More art therapy was required yesterday and today. This time I messed around with watercolours and botanical motifs.
Some I like, some are hideous, but all resulted in me finding some calm amidst a maelstrom of emotional and mental pressures being exerted against me.
Although I’ve not yet tried to express my emotions via colour and pattern today, working with motifs from nature is soothing in it’s own way.
Perhaps there’s more of me expressing my needs in creating botanical art. I do feel the need to be out walking where there is nature. With Covid19 still doing the rounds, my places of choice are cemeteries; so few people visit them and I feel safe there in a way I don’t feel safe in nature when I’m by myself.
So, as it’s fairly overcast and there’s a good breeze, I’ll head out as soon as I’ve completed my social media stuff for the day.
Materials and method
I used mostly watercolours, but I did try out the Inktense paint palette I received yesterday for one motif. For some of the motifs I used a faint pencil outline. On others I darkened that outline once I’d painted the motif. And I tried black outlines using a Signo DX 0.38 pen on some others. I also used white Signo gel pens to add highlights. Finally, I splattered some gold watercolour over the page, and added some bigger dots of gold.
Oh, I worked on one of the smooth textured pages in my A4 Arteza watercolour journal.
I do apologise for the poor photos. These were the best of many that I took of my arty pursuits this morning. I’m not sure if I’m finished with it or not.
This was an unusual excursion into the realms of art for me. I was feeling totally emotionally overwhelmed – scared, anxious, sad and confused.
So, I thought I’d try to express my emotions artistically, with watercolours.
I used masking tape to edge an area approx. 6″ x 2.75″ (15.5 cm x 7cm) in my Arteza Watercolor Sketchbook. I used a new page for this, and it was the smooth side of the paper.
Next, I applied a wet wash of indigo watercolour, and then dropped in greys and rusty oranges, reds and browns into it.
The paper warped with the quantity of water. No biggie though, as this is a sketchbook. Once I’d finished adding colour and letting the watercolour do it’s magic, I used a heat tool to dry the paper. When I removed the masking tape, which was low tack, it lifted some of the paper with it, which was a bit of a disappointment. However, it is a sketchbook, so no biggie.
I then wanted to add some gold patterns and lines. I dug out a Cosmic Shimmer iridescent/metallic watercolour palette and a size 1 brush.
Finally, I thought I’d add some details in black pen (Uniball Signo DX 0.38), but I’m not sure about them at the moment.
My emotions were, and still are to a degree, all over the place. I tried to meditate to find some peace and calm; my mind was just racing faster and faster and I just couldn’t sit with the emotions.
So, I decided to try to paint my feelings, to put into colour and pattern what I couldn’t put in words, or make sense of. I thought I’d try a totally intuitive block of colour where I asked my feelings what colour they wanted to use, where to put it and when it was done.
I chose dark, gloomy inky indigo for the background, and rusty yellows and browns. Indigo for both the sadness and upset I was feeling, but also the deep calm I was seeking. The rusty colours perhaps represent the blood, sweat and tears I’ve been expending for a while now. Or maybe the stains on my soul and emotions that have resulted in my struggle today. Either way, the colours just seemed the right ones to use.
There’s also a lot of depth in the way the colours sit on the paper.
Oddly, this is a colour palette I’ve been using for a while now, but never quite so dark. Perhaps my unconscious has been trying to tell me what was likely to come if I didn’t take care of myself.
Once I’d got the block of colour done, I knew I needed to add lines and patterns of gold, a kind of artistic kintsugi. I hoped that the gold would help to heal the shattered pieces of my emotions and mind in the way gold infused resin is used to repair much loved pieces of porcelain. I hoped that the gold would remind me that my healed trauma-wounds that have been filled with gold would remain healed and I could be reassured that I wasn’t going to break.
I won’t, but I could feel myself unravelling.
For some reason, once I’d calmed a little, I felt the need to put the pattern of black at the bottom. Piles of tiny little stones. What springs to mind is they represent the touchstones that are the foundation of my emotional wellbeing. There’s quite a few of them there! That surprises me, as my usual one is the one of contentment, a gentle smile in my heart. I may have to explore what these other touchstones are at some point.
As I look at the panel now, I can see there are lighter areas, where a storm seems to be breaking. Light is shining through, clarity perhaps. The photo doesn’t show the colours at all well. I really do need to learn how to use the camera on my phone or my DSLR much better I think.
A successful experiment
I know art always is a source of peace and calm for me. What surprised me was that I felt I was expressing my feelings in this little, very personal artwork.
I’ve never really used art as a way to work through difficult (or not so difficult) emotions before. I think it’s something I’ll be doing again in the future.
Pens, pencils, rulers, protractors and compasses all busy, busy, busy here! Over half way through Color Me Stress-free’s black and white lineart (artwork for four out of the seven chapters done!). I’m keeping the coloring of the colored samples until all the black and white is done as my big treat – I don’t often get to color in my own artwork these days!
I’m not good at blowing my own trumpet, but as the cat is out of the bag it’s time for me to say how chuffed I am to have been approached by Jeannine Dillon, editor for Race Point publishers, to do the artwork/illustrations for two books full of colouring templates with text written by Lacy Mucklow and the design put together by Jacqui Carlton.
The first book, Color Me Calm, is due for release in October this year.
The second book is titled Color Me Happy and is also due for release around the same time.
The titles say it all!
I’ve also been working with Bev Robinson of Love Thy Thread and she’s converted some of my artwork into cross-stitch charts available exclusively from this website, just follow the link to me, Angela Porter.
Another piece of news is that I’ll have a third book of artwork coming out early next year with Dover Publishing, Jason Schneider is the editor there. More news as things get done there.
And with that, I must get back to doing the coloured illustrations for Color Me Calm. Such good therapy for me while I’m recovering from a long-term illness of my own.