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

Artwork

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

Abstract Art and ICAD 2020 Day 01

Abstract art (top artwork) and inner monologues

I wielded a 01 Sakura Pigma Micron pen on a colourful, abstract, nebula inspired watercolour background. There are metallic golden splashes and highlights on this drawing which don’t really show up in the scan all that well.

Sometimes, a lot of times, it’s nice to create something that doesn’t have to be anything in particular other than pleasing to myself, colourful, and pretty. And that’s what this artwork is.

The patterns formed by the lines are my way of trying to bring some kind of structure to things that have seriously unsettled me since Thursday. Art helps to settle me, once I’ve settled enough to settle to do it, that is.

Actually, creating this drawing helped me to make sense of bits and bobs. And this is a perfect example of how my inner monologue works, kind of.

It’s only recently that I became aware that there are two ways in which people have an inner monologue (read more about it here :

Today I Learned That Not Everyone Has An Internal Monologue And It ...

It made me realise that I have an awful lot of abstract, non-verbal thoughts. I’ve always thought that I wasn’t a thinker, that I didn’t mull over things the way others do. It’s always surprised me that if I’m asked a question, I have the answer,, I know what my views and opinions are, but I don’t know how I’ve come to those conclusions, or processed the information. I take in a lot of from the world around me, I notice a lot, it gets processed and stored away without me thinking about it in word-thoughts, and it’s only if I’m asked a question or talking with someone that this comes out verbally.

So, it’s not surprising, now I know about that, that I recognise what creating this kind of abstract art can be a way for me to gain insights into what’s going on with myself, others or situations.

It’s been a revelation to me to discover this about myself, the way my mind words. I mean, my mind can be a very noisy place at times when I’m ruminating about something I said or did, or something that was said or done to me in the past. This kind of rumination was out of control until just a year or two ago and it was a function of the depression/anxiety that I experienced as part of cPTSD.

Now that I’ve had EMDR therapy for a number of years, my mind is a much, much quieter place. I have thoughts, I notice things, but I just don’t have this constant voice in my head commenting very negatively about me.

With that very negative inner voice going on, it’s a wonder I ever had time to take in and process and understand information. But I did. I must have. I have a degree and a PhD. I worked for 28 years as a science teacher. Reading, learning, curiosity is part of who I am. But I’ve always thought that I was lacking as I didn’t stop to think and work things through to gain understanding the way others around me seem to.

Abstract thinking. Abstract thoughts that have no verbal form or structure until there’s a reason for me to voice them. Who would ever have thought it.

And that explains my need to journal to make sense of things, or to work out what’s going on with my emotions and so on, to catch my ‘thoughts’. It’s how I turn these abstractions into words.

An interesting realisation for me on a Sunday morning.

ICAD 2020 – Day 01 (bottom artwork)

I’d heard about ICAD in the past but never felt the need to give it a go. However, someone creating an ICAD for this year’s challenge, and it inspired me to take a closer look.

ICAD stands for “Index Card A Day” and the challenge is run by Tammy of daisyyellowart.com.

It’s an annual challenge that runs for 61 days betwixt 01 June and 31 July. The aim is to create something on an index card using the prompts, or going off-prompt. That’s it. To create something each day on an index card, max. size 4″ x 6″.

So, I thought I’d try, though I’m a week late to the challenge, but no doubt I’ll catch up. The challenge for day 01 was “hopscotch” and one of the themes for the week was “typography”.

I used a paper punch to cut ¾” squares out of Distress Ink and Distress Oxide ink coloured background papers that I have in my stash for journal making. I edged them with ground espresso Distress Ink, added patterns in gold to the ones that didn’t have any, and then used Sakura Pigma Sensei pens to add the numerals and little patterns to each tile. I adhered them to an index card I’d coloured with Distress Inks, and then outlined them in black. I added a pattern of spirals behind them, some borders. Finally, I did the hand lettering.

I didn’t try to be perfect in anything, though I did draw pencil outlines to make sure I could fit “hopscotch” across the card. It was a lot of fun to do and didn’t take up too much time either.

As to whether I’ll complete the challenge, I don’t know. However, it’s something small to do each day and I can use it along with watercolour practice I’m sure.

Botanicals Mail Art

Dainty botanical illustrations in little windows, with quite soft colours used to bring them to life.

I cut a piece of Canson Moulin du Roy watercolour paper to approx 2″ x 6.75″; this would fit neatly across the 7″ x 5″ white card blank I wanted to use.

