Butterfly WIP

Butterfly WIP 11 March 2020 ©Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

A little more work done on this design this morning. I’ve been working at it for around three hours, making it a total of around eight hours so far.

I like the shapes of the details added around the body, not so sure about the colour choice, yet. I can always change the colour once I’m happy with the shapes. I prefer them to the glowing zentangle type patterns yesterday. They’re taking the butterfly from something that is earthly to something else – alien, magical, partly mechanical perhaps.

I’m feeling a bit better today. My tummy had a major upset yesterday afternoon and that left me wiped out. This morning, I managed some porridge for breakfast and it’s not made me feel ill. I’m still tired though, but slowly on the mend.

I’ve reached my limit of focusing on art, for now. So I’m going to take a break. I finished the cross stitch design I was working on yesterday and gave it a quick iron while my porridge was cooking.

In the evening, I started a crochet wrap, using some Sirdar Jewelspun in the setting sun colour way. Gorgeously warm, autumnal colours make up this yarn. It’s soft and a pleasure to work with, especially on a 5.5mm hook as this is giving a flexible fabric. I’m following a gentle and slightly lacy chevron pattern which has a one row repeat – my favourite kind of pattern when it’s hard for me to focus!

Oh, and I’ve continued my binge watching of Criminal Minds too.

Butterfly WIP

I’ve been experiencing a tummy bug the last day or two and so have had to take time away to rest and take care of myself. It’s making me feel very tired, though I do have a little appetite back, which is good.

I started work on this butterfly yesterday morning, and have continued this morning. I think I’ve spent about 5 hours on it so far.

It’s giving me a chance to explore and familiarise myself with features of Autodesk Sketchbook Pro I’ve not used much. Tools such as the selection tool and different types of layers, for instance.

The butterfly is definitely not finished; I’m trying out ways to add pattern to the various sections on the wings. I’ll get there eventually I’m sure. At the moment I’m adding entangled/zentangle patterns to the sections using a ‘glow’ layer. Not sure if it’s working, yet. But I’ll keep trying things out until I’m happy.

But not today. I still need to take some time out for self-care. That means cwtching up, keeping warm, drinking plenty of fluids, and cross-stitching while binge-watching Criminal Minds! Maybe I’ll even see if I can do some reading too – I have a couple of books about Craftivism I want to read and digest.

Talking of craftivism, I do need to order some knitting/crochet yarn made of natural fibres to create some butterflies with for a yarn bombing project I’ve volunteered to help with. My yarn stash consists of yarn made of synthetic fibres.

Oh, back to the cross-stitch thing.

I used to cross-stitch years, and years ago, quite avidly. I always avowed that I’d never take it up again. However, as I searched for books on craftivism, a cross-stitch book popped up that was just way too intriguing! So, I ordered the book and some materials to cross stitch with.

The materials arrived yesterday, but the book won’t be here until tomorrow. So, I did a quick hunt around Etsy and found a cross-stitch project or two that were perfect! Both were quite simple, small, and had words and images and would work so well for craftivism as well. I do need quite small, fairly quickly finished projects in terms of needle felting, crochet, or cross stitch at least. When it comes to drawing, art, I can work happily on a piece for a long time quite happily. But not so with other crafts it seems.

Perhaps the satisfaction at finishing a craft project quickly gives me that little hit of achievement that helps me push through with projects, like this butterfly, that will take me a number of days to complete.

Even though I’ve left therapy, my healing continues bit by bit. I’m finding myself returning to crafts and activities that I once enjoyed, but as the CPTSD worsened and depression deepened I abandoned them

I am someone who needs variety in my artistic, crafty life, so I’m embracing this as much as I can. I need a change from time to time, and that change allows a freshening up of my other skills/talents. Doing different techniques adds new ideas for my artistic pursuits too.

So, I’m now going to sort myself out and settle down to finish the cross-stitch thingy I’m doing. And let my body recover from the tummy bug.

Crochet Seed Pods

Crochet Seed pods by Angela Porter – Artwyrd.com

I really do wish I could take better photos! However, I think you get the idea of this pair of pods that I created last night and in the early hours on waking.

