Today was a day to just draw for the pleasure, joy and contentment the process of creativity brings.
I knew I wanted to include some hand lettering in the design, and that’s where I started. The rest just flowed from there as it needed to. I put no pressure on myself to be perfect, nor did I have a design in mind. It was pure, intuitive art.
And that intuitive process let me relax and enjoy being able to just create for the sake of it.
I’m really enjoying creating pages in what I had been calling an illustrated journal. But, in today’s video, it came to me that they are akin to a needlework sampler, so Entangled Samplers the collection will be called!
In the video, I drew a couple of elements but focused on using texture patterns to fill the spaces. And that was when the idea of a sampler came to mind.
I’ve yet to decide what goes in that awkward central space. Journaling? More patterns or motifs? I really don’t know at the moment. I will figure it out though!
It’s a gloomy, wet Saturday here in the Valleys of South Wales, and the weather matches my mood. My inner sun touchstone of contentment is still there; I can sense it as a constant beneath the clouds and know that it is there the same way I know the Sun is behind the clouds (or the Earth at night). All storms, or successions of storms, eventually pass, and I know that the stormy inner weather is related to something(s) I’m having to work through and sort out. I will get there. I was reminded today that I’ve got myself through such times in the past and that I’m quite capable of doing so again (thanks to my friend for reminding me!).
To use my metaphor, I’ll weather the storms that come and go, and art will help me do so.
When I sit and draw, my mind empties of all the thoughts the negative self-talk likes to shout at me, the sunny touchstone shines through the clouds a little more and the contentment increases. For a while, I have a break from it all. And when I stop drawing, I feel better, even if the storm starts up again.
I will be fine; I am in many ways. And there’s always art. And writing. And music. And Star Wars!
Oh, the page above. I worked on it last night and today. I’ve done as much as I want on the page. Partly coloured or shaded, and some areas with a darker background. It is, to me, a way to suggest what I could do. That’s why I like pages like this. Unfinished, or inconsistently finished, with possibilities and potential and inspiration.
I used 05 and 01 Sakura Pigma Micron Pens to draw the design. To add some shade and the background, a Warm Grey III Pitt Artist Brush pen was used. And various Graphitint pencils and a water brush added colour to other motifs.
Given how unsettled my maelstrom and tsunami stricken inner being is, I really needed to draw a mandala.
I love the soothing creativity that drawing a mandala brings. This one, partly coloured in monochrome greens with those little dashes of purple-ruby, looks like some weird succulent or an alien sea creature of some kind. Maybe a jellyfish.
I have decided to keep an illustrated journal full of my favourite patterns and motifs, accompanied by some words of encouragement and, perhaps, advice.
I’ve kept a collection in a dot grid notebook for a few years. However, some people have asked if I’d share it. I thought it was high time to create something similar instead of sharing a battered and dog-eared book. So, that’s precisely what I started in today’s video.
So, I purchased a Talens Art Creation A5 landscape sketchbook for this purpose. I like the paper in it; it’s creamy in colour, so it’s more soothing on my eyes. The scanned page in the image above doesn’t show the cream colour; the struggle with scanners is real! The paper is 140gsm (90lb). It will take a very light wash of water, but I like the fairly smooth surface to draw upon.
For this page, I used a selection of pens: A micro Uniball Eye for most of the drawing 01 and 03 Sakura Pigma Microns for details 0.38 Uniball Signo DX for the writing. Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Brush Pens in Cold Grey 1 and Cold Grey III
I’m fairly happy with how the page looks. However, my handwritten notes are a bit … untidy. Hey ho, they’ll do!
I only drew the flower on the left in today’s YouTube video. I couldn’t find the first drawing for this new journal. Stupidly, I’d done that on a loose sheet of A5 dot grid paper and didn’t put it into a folder for safe keeping. I have no idea where I’ve put it. So, that was another good reason to get a sketchbook; it’s harder for me to misplace a sketchbook, though it has been known to happen. So the arrangement from the centre to the right is a replication of the motifs from the lost page.
