Sketchbook Page

Sketchbook page

Yesterday, I spent some time adding colour to paper to add to my custom sketchbook. This is one of the papers that I created, with an abstract drawing on it, that is finished enough for the sketchbook.

The artwork measures approx 4″ x 6½”. I used a piece of ClaireFontaine Paint-on mixed media paper which I coloured with Distress Oxide Inks followed by some sprays and splatters of water to create a distressed look. The colours used were Seedless Preserves and Fossilised Amber.

I first drew the basic outline of the design with a M Pitt Artist pen from Faber-Castell. To add colour to the design, I used Distress Inks in Seedless Preserves, Fossilised Amber and Ripe Persimmon like watercolours.

Then, I started to add patterns, lines and stippling to the design to bring out the patterns and add depth, interest and dimension.

I think it’s worked out fairly well. I may well go back to yesterday’s ‘Blessings’ artwork and add colour and more patterns to it at a later date.

I went out!

My blog post is a little later as I decided to go out for a walk this morning. This was a big deal for me. Especially after the effects of the high anxiety/stress I experienced last week.

I went to my local cemetery, Glyntaff Crematorium. It’s fairly large, with lots of paths and roads sectioning the cemetery up. I wandered around the older section, which is full of fascinating funereal sculpture. I had my DSLR camera with me, and managed to take over 100 photos this morning, not just of gravestones, but textures too.

It was so nice to be out in fresh air, moving my body around more than I have done for nearly four months. I had nice music on earphones so that any loud sounds wouldn’t startle me. There was work going on around the crematorium as well as grounds work.

It was also nice to drive my car again. It’s been a week, and I really miss the freedom of just being able to take a drive. It’s important that we still stay home as much as possible and to limit our time where there are people. I think my choice to visit the cemetery was a good one. Very few people, alive or dead, haunt cemeteries!

I think I fall into the group of people known as tapophiles – people who are interested in cemeteries, gravestones and funerals. It’s not a morbid interest, just an interest about the changing styles of funerals, funerary sculpture , practices and how they change over time with society and culture.

I discovered the fascination with gravestones when I walked to and from school through this cemetery. It took me longer to get home than it did to get to school. On the way home I had the time to linger and explore and indulge my curiosity. I remember being too scared to look in the chapels there, but enjoyed popping into the columbarium, which has recently been renovated and reopened.

I think I’ll be looking for other cemeteries fairly local to me to visit in the weeks ahead, ones that offer me a good walk as well as interesting graves to look at.

Blessings

Wibbly-wobbly sculptural columns and arches surrounded by layers and layers of abstract bubbles, ripples and swirls of thoughts, wishes, blessings. Well, that’s what came to my mind as I added the architectural details.

No highlights, no sparkle, limited pattern and texture. Just flowing line work, for the most part. I’ve even left some ‘white space’ in the design, which is becoming less unusual for me.

Rounded arches with patterns reminiscent of Romanesque architecture. The columns are, however, more delicate, which is more reminiscent of the move towards Gothic architecture. Both forms or architecture have long been a source of artistic inspiration for me.

Soothing, relaxing and meditative to draw. Circles and spirals, arches and patterns are always comforting and endlessly fascinating to me.

Drawn using Faber-Castell Pitt artist pens on paper coloured by PaperArtsy Fresco paints. The drawing is approx. 2½” x 6¾”.

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.

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.

Watercolor Greeting Cards

About the artwork

I needed a quiet morning, again, today. So, I thought I’d dig out my Caran D’Ache Supracolor Soft watercolour pencils and try some stuff with them.

I wanted to use them to draw a flower, or two, and then use water to create a watercolour effect. The result you can see on the left-hand side card. I’ve left loads of white space on this card, which is unusual for me. I couldn’t resist, however, adding some gold dots around the flowers. The colour of the petals was so delicate that I used a 2H 3mm pencil to outline them and the leaves. Just for info, the piece of watercolour paper measures 4″ x 4″.

