Template Thursday

It seems like both an age and no time at all since last week’s coloring page / coloring template for the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group.

This week’s offering is a mandala. I always find mandalas soothing to draw and colour. The circular form and repetitive nature are beguiling, relaxing, soothing and magical in some way.

This week’s is quite simple, as colouring templates need to be. It’s also quite botanical in nature. The colour palette I’ve chosen is full of sunshine, growth, peace, harmony and self-care. I haven’t quite finished colouring it, but that’s fine. It did what it needed to do for me.

I’m well out of sorts today. I really didn’t want to get out of bed. But I did, and showered.

I know what’s causing my emotional and mental turmoil at the moment. I just can’t seem to actually act to bring that to an end. Guilt, grief, and other emotions are causing me problems. I know I’ll act when I’m ready to do so, but it’s so difficult to let go. But I need to do so for my own emotional and mental well being.

Talking of emotional and mental well being, today is Time to Talk Day. It’s a day where Time to Talk Wales, along with sister organisations, encourage everyone to have a conversation about mental and emotional health. All to help to end the stigma and discrimination that exists around mental health.

This year’s theme is ‘Small things’. I’ve written on facebook about three small conversations I had that have led to me healing from complex post traumatic stress disorder. Not completely. I’m not sure you can completely heal as part of surviving complex trauma is hiding that trauma deep inside. I am, however, healed enough. I’m just waiting for the lockdown to end so I can start pushing my boundaries a bit.

Anyway, I’m going to finish all the social media stuff now and then I’ll be returning to arty pursuits. Maybe a nap too as I’m feeling so tired today. Emotional turmoil exhausts me. Also, sleep is one of my coping strategies when I’m stressed out in some way.

Abstract Art – 26 Dec ’20

Today’s artwork

This is another piece of abstract art I’ve been working on over the past few days. I think most of the line work is now done, so I’ve started adding colour, shadow and highlight to it.

It’s taken a good two or three hours to colour the little bit done. I was tweaking digital brushes and effects layers to get the ‘feel’ I wanted, along with setting up a limited palette of browns and greens.

It’s working out OK.

Other arty stuff

I’ve been taking time for some ‘comfort art’ as well. Indulging myself in drawing Zentangle patterns in my sketchbook and adding colour with graphite, charcoal and pastel pencils. It’s been a lot of fun, and some of this has spilled over into my art, which is no bad thing at all.

I still have no idea why faces are appearing in my artwork at this time. They’re stylised for sure, but I always shy away from human figures, faces especially.

I did do life drawing many years ago. I enjoyed it too. But hands, feet and faces vexed me. I realised that I saw architectural forms in the shadows and highlights of the human body, and as interesting as that was, it wasn’t as interesting as my love of architecture, patterns, nature and so on. So, I stopped going. I don’t feel the urge to take it up again either.

But faces appearing in my artwork … weird. Still, I’ll roll with it as there may be very good reason why.

It may be to do with me wanting to get back to typographic portrait drawing at some point. I know my mind is working out how I can do this in my own way, but it’s not quite ready yet divulge it’s secrets to me so I can put them into action. Perhaps these faces are part of the process of reassuring me that I can ‘do’ faces, in my own way.

As always, time will tell.

For now I really need a mug of tea and to prepare myself a meal. No doubt I’ll be doing some more comfort art before it’s time for bed.

Work in Progress Wednesday

Today’s image is a drawing I started this morning. I’m using a .35 Rotring Rapdiograph pen on Claire Fontaine PaintON paper. After scanning the drawing in, I’ve added colour and backgrounds digitally, just for fun.

After several days where the focus has been on digital art and editing, it’s a pleasure to use pen and paper, just as a change. I’ve said it before – I do love working digitally, but drawing on paper is something I also very much love. Combining the two is my ideal way of working, mostly. Mandalas are most probably the exception – I do like the way digital tools speed up the drawing process.

I have, two final edits being approved, completed all the templates for Entangled Starry Skies. I did them while I was awake in the wee small hours of the morning and stayed up until my Abel & Cole delivery had been made. Then, I was ready to return to bed, after breakfast!

Since I woke, I immersed myself in drawing, and I’ll be returning to it in a while as tomorrow is Template Thursday and I have a template to create!

Paleotober 2020 | 4 Oct

This is very much a work in progress. I’m using one of the abstracted drawings of an ammonite to create some typographic art. I’m not entirely sure if this is going to work out, but I will persevere with it. If nothing else, it will give me plenty of practice with hand-drawn typography!

