Duvet Day

Do you know the kind of days where it’s hard to get out of bed? Days when your body and soul need a day cwtched up safe and warm in bed? Well that was today for me.

A day spent doing very little. A bit of art. Watching geology videos on youtube. Playing games on my phone.

I’m now vertical, at my desk. I’ve scanned in one of my little drawings (approx 3¼” x 4″, or 8cm x 10cm) and digitally added a background, shadow and highlight. The shadow and highlight are a tad patchy, but they do help to bring the drawing to life.

A little entangled drawing

Simply because sometimes drawing small is just what the soul needs.

The original drawing is about 3¼” x 4″ in size. I used 05 and 01 Sakura Pigma Micron pens in a Seawhite sketchbook. Background colour and colour added digitally.

Today I’ve been busy with administration, inking the illustration for the cover of my next book in the Creative Haven series, so my blog was pushed down the list of ‘to-dos’ a bit. But I’ve got here!

Template Thursday

This week’s coloring template for members of the Angela Porter’s Coloring Books Fans facebook group is a typically “Angela” style mandala. It’s quite abstract, entangled, a bit zentangle-like.

What isn’t typical is, perhaps, the colour palette. I chose the colours rather intuitively, letting my emotions guide me. I started with cool, calming blues and greens in the centre. All the colours are quite soft and gentle, until I got to the outside border where I used brighter yellows and oranges and complementary blues and purples. The brighter colours appeared as my anxiety ebbed and the clouds parted to let some sunshine through.

I had a weird night’s sleep with both hot flashes and disturbing dreams. I often feel out of sorts for a long while after such dreams and they may be the source of my anxiety. I’m feeling calmer now though. Art has worked it’s magic, and the intermittent sunshine is helping.

I think it’s forecast to be cloudy with sunny breaks for the rest of the daylight hours, so I may very well get myself out for a walk in a short while.

Mandala 13 Jan 2021

I realised that I haven’t drawn a mandala in quite a while. So, that’s what I did! Intricate, geometric and organic repeating patterns. It was a pleasure to do.

I’m quite happy with the highlights and shadows on this one, and keeping it all monochrome works for me today as well. A calm and soothing green – just what I need today as I’m still recovering from the stress from earlier in the week.

Tools – Microsoft Surface Slim Pen, Microsoft Surface Studio, Autodesk Sketchbook Pro.

Nurture

The artwork

I took a 6″ square Strathmore artist’s tile and coloured it with Distress Inks. Next, I used Sakura Pigma Sensei 04 and Pigma Micron 01 pens to draw the design. Finally I added some graphite shadows.

Nuturing

This zentangle inspired drawing contains the Zibu symbol for ‘nurture’. Nurture is all about growth and expansion which involves encouraging, nourishing, protecting and caring.

I certainly need to care for myself today. For the past few days anxiety gradually increased as I got closer to meeting my accountant to hand over my paperwork. I was left exhausted after the essential business trip to meet her in a car park to do this. I’m still feeling exhausted, fuzzy headed, and not with it today.

Nurturing myself was an important lesson to learn through EMDR therapy. It’s not an easy lesson for any of us to learn, but it is essential. It’s not just about taking care of the basic needs, it’s about the whole of your being.

Yesterday, this involved quiet time with art, or just sitting and being, and some comforting, as well as nourishing, food. An early night was in order.

My nights sleep was broken and I’m still feeling the effects of the post-stress come-down. But these will pass as the cortisol and other stress hormones gradually leave my body.

On the good side, I was up to creating the cover for the next colouring book after Entangled Starry Skies. So, if the sketch is approved, I can get to inking and colouring it over the next couple of days.

Abstract – WIP

This is the result of last night’s attack of the insomnias as well as this morning.

I’ve been drawing with a Sakura Pigma Sensei 04 pen on A4 natural coloured Claire Fontained mixed media paper.

I like both the Pigma Sensei and Micron PN pens for their much more durable plastic nibs. The texture of this paper makes quick work of the the fibre tips of Unipin or Pigma Micron pens.

I’ve started added some colour, shadow and highlights using a mixture of graphite and coloured drawing pencils, as well as a white Gelly Roll pen. Just the grey and sepia toned pencils start to add depth, dimension and life to the drawing. Oh, and a Tombow Mono micro eraser to remove the pencil from where it may have strayed.

I could’ve done this digitally, but at the moment digital coloring is just irritating me. I have no idea why; it just is. I go through phases like this. It’s the ups and downs, twists and turns of both my emotional health and my creative instincts and needs. At the moment, it also means I’m really limiting myself to the colours I can use, something I do tend to struggle with when I have the infinite digital colour palette available to me.

Adding colour as I work lets me bring out particular areas of the design, as well as finding ways to make areas I’m not happy with either work or fade towards the background.

There’s plenty more work to do with this drawing, mostly in the bottom right area. I like the light and airy features towards the top and want to keep them that way.

More insomniac art…

I had a couple of relatively good night’s sleep. But last night was a broken night’s sleep, waking around 3am and drawing until I was ready to sleep again – around 6am. No point tossing and turning as it just makes matters worse for me.

I’d started this drawing yesterday afternoon, after I’d completed the coloured templates for Entangled Starry Skies. I got a fair amount of it done when I woke in the night. I completed it this morning, after I woke around 8:30am, with a threatening migraine-type headache. I’ll be back to bed soon once the headache pills have kicked in; I often feel very tired with this kind of headache.

I think that fuzzy headed, weird-mind-set shows in some of the drawing. The weird texture on the bottom right face. The very organised, block-like areas of organic textures at the top.