For the other cards, I just wanted to work with the pencils to create gradients and abstract patterns in colour. I drew on the little panels using a 0.25 Copic Multiliner SP pen and added some lines and details with metallic gold watercolour. These cards are approx 3″ x 4″ in size.

Watercolor pencils are nice to use when it comes to drawing in colour with them, then activiating the colour with water. They really glow on 100% cotton rag paper (bottom right) compared to the other cellulose papers.

Cute and whimsical cards, some very detailed, one not quite so. But a nice way to spend my morning.

Self-care time, again.

There’s a situation going on around me that is draining my emotions greatly at this time. I’m doing my best to not become overly emotionally involved in it, but it’s difficult when it’s to do with people you care about.

It all has a knock on effect with me. I’m anxious, tired verging on exhausted, really grumpy, irritable, and lacking patience at this time. I’m also not able to concentrate too well. These are all behaviours I could do without in dealing with this situation. Yet I’m exhausted by it.

I have been meditating, making sure I take time to do self-calming and self-soothing activities, such as my morning art, Though I have work to do for contracts, I need to take a day away from everything, if I can.

I know there are lessons for me to learn about myself in how I’m reacting ot the situation, stuff from my past that wasn’t processed during my EMDR therapy. If I can work out what it is, I can work through it myself now. Organising EMDR therapy isn’t possible at this time, with lockdown still very much in operation and me being very nervous of going out into the world as well.

So, I’m going to make time today to drink tea, meditate, journal and try to get to the bottom of my own issues and start doing what I can to work through them and heal the past traumas that are causing my reactions at this time.

I think I’ll also take time to crochet (I started a mosaic blanket earlier this week) and watch films or crafting shows on the TV. Eat healthily – I have a yearning for brussel sprouts, of all things! And take time away from social media and news. I may even pick up my flute and play it, for the first time in months and months.

Template Thursday

This week’s coloring template is a series of bookmarks. A member of the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group said they’d like some designs that could be used as bookmarks, and so I went with the suggestion.

The designs are typically ‘Angela’ and ‘entangled’. I used a Tombow Fudenosuke along with an 04 Pigma Sakura Sensei pen to draw the designs. After scanning and cleaning up, I’ve partially coloured the designs, as well as adding a pale kraft paper background.

To use them as bookmarks, I suggest printing them on some card. If that’s not possible, then gluing the whole sheet to some card and then cutting out the book marks would make them sturdier. Of course, a laminator could prove most useful in preserving your beautiful coloring, as well as making really long lasting book marks that could be given as beautiful gifts, or used to mark the coloring page you’re working on too.

Entangled Art

Entangled Art © Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

Last night, I carried on with the Domestika Course – Modern Watercolor Techniques by Ana Victoria Calderon. The last sections are all about painting ‘galaxy’ style backgrounds. Scientific pedantry here – they’re not really ‘galaxies’, more nebulae. Just had to say that and get it off my chest.

I painted along with her, and the first background I created was really not at all good, perhaps. I used White Knights watercolours, Cosmic Shimmer metallic gold watercolour and salt. Way too much salt and probably way too much water, and trying to work how someone else does. Still, you learn by doing, even if it doesn’t work out as you’d want it to.

I let the paper dry, did my best to remove the salt and then decided to use a 0.1 Sakura Pigma Micron pen to draw on the background.

I allowed the shape and flow of patterns in the colour to inform me as to how I could draw shapes and patterns, and the end result is today’s image!

As disappointing as my first attempt at a ‘galaxy’ background was, I actually rather like the end product that includes drawing, a typically ‘Angela’ entangled design.

What I am also kind of pleased with, is that I chose to leave some areas of colour without any drawing on them. That is something unusual for me to do.

I started with the floral motifs and let the rest of the design flow from there. As it flowed, the patterns became more and more of an abstract nature.

What you can’t see in the scan, are the subtle areas of gold shimmer that resulted from the spreading of the Cosmic Shimmer metallic watercolour paint. It gives a very subtle sheen in some areas.

