A fragment that I’m not familiar with today. It’s called ‘Birthday’ and is by Jessica Davies CZT. It’s a fusion of two other tangle patterns – cuboid and bales. The resutl is a rather interesting fragment.
I enjoyed my morning arty coddiwomple; this fragment took me down some unusual paths. Sometimes the fragment variation that resulted was pleasing, at others not so.
I think I learn far more than the not so pleasing variations (especially the downright ugly ones). Searching these fragments for that glimmer of an idea that can be worked with can be very satisfying, illuminating and lead to new variations.
However, this search often needs to be done after some time has been spent away from the variations. Fresh eyes, rested mind are needed to recognise those glimmers once time has allowed the the ‘what on earth was I thinking’ thoughts and emotions to fade away.
Today’s coddiwomple through variations of this fragment can be seen in the following video:
Kaas, by Emiko Kaneko CZT, is not a tangle pattern I’m familiar with. So, first I had to wrangle with it to understand it’s construction. It’s a lovely pattern, but for some reason these kinds of patterns just don’t compute too well in my head.
Eventually, I kind of worked it out, and pencil lines are definitely needed for me to draw it well! So, go me!
At first look, I really wasn’t sure how I could vary this fragment. But as I started making small changes the ‘what would happen if I …’ thoughts started to come.
I like many of these variations, some not quite so much. There’s a fair few I’d like to see arranged in a grid pattern. Perhaps I’ll spend some of this afternoon/evening trying that out.
This card is now almost finished. I have learned some things from yesterday’s debacle. Mainly that I’d make a much wider border for the embossed background.
I did add Speckled Egg Distress ink to this embossed background, but it’s such a lovely, subtle colour the camera hasn’t picked it up well.
The embossed layer is so tactile! I used some Micro Glaze to seal it so that being touched won’t affect the distress ink.
Actually, I used Micro Glaze on the top layer too!
I could only find cream coloured card blanks and envelopes, and these layers really didn’t look too good on them. So, hopefully I’ll remember where my card blank stash is, or I’ll make a blank and envelope.
In the video I try embossing an envelope – a case of ‘envelope art’. I’m glad I did. The embossing works well. However, the areas where the flaps are glued together on the back of the envelope make indents in the front. Distress Ink brings these out so much. So, I’ll be sure to emboss the front of the envelope, and colour with Distress Ink, before I glue it all together!
All in all, I’m much happier with this card. Mind you, I do have ideas for others! Probably too late for Christmas now, but … there’s always lots of other reasons for sending greetings cards, including ‘just because I can’.
Winter solstice 2021 Mandala
Winter Solstice Greetings and Wishes to you all to the north of the equator! Summer Solstice Greetings and Wishes to you all south of the equator!
Some sunshine on a chilly, dull Winter Solstice day here in the Valleys of South Wales, UK.
Actually, the title should be ‘How Not to finish up…’. I had a bit of an accident. More about that in a minute.
This morning, I decided to work on finishing up one card design. I knew I wanted to add another layer beneath the panel already finished before gluing it to the cream-coloured card blank.
I dug out some scrapbook paper from my stash. Nothing felt right. The colours were just ‘off’. That’s when I realised I needed to use Distress Inks to colour the lower panel.
I could have used them to colour the panel, then use pens (black, fineliner or metallic) to draw a pattern on it. Instead, I decided to try to emboss the pattern into the paper using a dotting tool / parchment craft ball tool / embossing tool.
Before I did this, I experimented on some scrap paper to see how I could colour the paper (more on this in today’s video).
I decided to emboss the paper first, then add Distress Ink (pine needles) with the black side of a piece of Cut ‘n Dry foam. That kept the embossing white. I found that if I used a blending brush (aka make-up brush!) more ink settled in the embossing. That is also a lovely look, but not what I wanted.
Inside this border, I added some gold ink to create a gold border around the upper panel.
That looked fine and dandy. The horror story came with the next step…
I added some foam tape to the back of the upper panel to add some dimension to the card, along with some glue so I had some wiggle time to make sure I got the panel centred.
The glue was the mistake I think. I had the panel nicely centred until I turned it over to add some pressure to get it to stick firmly. It must have wiggled and become de-centralised.
And when I noticed it was very firmly stuck.