I started this yesterday, but I wasn’t feeling well, so parked it for the day as I took some self-care time.

This morning I woke feeling brighter, without a much of a headache so I wanted to return to this.

My first step was to create a kind of stylised ink density map from my drawing. I don’t know how else to describe it. Then, I started work on the areas where the lettering needs to have the greatest ink density – thick, black, bold shapes. I’ve got a fair bit of this done. and I’ve sketched in lettering for some of the remaining darkest areas.

I thought it would be cute to use stylised ammonites as spacers for the words. I like what I’ve done on the right of the artwork : black boxes with white ammonite drawings. I may very well go back and repeat this for the other sections. I may need to adjust the lettering to make enough space for me to do this. As I’m working digitally, this is easy enough to do.

My lettering style has changed too. I’m going to let it be for now. I’m still trying to work out what style my hand-drawn typography will take for work such as this.

I’m also going to have to repeat some words related to ammonites, but that’s no bad thing I think.

I must remember to use different layers for different weights of letters (that’s the term I was looking for, not ink density, duh!). That way, if I decide to colour the typography in different tones I can do so easily.

Paleotober – Fossils

Paleotober 2020 – Days 1 to 5

Ammonites and trilobites are top of the list of my favourite fossils. What else would I draw for my first offering for Paleotober!

I chose to draw small, abstract sections of ammonities, and one little trilobite. I wanted to practice my linework. So in the image at the top left that is all that is there – just pen.

As I scanned my drawings in, I decided to digitally add shadow (top right) to help with some contrast.

And then, I thought I’d like to add a kraft paper background and add white and darker brown to the drawing to really bring out contrast.

I like the kraft paper ones the best. They really do bring out the contrast betwixt light and dark.

I found it quite challenging to do the line-work on these drawings. To begin with, I was trying to be as realistic as I could. But as I continued to work, more stylised artwork manifested, and I was much happier with them.

All of this takes me back to my AS and A Level art years, around 15 or so years ago now. I used to love to pick out a small area of a subject of interest and work with the lines, patterns, highlights and shadows. I’d then use these patterns to create artworks, sometimes using imaginative colours, but always bringing out the highlights and shadows.

Some things never change, and that love of playing with light and shadow in my artwork, along with intricate details, is still very much with me and part of my artistic heart-song.

Moth WIP

This morning, I wanted to start a new entangled drawing. But what to draw? I wasn’t in the mood to do another monogram, especially as there are some ideas on the periphery of my conscious mind about monograms. I thought about drawing a skull, something I find interesting, but that didn’t feel right either. But the idea of a moth flittered into my mind, so that’s what I went with.

I drew the moth digitally, in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, simply because I wasn’t quite sure how my pen work would work on a moth, and I also like to use the symmetry tool. I’m fairly happy with the results. I started to add my entangled style motifs around the moth, and came up against two issues.

The first issue was that I would lose the detail around the head and antennae and I needed to come up with a way to preserve that. I came up with the idea of a simple circular border below the moth. This will also give me the option of adding colour to the central circle when I’ve finished the artwork.

The second was more of a problem – the sense of proportion. I have no idea why it’s so hard for me to work digitally on entangled drawings like this with a proper sense of proportion compared to the main motif or the printed size.

It has to do, I think, with the ability to zoom in to draw small details, which results in me adding too much detail. The only solution was for me to print the moth and circular border out and then for me to draw on that.

The only thing I wasn’t happy about in doing this is that I have a laser printer. That affects the surface of the paper in a way that my Unipin pens don’t like it. Also, I can’t print on marker paper.

So, I’ve started to add entangled artwork to the design. I can now see that leaving edges of the upper wings white would help them to stand out. That is something I can adjust digitally when the design is finished.

I feel so much happier working on the printed image. I do need to consider changing my printer, however. Though the laser printer is quick and economical, the print quality of line art isn’t the best. There’s also the issue of the way the surface of the paper is changed once it’s been printed on. I shall think on this in the coming weeks and before the toner needs replacing.

Template Thursday

How are you all doing? Fine and well I trust.

Another week has passed us by during the global pandemic, so it’s time for another coloring template for members of the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group.

This week I chose to create a mandala, which I’ve partly coloured in fiery autumnal colours. Looking at it now, I can see where I’ve used colours that are too similar so that the layers are a little lost. But the warm colours warmed my heart and soul this morning.

The background to the mandala is really unusual for me; I’m not sure where it came from, but there it is. It has just a bit of an Art Deco feel – do you agree? I’m looking forward to seeing how people add colour to it.

