Nature

Nature © Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

This image is in the vein of experiments in digital art. It reminds me very much of chalk/soft pastels, a traditional medium I did experiment with many, many years ago. However, I abandoned it as I didn’t like the feel of the soft pastels nor the messiness of them.

Using a kind of digital version of them means no mess!

I like this pot potpourri of motifs quite a lot. The softness of the lines and translucency of the colours appeals to me. I also like the way the colours glow against the black background. Surprisingly, the simplicity of the motifs appeals to me as well, giving a folk art kind of vibe to this work. Overall this design has an ethereal, ghostly, perhaps even magical feel to it.

My usual style of art is quite intricate and detailed, so this is definitely a departure from this. It’s certainly a style I want to experiment with more.

As it’s digital art, I used Autodesk Sketchbook Pro along with a Microsoft Surface Pen and Microsoft Surface Studio.

Shell Drawings and Chameleon Pens

AngelaPorter_6June_2017_ColouredShells

Between counselling and errands today, I’ve managed to create over 30 shell ‘digi stamps’ or individual images I can re-size and print out as needed by me, though I am considering putting them together as sets of digi-stamps, though I do need to add line detail to quite a few; that’s a job for another day.

I printed out a few of them on A4 paper, and used my Chameleon Pens to colour them in, and here’s the result – very brightly coloured.

My only problem is to work out what to do with them!  Do I use them in some mixed media index cards or bigger work?  Do I use them to make greetings cards?  Is there something else I could do with them?

At the moment I don’t quite know, but I’ll work it.  First I need to cut them all out.  Hopefully, my scissor skills will improve …

Oh, I drew the shells on my Microsoft Surface book in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro.

Needle felted mushroom

The last four hours have been spent happily stabbing – lots of stabbing.  All to create my first needle felted ‘sculpture – a mushroom.

The photo isn’t brilliant (it is after 2am here in the UK, and I lost track of time..), and grey isn’t my usual colour of choice; however I used it for the mushroom as I have lots of grey wool and if it didn’t work out, it would be no great loss.

However, it has worked out.  It’s been a bit of a learning thing, and I still have lots to learn, learning that can only be done by doing it seems.

I do have a few coloured ‘circles’ to add, and then I’m sure I’ll want to add beads and stuff to add sparkle (that inner raven of mine demands sparkle whenever I can manage it!).

Overall, I’m really quite pleased with the outcome so far!

I’ve not done any sculpting for many, many years, and only then with clay.  I enjoyed working with clay, but I don’t have the facilities to do that now, but I can use wool and felt it, and I really have enjoyed the felting.  It’s easy on my fingers too (apart from the one stab to my thumb when I missed the mushroom a tad!).  It’s sculpting in terms of building the form up, rather than removing material to reveal a form, such as you’d do in stone sulpture.  The building up appeals to me far more.

I’ll finish this mushroom, then I’m sure there’ll be more things to be made.

Autumn blackberries

Bramble28Aug12 © Angela Porter
Bramble © Angela Porter
5″ x 3″, pen and ink.

Plucking blackberries from hedgerows bursting with the deep purple-black fruits of the bramble are memories of childhood.

Taking care not to prick fingers on the thorns, or get clothing snagged and torn upon them either.  There were also the sticky burrs of goose-grass to avoid too.

It was all worth the hours of effort, however.  Blackberry and apple pie, blackberry crumble, bramble jelly, and the blackberry wine my father brewed (if he could steal any away).

Blackberries were frozen by the plastic gallon re-used ice-cream tub to be used for Sunday desserts through the winter months too.

All of these things created once the blackberries had been washed in salted water to bring out any maggots that had burrowed their way into the fruits.  If I caught sight of one single maggoty thing, I couldn’t eat any more of them, and eating them straight from the bramble was not an option for me.  It’s no wonder I’m a vegetarian!

A free harvest that I no longer take advantage of, but may manage to do so this year if I can pluck up the courage to go by myself in to the countryside to do this.

