Template Thursday … on a Wednesday?

A sneak peek of this week’s template for the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group members. And it’s another Doodleworlds style template.

I have a video on youtube, catching up with the last few days’ art as well as starting to colour this template with chalk pastel pencils. Disaster struck as I continued after the video, so turned to digital colouring.

The template will be available in the facebook group tomorrow. Now, I need to take a nap as I really haven’t had enough sleep the past three nights and I’m barely keeping my eyes open.

Template Thursyay!

Time for another coloring template/coloring page for the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group.

Today, I felt the need for some cuteness and whimsy in my arty pursuits. So, I’ve drawn a Doodleworlds style template, with some ice-creams and an ice lolly included. It’s still blisteringly hot here today.

There is a time lapse video showing the process of drawing this template.

Today, I’m aching after my fall yesterday. At least the headache has gone! I’ll be glad to retreat to the downstairs rooms in a little while. It’s 26ºC outside according to the ‘puter. That means it’s rather warm inside too. It’s forecast to be cooler tomorrow, with the high being 25ºC, which will be manageable. Just.

Time to finish my social media postings and then to get more tea!

A motley miscellany of mushrooms.

Link to today’s time-lapse video

Before it gets too hot in my studio area, I decided to finish off the mushroom watercolour I’d been working on.

I have really enjoyed working with the Ecoline watercolour ink from the brush pens. The more I work with it, the more I work out the techniques I like to use to apply colour.

I’m fairly happy with this artwork. I’m not so sure about the dotty embellishments added using Sakura Soufflé gel pens. I did use some white, but I thought I’d try different colours too.

This is all a learning experience for sure.

I woke with a stinking headache this morning. It’s still not lifted. So, today’s video is a timelapse of how I added colour and embellishment to this motley mushroom miscellany!

Template Thursday… on a Wednesday?

Full Vlog | Time Lapse Video

This morning, I drew this week’s coloring template / coloring page. The template itself will be available in the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group tomorrow.

I did film the process, and two videos are available on Youtube. Both show the process of drawing, not adding colour. One is a vlog of the process, with about half in time lapse. The other is the time lapse version.

It was lovely to spend time drawing in a style that is very familiar to me. It’s lovely as a bit of a break from the more challenging explorations into abstract art I’ve been doing.

And of course, while the videos were uploading and processing, I decided to start to add some colour to the template.

Abstract, entangled, zentangle inspired coloring pages are not just fun to draw but to colour. They’re non-representational so any colours at all can be used.

I got carried away with the process of adding colour. The videos have long been uploaded and published.

Template Thursday

It’s Thursday, so time for another template for the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group.

This week’s template is a template I created for the Whimsical Cats book that didn’t make the cut. So, what a better way to make use of it than to release it for the members of the group to colour.

I did the inking in of the sketch in Autodesk Sketchbook. The colour was added using Clip Studio Paint.

I do have a timelapse video of how I added colour to part of this sample. Unfortunately, I forgot to record sound so it’s just video with music.

I like working on a darker, or coloured, background. The colours seem to much more alive than on white. Also, it saves me some eye strain!

It’s always fun to see how the template comes to life with colour. I’m often really unsure about my templates. Are they too simple, too naive, too intricate, not intricate enough. Adding colour helps me to see that they’re good enough, and also that they are created in my own artistic style. Cute, whimsical, imaginary. Places to play with colour and not worry too much about realism, if you wish. A skeleton that can be fleshed with colour however you wish.

I like that. It ties in with my exploration of abstract art. That’s on hold until later today, maybe tomorrow. I first need to focus on getting the last couple of templates inked in, though I am awaiting the review of the final one submitted. I have three to do, plus that last one. So, it shouldn’t take me all day to do!

It’s always exciting coming to the end of a book. Though not quite the end. I will still have three templates to colour in. I let the editorial team choose them; I never can! Also, they have a more objective view about what images will best represent the book.

Each of those images will take me a couple of days to add colour to, each! Not a quick process at all.

So, It’s time for me to finish my social media posts for today, get some breakfast while my computer installs and update, and then settle to work.

Abstract Art WIP | Part 2

Time Lapse Video

I spent nearly an hour adding colour to the inner section of this artwork yesterday afternoon. This morning, I started work on adding colour around them. Again, I spent nearly an hour doing this.

I’m trying to play with where the lighter and darker areas of colour in the sections. I want dark next to light. It’s a kind of play with highlights and shadows, though I’m not quite sure how well it is, or isn’t, working.

Once I’ve completed this, I need to decide what to do with the tiny gaps between the various motifs. I’m tempted to fill them with black and then some metallic over it, gold or copper maybe.

Then, I need to decide if I leave the rest of the colour as it is, or whether I add more to intensify areas that are a bit insipid and to increase the contrast in colour saturation.

Finally, do I use a very fine brush to add metallic patterns/highlights to areas of these motifs, connecting them to the tiny pools of metallic between them. That’s if I use the metallic colours of course.

