Day 3, shell 3. This time a little more complicated, or so it seems. I took some imaginative liberties with this one, and that’s fine! I’m not trying to accurately draw these shells, just get the essences that make the shell identifiable. Then, I want to add my own ideas of patterns and colours and alter things a tad.
Making those imaginative changes was an enjoyable thing to do. I hadn’t realised how much I do this in my art generally. Sometimes, it takes a while for me to have that kind of insight – this one took about 20 years!
I’m also really chuffed that my YouTube channel has hit 750 subscribers! I was amazed and humbled when I achieved one subscriber. 750 is beyond what I imagined. I’m both amazed and humbled by this. So a huge thank you to all who have subscribed.
I’m about halfway through filling this slightly smaller than A5 sketchbook page with different kinds of oyster shells. Today’s even has a pearl in it!
I’m using the same peachy-pink and warm grey alcohol markers, but with the addition of a pale dusky kind of mauve colour for the shadow inside the shell.
I never claim to be an expert at colouring. However, using a very limited colour palette works in my favour, that’s for sure! The end result is good enough, which is what I always aim toward these days. Perfection is something that is unattainable. So good enough is just great!
I’ve been wintering on, both in speech and typing, about the purpose of my YouTube channel. Synchronicity struck today as two quotes about art appeared on my Facebook newsfeed today:
“Go into the arts. I’m not kidding. The arts are not a way to make a living. They are a very human way of making life more bearable. Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven’s sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possibly can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something.”
“The one thing that you have that nobody else has is you. Your voice, your mind, your story, your vision. So, write and draw and build and play and dance and live only as you can.”
These two quotes eloquently sum up what I think I want to bring to YouTube, my social media, and to you.
Confidence to create art just for the pleasure of it and in your own way too.
Building self-confidence is the first step, and sometimes that needs help, instruction, step by step methods, and suggestions for variations and making it your own.
We all can draw. We just have to unlearn that drawing isn’t always about photographic representations. It’s about self-expression, and each of us expresses ourselves differently. Maybe in a similar way to others, but uniquely our own.
To have a bit of confidence to do this, in a sketchbook, where no one else has to see until you’re ready to share in a supportive environment, is all that is needed. I wasn’t lucky enough to have a supportive environment for creating art until I was in my 40s. If I can provide a supportive environment here, around social media, on YouTube, and perhaps in a closed Facebook group or some such place, then I will.
It’s nice to find a purpose, don’t you think? I do, and I’m glad I’ve found that purpose for YouTube at the very least.
I started this template yesterday evening, sat in bed and beginning to settle down towards sleep. In today’s video, I carried on adding to the template. It’s not finished yet and I think this will be my task this evening.
The image shows the part I’ve done, along with some colour added. Colour always makes such a difference!
I’ve chosen wintry colours, along with bilious drunken party skulls.
This page is now full of various seed pods! From arum lily style spathes, Banskia inspired, to pure imagination, there’s a host of variations here!
I’m sure, as I add colour, some more seed pods will be added, to break up the larger expanses of space. Spaces that are just ripe not only for colour, but for some subtle pattern, perhaps.
Seed pods, along with botanicals and rather architectural patterns/motifs are my favourite things to draw. It’s also a lot of fun, and totally fascinating, to start with a simple shape or two and see where that goes as line and pattern are added.
The way that graphite shadows adds more volume to the line drawings, then the way that colour breathes life into the designs is endlessly enchanting.
There are some strange creations on this page, others that nearly work, and some that I really am happy with.
Finally being able to allow myself to explore, experiment instead of feeling the pressure to always complete a polished drawing is quite…liberating. It’s also kind of exciting too. I never know what will result during my sketchbook times. I usually do start with an idea of a basic shape or pattern; today’s was a circle on the inner edge of a larger circle. And thirteen designs appeared!
Even though very little on the page is completed, there is still a feeling of satisfaction, accomplishment, joy and even some wonder.
And I’ve just remembered what the largest seed pods remind me of – horsetails (the plant, not the animal!). Duh! They’re not exactly horsetails, but I can see the inspiration that welled up from my unconscious image library. One of the smaller ones – to the right – reminds me of a trilobite (one of my favourite kinds of fossils).
I love these sudden flashes of insight I get from time to time! I think my drawing may be more intuitive than I realise.
Today is the third session of work on this drawing. I’ve added some more ornate seed pods, based on the same simple form as the original ones, and some foliage. Here’s the link to today’s video.
I wanted to see how Graphitint pencils worked with the Albrecht Durer water colour pencils. Mainly, I wanted to see how the graphite in the Graphitint would add shadow to the colour. I did this on a couple of the new flowers at the bottom left. I’m not entirely sure what’s going on, but it’s something for me to experiment with more.
I had a ‘ta-da!’ moment as I was talking about where to place the next collection of motifs. I realised that I do think about this, very quickly and not in words. There’s some kind of analysis that goes on that I don’t quite catch, probably because it is in symbols/abstractions rather than words. Having to put words to the thoughts and decisions I was making had two effects. One, my thoughts were slowed down. Two, the words let me realise that I do think!
I’ve mentioned this before, but there seem to be two styles of inner monologue – one is in words, the other rather abstract. Apart from my inner critic, my thoughts tend to be of the abstract kind it seems.