These ones I’m really pleased with; they’re the ones that look most like the seed pods I draw. I’ve also progressed to adding leaves to the stems and that funny star-shape.

I’m going to spend the evening doing some more crochet. I had EMDR therapy this morning, and it has totally drained me. I was tired and emotionally fragile, to begin with; I’m now emotionally exhausted and need to take self-care time.

I know that if I were to attempt digital or traditional art/drawing, then I would not feel satisfied with what I do. I’d get frustrated with myself, I’d become overly self-critical and would end up feeling worse than I do now. Although I am emotionally exhausted, I feel calm and fairly content. I need to keep activities that would drag me down to a minimum until I am more emotionally resilient.

So, self-care it really does have to be this evening, and maybe some or all of tomorrow.

Autumn Equinox 2019

Crochet Seed Pods by Artwyrd.com
Crochet seed pods by Artwyrd.com

It’s the first day of astronomical Autumn in the Northern Hemisphere – Spring for those of you in the Southern Hemisphere.

The signs of autumn are all around me. leaves are starting to don their fiery autumn hues. Shiny-red rowan and hawthorn berries festoon the branches. Shiny purple-black bramble-fruits mask the sharp thorns on their canes. Nuts of all kinds are changing from green to brown – a veritable feast for all kinds of critters. Bunches of sycamore helicopters and ash keys can be seen peeking out from the dark-green-tinged-with-brown leaves. Fluffy seed-heads of clematis coat the hedgerows like some kind of Hallowe’en web-like decoration.

It is my favourite season of the year. I love the colours. I am fascinated with how nature reveals it’s underlying architecture as the foliage falls, creating piles of colourful, crunch leaves that remind me of glowing embers.

Nature really does prepare for the long winter sleep by donning her party clothes for a final blaze of glory , a memory that will stay with us throughout the cold, dark Winter months to remind us that she merely slumbers and will reawaken in the Spring.

So, given my current fascination with freeform crochet, I have created some seed pods; at least that’s what I had in mind as I created these forms.

I do want to add some beads to them; I can’t resist adding some sparkle!

Of course, seed pods are quite apt for the season the world is entering; they are in abundance. I do love seed pods; they feature in my artwork quite a lot. So, it’s quite natural that I’d want to try to recreate some of my weirder ones in crochet.

This kind of crochet is turning out to be a bit easier to do than I thought it would. I do have a lot to explore and discover and a lot more confidence to gain, but I think I’m making a good start. I do need to learn some more textural stitches as well how to create spirals just to start.

To give you an idea of size, the largest seedpod is approx. 12″ in length. I used a 3.50mm hook with DK yarn. I will make some more pods in four-ply yarn with finer hooks. They should work out smaller.

I suspect that on my travels I may come across some interesting yarns with various textures and finishes that I can use to add some interest. However, for now I will just focus on how I can achieve the shapes and curves that I’d like to form seedpods.

Don’t tell me it’s all about maths – I’m absolutely a nightmare at maths. I have to figure it all out my way.

Now, if anyone should ever like to create seed pods or anything else I create, I will try to work out a written pattern. But just not yet. I’m still working this all out myself!

Lost in crochet.

Today was not the day to focus on commissions it seems. I managed to lose myself in crochet for much of the day.

Here are some of the results of my crochet experiments. There are three seed pods/vessels and one leaf.

I have plans for them … I think I may turn them, along with many others, into some kind of wall hanging. I need to find myself a branch or some kind of thing.

This is an interesting journey. The seedpods have used things I’ve learned from hyperbolic crochet along with popcorn stitches.

The vessel on the top left actually reminds me of prehistoric pots – something I’ll have to revisit in the future as I do love prehistoric pottery and if I can re-create their shapes in crochet…well it’ll be fun! The base of this vessel is quite rounded.