I think I may try this out first on the experiment I started with and see how I like it, or not.

The rest of the day…

For now, though, I need to get along with another sketch for the Whimsical Cat books. I realised I can’t count! I thought I’d done the requisite 31, but I’ve only done 30. So, if I can get one done and off, I’ll have it approved (or not) soonest.

I did get all the approved sketches inked in yesterday. So I’m now just waiting for approval/feedback on the sketches I submitted for review last Friday.

Buggy Sketchbook

Time Lapse Video

Drawing

Today is a lazy, artsy day, Sunday. It’s raining, on and off, so I’m disinclined to wander out anywhere.

I started the morning drawing some half insects. Why half? Well, the plan is to scan the sketches in (which I’ve done), ink them in digitally (done too!) and then add colour (started!). Digitally, I can use the symmetry tools to complete the other half of the insect.

Of course, I could create mutant hybrids … but that doesn’t appeal to me much, that’s for sure.

I did film me drawing and wittering about my sketching and other arty stuff. I haven’t published the full-length video; I was very wittery and disjointed. My attention was focused on the process of observing and drawing. It seems that my ability to speak coherently vanishes as my concentration increases!

I enjoyed the half hour or so of quick sketches. I was focusing on creating simplified, stylised drawings, rather than detailed realistic ones.

Thoughts

Some connections were made as I wittered on. One was that when I draw in a stylistic way, I have no problem with using non-representational colours. It’s when I’m drawing more realistically that colours vex me. This is a problem that occurs with traditional media in particular.

I had a memory of falling in love with the work of Kandinsky, Juan Gris, and similar artists while doing my A Level art two decades ago. I particularly love the use of colour to communicate inner emotions, relationships with the art, and symbolism and metaphor.

I found this an interesting connection to make, even though I’m not entirely sure what that means yet. Other than that I’ve always found non-representational colour and stylised, abstract art something I’ve enjoyed doing. Indeed, as I write I remember that in front of me are three oil paintings I did for one of my art exams. They are abstract patterns from locomotive parts and Romanesque sculpture. Fiery reds, oranges, yellows and magentas were used for the locomotive parts. The painting based on Romanesque sculpture was in cool, calming blues. My focus for all the paintings was on pattern and contrast to get a feeling of volume/dimension.

Last summer, I was playing with watercolours and patterns abstracted from rock strata and nature. I used colours that appealed to me in these paintings.

I keep circling around this style of art. I return to it from time to time, enjoying the process of creating such art, often on a small scale too.

Where art comes from is a mystery. It comes unannounced. It has the quality of gift. The source from where it comes is hidden from us. Like all creativity, it stands us in possibility. It comes from impulse and dream, from raiding the inarticulate, from going below the floor of consciousness. To do this we must break free of the confines of the known and fixed. As artists we do this with our materials—with our hands. And in this confluence of mind and matter abstraction is not only relevant, it is essential. —Timothy Hawkesworth

Working from my creative subconscious is something I do…a lot. All my entangled art that just flows onto the page. Mandalas. Using observations of pattern and texture to create something that is non-representational, just, to my mind, pretty, pleasing.

I do the representational for coloring books, but my personal art … well … that can be anything I want it to be. I can use any colours I wish to use for it, and accepting that isn’t an easy thing.

The Inner Critic

I do my best to let colorists know that there are no rules for colour, that if they want purple trees and green people, that’s fine! And I’m able to do this in my coloring template style work. The stylised nature of these drawings allows that freedom. There really are no rules other than the ones we impose on ourselves.. I love to see the different ways people use colour, and the unexpected ways especially.

Yet, I am just realising that I’m very critical of myself when it comes to representational colors.

My problems start when I’m trying to create work that is representational of what I see with my eyes, such as succulents, or plants or anything else.

I can draw these things fairly well. Sketching and line art isn’t a problem, though it could be improved no doubt. But that improvement comes through practice.

My problems come when I start to add colour. If I can work with something that is non-representative then it works out OK, if often full of quite bright colours. Monochrome or limited color palettes really work well for me and produce a coloured piece of art that is cohesive.

It’s when I have a representational drawing that I want to add colour, that’s when my inner coloring critic comes knocking.

This inner critic took up residence most probably in my earliest school days when I was five or six. Well meaning teachers making sure you coloured inside the lines, that the sky was blue, the grass green and so on. If you deviated from these rules, well … trouble followed.

Trying to stay safe by using representational colours, and keeping this inner critic happy isn’t working at all. It’s time to sort this limiting inner voice out.

Moving along

Making observations, creating stylised, imaginative versions of what I see, using patterns and textures I collect and not worrying about realistic colours is my way forward.

As Yoda said, “You must unlearn what you have learned.”

I thought I’d done that, I didn’t realise I was subject to the attentions of the inner coloring critic. Not until I started talking and writing about this as starting to dip into a book full of exercises for creating abstract art.

