Inhale, Exhale, Repeat

This was so very enjoyable!

I started with the hand-drawn typography. I’ve just started another Domestika course — Hand-Drawn Typographic Portrait by Sarah King. The first exercise is to letter words boxes divided by wavy lines. Then, creating letters in different weights. And of course, practice is something that needs to be done.

There was just something about her approach to this that grabbed me, and so, I now have many boxes with words and quotes in.

The first lesson shows how to use Photoshop to edit your lettering outlines and fill them with black. I found the process rather clunky and long-winded. Perhaps that’s because I’m used to working in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro with a pen on a screen as if they were pen and paper, that I could do this in my own way.

So that’s what I did. I used one of my pencilled samples to create the typography for the centre panel.

Then, it was adding the background. I just went with the flow on that one. I made use of the symmetry tools in Sketchbook Pro, and just had fun with a limited colour palette and my favourite kinds of shapes.

The course is about portraits. However, I have zero interest in drawing people. However, the techniques shared will spark ideas for how I can use them.

I’ve long been trying to incorporate words, quotes into my artwork and struggling to find my own style. I’m not sure if this will help, but I’m really quite happy with this particular artwork.

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.

Mandala 26 Feb 2020

Mandala © Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

About the mandala

This morning, after a couple of topsy turvy days, I managed to get some art done before I get sorted for the day.

It’s always lovely to return to art after a little break from it. Today, I used a photograph I took last August while visiting the National Botanic Gardens of Wales. Gorgeously coloured flowers were blooming in the great glasshouse, and this stylised flower is based on some of them, including the colour palette.

A bright, sunshiny, warmly glowing flower is just what I needed to paint this morning. I think I’ve chosen a background colour/texture that allows those colours to shine too.

Digital art created with Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, Microsoft Surface Studio and Microsoft Surface Slim Pen.

Leaving therapy…

Monday was a crazy kind of day. In the morning I got sidetracked by a friend, all while I was trying to pack gifts up for my therapist before I headed to my last appointment, for the foreseeable future anyway.

That’s right. I’ve finished with EMDR therapy, for now. I feel I’m good enough learn to fly through life without the support net of my therapist. My wings haven’t spread much, and though weak, they’re strong enough for me to take my first bumbling, solo flights in life (solo as in not with therapy). I’m going to crash onto the ground, bump into trees and obstacles, even get tangled up from time to time in branches and brambles. I do feel, however, that I can cope with the bumps of my flight through my post-therapy life.

Getting tangled up may result in me needing help to untangle myself as something happens in life that triggers a part of the cPTSD that is still hidden and causes it to rise up to the conscious mind where it can be dealt with. This may mean a return to EMDR to deal with that particular set of traumas.

It was both a little sad and a fairly exciting and happy time too. My therapist and friends are proud of me for the work I’ve put in, as well as the perseverance and courage I’ve shown in facing some of the traumas that have resulted in the cPTSD.

New Camera!

I’ve had a need floating around my head for a little while – to buy a DSLR camera. I’ve looked at them, read about them, tried to decode the technical blurb, and finally found myself drawn to one particular model time and time again.

Rather than purchase it online, I steeled myself yesterday to take a trip into Cardiff to visit Cameraland. I’d looked at various shops where you can buy cameras, but this one really ‘felt’ right. And I have to say, it was the right choice.

So, after breakfast, I headed off to Cardiff, parked up, and walked from the Museum to Cameraland through the town. For many years I’ve not been able to go into Cardiff. Loud voices, noises and the high number of people ramp anxiety in me up to a level of startle and hyper-vigilance. So, I used noise-cancelling earphones and upbeat music to help me cope.

And I did! This wouldn’t be possible to do if I was with someone or people, but on my own it’s completely do-able.

Anyways, the chap I talked to in Cameraland was very helpful, knowledgeable. I explained what I’d like a camera for, my experience with SLRs in the past, and the model I’d had my eyes on. He did say there were other options, but none as good as the one I’d chosen.

He showed me around the camera, let me hold it, use it, and then when I’d decided it was the one for me helped me with a uv lens filter, memory card and a camera bag that is spacious enough for me to use as a handbag too.

This camera is a celebration gift to myself for completing therapy, to mark a kind of rite of passage for me. It’s also a way for me to encourage myself to explore the world a bit more. I’ve invested a fair bit of money in the camera and I really don’t want to see it sitting in the bag, being unused.

I still can’t just go out because I’d like to go out. I still need a reason to leave my home. Going out to use my camera is a good reason in my mind.

It also means that when I’m with Liz, or others, on days out, I can record things that catch my attention that I’d usually sit and draw. Yes, I can use the camera on my phone, which is a good phone camera. However, the images aren’t as clear or colour-faithful as I’d like.

So, I may be sharing particularly nice photos I’ve taken too, of all kinds of things that I find interesting, fascinating.

Sunday morning mandala

Mandala © Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

It’s a sunshiny morning in South Wales. A welcome respite from the rain we’ve experienced most of the week. The cleanup and return to ‘normal’ continue after the flooding that occurred just one week ago.

I had no idea what I would create this morning, other it would be a mandala.

I drew and painted the design digitally using Autodesk Sketchbook Pro along with a Surface Slim Pen and Surface Studio, both from Microsoft.

This one has the floral centrepiece with a zentangle-style background. The flower is an unusual colour choice for me; I tend not to use corals and red tones much. It’s easy enough to change colours digitally, but I went with it, knowing that my colour choice reflects how I’m feeling at this point in time.

Yes, I do tend to create rather intuitively. This design didn’t start with a sketch, but with the first shape to be drawn, which was reminiscent of a petal. The rest of the design grew from there.

I’m surprising myself with how I’m able to ‘paint’ digitally. I enjoy creating more stylised forms, but with added texture and contrast to bring them to life. I know I’m not an expert at this; however, each time I work in this way, I learn more.

Today’s big lesson was how to save a brush style I’d edited and liked as a new brush for my brush library.

I’m glad I’m learning and developing my digital art voices and styles and that it’s happening slowly over time and as my needs demand. I know if I watched videos or followed tutorials on how all this worked, I would become incredibly overwhelmed and frustrated.

I also know that by watching what others do, I would likely be tempted to emulate their style and way of working.

I need to work out my own style/voice and be comfortable with it.
So, I’m not putting any pressure on myself to do something that I’m not yet ready for or haven’t had an awareness of what I could do.

Leafy Mandala 22 Feb 2020

Leafy Mandala 22 Feb 2020 © Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

Yesterday was a day where I was feeling ‘off’, ‘out of sorts’ and I needed to do a fair amount of self-care and self-soothing. That included painting this mandala. Leafy, frondy berry simplicity. Softer colours than I usually use.

I used Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, Microsoft Surface Studio and Microsoft Surface Slim pen to create this.

Happy Coloring Day 2017!

Angela Porter National Colouring Day 2018 colouredSmall

Have a wonderful day, and find even a few minutes to colour, relax, unwind and calm!

Here’s my finished version of my Coloring Day Template 2017.  I’ve enjoyed colouring it, muchly, but now need to turn my attention back to drawing eerie lineart for Dover Publications.

Oh, I coloured it using my Microsoft Surface Pen and Microsoft Surface Book in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro.  It took around 15 hours or so to complete, I think; I lost time while doing it!