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.

Entangled Art WIP

A sunshiny, chill-nip-in-the-air, autumnal morning and starting work on a new entangled art drawing. Not much could be nicer start to the day.

I had a delivery of some new fude brush pens to try out, so this one is being drawn with a Zig Mangaka Flexible pen along with a 02 Unipin pen. I’m drawing on marker paper, so I dug out my cool grey Copic Ciao markers to add some shadow to the image in places.

The nice thing about using marker paper and markers is that the ink stays damp long enough for the blender pen to smooth the edges of the grey inks out a little.

I think I’ve worked on this drawing for around three hours so far, so there’s a lot more to go! I hope I can manage to leave some white space in the design, as well as being mindful of the use of contrast so that different sections feel separate to each other.

I started with the square motifs, which are based on Mayan glyphs, and just let the design flow out intuitively. It never ceases to amaze me how layers and dimension appears. It’s never something that’s planned; it just happens and I sometimes don’t see the effect until someone points it out to me.

No central big motif, such as a moth, with this one. Just pure entangled art.

Moth

Finally finished! The moth with mandala and entangled background. A4 in size.

It’s taken quite a few hours work to complete this one, but it’s nice that it is finally done.

Lots and lots of my favourite motifs/patterns used in the entangled background – flowers, seeds, seedpods, leaves, arches, spirals and geometric patterns.

Plenty of line work to add depth and volume to the design.

I like that the white area behind the moth means the moth isn’t lost in the background. There are some areas where the resulting values aren’t sufficiently different, but I can live with that.

No colour (other than my watermark). A very graphic design.

Entangled Mandala

I really enjoyed creating this mandala this morning! I used some of my favourite motifs in this one. it was lovely to use white on the kraft background, to bring out some highlights and add dimension here and there.

I love to use Autodesk Sketchbook Pro to draw my mandalas in. It streamlines the process and allows me to focus on creating the design rather than the mechanics/geometrics. Of course the design is drawn by hand, just as it would be on paper. That’s the beauty of having a Microsoft Surface Studio and Surface Slim Pen – I can draw with the pen on the screen just as I would with pen on paper. The advantages are that if I mess up, it’s easy to correct, and the symmetry tool saves time, allowing me to focus on the fiddly details that I love so much.

Entangled Drawing

Dimensions : 8cm x 8.5cm (3¼” x 3¾”)
Smooth cartridge paper (acid free)
Uniball Unipin pens (05 and 01)
Digital editing and colour in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro

I drew this little drawing yesterday, but spent some time this morning scanning, cleaning and adding colour and shading digitally.

I deliberately left some ‘white space’ so I could fill it with colour. This contrasts rather well with the graphic black and white entangled art design. The coloured background adds depth to the image, and the subtle shading by grey and textural lines adds volume to the design elements and layers.

I often think I struggle with colour, unless I use a limited palette. This is a way to make use of colour in a way that adds interest to the design without detracting from the line work.

Template Thursday

As it’s Thursday once again, it’s Template Thursday! That means I create a colouring template for members of the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group.

This week, I have an entangled mandala design, with a zentangle-style background. It always seems a shame to waste the space around a mandala when it’s a page for breathing life into a design with colour.

I drew this design in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro using a brush that changed width with pressure. That allowed me to add some dimension to the lineart. But it is colour and shading that really brings a sense of volume to the design.

Watercolour practice

Good news – the headache has gone! Yay! The sun is shining, I have uplifting music playing, and I’ve spent some of the morning practicing watercolour skills and working out how to subtly draw/paint on top with white.

The little tiles at the bottom have designs painted on them with white gouache. There’s a lot more variability in line width with these.

The book marks have had the designs drawn using a white Soufflé pen by Sakura. The ink goes on clear but dries a matt and opaque white.

I used som Molin du Roy watercolour paper from Canson for these. The tiles are approx 2″ x 2″, the book marks are approx 2″ x 7″.

I may mount the tiles on greeting card blanks. The bookmarks need a hole punching in the top and then some string/ribbon threaded through.

