Template Thursday

Another week has gone by with the pandemic still occurring. That means it’s time for another template for members of the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group.

This week, I’ve created a rather abstract but typically entangled ‘Angela’ kind of template.

If you’d like to download the template to colour, you do need to be a member of the facebook group – it’s free to join and free to download the template (terms and conditions of use apply).

Abstract Watercolor

Last night, I was tired and emotionally drained, again. So, some self-soothing activities were in order. I thought I’d try to create an abstract watercolour painting in the same kind of style as the abstract digital art I’m working on.

Before bed, I got a small part of this done. I finished it this morning. I woke around 4am, with a headache. The usual kind of stress-comedown headache I’m prone too. Migraine-y in nature. I also was due to get up early for my weekly delivery of organic vittles from Able & Cole; they deliver to me just after 6am.

Oddly, the headache lifted as I started to work on the watercolour, which was a huge relief to me. A couple of hours later, and the watercolour was finished.

The paper is Bockingford cold pressed and it measures approx 5¾” x 2¾”, the artwork being approx. 5¼” x 2¼” in size. I used my set of White Knights watercolours and a Daler Rowney Aquafine brush (size 0, round). I did lightly pencil in the design before painting.

I love working digitally, but I also love to work with traditional media, watercolours becoming one of my favourites as I work out how I can get them to work for me.

I’ve said before that I love to create small works of art – precious little treasures that need to be the centre of attention in a huge frame.
The precision of this abstract watercolour painting really pleased my artistic heart. I worked with watercolours on paper in a way that is analogous to how I work with colour and shape digitally.

The realisation of this has been a ‘ta-da’ moment for me. As much as I love to see the way watercolour does magic when it’s worked wet in wet, my sensibilities tend towards having much greater control over the way the colours mix and blend. I even break the rules; I’m happy to mix colours on paper, while the watercolour paint is still wet or damp. I’m also happy to use glazes to intensify the colour or alter the tone.

What is a change for me, in terms of traditional art, is the lack of black line-art. In the past, that would have been something that really troubled me; the work didn’t look right without black lines.

Working digitally, with pure colour and no black outlines has certainly made me more confident in working traditionally this way.

In this painting, you can see influences from nature and architecture. Shapes that I love appear – rounded and pointy arches, curves, leafy and petal forms, circles, but no spirals this time.

Straight lines and rectangles add a counterpoint to the curvilinear forms, giving a sense of sections and also support in various places in the design.
The colours I chose are a lot more muted than is typical of me in the past, and I actually really like them.

Yet another piece of artwork that marks a development in my artistic voice. Actually, I think it’s more like a note in my artistic song. I seem to have a number of notes (styles) that are characteristically ‘Angela’ and this is very likely to become another of them.

Pretty Art WIP

I’ve had a lovely couple of hours working on this particular piece of art. It is an abstract pattern, but the emphasis will be on shape and colour.

I drew the design out on paper and scanned it in to complete the artwork digitally in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro.

I was inspired by the work of Shell Rummel, and it reminded me of the type of art I did in my early arty exploratory days.

I wanted a watercolour feel to the art, so I’ve chosen to use rather soft colours and to try to keep the palette relatively limited. I also want to keep the extra patterns/lines to a minimum, though I do want some more detailed interest in places, such as the dots along the centre line of a leaf motif. This is going to be hard for me to do; I usually insist on filling every space with pattern and colour.

It’s also odd for me to work from a pencil sketch, usually I’m straight to pen on paper (or pen on screen). I do find it a lot easier to get my ideas/outlines onto paper than I do on the screen, and my lines flow. I think it’s because I get a better idea of the overall design as I do have a habit of zooming into whatever area I’m working on.

Overlaying a watercolour paper texture takes the art from the rather mechanical feel of digital art to something more textured and interesting, warmer and ‘human’ in feel.

This will take me a long time to complete, most probably over several days as I do have to do other stuff at this time. But it’ll be a nice thing to do as my ‘warm up’ art in the morning.

Sunday Funday

I’ve been enjoying watching the daily YouTube tutorial from Lavinia Stamps, particularly the ones using alcohol inks. So, I thought I’d dig out my small stash of alcohol inks, blending solution and Yupo paper to give it a go.

I can tell you, Lavinia stamps makes it look a helluva lot easier than it really is, as you can tell from my attempts above. The photograph makes them look worse than they are, but they’re still not what I was hoping for – fairly pale coloured, smoky, swirly, interesting backgrounds full of abstract texture and pattern, with seams of gold.

I have now bought a book about using Alcohol Inks and really hope that helps me. Apparently, you need to create a wash of alcohol inks or blending solution on the Yupo first to help the colours flow more easily. That may be why I have so many open patches in the colours.

I also used fairly small pieces of Yupo paper, which may not be the best size to work with.

For the record, I used a mixture of Piñata inks from Jacquard, Ranger Alcohol Inks. I had a gold mixative in the Piñata inks and that was most fascinating to watch work.

