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.

#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.

What is self-love?

Self-love is a concept that isn’t fully understood. It took me a long time to understand it, or to accept that it is possible.

Self-love isn’t about ego, grandiosity, boastfulness. It’s not about thinking you’re perfect or the most beautiful or the cleverest person in the world.

Self love is about accepting yourself as you are, strengths and weaknesses, successes and failures, mistakes and all. It’s about accepting that all these, and more, make you who you are and that it is OK to be perfectly imperfect.

It’s about learning to treat yourself kindly, not to be so hard on yourself. It’s about being compassionate towards yourself.

Self love is about nurturing yourself, taking care of the needs of your body, mind, emotion and spirituality.

It’s about having a high regard for your own happiness and well being. It’s about not sacrificing these to please others. It’s about not settling for less than you deserve, about setting healthy boundaries.

It’s a practice, some days it will be easier to do this, others a bit harder. But it’s an importance practice for mental and emotional health.

Over the past few days, I’ve had to practice a lot of self love and self care. I don’t profess to be an expert; I’m constantly learning more about it, as well as constantly having to refer back to what it means and what I need to do.

So, I thought I’d do a blog post about it, as well as some arty stuff. I’ve not done much digital art of late. I became lost in the world of watercolour and journal making and paper crafting. This morning I felt the need to do some digital art. I dug out a sheet of small designs I’d created back in January 2020 and picked one to colour. The rest just fell into place.

#DYICAD 2020 #ICAD2020 Day 03 “Album”

This index card #ICAD2020 #DYICAD2020 was a bit of fun to create.

I used a mixture of Distress Oxide inks to colour the 6″ x 4″ index card. The colours I used were Old Paper, Bundlesd Sage, Dried Marigold and Chipped Sapphire. I built the background up in two layers, with chipped sapphire lightly dragged across the texture that the spray of water from the first background created. A final spray of water, a dab with some paper towel to leave some bleached areas and the background was done.

I decided I’d go with the typography theme today, so hand-lettered monograms for each letter. I used pieces of Canson XL Bristol paper coloured either with Distress Inks or Distress Oxide inks. After spraying the paper with water, I squished some cling film onto the surface to create abstract patterns in the colour.

Anyway, I used 06 and 03 Sakura Pigma Sensei pens to draw the monograms. Once I was happy with the designs, I edged the monograms with Ground Espresso Distress Ink. Then, I glued them to some brown-ish card, and cut them out with a border. I edged the brown paper mat with Ground Espresso Distress ink.

I then set to adding pattern and colour with Paul Rubens metallic watercolour set. Tiny dots and highlights were sparingly added to the monograms. Then, I used the same 01 brush to draw patterns around each monogram in colours that picked up the background colours of the monograms.

My final step was to edge the index card with Ground Espresso Distress Ink.

This was a perfect little project to practice my hand lettering as well as trying out the Paul Rubens paints. It was also good practice at using a fine brush to draw patterns. I do think a finer brush would’ve worked better.

The scan hasn’t picked up the sparkly, shimmery gorgeousness of the metallic paints.

This was a really nice way to come round after I’d slept off yesterday’s migraine-y stress-come-down headache. It was a small project that I didn’t feel overwhelmed by and there was no pressure on me for it to be perfect, as would be the case for my contracts for coloring books. So, it helped me calm and settle and find that sense of contentment, for a while at least.

Truth

This quote by Buddha has kept popping up in my life over the past couple of days. So, this morning I really thought I could use it in some artwork.

The background is one I created using Distress Oxide inks on A4 Daler-Rowney Smooth watercolour paper.

The typography I created in Affinity Publisher.

The rest of the artwork was completed in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro.

I like the raggedy edge of the quote banner, as well as the subtle, patterning of the mandala.

A nice way to spend a morning when I’m feeling headachy, fuzzy-headed and tired.

Wanderlust

Wanderlust ©Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

Wanderlust

As I’m pretty much an introvert, I’m usually happy in my own company and happy at home. There are times when even I get and a huge desire to visit somewhere else, where the feeling of wanderlust becomes so strong I have to act on it, even if it’s just a drive in my car.

I, like us all, have no idea when I’ll be able to do this again, just like us all. The Covid19 crisis has changed everything and liberties I took for granted are not not available now and shows how much I enjoyed them even if I didn’t use them all the time. I had the choice.

Yesterday was one of those days where wanderlust overwhelmed me. With it came a huge dose of frustration and sadness, as well as a loneliness I rarely feel.