I have a lot to explore, experiment with and gain some confidence with as far as hyperbolic and freeform crochet goes. However, it’s reignited my interest in it. How long that will last, I don’t know. Quickly becoming bored with things is a symptom of childhood trauma/cPTSD. However, this kind of crochet has a lot of potential for creativity and growth, just as long as I can overcome all my self-doubts and self-hypercritical nature.

Hyperbolic!

Hyperbolic crochet samples.

Hyperbolic crochet

I’ve been having a lot of fun with hyperbolic crochet over the past couple of days. The photo shows just a couple of the hyperbolic surfaces I’ve created. they look like corals, flatworms, a kind of flowery ball, and some weird kind of seedpod (the one at the bottom right which I’m still working on)

To create them you only need to be able to crochet chain stitches as well as a double crochet (single crochet in the US), though you can use other stitches if you wish.

I learned a little more about it from an information sheet from IFF.

To create a hyperbolic surface, you start with any number of chains. You then work stitches into each chain, increasing at regular intervals. You can, if you wish, join the chains into a ring.

I’ve also discovered that you can get fascinating shapes if you decrease from time to time. The shapes end up like some of the weird seedpods and organic forms that I draw!

This form of crochet can be as structured or free-form as you like, or a mixture of the two.

I’ve not felt this excited about a crochet project since I made the virus shawl and then some flowers, stars, snowflakes and feathers.

The excitement is not knowing how the hyperbolic surface is going to work out.

My only problem is what to make with them, what use to put them to, or who to gift them to.

I do have to add that they are very tactile – they can easily be manipulated, and there is something pleasurable and soothing in how they do this, particularly the smaller, tighter forms.

So, Angela, how are you doing?

I’m doing just fine today. I feel optimistic, content, happy even. The sun is shining, I’ve been out for an appointment and a short walk into the town to look at some yarn and also a trip into Holland & Barretts for some organic seeds and nuts; I also scored a couple of vegetarian scotch eggs too. So, after that, I realised I really had to return home to pop them into the fridge. But not before visiting Shaws to look at yarn. I came away with three cones of four-ply yarn in cream, grey and a soft turquoise. No prizes for guessing what for!

Yesterday, I managed to get some sleep before I headed to Hereford for a meeting in the evening. I wasn’t feeling all that bright and cheery as I left home for the hour and a half or so drive there. My mood did improve as I was driving through pretty scenery through a beautiful sunset that bathed the world in soft pink.

It was a long-assed day though; I didn’t return home until nearly midnight. Fortunately, I slept well overnight, and I woke feeling alert, if still a bit tired around the edges.

I quickly found my balance after EMDR this week, which is good to notice. I’ve also found myself at times trying to see if there’s anything sad or worrisome lurking; it’s almost as if I want to take myself back to the darker days of my life. How weird. I wonder if it’s because part of me thinks I don’t deserve to be content like this. Or maybe I’m just wondering if it is real and lasting and I expect to be dragged back down into the pits of despair and misery.

However, that inner summer has been ignited now, and it won’t easily be put out again. Now I’ve found it, I won’t hide it away. It will always be a guiding light for me, even if I find myself in darker places emotionally or mentally. I’m realistic enough to know that things will happen that affect me one way or another – that’s just life. The difference now is that I have a point of reference to journey back to, a touchstone. I now know what it is like to feel contented, optimistic, and it’s a feeling I won’t forget…ever.

Dandelion Card and Envelope Mail Art

Dandelion Card and Envelope Mail Art © Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com
Dandelion Card and Envelope Mail Art © Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

About the art.

Materials:

  • 5″ x 2.5″ piece of watercolour paper.
  • 5.25″ x 2.75″ piece of black card.
  • 6″ x 6″ blank kraft card with matching envelope.
  • Distress Inks in Bundled Sage, Weathered Wood and Stormy Sky.
  • Distress Oxide Inks in Iced Spruce and Peeled paint.
  • Small paint brushes – I used a 0 for the details and a 4 for the circles.
  • Mini foam blending tool.
  • A spray bottle containing a mixture of gold Perfect Pearls and water.
  • Tim Holtz’s Distress Micro Glaze and a dedicated foam blending pad. (or just your fingers!).
  • A glass pen or other fine nib dip pen.
  • Gold and Silver inks from J Herbin
  • White Sakura Glaze pen.
  • Gold glitter Uniball Signo Pen.
  • Light grey 05 Unipin pen by Uniball.
  • Glue or strong tape to adhere the card layers (I used Tombow Mono glue)