“As in, some people’s thoughts are like sentences they ‘hear’, and some people just have abstract non-verbal thoughts, and have to consciously verbalize them And most people aren’t aware of the other type of person.”
I certainly have to consciously verbalise my thoughts, either by writing or by having to speak them out loud. The weird thing is, I’m often not aware of any opinion or idea or thoughts I have until I do verbalise them. That means I constantly surprise myself!
Anyway, by making YouTube videos, I’m having to vocalise my decisions and thought processes as I draw and that means I’m becoming more aware of what is going on in my head, well in terms of putting words to it. So, this ‘ta-da!’ moment is one of many I’ve had whilst being an arty vlogger. That is a very valuable experience for me.
So, this drawing is coming along quite nicely I think. I’m really enjoying these times to experiment and try stuff out without being invested in a finished, polished artwork. I’ve finally found a way to give myself permission to try things out when I think of them, without worrying about whether they work or not, whether I spoil an artwork or not. It’s a very freeing experience for the hyper-perfectionist part of me.
Pattern Exploration No.2 is now done, for now. The page is more or less full.
I enjoyed creating all the drawings on the page, but I learned most from altering the background in different ways, trying out different kinds of media. I talk through this in today’s video (link below).
So, it was time to start the next pattern, No.3. I really must find a better way to label these! I wonder if there’s a random name/word generator I could use…
The answer to that musing is yes! Many in fact. I went to the first one – Random Word Generator – and the word that came up was artisan! Fairly appropriate. Maybe I’ll play with the spelling of it to name pattern no3. Artyzan? The next word that comes up with eat, appropriate for No.3 as everything is looking very seed-poddy. Eet? I like Eet.
So, that’s decided! No.3 is now called Eet.
With this exploration, I’m starting with a teardrop kind of shape and seeing where that leads me. Some of the variations are familiar ones. Others not quite so. I’d like to break away from the familiar and try something different with this shape.
This morning was a time to draw. A familiar and comforting style of art – entangled – in pen. I filmed the process and uploaded it to YouTube as a timelapse with vlog voiceover.
This first part of the drawing took me just over an hour. There’s more to do, but for tomorrow I think.
Thankfully, my mood seems to be improving. Yesterday, I was feeling physically under the weather with it. Hmm, I refer to emotional weather, and the term ‘under the weather’ seems quite apt! Emotional weather does have an impact on one’s physical health (weather) too. I know this from past experiences.
So, today I feel better physically and emotionally.
Over the past few days, I’ve turned to drawing entangled art, mostly. It’s something I do when I’m experiencing a bout of the emotional storms. This type of art is familiar to me. It doesn’t provoke serious bouts of self-doubt or frustration, something I get when I’m pushing my boundaries with art style or media.
Artistically, it’s like enfolding myself in a comforting, weighted blanket. It soothes and reassures me.
Days like these are not days to be challenging myself artistically or otherwise. Times like these are when the inner critic starts to bare it’s fangs at me. I’ve found that doing familiar, comforting art is the best way to disempower that inner critic. I know I do good enough art when it’s an entangled pen drawing, and that means that I don’t doubt myself or beat myself up – all of which are just food for the critical monster.
When my resilience is at it’s full level again, then I can challenge myself artistically. Until then, I carefully choose what art to do as the last clouds of my gloomy, stormy mood move along.
Friday seems the perfect day to have a look back on the week’s sketchbook art. A vlog seems the perfect way to do that.
I also start to add colour to the latest drawing using a limited colour palette of Ecoline brush pen colours – gold ochre, burnt sienna, indigo and prussian blue. Another colour (or two) may be added to the limited palette. I’ll see how I get along.
This particular drawing is being used as a place to test out ideas concerning adding shadow and highlight, simple colour washes, and anything else that springs to mind. It may never been completed, but that’s not the point! Experimentation and experience are the points of this particular exercise.
Please note that I am not sponsored, paid or have products gifted to me in return for a review or promotion. I mention the products I use in case you’re interested, and my opinions are my own.
Yesterday, I finished adding colour to the abstract artwork I’ve been working on for a couple of days. I’ve spent between 5 and 6 hours on it. The paper is approx 6″ square, so that gives you an idea of the size. I do have a thing for creating small artworks!
I’m not sure if I am finished with it, however. I have a yearning to add metallic dots and patterns, but not sure I should. I’ll let it be for a while. If I do decide to do this, then it will be no big problem if I don’t like the outcome. This is something experimental for me, to try things out and to learn from.
This morning, before I turn my attention to inking in some coloring templates, I decided to use this first painting to abstract a pattern from for a new artwork.
This time I’m using a 16cm x 8cm piece of Canson Moulin du Roy 100% hot pressed watercolour paper. And it is a joy to use in comparison to the Aquafine. I’m sure there’s nowt wrong with the Aquafine, it just doesn’t suit my way of working. Which is fine. We’re all different.
After drawing the design in pencil, I started to add watercolour. I’m using my Mijello Mission Gold Class set of colours along with a Caran d’Ache water brush.
I had some hiccups with the waterbrush and working with a different paper. All part of the experimenting, exploring and learning process!
I did a little test of the Inktense pencils and the watercolours on the back of the paper. The Inktense pencils worked so much better on this paper. That is a lesson for me for sure. Time to add Moulin du Roy paper to my shopping list!