Strata

Arty musings

I’ve been awake since silly o’clock. I have a delivery due before midday, so while awaiting it I have been arting.

This started off as a simple line drawing of patterns from the strata of rock formations of Raplee Ridge, Utah. Then, I added some patterns between them, zentangle or entangled style. I used fineliner pens on paper to do this drawing (left image).

My next job was to scan the drawing in and tidy it up digitally. Then, I thought I’d colour the design in. I kept to fairly earthy tones for this (middle image).

Finally, I thought I’d do a pure colour study of the line art. And I really like this one. I’ve played with shadow and light to give a sense of dimension to the artwork (right image).

I’m really pleased with the pure colour image. Not just for choosing a fairly pleasing palette, but for finally discovering how to use textured brushes to draw, colour and texture the different areas.

I’ve done work like this with traditional media, but have never really had much success digitally. It seems I have found some confidence here.

It does remind me of work I did some 15 or so years ago while studying for A level art as an adult, and how much pleasure I got from that. Now, as back then, I used simple colour palettes.

I suspect I’ll be doing more work like this – line art of patterns, followed by a coloured interpretation of those patterns. My mind is ticking over whether I could include some typography in these kinds of artwork too.

Moody mutterings

My mood is better today, I’m pleased to say. I’m not sure if it’s rest, self-care, Star Wars, knitting, art, or a combination of all these things that has helped lift it.

I know that my mood has weather, just as the world does. And in Wales, the weather can be changeable and varied! But like all weather, the gloom passes and sunshine returns. Though I wouldn’t say I’m sunshiny, I am content with a soft glow within. That is good enough for me, and for today as it’s rather wet and gloomy outdoors.

Monday Mandala

Eerie and spooky?

A fun, quirky, cute Hallowe’en themed mandala was what was needed on Monday morning.

I started with the skull, without any clue as to what I was going to do with it. Then I thought about adding a mandala around it, and I wanted it in eerie, almost glowing colours.

As I drew the skull without any outlines, I thought I’d do the same for the rest of the mandala. I also kept a pretty simple colour palette – violets, teals and blues.

It’s worked out OK. It certainly is a bit different. The most important thing is that I enjoyed drawing it, and that is most probably the most important thing of all.

Sunshine and mood

Today, there’s some sunshine and that helps to keep my mood up. I did feel a bit better yesterday – sleep and Star Wars really helped! I may have felt better, but settling to art just didn’t happen yesterday.

I’m still so tired. I think it’s all to do with some anxiety at this time. There’s nothing specific for it, just general anxiety. I think it was triggered by my boiler breakdown and then the engineer fixing it, and the increasing cases of Covid combined with a national lockdown in Wales.

I’m not sure I can drive less than a mile to the cemetery I like to walk around. I feel safe there in a way I don’t walking around the streets and town I live in at this time.

Of course, worrying about whether I’ll be breaking the rules to take a walk adds to my anxiety.

What a pickle!

It may be that I baulk and just stay home, and check the rules carefully before I do venture forth for a walk.

Pumpkin knitting

Knitting pumpkins while watching Star Wars. Guaranteed to reduce my anxiety. And knitting, unlike crochet, is something I can do without having to look at my fingers.

Also, I’ve found it really relaxing and the feel of the knitted fabric in my fingers is soothing and pleasurable. As I’ve been kintting in stocking stitch, it’s a very smooth fabric. Crochet tends to have more texture to it. I think I’ll be doing more knitting and less crochet for a while.

Saturday arty day

Artsy ramblings

Today I’m feeling a tad ‘meh’ to say the least. I’m tired despite sleeping plenty last night and yesterday. The weather is gloomy – leaden grey skies and rain. At least the autumn colours are glowing a little in the gloom.

So, today I just needed some arty fun. Nothing too big and overwhelming, something with a little whimsy, and no pressure for anything other than making art for art’s sake.

Hallowe’en is my favourite festival, so that’s where I started, along with pen and paper.

The drawing isn’t all that big – 8cm x 10 cm approx (3.25″ x 4″),s o it was relatively quick to complete. I scanned it in to tidy it up, but decided to add a spooky border around it, which I did digitally.

Then, I set to colouring the image, in Hallowe’en colours, mostly.

I played with texture brushes and how I can work with colour. I’m pleased to get some areas that seem to glow eerily. My brain won’t let me fully process that or go back to the image to add this effect to other design elements.

It was, after all, a few hours of fun, arting for art’s sake, and to do what I can to lift my mood.

Polymer clay

I spent sometime yesterday afternoon playing with polymer clay. The Sculpey clay I purchased is soft enough to work with almost straight out of the packet, which is a good thing.

I’m not entirely sure how I’m going to work with it. What I thought would work just didn’t for me. So, I’m going to let the ideas rumble around my subconscious and come up with how I could work with the clay my way.

I was disappointed with myself, but worked hard be easy on myself as this is a new skill to learn and develop. It won’t happen overnight. Also, there’s no rush or panic to get it done either.

In the meantime, I’m wrangling with myself as to whether I should invest in a pasta machine to roll out the clay or whether that’s a decision that can wait until I work out if polymer clay is for me or not.

Borders

This morning I’ve focused on work for my next Creative Haven coloring book and I wanted to create some borders I could use for the templates.