Pastel Mandala

It’s not long after 9am, and it’s already almost too hot to do anything. The sun is shining on the front of my house, the windows beside my office area, and the mercury is rising rapidly.

In the UK we aren’t really used to hot weather, nor are we really geared up to it. I’m someone who quickly wilts when I get overly warm. Going out in such bright sunshine and heat is not a pleasurable thing. I can burn even through factor 50 sunblock and I quickly feel sick as I get uncomfortably warm. I’m absolutely sure I’m not the only one who is like this.

I do, however, love to see the sunshine and it does make sure my mood is lifted.

As it’s getting way too warm in my office, I will soon be departing downstairs to the much cooler areas of my home. No doubt I’ll end up napping as I really had a poor night’s sleep in the current heat.

Anyway, I’ve spent the time I’m able to work drawing a mandala. I’m not happy with the colour choices as I look at the mandala now, but as it’s digital art I can easily play with the colours to get it as I’d like it.

I do like the paler colours on a black background. However, I think I may have chosen colours that are a bit pale.

Watercolour WIP


Yesterday, I wrote about trying out a black line drawing with watercolours and comparing it to similar artwork but with pencil lines. Here are the results. Well, the works in progress any way.

Drawing the design lightly in pencil has been my usual way of working with watercolour.

I like both. The black lines give a much more ‘stained glass’, dramatic kind of vibe to the artwork and also make the colours seem a lot more vibrant.

The pencil lines lead to a much more delicate kind of artwork. Even though the colours are just as vibrant, they seem a lot more muted.

I like them both, I think.

Either way, it was an interesting way to spend a few hours yesterday.

Finally venturing forth

Last night, I took the huge step of taking my car for petrol and going for a long drive to recharge the battery. The Welsh ruling on ‘stay local’ has been lifted, but we’re asked to observe social distancing and to stay home as much as possible, with only essential journeys being made.

My car needed petrol. It’s battery needed charging. It’s smart media system needed updating and wouldn’t update with the battery low. So, I decided that a drive around, with me not stopping, would be fine to do. Especially as it gave my emotional health a boost and helped me with some of the anxiety I felt about leaving my home for the first time since the middle of March.

Driving turned out to be a lovely experience. I felt safe, isolated in my little car. It was weird to drive again after so long, but it was also exciting. I’ve always loved driving, so it was a pleasure to do so once more. A bit of a reward for following all the guidelines.

I was scared about getting petrol. However, I was the only one at the petrol station and it turned out to be just fine.

Seeing the countryside closer up was also a refreshing change. It also made me a little sad as I realised how much of the change of seasons I’ve missed this year. It’s like all of spring has been cut out.

I was hoping to stop by a small, usually quiet supermarket on my way home, to see how I got on with that. But I just couldn’t. So, I came home.

This little trip was important in other ways. I knew I had to go out to the pharmacy to pick up my prescription this month. To make that my first trip out would’ve been too much in one go.

So, early-ish this morning, I went to the pharmacy. It was so quiet in the town. There were cars in the car park, but very few people were around and about.

I did have to queue outside the pharmacy, but there was just one person ahead of me and so we chatted, over 2m apart until one person had left and she could go in. I had quite a wait before I could go in, and then a wait for my prescription to be filled (they’d had it for quite a few days, so I was surprised it wasn’t done; next time I think I’ll phone the day before and ask if can be ready the next day). When I came out, there was quite a queue outside so I’d timed my visit just right.

It was straight back home for me after that, for a late breakfast.

I’m pleased that I found the strength and courage to do this errand. I am feeling absolutely drained though as I must’ve been a lot more stressed than I thought I was. So, it’ll be a self-care day today.

Metamorphosis I and II

Metamorphosis II

Last night, I had a play around with one of my latest watercolours in an app that creates patterns from your artwork. The process was mesmerising. I didn’t realise that they now do metamorphosing patterns like these two!

The top image is directly from the artwork, the bottom one has been lightened, the colours more saturated and adjusted slightly.

I fell in love with metamorphosing tessellations thanks to the works of M C Escher, like so many other people. I love the detail, observational skills and the way he plays with the illusion of space.

Anyways, creating these patterns, albeit digitally, was fascinating and something I can definitely lose myself in for hours! Being able to adjust colours in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro or Affinity Photo is an added fascination too.

I like both colour variations of the same metamorphosis above.

I have made both available in my RedBubble Shop on a wide range of quality products. Please take a look and support my art by sharing with others. #findyourthing