mobile navigation
Blog - Yvonne J Foster

Brain Landscapes


When the clutter in my head becomes so noisy that I can’t function, I reach for a black pen and I draw. It begins to calm my brain, leaving me able to think a little clearer and continue engaging with life. I use repetition, in lines, crosshatching and scribbles. I call them Brain Landscapes. It’s my way of expelling the stuff that goes on inside my head.

Hand drawn lines, crosshatching and musical notes.

Yvonne J Foster – Brain Landscapes

The ‘noise’ is persistent unwanted negative thoughts and emotions that are almost impossible to shift; no amount of mindfulness calms them. Sometimes violent, always doggedly loud, the relentless subconscious mind throws fractured memories at me. Pictures appear like a high speed flicking photo album, bombarding me with not just the image but the corresponding emotion, feeling or sensation. It happens all too quickly to catch, pin down or to make sense of. It just leaves me battered and exhausted.

Hand drawn lines, crosshatching and musical notation symbols.

Yvonne J Foster – Brain Landscapes

Drawing in this way decreases the impact. I draw parallel lines over and over again and create a web of crosshatching. The more intense the feeling the more layers I produce, the darker the image. If I’m angry and need a way to release it, I scribble furiously. At these times the pen is close to tearing straight through the paper. Otherwise I sit quietly producing page after page of these Brain Landscapes with just the noise of the pen scratching the paper.

I happened across ’15 Simple Art Hacks You Can Use To Control Your Mind And Channel Your Emotions’ which amused me. Art therapist Victoria Nazarevich suggests simple ways to deal with emotions by creating and drawing. It appears that I am doing that already.

If you are interested in more, here’s a video of me working on a large piece of Crosshatching. I also have an Instagram page which has all the latest things I have been working on.

Hand drawn lines, crosshatching and other sketch details

Yvonne J Foster – Instagram

Leave a comment

2 Comments on "Brain Landscapes"

Notify of
Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Susan R

Very interesting – I crosshatch too. There is a reason!

Theresa Fox-Byrne

I really like your work. It’s very emotive!


The Pathologised Self

Recently I was at the World Congress of Psychiatry in Berlin to talk about my involvement in a film about a psychiatrist with bipolar called 'The Wounded Healer'   I give Dr Ahmed Hankir a hard time in the film, and I gave the psychiatrists at the congress a hard time too. The level of denial ...

The Dialogue of Magical Objects and a Chorus of 50,000 Bees – Scratch the Surface Festival 2017

Scratch the Surface Festival 2017 is presenting eleven days of groundbreaking art from September 30th – October 10th, World Mental Health Day in venues across the city of Coventry, including the world-famous Cathedral. Marie-Louise Plum, Director of Mental Spaghetti gives some background to the festival and writes about her commission Suburban English Magick. Scratch the Surface ...