Also, I was over-tired. I know that when I’m over-tired, my emotional resilience is low. So, all of these things bubbled up and I ended up in bed in the afternoon. I felt a bit better on waking, and my attention went to creating some art.

As I couldn’t indulge my wanderlust physically, I thought I’d try to find a way to express it artistically, and the above is the result.

Words always interest me, and their meanings and origins too. So, I wanted to include the definition of wanderlust in my art. I wanted to make it look like torn paper, or a rip in the background, so I created a messy edge for the typography panel. I actually like how this turned out; I felt like I was being torn apart, emotionally, by the feeling of wanderlust, and a darkness was welling up from that tear.

I used one of my Distress Oxide background textures and drew an entangled art design on a layer above it.

Once I was happy with the design, I coloured the line art, created a copy of it, and applied various effects to these two layers.

I’m really happy with this artwork. It made me smile inwardly and helped to lift my mood some more.

ATC Card backgrounds

ATC Card Backgrounds ©Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

I’m still tired today, over-tired, exhausted. I woke up, however, with the idea of creating some ATC card backgrounds using Distress Oxide inks, and these are the results.

Except for the middle and right cards in the bottom row. I wanted to try out using Distress Microglaze to see if it brings out the colours and layers of colour and texture. It does, though it’s not easy to see on the scan. I do need to do before and after scans. I also need to see if I can draw on the panels treated this way too.

So, ATC cards are 2½” x 3½” in size and were started as a collaborative art project where artists and crafters could swap the cards with others, sharing inspiration and creativity in the process.

I just think they could be a lovely size to work on and mount on greeting cards.

All of these cards were cut from 300gsm watercolour paper, which is very thick and sturdy.

I’m still playing around with Distress Oxide Inks to get a feel of how I can get them to work for me as well as creating backgrounds for my traditional and digital art.

My mind is ticking over various things I’d like to do with these, both traditionally and digitally.

If you have any suggestions what I could do, leave a comment!

Truth

“Truth” ©Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

I like to use a word in my artwork from time to time. Truth was the word I knew I had to use as the central point for some artwork, and that’s where I started, along with one of the Distress Oxide backgrounds I made yesterday (in the middle of the image).

After I’d decided on the typography and placed it centrally, I then started to draw digitally. I made use of the symmetry tools in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, along with a flexible nib and fineliner brushes.

I had no idea what kind of design would result, I just went with the flow and intuition and thoroughly enjoyed doing so and losing myself in the art.

I added shadows and highlights once the drawing was finished for that sense of dimension and ‘life’.

I am really pleased with the finished artwork. There’s something about symmetry, spirals, repeating patterns, and intricate, abstract designs like this that just makes my arty heart smile and sing. I always return to this style, it seems to be at the core of my being.

I also love to draw on coloured and textured backgrounds. I also think I’ve found a way to combine more traditional media (making the backgrounds) with digital art (drawing and adding shadows and highlights) in a way that really works for me.

My only problem is that I do tend to try to branch out into other kinds of art and never seem quite so satisfied with them. This doesn’t mean I’m going to abandon them; they need a lot more work and thought and maybe structure.

Perhaps that’s why I like this particular piece of art so much – it has clearly defined structure. The colour palette is defined by the background and so I’m not struggling with what colours to use. Having the black line structure defines clearly where shadows and highlights need to go.

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.

Another new facebook banner

Facebook banner ©Angela Porter

This morning, I thought I’d play around with some digital art, and this is the result.

I drew the motif on the left entirely in grey-scale. I then went to create the background before adding colour to the grey-scale design. I had a chance to play with different types of layers, brushes and effects too.

I got to the point where the design was enough as it was and I knew some words were needed. So, I chose two important messages for people during the coronavirus crisis.

Today, I started to create with just the idea of trying out greyscale and adding colour, with no idea where it would lead me. I’m quite pleased with the result, though I may have been heavy handed with the contrast and not lightened it where highlights would be needed.

The background I am pleased with. It has that grungy, distressed feel to it, yet the colours and nice and ‘clean’. I’ll definitely be doing more backgrounds like this one. In fact, I think I’ll spend some time today doing just that! I can never have enough backgrounds to draw upon – figuratively and literally! It’ll be a nice way to spend some time on what is a somewhat overcast and cooler day today.

Digital art resources : Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, Microsoft Surface Studio, Microsoft Surface Slim Pen.