As I typed that, my mind thought of the Moody Blues album title “In search of the lost chord”. I’m forever in search of my lost artwork!
This is going to be another interesting project. I do seem to pick up and drop projects a lot. The reason is I need variety in what I’m focusing on. Sometimes, I need a bit of a break from a particular project or focus. At other times, I’m just not well enough to do anything more than some challenging ‘comfort art’.
I now need to decide if I’m going to add some colour to this page. I have shadows in place, so transparent/transluscent media will work with that. I’ll think on it. For now, I need tea and something to eat!
I’ve been asked several times if I’d make my visual dictionary, pattern and motif collection, journal or art zibaldone available for others. I’ve shown it a few times in videos. It’s my go-to reference when I need some inspiration for my art.
So, today, I thought I’d take some elements from a current WIP and start to put a page together.
I used a piece of A5 dot grid paper with holes punched in it for a six-ring binder. However, I may use an A5 dot grid notebook. To draw the design, I used an 05 Sakura Pigma Micron Pen. Shade was added with a 2B matt Pitt graphite pencil and paper stump/tortillon.
I enjoyed doing this. It was fun to add alternative ways of approaching various elements. That’s how I like to work in my visual zibaldone. And, of course, the variations are not exhaustive! No doubt more will appear in time, either in the zibaldone or in some artwork.
That is what I love doing. Varying and shifting the pattern or motif into something new and different.
Of course, I have filmed myself drawing this page so far, and you can draw along with me by clicking this YouTube video link.
This is a work in progress, and I drew part of it during today’s YouTube Draw With Me ‘tutorial’. It’s another piece of ‘comforting’ art; I drew some Entangled Art yesterday and today to help soothe my ragged emotions and thoughts.
A big dose of Star Wars yesterday afternoon and evening (four films in total!) and some intuitive, entangled drawings seemed to help greatly. And a relatively good night’s sleep was had, too, at last!
The fear and existential dread that had risen up deep in my lower abdomen seem to have been dispelled, and I feel more content and like my usual self.
I am, however, keenly aware of some personal challenges ahead of me in the next weeks and months or more. So, I feel I’m in a sunny, flowery woodland glade, and the monstrous forest lurks around me, waiting for me to rest, recover and be ready to take the next steps on this journey.
And it can wait for a while. It’s been a tough three months or so – injury to ribs, the overwhelming distress during the “holiday season”, the pressure of deadlines once I could work again, and some other revelations. I’d rather like a bit of a break from it all! Oh, and the past week has been very ‘people-y’ – brunch out with a friend, two funerals, a large meeting in person, and a visit from another friend.
This past week pushed me to my limits and drained my emotional, mental and physical energy. But I will recover. “This too shall pass.” And so it has, for a while at least!
It’s so nice to feel contented without intense fear, anxiety, and upset. And it’s nice to feel I can do some art just to enjoy it. That’s something that’s been missing for a couple or even a few weeks.
The trick now is to remember entangled art, and a Star Wars marathon is really good for me! Not always easy when in the grip of a crazy rollercoaster ride of careening emotions and thoughts.
It took me a long time to summon the oompf and draw. And my creative brain defaulted to this style of art – comfort art. It’s familiar to me and doesn’t need much focus. I trust my intuition. And the last pen stroke determines the next. There’s a flow to this kind of drawing that is soothing, calming, and healing. And I really, REALLY need that today!
It’s been a very people-y week. I’ve been overwrought emotionally and mentally for a few weeks now, at least a few weeks. And venturing into the world where I’ve had to interact with people means putting that smiley, happy mask on. And that is very draining all on its own.
Although time with one friend this week helped to sort out where I was latching the fear and anxiety, my upset and downright glum mood was not where it should be docked.