I tried a hair drier to move the ink around, but all I ended up with was a blend of the inks with a few ripples of tones of colour in them. I also tried blowing with a straw.

I was surprised how sticky the inks were when they seemed dry. However, after being left overnight, that stickyness is now gone, though I’ll leave them a while longer before doing anything with them.

I have ordered some alcohol lift reinker to try taking a print of the alcohol ink onto paper. That should lighten the colours somewhat. I then hope that I’ll have backgrounds to use for digital art, once I’ve scanned them.

As well as alcohol lift ink, I’ve ordered some Yupo card stock, which is thicker, less floppy and could work better for this. The book I bought suggests using a heat tool, carefully, for spreading the alcohol ink. It also has a recipe for making your own blending fluid for a fraction of the cost of the branded ones. So, I’ve ordered some isopropyl alcohol to go with the glycerine I already have in my stash.

It’s always fun to try out new techniques with media new to me. It can be incredibly frustrating until I work out how it can work for me!

As a side note, I really do need to order some gloves to use; I have really badly stained nails at the moment. A VOC respirator may also be a good idea; I don’t want the fumes to irritate my asthma or cause more respiratory problems. If I decide to draw on the alcohol ink backgrounds, then I will need to order some kind of varnish/sealant that I can draw on top of so my pens don’t get ruined. That, though, is for another time. Today, I’ll be using my more familiar media and tools.

Summer Solstice 2020

Tonight, at 10:43 BST, the Sun appears to enter Cancer, as viewed from the Earth. Of course, it’s the Earth that is moving around the Sun. Today, marks the official start of summer, but it also marks the time when we have the days of most light here in the Northern Hemisphere, and we’ll soon notice there’s not quite so much daylight at the end of our days.

This year, English Heritage are live-streaming the solstice sunrise tomorrow morning on their facebook page. You’ll have to be up early (or just not go to bed!) as they start streaming from 04:07BST, with sunrise at 04:52BST. I’m certainly going to do my best to watch it. This is one of the good things to come out of the pandemic. The live stream hasn’t been done before. I would never go to Stonehenge on either Solstice as there would be too many people and far too much noise and bustle for me, but this is a nice way to see it as it happens, not recorded and shown after the fact.

I’ve always felt an affinity with the cycle of the seasons and marking the solstices and equinoxes has felt far more natural to me than any religious celebrations. The scientist in me appreciates the facts around these dates in the calendar, my heart and soul appreciate them in different ways that are personal to me.

I found this quote about the solstices, and it sums up a little bit about how I feel about them.

The artwork shows a lot more about how I’m feeling today – not quite with it, spaced out, emotional and well out of sorts. I had an idea in mind, but I just couldn’t execute it to my satisfaction today. It looks like I need another self-care day. Which is fine. I’ve learned that sometimes it’s best to go slow in order to go fast. By taking time out from commitments, I return to them in a better frame of mind and emotional state and I’m more able to fulfil them to my satisfaction for sure.

Watercolor Greeting Cards

About the artwork

I needed a quiet morning, again, today. So, I thought I’d dig out my Caran D’Ache Supracolor Soft watercolour pencils and try some stuff with them.

I wanted to use them to draw a flower, or two, and then use water to create a watercolour effect. The result you can see on the left-hand side card. I’ve left loads of white space on this card, which is unusual for me. I couldn’t resist, however, adding some gold dots around the flowers. The colour of the petals was so delicate that I used a 2H 3mm pencil to outline them and the leaves. Just for info, the piece of watercolour paper measures 4″ x 4″.

For the other cards, I just wanted to work with the pencils to create gradients and abstract patterns in colour. I drew on the little panels using a 0.25 Copic Multiliner SP pen and added some lines and details with metallic gold watercolour. These cards are approx 3″ x 4″ in size.

Watercolor pencils are nice to use when it comes to drawing in colour with them, then activiating the colour with water. They really glow on 100% cotton rag paper (bottom right) compared to the other cellulose papers.

Cute and whimsical cards, some very detailed, one not quite so. But a nice way to spend my morning.

Self-care time, again.

There’s a situation going on around me that is draining my emotions greatly at this time. I’m doing my best to not become overly emotionally involved in it, but it’s difficult when it’s to do with people you care about.

It all has a knock on effect with me. I’m anxious, tired verging on exhausted, really grumpy, irritable, and lacking patience at this time. I’m also not able to concentrate too well. These are all behaviours I could do without in dealing with this situation. Yet I’m exhausted by it.

I have been meditating, making sure I take time to do self-calming and self-soothing activities, such as my morning art, Though I have work to do for contracts, I need to take a day away from everything, if I can.

I know there are lessons for me to learn about myself in how I’m reacting ot the situation, stuff from my past that wasn’t processed during my EMDR therapy. If I can work out what it is, I can work through it myself now. Organising EMDR therapy isn’t possible at this time, with lockdown still very much in operation and me being very nervous of going out into the world as well.

