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.

Calming entanglement

Calming entanglement © Angela Porter | artwyrd.com

I’ve had a lovely few hours drawing this today. The background is one of my Distress Oxide ones, though it is a bit lost behind the line art.

I worked digitally, using Autodesk Sketchbook Pro and a Surface Studio and Surface Slim Pen.

I’m feeling a bit better today, though really tired still. It didn’t help that I woke before dawn’s crack and couldn’t get back to sleep. I may see about taking a nap in a little while.

My digestive system is still delicate and I still feel a bit headachy, but it seems that the worst of this bout of whatever it is – Covid19 or something else- is over. Now, it’s just the time it takes for me to feel my usual self.

Creating art is usually a calming, mindful task for me, and today’s art certainly was.

Entangled in greens

©Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

Artwork

I blended and layered Distress oxide inks on A4 mixed media paper followed by some fine sprays with water to create the background. I scanned this background in so I have it available for digital art.

To create the artwork, I wanted to choose an interesting piece of the background sheet. So,I cut the A4 paper down to 8.75″ x 5.125″ in size. I kept all the strips I cut off to use in my art journal / sketchbook, ATCs, or other artwork.

Copic Multiliner SP, Faber-Castell Pitt Artist and Sakura Pigma Sensei were my pens of choice to draw the design.

Oddly, I’ve only used four basic motifs in this design. I started drawing roughly in the centre of the paper, and just let it grow from there. Usually, I’d use many more motifs and patterns. But not today.

When I was happy with the design, I scanned it in and then digitally brightened the background colours, darkened the black ink, and added subtle shadows and highlights to help add some sense of dimension to various elements in the design.

Waffling on…

I’m still not feeling right today. I’m headachy, my digestive system is delicate and everything tastes just wrong. I didn’t enjoy my mug of tea this morning at all. I feel hungry, but when I eat I find I lose my appetite very quickly with just a couple of mouthfuls, and then my digestive system complains by feeling uncomfortable.

I’m also tired. Not so tired I want to stay in bed or just sit and not do anything, but tired enough that I don’t have a lot of oompf to do much at all.

Still, I’m not as bad as I was Saturday night and Sunday, but I’m still not right at all. An easy day is in order today, that’s for sure.

Back in late December, I had what I thought was a particularly nasty bout of seasonal tummy flu’. Vomiting, fever, shivers, headache, extremely tired, every part of my body ached, loss of my sense of taste and smell and sensitivity to noise. I had abdominal cramps as well. It took me a long while to feel ‘right’, and longer for my appetite and then sense of smell and taste to return.

My current bout of feeling poorly is an echo of how I felt back then. In fact it’s my third repeat of the symptoms.

I do know, from reading around reputable publications and daily completing the questions on the Covid-19 symptom tracker app, that all of these are symptoms of the virus.

Today, it emerges that the first case of Covid-19 in France was back in December.

A friend of mine was also really unwell over later December and well into 2020, with symptoms of Covid-19. We’ve often mused if the virus was around and about far earlier than was first thought, that some cases of pneumonia were caused by Covid-19, not seasonal ‘flu.

I also have read, again in reputable sources, that the virus can infect the digestive system and can linger there causing repeated bouts of the illness. Indeed,the latest thoughts are that the ‘reinfections’ by Covid-19 are actually not reinfections, but the virus causing a second bout of the illness in people who have recovered from it.

My friend and I may never know if we’ve had Covid-19 and recovered from it, not without being tested for anti-bodies. I know that we’d both feel much less anxious if we actually knew this was the case, as I’m sure a lot of other people would too.

Also, I may be putting two and two together and coming up with something else. The scientist in me is on the fence for sure. But, without being tested for the antibodies, how will I know for sure? How will anyone know?

Earth Day 2020

Earth Day 2020 ©Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

ABOUT EARTH DAY 2020 (from earthday.org):

April 22, 2020 marks 50 years of Earth Day. The first Earth Day sparked the passage in the U.S. of the Clean Air, Clean Water and Endangered Species Acts, and the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency.

The urgency has never been greater, and the stakes have never been higher – we are now in an environmental emergency and a climate breakdown. We have two crises: One is the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. The other is a slowly building disaster for our climate.

To meet this moment, we must build the largest, most diverse online mobilization in history in defense of the environment. Our world needs a united response for bold action.

