been a wonderful gift, and I have enjoyed your exploration ☮️❤️!!

      Liked by 1 person

    6. I’m glad to share the joys of creativity with you! It sits on my bookshelf now! Yeah, inviting in each moment as it unravels, you described the creative process beautifully! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much! I enjoy the adventure, discovery, and creative process of painting, illustrating, and visual communication 😊. Like the old ‘Lays potato chip ad…”can’t eat just one!”
      If the work inspires or delights, then it’s done it’s job! Thanks again!

      Liked by 1 person


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