Monday Morning Mandala

I actually started this mandala yesterday morning, but I did most of the work on it this morning.

Black, white and craft paper, with some warm grey shading to help to bring out a sense of volume to areas of pattern.

The number five.

I chose, to start with, five-fold symmetry.

The number five symbolises balance and harmony. It also can represent freedom, independence, adventure, curiosity, intelligence, individualism, courage, and important life lessons to be learned from your experiences.

Five can also be symbolic of a problem, but there are solutions to the problem. As five also symbolises inner wisdom, the solution comes from our own inner wisdom. Once a solution is identified, then a plan of action needs to be developed through passion, emotions, ideas or work. Then it needs to be followed through.

Star symbolism

The central motif of the mandala is reminiscent of a five-pointed star.

Stars are symbols of guidance and are often considered protective symbols. They are also associated with wishes, mysteries and magic. Most often, they represent something that is good, beautiful or positive. They are symbols of hope, truth and spirit.

The colour brown

Brown is a natural colour that evokes a sense of strength, approachabilityapproachability and reliability. It is often associated with resilience, dependability, security and safety.

Feelings of loneliness, sadness and isolation can also arise with brown, especially when used in large amounts, like a vast, expansive rocky landscape or desert. But it also can bring to mind feelings of warmth, comfort and security as brown also represents a hearth, the heart of a home, and so it represents a deep connection to one’s home.

Of course, brown also represents connections with the earth and so nature. It is a wholesome colour.

Symbolism and my art

I’m finding looking into the symbolism of numbers, colours and motifs quite interesting. I don’t often think overly hard about the colours I use when I create art, especially my daily ‘warm up’ art practice.

However, it is interesting to look at the meanings of colours, motifs I choose and how they relate to what I am currently experiencing on a personal level.

Friday Flower

It all began with a drawing in my A5 sketchbook. I then wanted to use it for digital art, and this is the result.

I’m really happy with the flower design. The black lines work in this instance; they give a stained-glass feel to the design.

I’m not at all sure about the background, however.I think I’ve just gone over the top, again. I just can’t seem to leave ‘white space’ in my art.

As a result, I tried some gold patterns on a rich, dark colour. Whatever I tried, just didn’t seem to work. Perhaps I could’ve created the line art in gold instead of black before adding colour. That may have worked out OK.

I’ve left it as it is, for now, as I’m tired and hungry. I’ll look at it with fresh eyes at some point. For now it’ll do, even as an example of art to remind me to work out when enough is enough!

Even though I’ve ended up a bit frustrated with my efforts on the background, I still enjoyed the process of creating this morning. It does make my inner light shine that bit brighter, and we all really need that extra bit of shine at this time of pandemics and more going on in the world.

I wanted a quote that went with the art, so I chose one about blooming and that sums up how I feel when I create, be it art or crafty pursuits. Even when the art goes in a direction I’m not happy with, there’s still a happiness inside that comes from just creating. There’s also a positive feeling about things not working as I want them to, artistically. It’s an opportunity to learn something, either artistically or personally. Today, the lesson is a reminder that I need to learn to leave ‘white space’ in my art.

And with that, it’s time for some tea and lunch!

Coloring Page / Template

Colouring page / template

It’s Thursday. The pandemic is still in action. That means it’s time for a new coloring page or template for members of the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group.

It’s free to join the group, and the template is a freebie for members of the group.

This week, I created a mandala design with a background of geometric, repeating patterns.

I’m still recovering from the stress of my first trip out since March 2020. Drawing (and colouring) mandalas is an incredibly peaceful, relaxing and mindful activity. So, it was natural that I drew one.

The mandala design is based on some of the abstract art I’ve been doing of late. It’s a bit unusual for my mandalas, but I really do like the organic flow of the lines.

Even though the design is abstract, the repeating symmetry of a mandala bring some structure to the design. I am looking forward to seeing how members of the group add colour to the design.

The geometric patterns in the background also result in a soothing, repetitive rhythm for colouring; a rhythm that results in soothing and calming ones mind and emotions.