  • On Earth Day 2020, we say enough is enough.
  • We say we believe in science. We say that everyone can make a difference.
  • We say that the protection of our planet and the wellbeing of the people who live upon it are the top priorities.
  • On Earth Day 2020, we say that we’re committing to vote, we’re registering to vote and we’re showing up to vote.
  • Human health and planetary health are inextricably linked.

Will you join this global movement as we build toward the next half century of action for our planet?

Truth

This quote by Buddha has kept popping up in my life over the past couple of days. So, this morning I really thought I could use it in some artwork.

The background is one I created using Distress Oxide inks on A4 Daler-Rowney Smooth watercolour paper.

The typography I created in Affinity Publisher.

The rest of the artwork was completed in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro.

I like the raggedy edge of the quote banner, as well as the subtle, patterning of the mandala.

A nice way to spend a morning when I’m feeling headachy, fuzzy-headed and tired.

Mandala fun!

©Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

The art

I’ve been busy this morning. First, I wanted to complete the drawing and painting of a zentangly, entangled tile ready for embellishment in other ways.

Then, I wanted to do something digitally, but something relatively simple and quick. What popped into my mind was a really, really simple kind of mandala along with a quote of some kind.

But what kind of quote should I add?

Earlier this week I took Binky, my SmartCar, for its annual service. While waiting, I did some reading. I found one of the QI books of facts on my Kindle and I enjoyed reading weird and wonderful facts. This is one I found in a different one of the QI books this morning.

I’ve always enjoyed reading (and often remembering) curious information, ideas, and so on. The weirder something is, the more likely it is to stick. The weird stuff I had in my head used to entertain my pupils in the days when I was a science teacher.

So, I thought it may be fun, from time to time, to share some of these weird, quite interesting facts, in the form of something pretty to look at.

This is digital art, created using Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, Microsoft Surface Studio and Microsoft Surface Slim Pen.

So, Angela, how are you doing?

I thought I’d resurrect this once regular feature of my daily blog posts. I’m sure that many, many of us are struggling emotionally and mentally during this pandemic. It’s nice to know you’re not alone.

I had some tearful moments yesterday. I live alone. I’m an introvert so that doesn’t bother me so much, in fact it suits me.

That doesn’t mean I don’t get lonesome for company from time to time. Usually, I’d go out for a walk or to walk around the shops. Covid19 has put a bit of a dampener on these activities. I’m very conscious that I really don’t want to catch it (I have underlying health problems), and if I already have it, or am lucky enough to have mild symptoms without realising that I have it, I really don’t want to pass it along to other people.

I realise that there will be times when I need to go out to pick up bits and bobs. However, my behaviour has to change from doing this most days in a week to as little as often.

It’s not just the lack of social contact, it’s that social media is overwhelming me with fear, worry, empathy for those who are suffering far more than I am. I also feel angry about those who just don’t seem to understand why we need to socially distance ourselves and stay at home except for absolutely essential reasons.

Last night, I became rather emotionally overwhelmed. I was crying at what I was watching on the TV, even though it wasn’t something that would usually provoke much of an emotional response in me other than curiosity, interesting, thoughtfulness.

It didn’t help that I had a post-stress migraine-type headache yesterday from my trip out to do a bit of shopping on Friday. I ended up in bed in the afternoon to sleep it off once the painkillers had kicked in.

I’m as frustrated as anyone at being at home yesterday and today. There’s beautiful golden sunlight out there and I’d like nothing more than to be out and about in it. My DSLR does need using. However, I’m determined that I’ll do my best to keep myself and others safe by staying home.

However, there are reports of open spaces being crowded with people, all with the same idea – if we go outdoors into parks or to beaches for a walk there won’t be many people there.

Seems everyone else had the same idea! Well, not everyone else, but far too many to make it a sensible idea.

Also, to the vast majority of us, the disease seems so distant as so few of us know someone who’s had it, is suffering it, or who, sadly, as passed away. That has a lot to do with people not feeling the need to heed the ‘request’ to stay home. It all feels surreal, abstract, not quite real.

I do hope it continues to stay that way for the vast majority of people. However, I know that it won’t.

So, as much as I’d love to be out on such a beautiful early spring day as this, I don’t know where I could go that would be safely away from crowds or people. So, I shall stay at home and art and craft and cook and know that it is necessary that I do so, as frustrating as it is on such a gloriously sunny day.