As I’ve now scanned this in, I may take some time to add shading and highlights, perhaps some subtle colour, to the drawing in the sketchbook. If I do use colour, I’m going to keep it monochrome, maybe with a complementary colour for some little pops here and there. If I use too many colours I feel it loses cohesiveness and… some elegance, I think that’s the word I’m hunting around in my headache addled brain for.

I may try printing it out on some coloured paper. Not sure how the laser printer will cope with that, but if I don’t try, I’ll never know!

Oh, I used 05 and 01 Unipin pens in an A4 Artway Enviro sketchbook to create this art.

Template Thursday!

It’s the first Thursday of 2021 and so it’s time for a template for members of the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group.

This week, it’s a bold, entangled design. Lots of botanical motifs and some geometric patterns in there. I chose to fill the image with flat colours this week. The color palette I’ve used reminds me of the Arts and Crafts movement and Art Nouveau.

It’s both unusual of me to use flat colour, or colours that are also muted. Some shadow and highlight would serve to add dimension to the design, but there’s something quite nice about it as it is. Something that I can’t put my finger on.

If you’d like to print and colour it, you do need to be a member of the facebook group. Membership is free, as are the templates to members. There’s just a few reasonable terms and conditions that need to be followed to use them.

I’ve been creating one template a month for the group since it was started. Since the first lockdown here in the UK (March 2020), I’ve created one template a week for the group. Coloring is an activity that can help alleviate stress and anxiety, induce relaxation, and gives the mind a break from overthinking. It’s been shown in scientific studies to affect the brain in much the same way that mindfulness meditation does.

Sketchbook flip-through

I’ve been busy indulging myself in comfort art over the past couple of weeks. So, I thought I’d share some of the pages in one of my A4 sketchbooks that relate to zentangle.

I’m no photographer, just saying!

I used a whole host of different media to complete the drawings
-pens, including Pigma Micron, Unipin, Uni Emott, Chameleon Fineliners, Pitt Artist Pens, Staedtler Triplus fineliners, Tombow Fudenosuke and a Zebra fudenosuke
-a range of pencils including Prisma Ebony graphite, Daler-Rowney sketching pencils, white graphite pencil, Derwent coloured drawing pencils and ordinary drawing pencils and a ruler to give guidelines for dividing the pages up
– tortillons and paper stumps, along with sandpaper to clean the tips!
– Inktense, Tombow Dualbrush pens, Faber Castell Pitt artist pens and a waterbrush for the more intensely coloured patterns

Some of the work has been done on days where I just needed to lose myself in something familiar, comforting. The rest of it during my nights of broken sleep.

The newest stuff are the pages of ’embedded’ letters – the monograms. Definitely a tad on the weird side as I’ve not found my way with this idea. But I will persevere over time.

Abstract WIP 5 Jan 2021

The drawing

I’ve been working on this drawing for the past three days. I’m not sure if it is finished yet; I’m undecided about all the open spaces to the right. I’m beginning to understand the need for some space for the eyes to rest on, but my inner inclination is still to fill my drawing with pattern and complexity.

This one has been drawn with a black Uni Emott pen in my A4 Artway Enviro sketchbook. The Emott pen has a hard plastic tip and although it has become worn during the work of drawing, I’ve found the uneven, patchy, varying line widths that result most useful in achieving different weight and character of line in the drawing. Not that this shows up well in the reduced size and resolution image of the work. Neither does the texture of the colour applied digitally.

I’m quite heavy handed with pens and tend to wreck the more delicate Unipin and Pigma Micron pens (and others of a similar ilk) rather rapidly. The Pigma Micron PN pens weather my heavy-hand better as well. I don’t favour one over the other. I just choose what pen I feel like drawing with at the time – be it Unipins, Microns, Micron PN, Rotring Rapidograph, Tombow Fudenosuke, or traditional fountain pens.

Digital drawing is a challenge for me, even though I love the Surface Slim Pen and the way it glides on the screen of the Surface Studio. The challenge for me is the sense of scale, proportion and perspective. A sheet of paper gives me a well defined shape and size and as I can’t zoom in, there’s a limit to the tiny details I can add.

Sleeplessness

Saturday night into Sunday was another very broken nights sleep and it left me wiped out yesterday. I had various meetings to attend online during the day and evening as well. In between them, I had to sleep. I was overtired and that makes me emotional and teary. Sleep is the only cure for tiredness. Hence no blog entry yesterday.

So, this meant little time for art and stuff yesterday.

I did have a better night’s sleep last night, though I woke part way through. These night ‘sweats’ (I just get incredibly hot, no sweating as such…yet) are no fun! I wake up absolutely blisteringly hot, and it takes me ages to cool down, even though my bedroom is really cold. If these carry on into the warm/hot months when sleep is difficult anyway, I don’t know what I’m going to do! It seems perimenopause is moving along with me; age doesn’t come by itself. As well as the hot flushes during the night and day I’m finding more periods of fuzzy headedness and difficulty concentrating.

As I let the house go cold during the night in an effort to better cope with these night sweats, and I don’t know when I’m going to wake up in the morning if I do get back to sleep, I don’t have my heating turn on at a specific time. So I wake up to a cold house. Which is great if I’m in the throes of a hot flash. So, on these cold mornings, my habit is to go put the heating on, make breakfast, and take breakfast back to bed. That way I can keep warm while sitting in bed, having breakfast and faffing around with email and so on as well as my personal drawing projects.

What I’m realising is that I’m going to have to change my approach to working hours as perimenopause affects how my mind and body functions. I have no idea how long it will last; a year to many years apparently. I hope this will settle down into a pattern that I can work with, or that I can be more flexible with myself about when I work and when I don’t, and recognised when I need to take self-care time.

It won’t last forever, thank goodness. One of the plus sides of it is that I don’t feel the cold as much as I used to, at certain times of day anyway.