The purpose of art…

©Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

I often wonder about the purpose of art, the purpose of my art, and can never find the words or ideas to express. So, I’ve fallen back on a favourite quote of mine from Picasso.

It embodies how I feel about creating art. Being creative helps me to dust myself off, find myself back in the present, and to find my sense of balance and contentment. Being creative is so important to me each and every day, more so during the Covid-19 crisis and lock down.

I unashamedly make art that is a reflection of what makes my heart sing – line, pattern, abstract shapes, stylised forms, colour, intricacy. I soak up inspiration from all kinds of things and process it all unconsciously and intuitively to draw and paint things that are pretty and show what I find fascinating visually and that give me a sense of wonder and awe.

My art is, and will always be, a reflection of my heart, soul and mind.

I do, however, sometimes worry that my art hasn’t anything to say about the world, that makes people think about things. That my art is just … pretty.

What the world needs now, however, is some prettiness and beauty in it to dilute the worry and fear and ugliness that abounds. I’d like to think that my art helps in that process just a little.

Today’s mandala and typography were created digitally. I usually use a background from one of the collections I’ve purchased online, but today I used one I created. I used Affinity Publisher to produce the typography and Autodesk Sketchbook Pro for the artwork. My tools are by Microsoft – Surface Slim Pen and Surface Studio.

Sunday Mandala

Sunday Mandala ©Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

I’ve been working at this mandala intermittently over the past week or so. I was determined to stick to a limited colour palette of three colours, though a fourth one crept in to the outer ‘ring’ of the design.

Also, I wanted to use a lower contrast betwixt the edges of the various sections, something that I think I’ve mostly managed to do. It still has that illusion of dimensionality.

It was nice to work on something digital this morning. I’ve been focused on more traditional drawing over the past few days. I knew I had this mandala to finish, and I think it now is. I may very well spend some more time today playing around with digital art. I’ll see. I also have a hankering to knit or crochet, or both, but not at the same time.

Floral Mandala

Floral Mandala ©Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

The art

I’ve finally finished this mandala. I like the design and patterns, but I wish I’d not used the yellowy greens and teals. There’s no much I can do now, however, as I collapsed all the layers as I went. Something to try to remember not to do in future. I also need to try an even more limited palette, maybe monochrome in my next mandala.

Digital art created using Autodesk Sketchbook Pro along with a Microsoft Surface Slim Pen and a Microsoft Surface Studio.

So, how are you doing today Angela?

I’m doing just fine today. I slept fairly well last night and the sun is shining once more today. I have windows open upstairs to let some cooler, fresher air into the home (of course everyone’s more than six feet away from the, apart from birds and the odd cat who wanders onto my windowsills at the back of the house).

It’s lovely to feel both the warmth of the radiant infrared light from the sun and coolness of the gentle air flow on my skin. Definitely one of life’s little pleasures!

Creating art is also another pleasure, which I have done this morning with my mandala. Something else that lifts my heart. And while I was finishing this mandala, I was listening to ‘The Rise of Skywalker’ audiobook on Audible. Again, something that I really enjoy – listening to a story.

My first mug of tea has been had and it was a satisfyingly comforting experience, as always. I had some dried cranberries in my delivery yesterday, so I had a sprinkling of them in my morning porridge, along with some golden sultanas. The cranberries glowed like jewels in the porridge, which was lovely to see.

I’m not quite sure what I’ll do after I’ve finished my social media posting today. I could do with another mug of tea. Maybe I’ll draw or colour some more paper to draw on. I have crocheting, cross-stitching and knitting to do. And of course there’s plenty of books I’ve yet to read, or listen to. And I’ve got a few seasons of Criminal Minds left to watch too!

As long as I’m purposefully busy, often creatively, I can keep the anxiety and fear of Covid19 at bay. As soon as I start thinking about the pandemic, the uncertainty of the present time, and of the future, anxiety and fear starts to well up again. Healthy distractions are needed to cope with the overwhelming nature of it all.

I am trying to notice all the little things in each day I take for granted – both those that I can still do, and the things that are missing from my life at the moment, such as walking in the park or countryside, day trips and cake runs, popping to the shop, going out for a meal, attending meetings with like-minded souls, being able to just go out for a drive, visiting the museum or churches and abbeys…

I know that each day we go through this pandemic we are one day closer to it’s end. Life will return to some normalcy, but I think it will also be changed in many ways too, hopefully for the better.

Mandala and musings

I love being by myself, having solitude, not having the pressure to be ‘social’. That part is natural for me.

Oddly, I miss the option of just popping out for a short while unless it’s absolutely necessary. I will need some time in nature soon, with my camera, unless we’re denied that bit of freedom.

The freedom to choose what to do without feeling guilty or worrying about my choice is what I’m missing.

The artist/creative in me will always have things to do – drawing, digital art, crochet, needle felting, cross stitching and more.

As well as being an artist, I am also a scientist. So having reliable facts can help me understand this disease and its effects.