De-stressing

I have been totally shaken by the level of anxiety/stress that resulted from my trip out on Tuesday. I am beginning to feel more my contented and calm self. However, I find I’m still irritable and grumpy and have withdrawn from social media and the like for most of the day.

It was a sobering thought when I realised I’d lived most of my life constantly at elevated stress levels, often as higher than what I experienced in the past couple of days.

It’s also a wonderful realisation that I can recognise this now, and I also am able to allow myself self-care time to let all the stress hormones leach from my body. It’s been a long time since they peaked in this way.

It makes me extremely grateful to my therapist for her years of patient work with me. Experiences like the Tuesday Trip remind me of how I used to be and show me how far I have come in recovery from cPTSD.

Yesterday, after my social media post, I binged watched the Harry Potter films from The Order of the Phoenix. I found I was irritated by crochet. I tried cross-stitch, which irritated me too. Eventually, I settled on knitting, which, oddly, soothed me. I think it’s because I could knit and watch the film. Knitting allowed me to channel my irritability into something creative. As I can knit without looking at the knitting, I could also watch and immerse myself in the films at the same time.

My fingers are itching to knit again, now I’ve thought about it.

Even though I slept well last night, I’m still feeling really tired today. This happens as part of the post-stress come-down. It can last a few days. I’ll not be rushing to nap, however. Napping has a knock-on effect on my ability to sleep at night when I’m like this. My naps tend to end up as periods of deep sleep, so I try not to take them unless it’s absolutely necessary.

Digital watercolours?

Another morning, another play around with watercolours, this time digitally.

Soft balls of watercolour, fuzzy edges, with white ink details added on top. Layers of transparent colour.

I overlaid a watercolour paper texture, which helps give the right ‘feel’.

This is my favourite attempt at digital ‘watercolours’ so far. I definitely like using white ink in this instance; black ink was just too harsh, hard and jarred uncomfortably with the softness of the watercolours.

I tried lots of ways of adding colour; not just brushes, but different brush effects. In the end I was happiest with white ink.

A nice way to spend a couple of hours as I wake up.

Dragonfly Designs

©Angela Porter | Artwyrd

One of my ideas is to create a digital library of designs of things that interest me and that may be useful in my journal making, card making, or just other kinds of art.

For some reason, I decided on dragonflies. So, I sketched out some ideas and then inked the drawings in digitally. I also added details and patterns ot the designs that weren’t present in the sketches. The dragonflies are in my signature entangled style for sure.

I still have a few sketches to work on, and some alternatives of the wing shapes and body designs. I also want to do them as silhouettes. I like silhouettes on coloured backgrounds, like the one I’ve used today.

I used Autodesk Sketchbook Pro to ink in the designs. I also used it to add the background, shadows and typography.

The background is one of my own made using Distress Oxide inks and water. I love that I can recolour the image digitally; the original was in shades of pink and purple, but I thought that blues and greens would suit the dragonflies much more.

I’ve left the dragonflies uncoloured, for now, though adding colour will bring the designs to life and add some dimension to them.

I don’t have a colour printer anymore, just a black and white laser printer. I may consider getting a colour printer in the future, however, as I think being able to print my own digital art would be useful, especially for using in journal making. An inkjet printer would be the most useful; it would allow me to print on many different kinds of paper and lightweight card.

I’m also thinking of putting together digital collections of backgrounds and ephemera and/or digi stamps for sale via my Etsy shop. Let me know if you think that’s a good idea by dropping a comment.

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.

Template Thursday

©Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

The weeks are flying by! It seems like hardly any time at all since I posted last week’s coloring template. I decided at the start of the Covid-19 quarrantine that I’d design a weekly coloring template for the members of the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group. And so far I’ve managed to do that.

And here, partly coloured, is this week’s offering. I look forward, as always to seeing the coloured templates by members of the group. I love the way that they use different colours and interpret the design differently!

The template is only available in the facebook group, and is for free. I know how much colouring and creativity can help people manage their emotional and mental health. Creating art and being creative certainly helps me, especially if I have a good audiobook on or uplifting music!

I created this design digitally in Autodesk Sketchbook using a Microsoft Surface Slim Pen and Microsoft Surface Studio.

Mandala Monday

©Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

It’s a lovely sunshiny day, so a sunshiny mandala seemed an appropriate design to create today.

