Coloring Page / Template

Colouring page / template

It’s Thursday. The pandemic is still in action. That means it’s time for a new coloring page or template for members of the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group.

It’s free to join the group, and the template is a freebie for members of the group.

This week, I created a mandala design with a background of geometric, repeating patterns.

I’m still recovering from the stress of my first trip out since March 2020. Drawing (and colouring) mandalas is an incredibly peaceful, relaxing and mindful activity. So, it was natural that I drew one.

The mandala design is based on some of the abstract art I’ve been doing of late. It’s a bit unusual for my mandalas, but I really do like the organic flow of the lines.

Even though the design is abstract, the repeating symmetry of a mandala bring some structure to the design. I am looking forward to seeing how members of the group add colour to the design.

The geometric patterns in the background also result in a soothing, repetitive rhythm for colouring; a rhythm that results in soothing and calming ones mind and emotions.

De-stressing

I have been totally shaken by the level of anxiety/stress that resulted from my trip out on Tuesday. I am beginning to feel more my contented and calm self. However, I find I’m still irritable and grumpy and have withdrawn from social media and the like for most of the day.

It was a sobering thought when I realised I’d lived most of my life constantly at elevated stress levels, often as higher than what I experienced in the past couple of days.

It’s also a wonderful realisation that I can recognise this now, and I also am able to allow myself self-care time to let all the stress hormones leach from my body. It’s been a long time since they peaked in this way.

It makes me extremely grateful to my therapist for her years of patient work with me. Experiences like the Tuesday Trip remind me of how I used to be and show me how far I have come in recovery from cPTSD.

Yesterday, after my social media post, I binged watched the Harry Potter films from The Order of the Phoenix. I found I was irritated by crochet. I tried cross-stitch, which irritated me too. Eventually, I settled on knitting, which, oddly, soothed me. I think it’s because I could knit and watch the film. Knitting allowed me to channel my irritability into something creative. As I can knit without looking at the knitting, I could also watch and immerse myself in the films at the same time.

My fingers are itching to knit again, now I’ve thought about it.

Even though I slept well last night, I’m still feeling really tired today. This happens as part of the post-stress come-down. It can last a few days. I’ll not be rushing to nap, however. Napping has a knock-on effect on my ability to sleep at night when I’m like this. My naps tend to end up as periods of deep sleep, so I try not to take them unless it’s absolutely necessary.

Watercolour greeting cards

Greeting cards

It was a morning for some simple art. Art just for fun, relaxation and self-soothing. So, I thought that small watercolour gradient panels with really simple drawings on them and metallic and pearlescent paint highlights would be perfect.

For the first time ever I managed to create smooth colour gradients with watercolour. The secret, for me, was using a mix of water and gum arabic to wet the paper before applying the colour. Of course, working on such small pieces of watercolour paper helped. Still, it’s a personal achievement!

Once the panels were all done, itseemed a good idea to mount the little panels on some 4″ x 4″ blank cards. So I did just that and added a few more cards to my stash.

Stress and self-care

I had a really poor night’s sleep after the stress of my trip out to the pharmacy yesterday. I woke around 2:30am with a splitting headache and found it hard to get back to sleep. When I did, my alarm went off and woke me with quite a jolt.

I’d set my alarm last night as Wednesday is my delivery day with Able & Cole, and I like to get the deliver in and stored asap.

Once the delivery had come, around 6:30am. I had breakfast and then went back to bed to sleep.

I’m feeling a bit more centred and content now, but I’m still exhausted. So, today will be a quiet, self-care kind of day for me. I’ll be doing my best not to give in to the temptation to take a nap this afternoon so that I can sleep myself our properly tonight.

Sketchbook Pages

Yesterday, I made a pair of covers for a custom sketchbook. I also spent some time cutting up watercolour and mixed media paper to go into it. Each piece of paper is approx. 4″ square.

I then added colour to both sides of four of the pieces of mixed media paper (Claire Fontaine brand) using PaperArtsy Fresco paints, Daler-Rowney gold acrylic paint and a piece of Cut’n’Dry foam from Ranger.

