Sunday morning is always a time to breathe, relax and create something easy and pleasurable to do. Comfort art. Today, that meant a mandala and a quote that is quite appropriate for this morning.
Mandala creation makes me smile inwardly. It’s a familiar process and I can create a mandala that is complex and detailed, or simple, and the calming, relaxing effect is the same.
I do draw my mandalas digitally. By using Autodesk Sketchbook Pro’s symmetry tools, it streamlines the process for me. There’s also the removal of the frustration that is caused by an error or a smudge. I can focus on the relaxing, soothing process and on being creative.
In that vein, I decided to draw the mandala in black on white. But when it was finished, I wanted to use a background and a monochrome colour scheme.
I love kraft paper. I don’t know why. I think it’s that colours seem to almost glow against it. So, I chose that for the background. Then, I created a layer of creamy, orange-yellow tones to highlight the line art. Nice warm, comforting, gently glowing colours.
Finally, I created some drop shadows for the text and mandala.
I look at the finished mandala and I smile, gently. I feel my heart fill with some warmth and a sense of lightness.
Creating art, including mandalas, lets my soul shine. What makes your soul shine? Take time today to indulge your soul in activities that let it do so.
Today, I’ve been practising my hand-drawn typography (hand lettering). I seem to have Aneurin Bevan on the brain at the moment, probably because I’m working on a typographic portrait of him. So, I chose a quote by him.
To create this, I started off with squared paper, a ruler and a pencil. I marked out an area that was 24 cm x 12 cm. Before doing any lettering, I drew in some wavy guidelines. Then, I added the lettering. It took three attempts before I ended up with a design I was happy with.
Next, I scanned the sketch into Autodesk Sketchbook Pro and re-drew and inked in the letters.
Black on white was very stark, very graphic. However, I had a hankering for some colour. So, I chose reds. I used some digital wizardry to invert the black letters and white background. I created the coloured and textures background, and then used some layer options to get the effect I wanted.
Final steps were to ad my little copyright notice and watermark. As well as resizing the image for social media.
Taking a break
It’s always nice to have a change of pace and intensity in art work. I spent a couple of hours this morning getting my mind around how I could change the shape of letters to give a feeling of volume to a portrait. The fist in my portrait of Aneurin Bevan was looking a tad too flat.
I didn’t want to do any more work on the portrait today, wanting to give myself a break from the changes I’ve made so I can go back to it with fresh eyes and fresh mind.
Thoughts ticking around my mind
I do have an idea for creating a more abstract kind of typographic art from quotes and descriptive words now I’ve completed this mini typographic art quote. Not today, though I will note my idea down in my journal.
I often wake up in the morning, with ideas for art projects, as well as suggestions for solutions of problems I’m having with a current artwork, such as the flatness of Nye’s fist in his portrait.
It seems my subconscious mind works on these issues while I rest and sleep.
I really am persevering with the typographic portrait. That’s a surprise to me. Not all that long ago, I would’ve easily given up on it and decided that it wasn’t for me.
But not this time.
This time, I’m sticking with it, as well as the use of typography in my other styles of art.
This one isn’t coming as easily to me as other forms of art have, but it’s one that I seem to want to really succeed at.
What is making the difference is being able to work digitally. That makes editing, altering, trying things out a breeze. I don’t have to completely start all over again, I can keep what I like, and then rework what I don’t like. I can even keep what I don’t like in case it turns out that it is actually what I do like!
Remembering to work in layers really does help this process. That’s something I don’t always remember to do. However, I will get there. Just not today.
This morning I created some tall, thin (or short and wide) backgrounds using Distress Oxides on some Arteza Mixed media paper. The paper is 8.25″ x 2.87″ (21cm x 7.2 cm) in size.
I chose this one to draw on for no other reason that it was the one that appealed to me at this time. I started with the seed pods and foliage at the bottom, and worked my way through some hand lettering / hand-drawn typography to more abstract line-art.
I drew with a M Pitt Artist Pen from Faber-Castell, though I added the stippling with an XS Pitt Artist pen.
No glitter or glitz on this one, nor any highlights. Not yet. I’m not in the mood for any, not today.
This was a perfect, small and quick project to do this morning as I was waiting for my weekly delivery from Able & Cole.
Some practice of hand-lettering /hand-drawn typography practice, starting with roughing the design out in pencil on dot grid paper. Then, inking it in digitally in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro.
The addition of a rainbow background was the perfect way to bring a smile to my face this morning. When don’t rainbow colours cheer a person up? The bold, black letters on top of it really make the colours glow bright.
The quote is a perfect bit of wisdom for Wednesday, not that it’s a bad day for me at all. Apart from me suffering from a lack of sleep once again. The morning sunshine has lifted my mood, and the cool air flowing in through the open window is both beautifully fresh and wonderfully refreshing. I have bright and happy music on as I work, just to add to the upbeat start to the day.
This morning, I decided to leave portraits alone for a little while. I woke with the idea of using typography to fill some typography!