Method:

I started with a 2.5″ x 5″ piece of watercolour paper and a brush. I used water to draw circles where I wanted the dandelion heads to be. I then used the brush to add Stormy Skies and Weathered Wood Distress Inks into the water, letting it spread as it liked. To ensure I had a darker area of the seedhead, I dropped the watered-down inks to the bottom and left of the circles.

While the circles were drying, I worked on the card base. I applied Peeled Paint and Iced Spruce Distress Oxide Inks with a mini foam blending tool. Then, I sprayed the card with a mixture of gold Perfect Pearls and water and let it dry. Finally, I used Tim Holtz’s Micro Glaze to seal in the Distress Oxides – they react all too quickly with the sweat in fingers.

By the time I’d set the card base aside to dry I could return to the dandelion seed heads. I used a fine paintbrush, and some Titanium Iridescent Watercolour paint from Cosmic Shimmer to add the stems of the seeds. Once they had dried, I added dots of Enchanted Gold Iridescent Watercolour paint to the stems and set the panel aside to dry.

I wanted to add some dandelion heads and seeds to the card base. I used a glass pen along with silver and gold inks from J Herbin. I didn’t think these would adhere to the micro glaze treated surface, but they did. On a darker background, I could really see how these inks look like liquid metals as they flow onto the paper. They didn’t dull as they dried, thanks to the micro glaze acting as a barrier to the Distress Oxide ink.

Next, I wanted to add the stems and leaves to the dandelions on the watercolour paper panel. I used some Bundled Sage, Weathered Wood and Stormy Skies Distress inks for this. I pressed them onto a sheet of plastic, diluted and mixed them with water and a brush and then used the mixture to add the stems and leaves. I started with a lighter colour wash, adding darker colours to the left of the stem and also under the dandelion heads to add some dimension.

Once I was reasonably happy with the stems, I worked on the leaves. Again, I started with a pale-coloured wash to get the shape of the leaves in place. Then I gradually added darker tones to give a sense of dimension.

When I’d finished this, I looked at the panel, and I wasn’t happy with the stems and leaves. They looked unfinished. So, I dug out a light grey Uniball Unipin pen and proceded to outline the stems and leaves. This improved matters greatly to my mind. I like the way the stems and leaves are now defined and how they contrast nicely with the airy, ephemeral feel of the seedheads.

I then set about adding some dots of the gold watercolour around the arrangement of dandelion seedheads, added my symbol and year, and that completed the top panel.

I cut a piece of black card that was approx. 5.25″ x 2.75″ and adhered the top panel to it. I then adhered these layers to the card base.

My last task was to decorate the envelope. I used a white Sakura Glaze pen to draw some dandelion seedheads. When the Glaze pen lines had dried, I used a gold glitter Uniball Signo gel pen to add dots.

My reflections.

I started with a 2.5″ x 5″ piece of watercolour paper and a brush. I used water to draw circles where I wanted the dandelion heads to be. I then used the brush to add Stormy Skies and Weathered Wood Distress Inks into the water, letting it spread as it liked. To ensure I had a darker area of the seedhead, I dropped the watered-down inks to the bottom and left of the circles.

While the circles were drying, I worked on the card base. I applied Peeled Paint and Iced Spruce Distress Oxide Inks with a mini foam blending tool. Then, I sprayed the card with a mixture of gold Perfect Pearls and water and let it dry. Finally, I used Tim Holtz’s Micro Glaze to seal in the Distress Oxides – they react all too quickly with the sweat in fingers.

By the time I’d set the card base aside to dry I could return to the dandelion seed heads. I used a fine paintbrush, and some Titanium Iridescent Watercolour paint from Cosmic Shimmer to add the stems of the seeds. Once they had dried, I added dots of Enchanted Gold Iridescent Watercolour paint to the stems and set the panel aside to dry.