I also added watercolour to four pieces of watercolour paper, just on one side. I used this as an opportunity to just play with colour, no idea in my head of what to create.

Later on in the day, I wielded Faber-Castell Pitt artist pens on one of the Fresco paint coloured pages (the one on the right). I just wanted to draw. No preconceptions of what would appear on the page.

It’s been quite a while since I’ve created art like this and I actually got a great deal of satisfaction out of the process. That surprised me, as black lines on colour had really not felt right to me for a long while now. It may be that I just needed a break from this style of art.

This morning, I took another piece of the Fresco paints coloured paper and drew a different design. Again, it was something I really enjoyed doing.

I’m really quite pleased with both designs. I think I’ll be using them for inspiration for some watercolour pieces in the near future. My only problem is whether to draw the designs out in black ink, dark pencil or faint pencil before adding watercolour! I think I’ll need to try these out before settling on a method.

What I also really like is working on a small scale. I’ve always been a ‘dainty’ artist; I find it hard to work on large scale artworks. It’s the fine, intricate detailed drawings and paintings that I enjoy creating, as well as abstract art.

Also, I really like the texture the Fresco paints leave on the paper – both for drawing on and the visual interest they create in the background. I’m so glad I haven’t done that destash and tidy-up yet as I know these paints were some of the items that were due to go. Now, they’ll be kept. I’m also glad I have a good supply of the Cut’n’Dry foam too.

I wish I’d placed the holes in the covers of my custom sketchbook closer together. That way I’d be able to add rectangular pieces of paper more easily. That’s something for me to consider the next time I make such a sketchbook.

I have some discs and a punch for disc binding in my stash. This may be something to consider using for another custom sketchbook as it would easily allow the inclusion of different sized papers in the sketchbook. Now my mind is working on using that! I think I need to jot my ideas down in my journal.

What I like about these kinds of systems is the ability to add different papers in where I want them – to shuffle things around as needed.

Sunday Creativity

Sunshiny watercolours

Last night, I bought a book called “Paint Yourself Calm” by Jean Haines. It’s about playing with watercolours and colour to gain a sense of calm. Not for any other purpose. Not to create great art. Not to produce anything. Just for the sheer enjoyment of working with watercolours and colour.

The concept appealed to me. I do find it hard to let go of the idea that I have to create finished art. I think that’s part of the instinct to start up a sketchbook practice again too. There’s no pressure to complete finished art in a sketchbook.

So, I was taken by one exercise in the book, which is to draw a shape, with watercolour, around five blank areas on the paper, and then colour the rest of the page with watercolours.

I grabbed one of the A5 Arteza mixed media sketchbooks I have. The paper isn’t the thickest and it did warp, but the colour does bloom and flow when the paper is wet in almost as good a way as it does on the high quality 100% cotton papers I have. I was just playing around and, despite the advice in the book, I just couldn’t feel I was wasting some of my best paper.

I used yellow to start with. I needed some sunshine yesterday evening. It had been a dull, grey, high-windy, wet day here in Wales, UK. So, sunshine was needed, and watercolours could provide it.

Once I’d got the area around the white spaces wet with watercolour, I dropped some oranges and reds into it. Small drops that blossom and bloom like tiny flowers and then flow one into another to create patterns of colour.

I also ran water down the page in rivulets to move the colours some more. And I added some pearlescent gold acrylic ink to these rivulets and let it flow and move, blossom and bloom as it wished.

Once it was all dry, I felt the need to add patterns in black pen. I ended up with patterns that remind me very much of plant cells under a microscope.

The whole process was very calming, meditative and settled me down to go to sleep.

Art Journal Covers

To the right of the watercolour, you can see two covers I’ve made for an art journal. I used some really sturdy cardboard and punched two holes in each. This way I’ll be able to use book binding rings to assemble the covers and internal pages. Each board measures 4.5″ x 5″ and I’ll use papers that are a maxium size of approx 4″ square in it.

I covered both sides with white gesso before using PaperArtsy Fresco chalk paints to colour them in a patchy, grungy way. I’m so grateful I hadn’t got rid of them, as I am thinking of having a major clearout of my stash at some point in time.