Yes, I do mean courage, as I’ve become a bit of a recluse once again, not going out into the world where there are other human beings to encounter me.  A long, personal story that is, but one I hope to change with time.  The gist is I’ve allowed myself to be hurt by other people over the past few years.  Things I was once involved with have gone by the by and I’ve not managed to replace these social activities with others.  Oh, I do go out.  I am involved in things, but the people I encounter are, generally, more acquaintances than anything else.  I still seek and search for a sense of belonging in this world.

Even as I think back to childhood blackberrying, I remember that I was often alone even though the rest of the family were there, all chatting and laughing and playing amongst themselves while I was generally excluded, unless it was to be the butt of someone’s joke.  Always funny for them…

Funny, the memories of blackberrying, and collecting bilberries, or whinberries as they are also called, are still ones of pleasure – the pleasure of the food produced as a result.  Bilberries are small, blueberries, native to Britain.

Folklore

There’s plenty of folklore surrounding the humble bramble and it’s fruits.

“Throughout much of Britain there was a widespread belief that blackberries should not be eaten after a certain date.” [Vickery]

This date may have be that of the first frost, as then they become the Devil’s fruit  and are not fit for humans to eat .

Michaelmas (29 September) or  Old Michaelmas (11 October)  relate to the biblical tale of  Lucifer being thrown out of heaven for his proud, covetous ways by Archangel Michael (Isaiah 14:12).  It is said that Lucifer landed in a bramble bush and cursed it, which is why people won’t eat blackberries after Michaelmas, saying variously that:

  • they have the Devil in them
  • the Devil peeps over the hedgerow and blasts them
  • so the Devil may have his share
  • the Devil spits on them

Hallowe’en (31 October) or All Saints’ Day (1st November) are also dates given as the cut off for blackberry consumption.  As well as the reasons given above, this date also relates to the following:

  • they have the witch in them
  • the witches have peed on them
  • on Hallowe’en the puca has crawled on the blackberries.

“From a scientific point of view, blackberries contain a high concentration of bitter tasting tannins which over time accumulate in the fruit. Old Michaelmas day falls late in the blackberry season making berries picked around this time very bitter. To make matters worse, as autumn arrives the weather becomes wetter meaning the fruit will contain more fungus spores. This will not improve the taste either.” [BBC Nature UK]

Brambles were sometimes planted, or placed, on graves, one belief being that they stopped the dead from walking.  Another reason is that they kept the sheep off the grave.

A superstition in Wales was “When thorns or brambles catch or cling to a girl’s dress, they say a lover is coming.” [Roud]

References:

BBC Nature UK, Nature folklore uncovered

Roud, Steve “The Penguin Guide to the Superstitions of Britain and Ireland”, Penguin Reference, 2003

Vickery, RoyOxford Dictionary of Plant-lore”, Oxford Paperbacks, Oxford University Press, 1995

Floramania and another dragonfly…

Floramania

Approx. 13cm x13cm (5″ x 5″)

Rotring Rapidograph pens with black ink on white cartridge paper and several hours of time…

Floramania 27Aug12 © Angela Porter 2012

Little dragonfly

Approx. 9cm x 14cm (3.5″ x 5.25″)

Rotring Rapidograph pens with black in on white cartridge paper.

Tinted Dragonfly © Angela Porter 2012

Faffy times…

The last several days have been ‘faffy’ days where I’ve just been faffing around with art and reading and not much else.

The weather has mostly been very wet – torrential rain, high winds at time.  Perfect weather for battening down the hatches and losing oneself in art and craft and reading.

For some reason the drawing pens have come out again, and I find myself lost in the fiddly fussy work that I do, enjoying it too.  It also has shown me how I struggle with colour, unless the colour is purely abstract in itself.

It also allows me an escape from the sting of rejection, the loss of a dream that never ever was, and a chance to let my unconscious mind, my soul, my spirit to start the process of healing and working the way to the person I am meant to be, choose to be, want to be, with a life I’d like.  A life that includes people in it – friends, a found family, and love too.