Strata

Arty musings

I’ve been awake since silly o’clock. I have a delivery due before midday, so while awaiting it I have been arting.

This started off as a simple line drawing of patterns from the strata of rock formations of Raplee Ridge, Utah. Then, I added some patterns between them, zentangle or entangled style. I used fineliner pens on paper to do this drawing (left image).

My next job was to scan the drawing in and tidy it up digitally. Then, I thought I’d colour the design in. I kept to fairly earthy tones for this (middle image).

Finally, I thought I’d do a pure colour study of the line art. And I really like this one. I’ve played with shadow and light to give a sense of dimension to the artwork (right image).

I’m really pleased with the pure colour image. Not just for choosing a fairly pleasing palette, but for finally discovering how to use textured brushes to draw, colour and texture the different areas.

I’ve done work like this with traditional media, but have never really had much success digitally. It seems I have found some confidence here.

It does remind me of work I did some 15 or so years ago while studying for A level art as an adult, and how much pleasure I got from that. Now, as back then, I used simple colour palettes.

I suspect I’ll be doing more work like this – line art of patterns, followed by a coloured interpretation of those patterns. My mind is ticking over whether I could include some typography in these kinds of artwork too.

Moody mutterings

My mood is better today, I’m pleased to say. I’m not sure if it’s rest, self-care, Star Wars, knitting, art, or a combination of all these things that has helped lift it.

I know that my mood has weather, just as the world does. And in Wales, the weather can be changeable and varied! But like all weather, the gloom passes and sunshine returns. Though I wouldn’t say I’m sunshiny, I am content with a soft glow within. That is good enough for me, and for today as it’s rather wet and gloomy outdoors.

Saturday arty day

Artsy ramblings

Today I’m feeling a tad ‘meh’ to say the least. I’m tired despite sleeping plenty last night and yesterday. The weather is gloomy – leaden grey skies and rain. At least the autumn colours are glowing a little in the gloom.

So, today I just needed some arty fun. Nothing too big and overwhelming, something with a little whimsy, and no pressure for anything other than making art for art’s sake.

Hallowe’en is my favourite festival, so that’s where I started, along with pen and paper.

The drawing isn’t all that big – 8cm x 10 cm approx (3.25″ x 4″),s o it was relatively quick to complete. I scanned it in to tidy it up, but decided to add a spooky border around it, which I did digitally.

Then, I set to colouring the image, in Hallowe’en colours, mostly.

I played with texture brushes and how I can work with colour. I’m pleased to get some areas that seem to glow eerily. My brain won’t let me fully process that or go back to the image to add this effect to other design elements.

It was, after all, a few hours of fun, arting for art’s sake, and to do what I can to lift my mood.

Polymer clay

I spent sometime yesterday afternoon playing with polymer clay. The Sculpey clay I purchased is soft enough to work with almost straight out of the packet, which is a good thing.

I’m not entirely sure how I’m going to work with it. What I thought would work just didn’t for me. So, I’m going to let the ideas rumble around my subconscious and come up with how I could work with the clay my way.

I was disappointed with myself, but worked hard be easy on myself as this is a new skill to learn and develop. It won’t happen overnight. Also, there’s no rush or panic to get it done either.

In the meantime, I’m wrangling with myself as to whether I should invest in a pasta machine to roll out the clay or whether that’s a decision that can wait until I work out if polymer clay is for me or not.

Purple Entalged Art WIP

I’ve been working on this drawing for a few days now and I finally managed to finish it this morning. That means I scan the drawing in, tidy it up digitally and then start to add highlight and shadow to bring out the design against a fairly dark background.

Today, I chose a lovely purple-magenta colour for the background. It seems to go with my mood today. I’m tired. I had a stressed-out day yesterday as my cental heating boiler was repaired and serviced. That meant letting someone into my home, something I’ve not done for months and months.

My ever present social anxiety has been ramped up during the pandemic, and yesterday it was given a huge boost. I know what the repercussions of this are for me – tiredness, upset digestive system and heightened startle response. These symptoms can persist for days, depending on the intensity of the experience.

So, today will be more of a self-care day than anything else. I’m now flagging after four or so hours focus on art.

I want to get my focus and oompf back. I am expecting a delivery of Sculpey polymer clay along with tools and accessories.

I’ve been watching videos on YouTube of makers using polymer clay to cover books. The videos have remined me of how much I liked to work with clay when I was doing my AS/A level art many years ago. So, I thought I’d give it a go, using polymer clay to sculpt my style of drawings in 3D and then paint them.

I don’t know if it’ll work out for me, but there’s no harm in trying it out that’s for sure. I have used polymer clay in the past for making jewellery and it wasn’t all that successful in many ways. Perhaps working on a bit larger scale and being able to add plenty of detail and texture will make it a better experience for me. As well as using a polymer clay that is softer than the Fimo I used way back then. Conditioning that stuff was murder on my joints!

Entangled WIP

I finally finished this drawing, and now it’s time for me to add shadow and highlight to it to bring it to life.

This is very much a work in progress. It will take me some time to achieve the look and feel I’d like.

Drawn with fineliner pens on marker paper. Background, highlights and shadows added digitally.