I wanted the colours to look a bit like the verdigris on weathered copper. Once dry, on the fronts, I added some medium grain texture gel. Once that was dry, I dry-brushed copper paint so it picked up the texture on both the back and fronts of the covers. Finally, I used the copper paint to edge the boards.

You can’t really see the copper in the photos, but it is there! I’m quite pleased with this.

Oh, I was inspired by a YouTube video by Kylie Coo Studio.

So, I’ve had a creative morning so far.

Tranquility

Watercolour

It’s taken me a couple of days to complete this small watercolour. The paper is approx 5¼” x 3¼”. So, it’s tiny and rather detailed.

I stuck to my intention of using blues, teals, greens and purples. This palette gives a rather calming and tranquil feel to the artwork. That was also the mood I was doing my best to create for myself.

I’m usually calm, content when I create. However, events in life can disrupt that to some degree, mainly my ability to relax and settle into my artistic or creative pursuits.

I do enjoy doing these abstract watercolours; the lack of black lines is a change for me, but something I’m learning to be comfortable with. It’s taken me a long time and many, many trials with that. Digital art has been the medium that has helped me find that sense of comfort at leaving out the black lines.

It’s nice that I’m able to translate those skills into more traditional media, particularly watercolours. I love the way watercolours work, but I’ve never found a way for them to work for me. I’ve struggled with them time and time again. However, I think that these abstract watercolour art experiments have helped me.

I love to see people create beautiful botanical watercolours, especially the looser kinds. Whenever I try it, as successful as I may be, it never seems right to me. It never sits ‘right’ in my creative soul. It’s another case of finding out what isn’t me to help me discover, or accept, what is me.

In that vein, my sketchbook is gaining small drawings of abstract designs. Whether I use all of them for paintings is a moot point at the moment. Making use of a sketchbook again is something that seems important at this time. In some ways it’s nice as there is no pressure to get something right or perfect. There’s still quite a bit of the hyper-perfectionist in me, though I’m better at recognising when something is ‘good enough’ to be finished.

RedBubble

Just a little message to say I have a RedBubble shop – there’s a link to it in the sidebar to the right. Please take a look, and a share of the shop would be most appreciated. There’s a wide range of quality products available at prices to suit all budgets.

#RedBubble #findyourthing

Metamorphosis I and II

Metamorphosis II

Last night, I had a play around with one of my latest watercolours in an app that creates patterns from your artwork. The process was mesmerising. I didn’t realise that they now do metamorphosing patterns like these two!

The top image is directly from the artwork, the bottom one has been lightened, the colours more saturated and adjusted slightly.

I fell in love with metamorphosing tessellations thanks to the works of M C Escher, like so many other people. I love the detail, observational skills and the way he plays with the illusion of space.

Anyways, creating these patterns, albeit digitally, was fascinating and something I can definitely lose myself in for hours! Being able to adjust colours in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro or Affinity Photo is an added fascination too.

I like both colour variations of the same metamorphosis above.

I have made both available in my RedBubble Shop on a wide range of quality products. Please take a look and support my art by sharing with others. #findyourthing

Template Thursday

The pandemic continues across the world and another week has passed us by. That means it’s time for another coloring template for members of the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group.

This week, I’ve decided to do a mandala. Mainly because I find mandalas incredibly soothing and calming to draw. I have drawn and coloured the mandala digitally in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro.

As always, the template is only available to members of the group. It’s free to join the group, and free to download the template. All I ask in return is that you follow the terms and conditions, don’t share the uncoloured template, and credit me with the artwork when you post your wonderful colourations online.

Watercolour Wednesday

I know, it’s been a watercolour day nearly every day for the past week or so. However, I do like alliteration. As did the Anglo-Saxons, who used alliteration in their poetry rather than rhymes.

Anyway, a fair amount of watercolour being done here in the past day.

Painting (1)
This one is now finished. It was an unusual one to do as I didn’t start with a sketch, but just added shapes as the painting grew. It’s colourful, for sure, which is my usual way of working with colour. I know I needed some colour to brighten my heart up yesterday.

