Watercolor and Drawing

Today’s image is a collection of watercolors and drawings I’ve done over the past couple of days.

There’s a coordinating card and envelope (mail art), along with some small panels of watercolouring (approx 1.5″ x 1.5″, so a bit bigger than inchies). I’ve also included my foxglove experiments, which I did this morning.

Sometimes, black pen looks too harsh against the delicate but vibrant watercolours, so for the poppies, I tried pencil instead. I’m really not at all sure about them.

The foxgloves are symptomatic of how I feel today – out of shape, wobbly, ill-defined with harsh edges. I woke with a stinker of a headache again, definitely stress/anxiety/worry induced, as well as a lack of sleep last night. It will pass. In the meantime, I’m watching The Clone Wars on Disney+.

I don’t know if I’ll be doing any art for a few hours; my head and emotions are all bent out of shape at the moment. I’m dissatisfied with all the above; I know that’s me being so frustrated at the moment and it stops me seeing my art for how it really is. When I’m like this, I know that drawing will frustrate me, and the fact I’m not drawing will frustrate me more, especially as I have deadlines looming. However, I logically know that if I try to do things now, I’ll just prolong the feeling of frustration and I’ll end up having to do much more in the long run than if I’m kind with myself until the headache goes and my mood lifts.

The weird thing, however, is that I can sense that touchstone of contentment inside me. It’s very confusing; on one hand my emotions are really unsettled, yet there’s contentment within. My EMDR therapist mentioned that it’s a peculiarly Western view that you can only experience one feeling at a time when I mentioned this kind of thing to her. So I know it’s possible to be both discontent and content at the same time – discontent with some parts of life yet still have an inner contentedness.

So, I wander off now to sit with these paradoxical feelings, to try to relax and let the headache ease off enough that I can sleep off the extreme tiredness it will leave me with.

Entangled Flowers

I was awake before 6 am today, so I settled to do some ‘warm up’ art. I water-coloured a couple of pieces of 100% cotton rag paper. I lightly wet the paper and then added watercolour to it and let it work it’s magic – to spread and mingle as it will. The coloured area is approx 3.5″ x 5.25″, so it’s still quite a small drawing in size, but large in detail.

After letting the paper dry, I set to it with some Sakura Pigma Micron pens (01, 03 and 05) to draw the flowers and leaves. I added some more watercolor to these areas to help them stand out a bit, as well as to add a bit of extra ‘dimension’ to them. Finally, I added an outline and the ‘bubble pattern to some areas.

Mindful. Meditative. Calming. Soothing. Just the kind of activity I needed this morning. I was really irritable and frustrated and sad yesterday, all at once. I think I’ve just been overwhelmed by the events in the world over the past few days and yesterday it boiled over somewhat.

I do feel better today, so far, the cooler temperature and the refreshing rain is helping too. I hope I continue to feel better, emotionally; yesterday was was even angry at the templates I was creating for the Entangled Gardens book. Rather, I was angry and frustrated with myself as nothing seemed to be working out well. Hopefully I’ll feel better about it today.

More Botanical Mail Art

Two fairly quick, small projects this morning – small botanical cards. Simple, cute, whimsical, darling. Little treasures.

These were fun to make, relatively quick too. They’d be darling little cards to receive in the post or in person. They’d also work nicely as an addition to a journal – a place to journal or keep little memory making bits and bobs in the envelope too.

Each card is 3″ x 4″ in size and the panels are approx 3.5″ x 2″ in size. I made the envelopes to fit and decorated them with one of the motifs from the designs on each card. I did a tiny bit of hand lettering on one of them too.

Tiny Botanical Experiments

I thought I’d start Sunday morning off with some experiments with my tiny botanical drawings.

I apologise for the photograph quality – I’m really not a good photographer, something I really do need to work at! The pale colours really don’t help at all.

