Coloring Page / Template

Colouring page / template

It’s Thursday. The pandemic is still in action. That means it’s time for a new coloring page or template for members of the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group.

It’s free to join the group, and the template is a freebie for members of the group.

This week, I created a mandala design with a background of geometric, repeating patterns.

I’m still recovering from the stress of my first trip out since March 2020. Drawing (and colouring) mandalas is an incredibly peaceful, relaxing and mindful activity. So, it was natural that I drew one.

The mandala design is based on some of the abstract art I’ve been doing of late. It’s a bit unusual for my mandalas, but I really do like the organic flow of the lines.

Even though the design is abstract, the repeating symmetry of a mandala bring some structure to the design. I am looking forward to seeing how members of the group add colour to the design.

The geometric patterns in the background also result in a soothing, repetitive rhythm for colouring; a rhythm that results in soothing and calming ones mind and emotions.

De-stressing

I have been totally shaken by the level of anxiety/stress that resulted from my trip out on Tuesday. I am beginning to feel more my contented and calm self. However, I find I’m still irritable and grumpy and have withdrawn from social media and the like for most of the day.

It was a sobering thought when I realised I’d lived most of my life constantly at elevated stress levels, often as higher than what I experienced in the past couple of days.

It’s also a wonderful realisation that I can recognise this now, and I also am able to allow myself self-care time to let all the stress hormones leach from my body. It’s been a long time since they peaked in this way.

It makes me extremely grateful to my therapist for her years of patient work with me. Experiences like the Tuesday Trip remind me of how I used to be and show me how far I have come in recovery from cPTSD.

Yesterday, after my social media post, I binged watched the Harry Potter films from The Order of the Phoenix. I found I was irritated by crochet. I tried cross-stitch, which irritated me too. Eventually, I settled on knitting, which, oddly, soothed me. I think it’s because I could knit and watch the film. Knitting allowed me to channel my irritability into something creative. As I can knit without looking at the knitting, I could also watch and immerse myself in the films at the same time.

My fingers are itching to knit again, now I’ve thought about it.

Even though I slept well last night, I’m still feeling really tired today. This happens as part of the post-stress come-down. It can last a few days. I’ll not be rushing to nap, however. Napping has a knock-on effect on my ability to sleep at night when I’m like this. My naps tend to end up as periods of deep sleep, so I try not to take them unless it’s absolutely necessary.

Template Thursday

The pandemic continues across the world and another week has passed us by. That means it’s time for another coloring template for members of the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group.

This week, I’ve decided to do a mandala. Mainly because I find mandalas incredibly soothing and calming to draw. I have drawn and coloured the mandala digitally in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro.

As always, the template is only available to members of the group. It’s free to join the group, and free to download the template. All I ask in return is that you follow the terms and conditions, don’t share the uncoloured template, and credit me with the artwork when you post your wonderful colourations online.

Template Thursday

Another week has gone by with the pandemic still occurring. That means it’s time for another template for members of the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group.

This week, I’ve created a rather abstract but typically entangled ‘Angela’ kind of template.

If you’d like to download the template to colour, you do need to be a member of the facebook group – it’s free to join and free to download the template (terms and conditions of use apply).

Abstract Art WIP

I’ve had some time this morning to do some more to this abstract art piece. I’m still learning about digital art and how it can work for me, but I’m feeling quite pleased with how this is growing, bit by bit.

As I work on it, I’m changing it from the sketch, which is often the case; the sketch is just a suggestion, and outline, a whisper of an idea.

The crisp, clean lines of digital art really appeal to me in this piece, as do the more muted colours.

Plenty more left to do on it, so daily updates will continue.

Pretty Art WIP

I’ve had a lovely couple of hours working on this particular piece of art. It is an abstract pattern, but the emphasis will be on shape and colour.

I drew the design out on paper and scanned it in to complete the artwork digitally in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro.

I was inspired by the work of Shell Rummel, and it reminded me of the type of art I did in my early arty exploratory days.

I wanted a watercolour feel to the art, so I’ve chosen to use rather soft colours and to try to keep the palette relatively limited. I also want to keep the extra patterns/lines to a minimum, though I do want some more detailed interest in places, such as the dots along the centre line of a leaf motif. This is going to be hard for me to do; I usually insist on filling every space with pattern and colour.

It’s also odd for me to work from a pencil sketch, usually I’m straight to pen on paper (or pen on screen). I do find it a lot easier to get my ideas/outlines onto paper than I do on the screen, and my lines flow. I think it’s because I get a better idea of the overall design as I do have a habit of zooming into whatever area I’m working on.

Overlaying a watercolour paper texture takes the art from the rather mechanical feel of digital art to something more textured and interesting, warmer and ‘human’ in feel.

This will take me a long time to complete, most probably over several days as I do have to do other stuff at this time. But it’ll be a nice thing to do as my ‘warm up’ art in the morning.

Summer Solstice 2020

Tonight, at 10:43 BST, the Sun appears to enter Cancer, as viewed from the Earth. Of course, it’s the Earth that is moving around the Sun. Today, marks the official start of summer, but it also marks the time when we have the days of most light here in the Northern Hemisphere, and we’ll soon notice there’s not quite so much daylight at the end of our days.

This year, English Heritage are live-streaming the solstice sunrise tomorrow morning on their facebook page. You’ll have to be up early (or just not go to bed!) as they start streaming from 04:07BST, with sunrise at 04:52BST. I’m certainly going to do my best to watch it. This is one of the good things to come out of the pandemic. The live stream hasn’t been done before. I would never go to Stonehenge on either Solstice as there would be too many people and far too much noise and bustle for me, but this is a nice way to see it as it happens, not recorded and shown after the fact.