I did try out the Sakura Quickie Glue pen and embossing powder yesterday, but really wasn’t happy with it. I also tried using a variety of Sakura pens to draw the outlines before watercolouring – black Glaze, metallic siver Gelly Roll and silver Stardust. They were waterproof, but just didn’t give me the borders for the patterns that I wanted. The black was very bold and gave a rather stained-glass feel to the tile. But, white turns out to be my favourite.

It’s been nice to spend quite a few hours working with watercolours and trying out ideas without any pressure to create anything that is finished. Sometimes making art for the fun of making art is enough and much needed to soothe some rather battered emotions.

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.

Journal Making – 16 May 2020

The Cover

On waking this morning, I wanted to work on the cover of my journal.

Yesterday evening, I managed to get a coat of gesso on to the cover and painted edge closest to the wire binding with gold. In hindsight, that may not have been the best idea.

I knew I wanted to use my silhouette iris drawing on the cover. Irises are my favourite flowers. Also, my aim for my journal is to use my own art as much as possible.

So, I printed out an arrangement of three irises, tore them out and coloured the paper with Distress Inks.

For the background, I used a piece of Claire Fontaine mixed media paper. I coloured it with Distress Inks – Old Paper, Tea Dye, a touch of Iced Spruce and a dusting of Vintage Photo around the edges and here and there on the main sheet.

This I adhered to the cover. I’d cut it narrower than the cover so that I didn’t have to butt it up against the wire binding. That’s why I wanted a gold border there.

Anyway, I decided to put some old book paper behind the irises. I added some ink to the edges of this paper too. I then glued them in place, along with the flowers.

I drew a border around this page with a copper-coloured Sakura Metallic gelly roll pen. Then, I used a gold glitter Uniball Signo pen to fill the background with tiny spirals.

I wanted to add the definition of ‘journal’ to the front cover. So, I did the typography in Affinity Publisher and printed it. After tearing the meaning out, I used Old Paper and Tea Dye Distress Inks to colour the paper, followed by Vintage Photo to ink the edge.

I then glued this to an old book page, tore that out and edged the paper with ink once again.

Before adhering the page to the cover, edged the paper with Ground Espresso Distress Ink as I didn’t think the edge was dark enough. I also coloured the edge of the journal cover with the same ink to hide the white.

An application of Distress Micro-glaze to seal the page and I could stick it to the cover.

I love the subtle sparkle of the spiral pattern on the cover. The micro-glaze picked up some of the fine glitter. It also makes the cover sheet feel very smooth.

I’m not happy with the gold edge to the journal, but I will, no doubt, find a way to make it look much better. Otherwise, I’m quite happy with the cover. I think it needs something else there, but I’ll work out what that is in the fullness of time.

The first three pages.

Page 1 I’ve shown before, and it’s now complete (apart from me adding journaling to the envelopes and other spaces.)

On page 2, I’ve added an experiment I did with Tombow Dual Brush Pens and a blender pen to draw designs on paper. I have some ATC cards coloured in the same blues/purples as the background of this page, so I’ll be finding a way to display them on the page when I’ve finished them.

Page 3 is a tiered series of simple pockets. I made them by tearing the paper of each page and layering them to create the pockets. The inserts are pieces of Claire Fontaine Mixed media paper that have been coloured in the same colours of Distress Inks as the pockets have been. I used Distress Oxide Inks for the pockets.

I’m not really sure what I’m going to do with the third page, yet. It will come to me, I’m sure!

Adobe Spark

I thought that I’d use Adobe Spark to make a short video rather than posting a montage of photos. I uploaded it to my channel on youtube so I could share it via social media more easily.

Adobe Spark is straightforward to use, and it does have a free option, though I pay about £10 per month for it. It makes creating simple content for social media really easy.

How am I feeling

I’m feeling much better today. The headache and light-headed/dizzy/drowsy feelings were with me for the whole day, including upset tummy and digestive system. I had weird pains in my right eye too. I slept a lot during the day, and just took it easy when I was awake. I wanted to crochet in the evening but found it hard to do even something familiar to me.

My digestive system is still uncomfortable and not quite right today, and I’m now beginning to feel rather tired. Like I’ve already done too much today. So, I’m going to be taking it easy for the rest of the day.