The background is one of my Distress Oxides ones, though I’ve recoloured it to reflect the sunshiny nature of my mandala.

I drew the mandala digitally using Autodesk Sketchbook Pro.

This was a really nice exercise for me. It’s been a few days since I’ve done much in the way of digital art. I’ve been so focused on stuff for my art journal that I’ve had an unplanned break from it.

I must say that I rather like not having a bit of a mess around me, albeit a bit of a pretty mess. Digital art is very clean, tidy, and that suits my creative inclinations quite a bit.

Talking of my art journal, my A5 mixed media sketchbook arrived yesterday. Actually, a pack of three from Arteza did. So, I started by colouring three of the pages last night. I also drew some patterns on the first page to try some ideas out. I’ll show these another time.

This morning, I affixed some tags to the first page. I hinged them so I could have some tuck-spots on the back of them. I also drew some designs and painted/coloured them. And, I finished off some more inchies!

I’ve had quite a busy arty morning!

So far, the A5 sized journal seems to be working out so much better for me than the A4 one. The smaller sized pages means I can’t put so many items on a page, not without layers anyway. That seems to make it easier for me to achieve a pleasing arrangement of elements. Only time will show if it actually does work out well for me.

The mixed media paper in the Artezea sketchbook is rather rough and very different in texture to the ClaireFontaine one I usually use. However, as it’s likely to be covered with tags, pockets, envelopes and so on then it won’t be too much of an issue.

Entangled Art – 1 May 2020

This morning, I finished this Entangled Art drawing.

The background was created using Distress Oxide inks and sprays of water on mixed media paper then scanned in.

The drawing was done digitally using Autodesk Sketchbook Pro.

A very intricate, detailed drawing in my signature ‘Entangled’ art style, that includes inspiration from nature, architecture, geometrical and repeating patterns, and overlaps a little with zentangle.

A new month!

While we may all be in lock-down, the days still pass us by and go into the past.

I sit here, at my desk and looking out of my window as I work. Sunshine, blue sky with some heavy grey clouds cover the world. Fluffy dandelion seeds are dancing around in the air, thanks to a fairly swift breeze. The trees that cover the valley sides are all cloaked in their spring green finery. It’s a fitting view for Beltane, May Day.

The world is now fully awakened from it’s winter sleep. The long, dark days of winter are now behind me and the days have been rapidly lengthening towards the longest days around the summer solstice in June.

In years past I’d be looking forward to days out, enjoying evening activities and meetings in daylight. I was looking forward this year to going out with my DSLR to take photos of flowers and plants, architecture, and anything else that grabbed my attention. That’s not to be. However, I will be looking forward to doing this in the future.

As much as I would like to be wandering around with my camera, I know it’s more important to be at home, to avoid contact with others, and to help slow down, if not halt, the spread of the Covid-19 virus.

The most difficult thing is not knowing when the current restrictions will safely be lifted. And when they are, the number of cases is likely to increase once again and we’ll return to lock-down.

I am so grateful that I am able to work at home, am happy to stay at home, for as long as it takes. The longer this goes on, the easier I find it to remain at home. I do worry that when the lock-down is released I may find I’m filled with fear and anxiety about leaving my home. I struggle with that anyway, but I do wonder what effect this will have on me.

Still, I can still think of things I’d like to do, places I’d like to visit, once it is safe to do so once again, even though that particular point in time is, as of yet, not in the calendar.

Template Thursday

Coloring Template ©Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

It’s Thursday again, and one more week of quarantine is behind us. That means one week of lockdown ahead of us. Feeling sad about all those who are sick or who have died as as a result of the sanctions, but the sanctions have kept others safe from Covid-19, thus reducing serious illness from the virus, or death.

As another week has gone by, it’s time for another template for the members of the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group.

As always, the template is available free to members of the group, which is also free to join. So, if you would like to colour it, meet some like-minded people, and share your colourings with us, pop over the the group and join in!

I drew and partially coloured today’s template digitally using Autodesk Sketchbook Pro. I needed to draw a mandala to soothe me. I’m tired today and feeling ‘meh’. That is reflected in my colour choices.