I was so annoyed with myself as I know this is something that nearly always goes wrong when I try to make cards.
The only way I can ‘fix’ things is to cut out that central panel and re-make the embossed border and reassemble the card once again. This time I’d consider having the embossed pattern going under the central pattern so that if it is a little off it won’t be quite so noticeable.
I’m not, however, going to do that. This time, I’m going to make notes in the card about what I did, the media used, what I like, what I don’t like, and what I need to be very, very mindful of the next time I make a card.
Reflecting on the card creation
I know I’m fairly happy with the design. I like the central motif of holly leaves. The sutble pattern in the border around it is nice too, as is the embossed border.
I do wish I’d not used chalk pastels to add colour to this panel. There’s something dusty and muted about it that I’m not at all sure of. I think that keeping things mostly monochrome on a coloured background works best for me, with touches of gold and white, with some shading perhaps.
It’s that thing again. I love colour, but making use of it always has me feeling that it’s where I mess things up, unless I keep the colours really simple. Simple as in black, white, the background colour, and a shadow colour, and maybe touches of metallics for some sparkle and shine.
I do better with colour when I work digitally, but in traditional media I always feel like I struggle.
It’s always a learning experience, more so when things don’t go as planned or when I’m not entirely happy with what I produce. My problem is I try the same kind of thing over and over and expect it all to improve. I think I’m hoping that I’ll work out how to make the various media work for me at some point.
I say, often, I’m going to stick to monochrome, and then go and try working with colour, often with the same kind of feeling at the end. The feeling I like the pen drawing, but the colour/media isn’t what I’m looking for.
Perhaps time for me to make use of this colour printer and add colour digitally and print it out!
I managed to film some drawing this morning, putting into practice some of the things I learned from yesterday’s ‘messes’, and some kind of successes.
For this tile, I’m using Arteza Everblend markers to add colour, and a humble black ball point pen to add shadow.
Oh, what a difference the ballpoint pen makes. Graphite always feels a bit ‘grimy’ to me, which is fine. But the lines and cleaner grey that can be achieved by the ballpoint pen… well, they’re different.
And the third day of trees. Why? Because I can! And there’s so many variations on the theme I can share. It can be difficult to work out which to do so.
For this series of videos, I have drawn lots, and lots of trees in my A4 sketchbook (two pages full, near enough). Some are successes, others not quite so. Indeed, there were a couple of “Oh, that didn’t go so well” trees in today’s video.
All of this, however, is sketchbook work. It’s OK to try things out. It’s just fine that things don’t always work out the way you thought they might. It’s quite okay that what may have seemed like a good idea in the head doesn’t translate too well onto paper.
In fact, it’s the ‘oops’ trees (and other drawings) that lead to artistic growth. They make me work out what’s not right, what I don’t like about them, and what I can learn from this. Sometimes I have another go at the idea, but better informed from the first version. Sometimes I realise it’s a lost cause…for now perhaps. Other times, it’s worked out, but it’s not just my thing. And that too, is perfectly OK.
Without trying things out we won’t know what we do and don’t like. It’s like cooking and tasting to see if the seasoning and spices are right or need adjusting. And just like cooking, sometimes things just don’t work, and occasionally can’t be saved!
The only difference is I’m not likely to make someone ill by drawing in a sketchbook!
Today’s video really brought home how important colours is in artwork. And shadows/highlights. But colour especially. Colour serves not only to bring life to the drawing, but to lift it from the background.
Yes, that can be done with various ways of adding shadow – cross hatching, line width, stippling, and so on. But there’s just something about colour, even simple colour, that just helps things along.
Indeed, simple colour seems to be my kind of style. At the moment. And looking at the upper picture, mixing coloured elements with monochrome is an interesting approach too. That may be a way I can move forward adding more colour to drawings, but only to parts that are focal points or where colour would really help with the composition. Otherwise, shading is the way to go.
And not just graphite pencil shading. I need to spend some time experimenting with other media – alcohol markers, grey watersoluble media, Pitt Artist pens, and so on.
Lots of things to think about and consider today. All insights I may have missed if I wasn’t making videos and having to talk about what was passing ephemerally and abstractly through my mind. Giving those passing thoughts words results in awareness, understanding, and, perhaps, learning.