Next, I lightly drew some pencil lines for the margins I wanted to leave, before drawing the boxes using a 01 Sakura Pigma Micron Pen. I made sure I erased these pencil lines before adding colour. To do that, I used a water-brush and White Knight watercolours to add soft gradients to the windows.

Once dry, I could then draw in the botanicals with the same Sakura pen. I gave the drawings a chance to dry before adding layers of watercolour as well as dots of gold to the windows. Finally, I used a 0.3mm pencil to add some details.

While the panel was drying, I drew some of the botanicals around the bottom of the envelope, again using the 01 Sakura Pigma Micron pen.

I decided I wanted to put some kind of layer behind the watercolour panel. I thought of collaging some paper or card there, but I settled on adding a strip of soft colour there. I used some masking/washi tape to mark out the area I wanted to colour. Then, I used a mini foam blending tool along with Tumbled Glass and Peacock Feathers Distress Inks to softly colour the panel. Once I was sure the Distress Ink was dry, I carefully removed the washi tape.

Finally, I adhered the watercolour panel in place with 3-in-1 glue.

I’m quite happy with this card and envelope. It was a nice way to spend the hour or so before having breakfast this morning. It’s also a very practical way of using these little bits of art.

Watercolour Practice

Yesterday I mentioned that I’m taking a Domestika course by Ana Victoria Calderon – Modern Watercolor Techniques. Here are some of my first experiments with Watercolour from the lessons and practices in the first couple of units of the course.

I’m having a lot of fun with this, learning more about how watercolours work and what I like about them. It’s also about experimenting with mixing different media with watercolours to get different effects.

The blue flower was my first attempt at the exercise to create a painting in monochrome. It doesn’t look too bad in the photo, but in real-life I wasn’t happy with it; not because of the smudge around a leaf, but because I just didn’t get the range of transparencies and I was also heavy handed in adding the line details.

The sheet of purple-pink flowers was my attempt at retrying the exercise. I think it worked out worse than the blue flower. Seriously heavy handed outlining … not happy.

So, I thought I’d do a small panel of arches and fill them with line patterns. This is the one I’m most happy with, and the one I enjoyed doing the most.

So, I turned my attention to the next section of the course, which is about experimenting with colour and different media with watercolour. You can see the results in the large sheet.

I tried dropping watercolour into a circle of water, or into a circle of watercolour. I added salt or rice while to still wet circles. I tried dropping alcohol and blending solution into a wet area. I dotted metallic acrylic inks, metallic writing inks and indian ink into watercolour. I used metallic watercolour paints in different ways with watercolours too. I even tried some Distress Ink refil ink, both neat and diluted, to see how that would work. I also tried sprinkling Perfect Pearls mica powder onto a wet circle, as well as adding a wet mixture of Perfect Pearls into wet watercolour.

I made sure I noted down what I’d used to make the circles so I can replicate the effects later on – as much as watercolour will let you replicate anything. One thing I’m learning working in this way is that watercolour has a mind of it’s own! The results, while broadly the same, vary each time. I think that’s why it vexxes me so much.

Anyway, I really like the watercolour metallics with watercolour. So, I decided to create a small sheet of monochrome leaves using the same watercolour, but adding different colours to it as well as metallics. I absolutely love the way the metallics work with the wet watercolour! They spread in the wet areas in a most delightful way, and as they dry, the appearance changes, with the metallic becoming more and more visible. It’s quite magical!

I can see myself using watercolour art in the journal I’m making, maybe on cards, maybe in packs of ephemera for sale.

Journal making progress report

Talking of my journal, I found some folders containing gelly printed papers from a number of years ago. I used the PaperArtsy fresco paints, acrylic paints to create the prints. I even had papers I’d used to clean a brayer on in there, which are quite beautiful.

I’m going to make use of them in my journal. Not quite sure how yet. But before I use one, I’m going to scan it in to add to my digital background texture collection. That way I will be able to use them again and again.

This morning, I’ve been working a little on the journal. I’ve affixed some squared paper to the journalling cards on page 3. I’ve also added some little words here and there. I’ve created a journaling booklet that will live in the big pocket on page 4, though I messed up making this somewhat. I can always make another.

I’ve also been collecting together some quotes about art and creativity and I’ve printed them out, ready to add to cards and to the journal pages.

I’ve had quite a creative morning, that’s for sure.