Time to invoke my inner art jedi master and deal with the self-criticism that is limiting me! “This is Jedi business, go back to your drinks.”

Entangled Drawing WIP

Link to Time Lapse Video of Pen drawing (not adding colour though)

This morning, I spent over an hour starting work on this entangled pen drawing. I did film the process, but it’s recycling day, and the bin lorries and bin men were really noisy this morning. So, I turned the video into a timelapse with music. It lasts about 14 minutes, and the link to it is above this paragraph.

I remember chatting about my influences for this drawing, and they started with me watching a video from the “Journey to the Microcosmos” YouTube channel.

I’ve always loved microscopic images, being able to see things that are invisible to our naked eyes. There’s always a sense of wonder about it, amazement at the different shapes of the various organisms that become visible. That wonder must be the same as Antonie van Leeuwenhoek, a Dutch scientist of the 17th and 18th Centuries must have seen.

I loved drawing what I could see with the aid of a microscope from the first science lessons when I was 11 years of age, right through my degree and PhD and on through my teaching career too. And of course it was bound to creep into my art!

My memories of drawing diagrams of flowers and rock sections, minerals and scientific apparatus and diagrams are very fond indeed. This has certainly influenced my style of art – observing the tiny, abstracting the interesting (important) patterns and forms. Scientifically, the focus is on the features, structures, the important parts that allow identification or communicate the important features of what was seen. After all, photographs and videos can be made of all the glorious detail and colour.

The diagram is a simplified version, a map, that can help others to navigate their way around. A kind of scientific version of the map of the London Underground system. The map helps in navigating the system, but it bears no relationship to the physical layout of the rail lines and the geography of the city above.

Now, however, I take those observations and turn them into my own arty, entangled worlds of wonder. It is still the small parts that catch my attention, fill me with wonder and awe, are the ones I record, rarely the whole thing. If I visit an old church or abbey, I rarely, draw the building as a whole. I spend time looking and drawing the elements of it that capture my arty attention.

My sketchbook page often ends up of a collage of my visit, the various observations fitting together in a pleasing way. Often, I may join the elements together with imaginary lines or patterns. I may end up not with a drawing of the whole building; instead, I record my experience of the building at the day, time, season and weather I visited it.

The same is true for visits in nature, or to museums. My sketchbooks record what catches my attention, and that may not be the ‘whole’ of something, but just a part.

I’m still a scientist in my approach to art – what are the important forms, patterns, shapes, etc. that are the distillation of my experience, that I’d like to record and, maybe, share with others?

Of course, these observations find their way into my more Entangled art, like this one. The round orbs separated into three lobes were inspired by something I saw when watching one of the Journey to the Microcosmos videos. The flat leaves, by seaweed. The triangular pods are imaginary, though there may be real-world analogues of them from which inspiration was unknowingly gained. Curled, baby fiddlehead ferns are the inspiration for another motif in the drawing.

Inspiration indeed – based on observation, but interpreted and altered in a way that is personal to me.

I’m forever wondering what my artistic voice is, and here it is. At least one of the harmonic notes or chords anyway.

Mushrooms! A Watercolour WIP

Two versions of a video of this artwork are available:
Full, 45 minute video with chat
Speeded up 10 minute version with music

This morning, I continued with a watercolour painting of mushrooms. This is very much a work in progress. It is inspired by an illustration in a book by Danielle Donaldson called ” The Art of Creative Watercolour: Inspiration and Techniques for Imaginative Drawing and Painting.”

As I am continuing to explore watercolour, I am dipping into books in my stash to absorb more ideas and information and try various exercises out.

In this video, I talk about how I think there are no right or wrong ways of being creative, as what is ‘right’ for one person may not be the way for another. We’re all unique people, creatives, and how we express ourselves, the techniques , media and styles is a very personal kind of expression. We can all learn valuable lessons by watching other artists work, taking courses, reading books, doing exercises. The most important lessons learned are those that show us who we are by helping us work out who we are not.

And this will change throughout our lives as we experience new things that change us too. And that is no bad thing at all. It’s all part of the rich tapestry of our lives.

I think that as long as your joy and passion and personality shows through in your art, then that is the most important thing of all. It makes your art uniquely yours, and that is, as far as I’m concerned, a wonderful thing. It may not be my thing, or to my taste, but then my art isn’t to everybody’s tastes either.

And, that is all fine and well and good. It doesn’t mean one is bad the other
good. It just means we are different, and that is what makes life so wonderful. It would be so boring if we were all clones of each other, wouldn’t it?

This chatter was inspired by a video I watched this morning by The Art of Watercolour, and you can see it here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LFMlh3EP1MA

I also chat about how I’m trying to work out how watercolour works best for me. The biggest challenge is that I partly have to learn to accept that wet watercolour has a mind of its own when you add more colour to it. It’s not easy for me to be out of control of the effects achieved, so I really think it’s a good thing for me to explore and learn to work with.