I’m also curious, so I will always find things to read or watch that satisfy my curiosity.

The part of me that still has cPTSD tends towards anxiety and depression is much smaller and has less of a hold on me and most of the time, I am content.

Today, for the first time in this crisis, I’ve felt weepy, sad, worried for the various layers of society, occupations and the world itself. For those who are scared of how people are reacting. For those who are scared of contracting CoViD-19, and scared that their loved ones may. For those who are suffering the illness, struggling to live, and for those who are losing that fight. For those who are scared because there’s no clear direction being given by our leaders. For those who are scared that because they are vulnerable or old they may just be allowed to die as if their lives, their presence in the lives of others, is of no value.

I can’t even find the words to express my feelings and abstract thoughts/images that I have about this. I want to be eloquent, expressive, and can’t find a way to do so with words. The curse of one with introverted feelings, as well as feelings and thoughts that can be very abstract too.

I feel so sorry that there is so little I can do personally, other than not be a panic buyer, to avoid social contact, to be responsible, so I don’t put a strain on resources and services.

I am but one person and one counted as ‘vulnerable’; I have underlying chronic health conditions. So, I feel helpless to help more, and that increases my sense of guilt and helplessness.

One thing I do know that helps me manage my emotions, my thoughts is art. So, I will try to help others through my art. Through creating pretty things to bring a smile and warmth to people’s hearts. Through finding ways to encourage their own creativity. By producing more frequent coloring templates for people to download and color via a Facebook group for ‘fans’ of my coloring books.

Perhaps this is a bit more than very little, I don’t know. Maybe by us all doing a little to help, it adds up collectively to a lot to help those who have more significant roles to play in this crisis – doctors, nurses, porters, cleaners, shop workers, delivery drivers, farmers, emergency services, and so many more – and I thank each and every one of you more than you will ever know.

Mandala WIP

Mandala WIP ©Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

Yesterday, my day was taken up with phone calls and I didn’t get a chance to do any social media postings at all.

While I was taking the phone calls, however, I was able to continue to do art, which was the reworking of the mandala I started the other day.

This time, I chose a colour palette of vintage dusky pinky-purple, teal, moss and creamy colours, and I’ve stuck to it.

I absolutely love the motif in the centre of the mandala! Yes, you read that right, there’s a bit of art of mine I can say I love!

I was worried about the different sized rings around that motif being too simple, but I think they’ve worked out well. In the full resolution and size artwork, you can see pattern and texture on the rings that adds interest to them.

The last ring out I’m fairly pleased with. I’m sure it will settle better into the design once I’ve done some more work on it. I hope that will be later on today. For now, I need to run some errands and as the sun is shining I feel the need to use my DSLR again.

Digital art created using Autodesk Sketchbook Pro and a Surface Studio and Surface Slim Pen from Microsoft.

Mandala WIP

Mandala WIP ©Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

This morning, I had a hankering to colour a mandala. I had some ideas for techniques and effects I wanted to try out digitally.

So, the above is the result of over three hours of work.

I’m quite happy with each section of the mandala individually. I’m particularly pleased with the flower and leaves.

However, I really am not pleased with my colour choices. This is something I often say, and I really do seem to struggle with colours, unless I use a fairly limited palette. That may be the solution to my problems I think. If I have a huge range of colours to choose from, I’m a bit like a child in a sweet shop and have to try them all out! This approach works well with some kinds of my artwork, but with a lot it doesn’t seem to do so.

So, I may call this version of the mandala an experiment, a learning experience, an experiment, and re-work it using a limited colour palette, as well as using less saturated colours.

Regardless of my musing on the result of my artistic efforts today, I enjoyed the experience, the learning, the experimentation. I also think I’ve found a bit more confidence in various ways of working.

Artistic style and expression is always an evolving process. The more I do, the more things I learn, new effects and techniques I stumble upon, particularly where digital art is concerned. Learning is never-ending.

Mandala Drawing Flipbook

This morning I had a lot of fun drawing a mandala using the flipbook tool in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro.

I made a flipbook animation by recording each step in the process, so element by element you can see how I draw mandalas.

It took a bit of getting my head around the process, even after watching a youtube video about how to do it, but I got there.

For this short video I left the mandala without any shading or colour. I’m just learning how this could work for me.

I think it would work really, really well for creating little tutorial videos on how to draw patterns and design elements. If you’d like to see videos like that, then leave a comment!

Of course, I had to edit the video by adding intro and outro screens, music and transitions. I also slowed the flipbook animation down. I used Movavi Video Suite 2020 to do this.

I have to say that editing a flipbook animation is a lot easier than editing a video taken with my phone or by recording my computer screen as I create!

I do need to be brave and add some voice overs in the future, or subtitles including hints and tips. However, for me this is a little by little process and I will get to a place that I’m happy with, and that hopefully any viewers will be happy with too.

Oh, along with Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, I used a Microsoft Surface Slim Pen and a Microsoft Surface Studio.