I wanted to add some dandelion heads and seeds to the card base. I used a glass pen along with silver and gold inks from J Herbin. I didn’t think these would adhere to the micro glaze treated surface, but they did. On a darker background, I could really see how these inks look like liquid metals as they flow onto the paper. They didn’t dull as they dried, thanks to the micro glaze acting as a barrier to the Distress Oxide ink.

Next, I wanted to add the stems and leaves to the dandelions on the watercolour paper panel. I used some Bundled Sage, Weathered Wood and Stormy Skies Distress inks for this. I pressed them onto a sheet of plastic, diluted and mixed them with water and a brush and then used the mixture to add the stems and leaves. I started with a lighter colour wash, adding darker colours to the left of the stem and also under the dandelion heads to add some dimension.

Once I was reasonably happy with the stems, I worked on the leaves. Again, I started with a pale-coloured wash to get the shape of the leaves in place. Then I gradually added darker tones to give a sense of dimension.

When I’d finished this, I looked at the panel, and I wasn’t happy with the stems and leaves. They looked unfinished. So, I dug out a light grey Uniball Unipin pen and proceded to outline the stems and leaves. This improved matters greatly to my mind. I like the way the stems and leaves are now defined and how they contrast nicely with the airy, ephemeral feel of the seedheads.

I then set about adding some dots of the gold watercolour around the arrangement of dandelion seedheads, added my symbol and year, and that completed the top panel.

I cut a piece of black card that was approx. 5.25″ x 2.75″ and adhered the top panel to it. I then adhered these layers to the card base.

My last task was to decorate the envelope. I used a white Sakura Glaze pen to draw some dandelion seedheads. When the Glaze pen lines had dried, I used a gold glitter Uniball Signo gel pen to add dots.

Reflections on this project.

When I started, I only had a rough idea of what I’d like to do. I knew I wanted to use watercolour media and stylised dandelion heads.

At first, I tried to make the circles for the seed heads by using a Tombow Dual Brush pen to draw the outer circle. Then, I used water and a brush to get the ink to bleed into the circle.

The result wasn’t pretty.

So, I regrouped and tried Distress Inks and water, and I was much happier with the result, and the card grew from there.

I’m pleased that I ran with a more stylised dandelion head than I’d initially considered. One of my artistic strengths is my ability to create stylised motifs. I certainly think I managed to do that with the dandelion heads and their leaves, especially as watercolour media is not a strength of mine.

I’m also glad I used the iridescent paints to add the details. That makes my inner raven very happy. The use of metallic inks on the card base increased the happiness of the raven even further!

I was about to give up on the card when I’d added the stems and leaves with just Distress Inks; I wasn’t happy with them. However, trying the grey line made all the difference in the world. The dandelions went from almost being consigned to the waste bin to being good enough.

I’m now happy with the card and the envelope; it’s something I’ll try again in the future, maybe. After all, I do have a few more watercolour paper panels that need to be used!

So, Angela, how are you today?

Yesterday, I had EMDR therapy. The session was quite painful, physically, and a bit distressing emotionally. I felt content and optimistic going to the appointment, and I left feeling pretty much the same. However, I suddenly became exhausted when I was half-way home. And I do mean exhausted. I felt my eyes trying to cross and close.

I made it safely home and, after having a little something to eat, I collapsed into bed and slept until early evening.

I was still really tired when I woke, but a random chancing upon crochet patterns for hyperbolic surfaces and ammonites kept me up for a while. Indeed, I lost myself in crocheting hyperbolic forms.

This morning I woke feeling content and optimistic and cheerful. The sun was shining, which always helps my mood for sure.

Even though I was feeling sunny inside, I wanted to spend time on a little project or two today. I didn’t want to push myself after what turned out to be a gruelling EMDR session yesterday. So, that’s why I threw myself into creating this little card.

Now, it’s nearly 7 pm here in the UK, and I’m bone-tired once again. I’ll spend the evening either creating another card or crocheting. Either way, it’s self-care time.