So, I drew the outlines of ‘Nye’, for Aneurin Bevan. I then used wavy lines to split the outlines into interesting sections. Then, I pencilled in some quotes by Aneurin Bevan. This let me adjust size/ spacing so that the quotes fit and made sense. In some places I’ve stretched the letters as there wasn’t enough space for the next word. I could’ve made all the letters in the line wider, but thought the wider letters would add some interest and flow. Of course, I now realise I could’ve stretched some letters at the start of the lines too, but I can always do that as I ink in the lettering.
Anyway, my next step was to scan the sketch into Autodesk Sketchbook Pro so I could do the inking digitally, and you can see what I’ve done so far. I do need to adjust some letters, like the B at the start of the line I’ve started to ink. I will also need to go back and clean up some of the edges of letters.
It’s a nice project for me to do today. I didn’t sleep at all well last night; I was up and down to the loo. I had a sudden attack of anxiety yesterday, a really intense one. The pilot light on my boiler had gone out and I couldn’t light it, so I had to arrange for a breakdown visit. There was the stress of ‘what if they can’t fix it’ as well as a stranger in my home for the first time since most probably February.
Panic mode! And it didn’t abate all day, no matter what I tried to do. This kind of anxiety/stress always hits me in my digestive system, so it was an unpleasant night for me.
All needless of course. The gas engineer arrived this morning and he lit the pilot light first go. And it’s stayed lit. I felt like a right numpty. However, all is well, as I have now booked it for a service too.
I’m still feeling on edge, as well as really tired. So, working on a portrait wouldn’t be the best idea for me as at the moment they are frustrating and overwhelming me.
So, I thought I’d go for some hand-lettering or hand-drawn typography practice. Just practice. No pressure. However, the idea I had may turn out to be a fairly good one. Maybe.
I found this appropriate quote this morning, and thought I just had to try to add some pretty art behind it, and this is what I came up with.
I worked digitally and used some symmetry tools. I’m not entirely sure about it, but it let me try things out and let my mind work out some things, including how I’ve really been doing things a hard, long and laborious way in the past, digitally speaking. All part of the learning process, of course.
Yesterday, I had to take a total self-care day. I’ve had a very stressful couple of days, and that does take its toll on me. Today I feel less emotionally overwhelmed, I can sense that touchstone of contentment inside me, and the maelstrom of emotions concerning the events has mostly calmed down, and I hope the stressful situation will have done so, for a few days at least!
Shatterpoints of change causing stress and distress for someone in my circle, and supporting through it has been…difficult and unpleasant for me. Still, I think the situation has calmed, for now at least. The quote is really relevant to this situation, far more than for this person than for me.
As difficult as it has been, I have been able to see how far along my healing journey I have come. I can also see how my relationship with myself has become so much healthier. So that’s the positive pay off for me in all of this.
Self-love is a concept that isn’t fully understood. It took me a long time to understand it, or to accept that it is possible.
Self-love isn’t about ego, grandiosity, boastfulness. It’s not about thinking you’re perfect or the most beautiful or the cleverest person in the world.
Self love is about accepting yourself as you are, strengths and weaknesses, successes and failures, mistakes and all. It’s about accepting that all these, and more, make you who you are and that it is OK to be perfectly imperfect.
It’s about learning to treat yourself kindly, not to be so hard on yourself. It’s about being compassionate towards yourself.
Self love is about nurturing yourself, taking care of the needs of your body, mind, emotion and spirituality.
It’s about having a high regard for your own happiness and well being. It’s about not sacrificing these to please others. It’s about not settling for less than you deserve, about setting healthy boundaries.
It’s a practice, some days it will be easier to do this, others a bit harder. But it’s an importance practice for mental and emotional health.
Over the past few days, I’ve had to practice a lot of self love and self care. I don’t profess to be an expert; I’m constantly learning more about it, as well as constantly having to refer back to what it means and what I need to do.
So, I thought I’d do a blog post about it, as well as some arty stuff. I’ve not done much digital art of late. I became lost in the world of watercolour and journal making and paper crafting. This morning I felt the need to do some digital art. I dug out a sheet of small designs I’d created back in January 2020 and picked one to colour. The rest just fell into place.
I wonder how many are trying to keep busy, busy, busy during the lockdown? And how many are learning how to just ‘be’, relaxing and taking time for self-care?
Self-care has been a long, difficult series of lessons for me. It’s a practice and not a perfect situation. However, self-care is important.
I don’t mean personal grooming, which is important, but it means taking care of your emotional and mental needs as much as your physical needs.
Today is a day where I’ll need to practice a lot of self-care. Migraine-style headache woke me up way too early and although the pain has gone it has left me exhausted, unfocused, and needing sleep. So, I’ll soon be returning to bed to sleep the lingering effects of the migraine away.
To help me cope with the migraine, I spend a few hours working on my mosaic crochet blanket/throw, and then created the above. Both very self-soothing activities for me.