These are all approx 2cm (about ¾”) wide. When I was colouring templates for Entangled Gardens, I realised how much I enjoyed not only colouring the border but the finished feel it gave to the templates.

So, I want to build up a library of ready-to-go borders.

Some are organic, others geometric. Some more ornate than others. they are all devoid of any guide as to shadow as that then leaves it entirely up to the colorist how they approach the template.

A nice, if different, way to start the day.

Monday Mandala

Teals and five-fold symmetry for this Monday’s Mandala.

I was going to draw a much bigger mandala, but realised that this is just perfect as it is, although I can always go back and add to the mandala at a late date.

I’m still working out the best way to get highlights and shadows the way I like them, and I’m happy with today’s mandala. However, I think I’m realising that there is no one single, perfect way to add shadows and highlights. I think it depends on the design and the effect I’m looking for.

All the experimentation isn’t a waste of time. I’m learning new things all the time about digital coloring.

Tuesday Mandala

Another day, and the inner need to create a mandala. I’m not entirely sure about this one. Whether it’s the red colour I’ve chosen, or the dense texture of the widest ring, or something else.

It may not be the mandala itself, but how I’m feeling today and how the mandala is, perhaps, a reflection of that.

Perhaps I’m just trying to read too much into it.

Though I’m not too sure about the finished mandala, the process of creating it was pleasant, calming, satisfying in it’s own right. Maybe as the day goes on the mandala will reveal more about myself today.

Monday Mandala

It’s always a lovely way to start the day – mandala drawing. Symmetry is one of the things that I love.

There’s also plenty of detail in this one – lots of line work to add dimension, which is then enhanced by highlight and shadow.

I chose a rather muted kind of background for this mandala. Sometimes, I tend to make things too bright and colour-saturated. Today, it’s soft and dusky purple.

There’s plenty of my favourite kinds of patterns and motifs in this one – seed pods, arches, spirals, leaves and hearts. But there’s also some unusual, for me, spirals.

This morning’s art brings a warm and gentle smile to my heart, soul and my lips. As I said, it’s a lovely way to start a day and sets me up just nicely for whatever else I need to do this day, and the first task of the day will be breakfast!

Tuesday Typography for Paleotober

I had to take a totally different approach to completing this piece of typographic art – pencil drawing the design and letter outlines on paper before inking and scanning into the computer.

Once scanned in, I could clean the image up, fill the shapes with black. I learned how I could use some of the tools in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro to do this. However, in black and white the artwork looked just so flat and dull.

So, I added a chalkboard background in a lovely sea blue (ammonites were denizens of the oceans after all!), and added a colour gradient to the typography.

It then looked a bit better. But I thought I’d try adding highlights and some shadows. And that just did the trick and I was finally happy with what I’d produced. It was good enough for another step on my typographic art apprenticeship.

That doesn’t mean there are things I wouldn’t do differently the next time I try something like this. My hand lettering needs a lot of work on, as does my attention to the letter weights too. I’ve just realised that I meant to draw tiny ammonites in the dark blocks between words as spacers. Also, I could’ve spent a lot of time tidying up the lettering digitally.

I also learned that working on paper gives me a much better overall view of the design and how things sit together. For some reason I struggle with this when working digitally. It may be that digitally I can zoom in and out and often work unaware of what is around the design. With paper, that overall perspective is ever present.

Digital art is something I love to work with, but I’m realising that I do need to work on paper too, even if it’s a sketch or drawing that can then be enhanced, edited and completed digitally.

Mandala Monday

I had no preconceived idea of how today’s mandala would work out when I started out around four hours ago. There were sticky moments along the way and until I added shadows and highlights I thought I’d made a right pig’s ear out of it. Then it all started pulling together. The final glowing centre and ring as well as the shadow around the whole design was what finished it off nicely for me. So, I’m now quite pleased with it.

I chose the mossy greens subconsciously. I took a walk yesterday and though I was taken with the first showings of fiery autumn colours, there was plenty of this mossy kind of colour around – lichens, moss, aged and fallen leaves. I guess it stuck in my mind.

Contentment and peace is the result of my artistic endeavours this morning.

As far as the typography I posted yesterday, I was getting frustrated with working digitally. So, I thought I’d work on paper. I think it’s coming along a bit better now, but only time will tell if I’ve made the right choice. I will be finishing it off digitally, once all the letters are completed, but it will be a while before I’m at that stage I think.

For now, I think I’ll finish up my social media stuff and then maybe wander out for a walk while it’s dry.

Monday Mandala

Autumn is steadily creeping in; the tree-covered valley-side that I can see from my office/studio has more yellow-toned greens than the darker green of summer. I can make out some flashes of reds here and there too.

The sky is pale grey and there’s a distinct chill in the air, so warming orange tones were needed as the background to this intricate, detailed entangled mandala.

This mandala was created just for the simple pleasure, joy, contentment it brings me.

I create art because it lifts my heart, my soul. It expresses what I find fascinating in the world combined with my need for intricacy, detail and precision in my artwork. Art like this is always very personal expression of what keeps that artistic flame alight in my heart and allows me to create some beauty to share with the world. I smile when I create art like this. My hope is that my art spreads smiles with others who see it – whether on their lips or in their heart and soul.