The artwork on the bottom right is one where I applied rectangles of watercolor on 100% cotton rag paper. Then, I used Sakura Pigma Micron pens to draw designs in the windows. Finally, I added some watercolours to the designs to help bring them forward from the background.

I don’t think I messed the drawings up at all, which was my worry. Mind you, I do have to be careful what colours I do add so I don’t make weird colours.

That led to me wanting to try watercolour pencils and Inktense pencils on different watercolour papers:
top – 100% cotton rag paper
middle – Canson Moulin du Roy paper
bottom – Daler-Rowney Smooth watercolour paper.

On each paper, I drew four rectangles, two of which I coloured with a wash of watercolour.

I used the same colours of Derwent Aquatone and Inktense pencils to draw the stylised/abstract floral design and a waterbrush to activate the pigment. I did my best to apply the same amount of pencil in each case. However, I noticed that the papers grabbed different amounts of pencil even though I was using the same kind of pressure.

The amount of pigment grabbed, however, wasn’t at all indicative of how vibrant the colours would be.

The 100% cotton rag paper seemed to have the smallest amount of pigment from the pencils, yet it gave the most intense colours of them all. This paper is quite ‘hard’ in feel and very textured and I was surprised it didn’t seem to take as much pigment. Appearances are deceiving it seems. This paper also allowed me the longest ‘wet’ time to move the coloured pencil pigment around, and to lift some of it where it had got too intense.

The Moulin du Roy paper was a softer texture and it was lovely to colour with the pencils on it. The resultant drawings have a soft quality to them too that I rather like.

The Daler-Rowney seemed to grab the most pigment, yet the colours are not as vibrant, except the for the Inktense on the watercolour background. I think that’s because the watercolour background was still very slightly damp and Inktense pigment activates with the tiniest amount of water. I also think that’s why this one was the hardest to blend the colour smoothly. This was the paper that was the hardest to add the watercolour background to as it dries so darned quickly, or water just puddles on the surface with a tiny bit more water.

The cotton rag paper is, again, my favourite for working with watercolour and Inktense pencils. The vibrancy of the noticeable too – much less pigment is needed to get a rich colour on this paper.

For the other two papers, I did enjoy drawing the flowers on the plain paper and activating the pigment with a waterbrush. I partiuclarly like the Moulin du Roy paper for this technique, though the Daler-Rowney gave a pleasing result on the plain paper.

Tiny Botanicals

I have been really enjoying drawing tiny botanicals in little ‘windows’. So, I combined drawing with watercolor practice.

The image on the left involved me using a pencil to draw the boxes and their contents, then watercoloring. For some, I tried painting the image in sections and with layers of colour. I really wasn’t happy with the results. I painted the rest of the boxes with washes of watercolour and then either inked or re-drew the designs in pencil. I felt happier with these.

I used Daler-Rowney Smooth watercolour paper and I’ve been struggling to get the paper to stay wet enough for long enough to mix colours wet in wet. Not even on these tiny little windows. It was becoming very frustrating.

A couple of days ago, I’d ordered a pack of 100% cotton rag paper and it arrived early evening. I used a small piece of it for the illustration on the right.

I started by painting rectangles of colour on the paper. I used a waterbrush rather than a paintbrush for this. I used the same kind of transparency of watercolour for each as I did for the illustration on the left. Oh my gosh, did the colours shine and show up so much more vibrantly! Not only that, it was so easy to mix colours, wet in wet. The cotton rag paper is an absolute joy to work with!

I was beginning to get frustrated with myself and watercolors once again. This has been a common feature of my love-hate affair with them over many years. This paper may change that totally.

This morning, after letting the paper dry, I drew tiny botanicals in each window. I used, as in the image on the left, a 005 Sakura Pigma Micron pen to draw with. I was worried it would struggle with the paper’s rough texture. The lines aren’t as uniform as they’d be on, say, smooth Bristol board. I just went with the rougher nature of the lines and was surprised at how much I enjoyed them. They meant I loosened up my drawing style a little.