Template Thursday

Thursdays seem to cycle round fairly quickly at this time. And as it’s Thursday, there’s a new template for members of the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group.

Here, in the Valleys of South Wales, the sun is shining, autumn is gradually taking over the land and Hallowe’en is fast approaching. So, this week’s template has some Hallowe’en elements to it. It’s also a cute and whimsical template for people to have fun with colour.

Wednesday Wisdom | Paleotober | Drawtober

Wednesday is a day when I’m up extra early for an organic food delivery. I usually spend the time awaiting the knock at the door drawing. Today was no different.

I had an idea to try to work in layers of patterns and to add a quote to one side. The first layer contained some ammonite-style shells, surrounded by little bubbles that could represent the sediment.

The next layer has seed pods, but the pattern they create reminds me of the fossilised stems of plants found in the carboniferous coal of the South Wales coalfield.

The third layer reminds me of the limestone beds exposed on the Glamorganshire Heritage Coast, particularly Southerndown and Nash Point.

The fourth layer reminds me of some kind of fossils or sea plants, the name of which I just can’t bring to mind.

I thought a quote about fossils would finish this off nicely.

Drawn with 05 Pentel Energel and 0.38 Uni-ball Signo DX pens on marker paper. Background, shadows and quote added digitally.

Tuesday Mandala

Another day, and the inner need to create a mandala. I’m not entirely sure about this one. Whether it’s the red colour I’ve chosen, or the dense texture of the widest ring, or something else.

It may not be the mandala itself, but how I’m feeling today and how the mandala is, perhaps, a reflection of that.

Perhaps I’m just trying to read too much into it.

Though I’m not too sure about the finished mandala, the process of creating it was pleasant, calming, satisfying in it’s own right. Maybe as the day goes on the mandala will reveal more about myself today.

Sunday Art

Today, I continued with the entangled art I started yesterday. The drawing is still not complete, but I wanted to add a background colour/texture and add some shadow and light to see how it’s working out.

The shadow and light bring the drawing to life. I’m not entirely sure about the colour I’ve chosen for the background – maybe a bit to saturated and dark. I can always alter that though. I also think there’s not enough contrast betwixt shadow and light. Again, that’s something I can work on.

I’ve drawn inspiration from various things – fossils, seed pods, botanicals, crochet-covered pebbles, architecture, nature, shells, Mayan glyphs to name a few.

Leaving some more open spaces is proving difficult for me once again. It’s something I need to consider as I continue to work on this drawing.

The design is being drawn with Unipin and Sakura Micron pens on marker paper. Background texture/colour, light and shadow are added digitally.

Weekend WIP

This drawing is very much a work in progress. It’s being worked with black Unipin and Sakura Micron pens. When it’s complete, I will scan it in again, add a background, along with shading and highlights.

There’s some motifs in here inspired by fossils, others by flora and nature, and others that are purely abstract in nature.

Art is one of my self-care activities that help me manage my mental and emotional wellbeing. I mention this as it is World Mental Health Day #WMHD #WMHD2020 and, ironically, I need to do a fair amount of self-care today.

There’s plenty of information and advice out there on the internet. If you are struggling with your mental or emotional wellbeing, or if you just want to learn more about good mental and emotional health, ideas for how to look after it, then I’d encourage you to do a google and/or seek professional help.

We all have physical health and if something goes wrong with us physically, we don’t think twice about seeking out medical help and advice.

We all have mental and emotional health too. Yet too few of us will seek out help and advice when we need it due to the stigma and/or discrimination that cloud mental and emotional health.

It is high time that seeking help and advice for mental and emotional ill health was as natural and normal as seeking help for physical ill-health.

Paleotober 2020 – Fossils

An entangled smorgasbord of fossils, stylised fossils, and some of my favourite patterns and motifs.

I enjoyed creating this one, though I feel I rushed the highlights and shadows a bit. However, I can always go back and edit or re-work them. I’m so much happier adding those highlights and shadows digitally than I am with Copics or other media.

Today, my colour scheme is monochrome, with many shades of grey, along with black and white. Those colours echo a conversation I’ve been having about how life isn’t always black and white, that sometimes no matter how you try to find the right path, make the right decisions, not everyone will agree, either totally or in part.

Art is something I do mainly for my own pleasure. Yes, I do work on adult colouring books, but within the broad topic it’s up to me what I create. I guess enough people like my art as I’m asked time and again to create another book and another.

My biggest problem is believing in myself, recognising that what I do is good enough, and that my own way of expressing myself, in drawings like this one, is good enough too. This way of drawing comes all too easy to me, and that lack of struggle makes me think it’s not worthy of consideration.

That is why I end up experimenting with different media, different ways of creating art, of expressing myself. Yet I always return to this style.

In the past, I’ve described it as my ‘comfort art’. I’m beginning to understand that it is my main artistic voice, the tune. Everything else is me just trying to find harmonies that add to that voice. Perhaps the voice itself is enough, as with Gregorian chants.

That is an insight that I need to dwell upon for a while, but it feels right to me.

Drawn with Unipin pens on marker paper. Background, highlights and shadows added digitally.