Painting (2)
A work in progress, this one is on a piece of Arteza Premium watercolour paper, which is 100% cotton. It works in much the same way as the other 100% cotton paper I have, but it’s slightly more offwhite, with a yellow-ish tone, than the Khadi paper. It also has a different texture that is finer and not quite so bumpy. I’ve yet to work out which I prefer.

I’ve decided to complete this painting in shades of blue, green and purple, mostly. I’m sure I’ll end up changing that idea, or sneaking in other colours here and there.

With the 100% cotton paper, I am starting to become comfortable with dropping wet into wet and letting the colours spread and blend with each other. Judging the quantity to get the depth of colour and a smooth gradient is still a tricky task for me.

Painting (3)
I don’t know what got into my head this morning, but I felt the need to paint a mandala in much the same way that Carl Jung would to start his day with an idea of what is going on mentally and emotionally on a subconcious level.

I also had a kind of bright idea to use a diecutting machine to cut out circles of paper, in this case Daler-Rowney Mixed media paper.

With the first circles I tried watercolour and had really unsatisfactory results. This surprised me given the fairly pleasing experience I had with the ClaireFontaine mixed media paper.

So, rather than use watercolours, I thought I’d try Inktense pencils, using a damp brush to pick colour up from the pencil nib. I also used a solution of gum arabic to help keep the colour wet for longer. Gum arabic also increases the translucency of the pigments, and can add a glossiness to the colour too. This helped the Inktense colours to work more like watercolours.

I also added dots of gold Daler-Rowney FW Pearlescent acrylic inks to the design here and there. To finish the design off. I had thought of adding patterns in gold to the blank areas, but that just didn’t feel the right thing to do. It felt finished, white space and all.



The aim of this painting wasn’t to create a work of art, but to give an insight into what is going on within me at this time. I’ll keep my observations on this to myself. What I will say is I’m feeling out of sorts and rather sad and low today. I have a lot of confusion, anxiety, fear and despair surrounding various things going on and I’m just feeling a bit overwhelmed by it today. It’s all just emotional weather – just as the clouds cover the sun, they will move along by and the sun (or moon) will shine bright and clear once again, so it is with emotions.

Watercolour WIP

I’ve finished the editing for a colouring book due out later this year, and coloured the cover design for the next one. So, I turned my attention to a bit of watercolouring this morning, and this is how far I’ve got.

I actually started this one last night, and it’s taken me around 6 hours to complete so far. Oh, the paper I’m working on is 100% cotton rag and is approx 5″ x 4″ size, but the design is around quarter of an inch smaller on each side. I’m using White Knights watercolours from St Petersburg. I’m also using a grey watercolour pencil to draw the design. This way, the lines will disappear, mostly, as I paint over them.

Nothing much else to say today. The rest of the day is going to be some self-care time.

Jupiter’s Clouds

100% Cotton rag paper is my favourite for watercolour, so far at least! I started work on this one soon after I’d finished my comparison of papers for watercolour yesterday.

I was inspired by images from the Juno space probe of the clouds on Jupiter. The images intrigued and captivated me, so I used them as an inspiration for the pattern on this piece . I have no idea why I used blues and greys with yellows and browns, but I did. A very unusual choice of colours from me.

The Khadi 100% cotton rag paper stays damp longer than the other papers, including the specialist watercolour ones, meaning I don’t get dark areas where colour overlaps as I’m applying it to one area. When I do work over the area, the pigment doesn’t lift or become blotchy once it is dry. Also, less pigment gives a more intense colour than on the other papers.

It’s the ease of letting colours flow and blend that make all the difference.

One thing I’m not too fussed on is the texture of the paper. I used the smoother side, but it’s still rather rough. I may have to hunt around for 100% cotton paper that is smoother in texture.

I also got to learn a lot more about working with watercolour on this paper, and how I can get it to work for me. As long as I can remember what I did in future artworks.

Despite my odd choice of colours, I’m really pleased with this one. I’ll certainly be doing more of a similar style going forward. Once the design is pencilled out, the process of water-colouring is quite soothing and relaxing. It’s also fascinating to watch the colours move and blend in each other in each section. Although I know this is science in action, there’s also something rather magical about it too.