I really enjoyed creating these little artworks (the one on the left is approx. 5″ x 5″, the on on the right 4″ x 4.75″). There is something I find really satisfying about creating teeny tiny drawings, in the same way I find drawing intricate designs makes something inside me smile.

What I do want to try later on today is adding some more colour to some of the design elements on both drawings using both watercolours and watercolour pencils or inktense pencils. On second thoughts, I think I’ll do some samples to experiment on, annotate and add to my journal, just in case I don’t like what transpires.

Before I do any of that, I woke with a headache. It’s beginning to shift, but as it lifts it’s leaving me feeling really tired.

Entangled Art

Entangled Art © Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

Last night, I carried on with the Domestika Course – Modern Watercolor Techniques by Ana Victoria Calderon. The last sections are all about painting ‘galaxy’ style backgrounds. Scientific pedantry here – they’re not really ‘galaxies’, more nebulae. Just had to say that and get it off my chest.

I painted along with her, and the first background I created was really not at all good, perhaps. I used White Knights watercolours, Cosmic Shimmer metallic gold watercolour and salt. Way too much salt and probably way too much water, and trying to work how someone else does. Still, you learn by doing, even if it doesn’t work out as you’d want it to.

I let the paper dry, did my best to remove the salt and then decided to use a 0.1 Sakura Pigma Micron pen to draw on the background.

I allowed the shape and flow of patterns in the colour to inform me as to how I could draw shapes and patterns, and the end result is today’s image!

As disappointing as my first attempt at a ‘galaxy’ background was, I actually rather like the end product that includes drawing, a typically ‘Angela’ entangled design.

What I am also kind of pleased with, is that I chose to leave some areas of colour without any drawing on them. That is something unusual for me to do.

I started with the floral motifs and let the rest of the design flow from there. As it flowed, the patterns became more and more of an abstract nature.

What you can’t see in the scan, are the subtle areas of gold shimmer that resulted from the spreading of the Cosmic Shimmer metallic watercolour paint. It gives a very subtle sheen in some areas.

While the first background was drying, I had a go at creating another, using what I’d learned from creating the first. Instead of the White Knights, I used Kuretake Gansai Tambi watercolours and I had a bit more success. I’m not entirely happy with the overall balance of the colour areas, but when I’ve decided what to do with it, I’ll share it.

Capsules, Pods and Seeds

©Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

I had a very fitful night’s sleep (or non-sleep) last night. So, around 5:30am I decided to get up and ‘art’.

I finished off the watercolour of some seed capsules.

I’m really, really happy with this watercolour illustration, with an unusual color palette for me. I smile when I look at it! I decided to use a 0.5mm HB pencil to add heavier lines to the more shadowed parts, as well as a little bit of subtle line to help give the pods some volume. It’s difficult to see on the image.

I am so happy I drew a ‘window’ on the paper to draw within. I’m never happy drawing without a frame to keep within and the edge of the paper just never feels right for me. I also like the way that it feels like you’re looking through a window and that it’s OK to cut things off (apart from one cheeky leaf that I just had to have overlying the frame!).

There may be a bit too much white space above the seed capsules, I don’t know for sure. It’s so unusual for me to leave space around the various elements in a design that it feels a bit weird. However, I do like the space in this illustration.

Once I finished the watercolour, I turned my attention to drawing more capsules, pods and seeds in my A4 sketchbook. I completed two pages of small drawings, one of which you can see in the background.

Unusually for me, I drew in pencil. I’d usually use pen straight away. I have no idea what that is about, but it was a pleasant and soothing experience for me. I now have plenty of sketches I can use to create more watercolour paintings from, small ones as I really enjoy working on a small scale. Creating my own little treasures, complete with some precious, metallic details.

Painting little treasures will have to wait though. My eyelids are becoming leaden with a need to sleep. This frustrates me as I had things I wanted to get done today, things that need focus and concentration. So, I’ll soon be back in the land of nod.