But, the fear, anxiety, exhaustion and inner gloom have settled in again. I am peopled out. While I’m this emotionally and mentally tired, I can’t trust the thoughts that arise from the emotions. Yes, that anxiety has been there for as long as I can remember. It has been relatively quiet for the past three or four years since I found my touchstone of contentment. However, things are happening that have provoked the beast. I’m trying to remember and re-learn that I can feel anxiety even if there is no reason to. My mind will try to find a logical explanation for it.
So, today has been a day where I need some time to recover. I must remember how to be gentle to myself and give myself the space I need to express my emotions and rest. Drawing entangled art, my default style, was in order. And a hefty dose of Star Wars has definitely been needed! Oh, to be a Jedi!
Ice cream would be most welcome too. However, it’s not good for me, so I’ll decide what to eat later.
This was an interesting experiment. I was inspired by a video tutorial by Ellen Crimi-Trent Artist. In the video, she used a charcoal pencil to create an abstract line design. Next, watercolours were used to fill the spaces. Finally, details were added with pen.
I thought it could be a lot of fun to use this as a way to display some Zentangle style patterns. So I did! However, in true Angela style, I’d first tried not only a charcoal pencil, but a watersoluble graphite pencil, an Inktense pencil and an Inktense Outliner to create the grids on separate pieces of mixed media paper. Then I added watercolour to them to see which method of laying out the main pattern I liked the most.
As it turns out, it was the charcoal! I didn’t expect that!
I filled in the majority of the spaces with tangle patterns. Finally, I used charcoal and white chalk to add shade and highlight to each section of the design. I should say I didn’t do all the sections in the video. Oh, and I added some white highlights/patterns with a white GellyRoll pen.
The intense black of the charcoal really dials up the contrast by quite a few notches! I really did have a lot of fun playing with the illusion of volume in this design.
I’m also glad that I didn’t fill all the sections with pattern; I like that I have some simple, volumised areas whose simplicity contrasts with the complexity of the patterns.
I now have quite a few pieces of coloured, patterned paper to play with in the coming days.
Well and truly people-d out!
It’s true. I’ve not had such an intensely people-y week since well before the pandemic hit. I both feel very much by myself and a little sad about that, but also rather relieved that I get to sigh, relax and breathe for the next couple of days at least.
And with the relaxation may come the introvert hangover or social migraine! Maybe not. I’ll see tomorrow. I know as I take my time to relax, unwind, settle back into my solitary existence I will feel intense tiredness creep over me. Indeed, I can feel it beginning to extend it’s soft cloudy folds and start to enevolop me. I will give in, later. I have a few things to do first! Social media posts, a huge mug of tea, maybe something to eat. And then…I’ll see!
Yesterday, I found the oompf at some point to create this small drawing. The colouring looks messier in the photon than it really is, honest! But I don’t mind the grungy messiness at all!
It was an interesting journey with this design. I kept confusing myself about how to draw the main motifs and got in a right dither at some points. Still, I think it worked out fine in the end. I didn’t finish adding colour/shading in the video, but I will do it at some point…probably.
I’m still on a rollercoaster ride of ups and downs. The tiniest perceived rejection or misunderstanding can trigger a sudden tsunami of upset that takes me from quite content to rock bottom in an instant. That touchstone of contentment gets concealed by tenebrous, sharp shards of brokenness, shame, grief, despair, existential dread, loneliness, and more.
It can take me a while to recover from that sudden drop to the depths of emotions. Art helps, or writing, or, surprisingly, a walk around my local cemetery in the sunshine. I try to put a brave, smiley face on for the benefit of others I may meet or talk to. However, I’m afraid some of this inner angst will spill out. The last thing I want to do is create upset in others I care about or come into contact with. I hope those who know me will understand, especially those who know what is happening here.
Oh, all is fine. Really, it is. I’m just having to learn some, well, a lot of things about myself and understand me a bit more. I’ve been hurled a planetary-sized curveball, and it’s knocked me off my balance more than just a tad. I know that at the end of the process, I will have a much better understanding of myself and, hopefully, a better relationship with myself. But it’s going to take some time and a few hoops to jump through yet.