So, I’m going to make time today to drink tea, meditate, journal and try to get to the bottom of my own issues and start doing what I can to work through them and heal the past traumas that are causing my reactions at this time.

I think I’ll also take time to crochet (I started a mosaic blanket earlier this week) and watch films or crafting shows on the TV. Eat healthily – I have a yearning for brussel sprouts, of all things! And take time away from social media and news. I may even pick up my flute and play it, for the first time in months and months.

Digital watercolours?

Another morning, another play around with watercolours, this time digitally.

Soft balls of watercolour, fuzzy edges, with white ink details added on top. Layers of transparent colour.

I overlaid a watercolour paper texture, which helps give the right ‘feel’.

This is my favourite attempt at digital ‘watercolours’ so far. I definitely like using white ink in this instance; black ink was just too harsh, hard and jarred uncomfortably with the softness of the watercolours.

I tried lots of ways of adding colour; not just brushes, but different brush effects. In the end I was happiest with white ink.

A nice way to spend a couple of hours as I wake up.

Flower?

I’ve spent several hours exploring and trying ideas out in the realms of both digital and abstract art, and this is the result.

I’m really not at all sure about it in any shape or form. I think I was influenced by watching a few YouTube videos about mixed media and abstract art.

It’s been an “interesting” time, as well as a frustrating time in some ways. I also have a bit issue with choice of colours.

I’m pleased to say that I’ve calmed down an awful lot from the stresses of the last week or so. I actually slept for nearly 12 hours last night, which happens once all the adrenaline/cortisol have left my body. It’s nice to be back to my ‘normal’ state of contentment.

#MondayQuotes

I found this appropriate quote this morning, and thought I just had to try to add some pretty art behind it, and this is what I came up with.

I worked digitally and used some symmetry tools. I’m not entirely sure about it, but it let me try things out and let my mind work out some things, including how I’ve really been doing things a hard, long and laborious way in the past, digitally speaking. All part of the learning process, of course.

Yesterday, I had to take a total self-care day. I’ve had a very stressful couple of days, and that does take its toll on me. Today I feel less emotionally overwhelmed, I can sense that touchstone of contentment inside me, and the maelstrom of emotions concerning the events has mostly calmed down, and I hope the stressful situation will have done so, for a few days at least!

Shatterpoints of change causing stress and distress for someone in my circle, and supporting through it has been…difficult and unpleasant for me. Still, I think the situation has calmed, for now at least. The quote is really relevant to this situation, far more than for this person than for me.

As difficult as it has been, I have been able to see how far along my healing journey I have come. I can also see how my relationship with myself has become so much healthier. So that’s the positive pay off for me in all of this.

Work in Progress

Yesterday turned out to be an incredibly stressful and tiring one. By the time a crisis was sorted out, it was late evening and, try as I might, art just wasn’t going to happen.

So, I did what I do when I’m emotionally overwhelmed – watched a Star Wars film or two! Sadly, I had no Ben and Jerry’s in the house, and just couldn’t be bothered to order any in as a take-away order. But Star Wars always soothes me.

I didn’t get enough sleep last night, so a nap may be in order shortly. However, when I finally came around enough to turn my attention to art, I knew I wanted to try a digital art version of the watercolour painting “Seeking Calm” that I posted yesterday.

I’ve been working on the image for the last four hours, give or take a half hour. It’s been lovely to work digitally once again, and fascinating to workout how to achieve a similar kind of ‘feel’ to this as I had in “Seeking Calm”.

I know that, for now, I’m not going to be able to replicate digitally the way watercolour paints move and blend. I need to work out how to set up and use brushes that will let me at least capture a flavour of that. My head isn’t working well enough this morning to work on that.

Watercolors are transparent, but I didn’t want to work with transparent colours today. I have worked with rather delicate colours, just as I tend to do with watercolors, which is odd for me given that I usually love bright, vibrant colours.

Today, I think the soft, gentle, warm colours are just what my soul needs to soothe my frayed emotions. I even have ClassicFM on, which is unusual for me. I started by listening to the audiobook version of “Shatterpoint”, a Star Wars novel about Mace Windu. However, I realised I wasn’t really listening. So, I switched to ClassicFM.

Anyway, I also used white ‘ink’ to draw in details on the shapes along with various brushes to add shadows. The white ink adds to the delicate feel of the image; black would be just too stark and heavy I think.

I’m not sure if the background will remain as it is. I like how the colours almost glow against it, but it’s not the right colour or tone yet. But it’ll do for now.

I’ve made a bit of a mess of the colours in the centre of the bottom right motif, I think. I need a break from that to work out how to correct them. It may be that the colours are just too saturated and I need to desaturate them a tad.

I’ve had quite a serious break from digital art over the past couple or few weeks. It’s nice to return to it with fresh ideas for ways of working digitally.

So, I look forward to finishing this image sometime soon. But for now I’ll need some tea and I fancy some toast to nibble on, and maybe I’ll take a nap as my eyes feel really heavy.