I’ve always felt an affinity with the cycle of the seasons and marking the solstices and equinoxes has felt far more natural to me than any religious celebrations. The scientist in me appreciates the facts around these dates in the calendar, my heart and soul appreciate them in different ways that are personal to me.

I found this quote about the solstices, and it sums up a little bit about how I feel about them.

The artwork shows a lot more about how I’m feeling today – not quite with it, spaced out, emotional and well out of sorts. I had an idea in mind, but I just couldn’t execute it to my satisfaction today. It looks like I need another self-care day. Which is fine. I’ve learned that sometimes it’s best to go slow in order to go fast. By taking time out from commitments, I return to them in a better frame of mind and emotional state and I’m more able to fulfil them to my satisfaction for sure.

Digital watercolours?

Another morning, another play around with watercolours, this time digitally.

Soft balls of watercolour, fuzzy edges, with white ink details added on top. Layers of transparent colour.

I overlaid a watercolour paper texture, which helps give the right ‘feel’.

This is my favourite attempt at digital ‘watercolours’ so far. I definitely like using white ink in this instance; black ink was just too harsh, hard and jarred uncomfortably with the softness of the watercolours.

I tried lots of ways of adding colour; not just brushes, but different brush effects. In the end I was happiest with white ink.

A nice way to spend a couple of hours as I wake up.

Flower?

I’ve spent several hours exploring and trying ideas out in the realms of both digital and abstract art, and this is the result.

I’m really not at all sure about it in any shape or form. I think I was influenced by watching a few YouTube videos about mixed media and abstract art.

It’s been an “interesting” time, as well as a frustrating time in some ways. I also have a bit issue with choice of colours.

I’m pleased to say that I’ve calmed down an awful lot from the stresses of the last week or so. I actually slept for nearly 12 hours last night, which happens once all the adrenaline/cortisol have left my body. It’s nice to be back to my ‘normal’ state of contentment.

#MondayQuotes

I found this appropriate quote this morning, and thought I just had to try to add some pretty art behind it, and this is what I came up with.

I worked digitally and used some symmetry tools. I’m not entirely sure about it, but it let me try things out and let my mind work out some things, including how I’ve really been doing things a hard, long and laborious way in the past, digitally speaking. All part of the learning process, of course.

Yesterday, I had to take a total self-care day. I’ve had a very stressful couple of days, and that does take its toll on me. Today I feel less emotionally overwhelmed, I can sense that touchstone of contentment inside me, and the maelstrom of emotions concerning the events has mostly calmed down, and I hope the stressful situation will have done so, for a few days at least!

Shatterpoints of change causing stress and distress for someone in my circle, and supporting through it has been…difficult and unpleasant for me. Still, I think the situation has calmed, for now at least. The quote is really relevant to this situation, far more than for this person than for me.

As difficult as it has been, I have been able to see how far along my healing journey I have come. I can also see how my relationship with myself has become so much healthier. So that’s the positive pay off for me in all of this.

Work in Progress

Yesterday turned out to be an incredibly stressful and tiring one. By the time a crisis was sorted out, it was late evening and, try as I might, art just wasn’t going to happen.

So, I did what I do when I’m emotionally overwhelmed – watched a Star Wars film or two! Sadly, I had no Ben and Jerry’s in the house, and just couldn’t be bothered to order any in as a take-away order. But Star Wars always soothes me.

I didn’t get enough sleep last night, so a nap may be in order shortly. However, when I finally came around enough to turn my attention to art, I knew I wanted to try a digital art version of the watercolour painting “Seeking Calm” that I posted yesterday.

I’ve been working on the image for the last four hours, give or take a half hour. It’s been lovely to work digitally once again, and fascinating to workout how to achieve a similar kind of ‘feel’ to this as I had in “Seeking Calm”.

I know that, for now, I’m not going to be able to replicate digitally the way watercolour paints move and blend. I need to work out how to set up and use brushes that will let me at least capture a flavour of that. My head isn’t working well enough this morning to work on that.

Watercolors are transparent, but I didn’t want to work with transparent colours today. I have worked with rather delicate colours, just as I tend to do with watercolors, which is odd for me given that I usually love bright, vibrant colours.

Today, I think the soft, gentle, warm colours are just what my soul needs to soothe my frayed emotions. I even have ClassicFM on, which is unusual for me. I started by listening to the audiobook version of “Shatterpoint”, a Star Wars novel about Mace Windu. However, I realised I wasn’t really listening. So, I switched to ClassicFM.

Anyway, I also used white ‘ink’ to draw in details on the shapes along with various brushes to add shadows. The white ink adds to the delicate feel of the image; black would be just too stark and heavy I think.

I’m not sure if the background will remain as it is. I like how the colours almost glow against it, but it’s not the right colour or tone yet. But it’ll do for now.

I’ve made a bit of a mess of the colours in the centre of the bottom right motif, I think. I need a break from that to work out how to correct them. It may be that the colours are just too saturated and I need to desaturate them a tad.

I’ve had quite a serious break from digital art over the past couple or few weeks. It’s nice to return to it with fresh ideas for ways of working digitally.

So, I look forward to finishing this image sometime soon. But for now I’ll need some tea and I fancy some toast to nibble on, and maybe I’ll take a nap as my eyes feel really heavy.