While the first background was drying, I had a go at creating another, using what I’d learned from creating the first. Instead of the White Knights, I used Kuretake Gansai Tambi watercolours and I had a bit more success. I’m not entirely happy with the overall balance of the colour areas, but when I’ve decided what to do with it, I’ll share it.

Watercolour Practice

Yesterday was another day where I got lost in watercolour practice – unintentionally! I had planned to do some editing of drawings for ‘Entangled Gardens’. However, time ran away with me.

Panel 1

The first panel I completed was the one with leaves on. They do have plenty of gold metallic/iridescent watercolour paint along with traditional paint, though it doesn’t show up in the photo.

I tried different ways of adding details to the leaves – Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Pen (F) and metallic watercolour and brush. I find the black pen either too black or I used too thick a point. The metallics in a red-copper, gold and grey-black were more sympathetic to the colours of the leaves, in my opinion.

Panel 2

The next panel I created is the one at middle bottom. I made circles of watercolour and let them touch while wet so there was some flow of colour from one to another. After they’d dried I used a fine brush and both watercolours and metallic watercolours to add line and pattern to it.

I enjoyed making this one very much. I used some quite earthy colours that are unusual for me. The line and pattern added a lot of interest, though I did wonder if I’d covered up too much of the underlying watercolours.

Looking at this with fresh eyes today, I think it shows through just fine. I want to try using metallic paints that are complementary to the main colours in the watercolour to see how that works out.

Panel 3

This is the one at the middle top. I created ovals of watercolour, again using unusually muted, earthy tones.

Once they’d dried I used some Caran D’Ache Luminance coloured pencils, well sharpened, to add patterns to each oval. I used the variation in colour/tone to help me add the patterns, as well as to choose the colours of pencils I used on each oval.

Finally, I used a yellow-green metallic/iridescent watercolour paint to fill in some of the patterned areas.

I enjoyed making this panel too. Again, I thought when I finished it that the pencil lines were a bit thick. However, after a night’s sleep and with fresh eyes I can see that it’s worked out well. I think that using coloured fineliner pens may work out better than coloured pencils – something I’ll try another time.

Panel 4

The last panel I created yesterday was the fourth panel. I used a different kind of watercolour paper, by Tim Holtz. The paint just dried so quickly on it I couldn’t really drop colours in, though the paints would re-wet and I could blend colours that way. I didn’t really enjoy using this paper.

Anyway, I thought I’d make a typically ‘Angela’ entangled style painting. I did use a raw umber Caran D’Ache Luminance pencil to draw the design on the paper. This was such a pale colour it disappeared into the watercolour sections. Again, I used uncharacteristically earthy, muted colours.

The final panel was nice enough, however, it was lacking in pattern and interest. So, I decided to use it to experiment with different ways of adding outlines and pattern to the various sections. I also noted on the panel what method I’d used next to each one.

The metallic paints and pens worked nicely and were practically or totally opaque. I prefer using a pen rather than a brush, though I’d not be averse to adding line and pattern using a fine brush and watercolour.

The gold and silver Uniball Signo glitter pens worked really nicely, and because the glitter is suspended in a transparent ink, there’s interesting effect where the watercolour shows through. I actually really like this a lot.

I couldn’t find a gold Sakura Gelly Roll pen, so I used a silver one instead. This, surprisingly, wasn’t as shiny as the Signo silver pen, but it worked just as well in terms of opacity.

I tried two white gel pens – a Uniball Signo and Sakura Gelly Roll. Both seemed to be fairly opaque, the Sakura being very slightly more so.

Finally, I dug out some really fine black pens – 005 and 01 OHTO Graphic Liners and a 01 Sakura Pigma Micron. These worked much nicer than the thicker pen I’d used on the leaf panel.

Of course, I left some areas of the panel without any lines added for comparison.

Of all the pens I tried, I like the metallic and glitter gel pens the best for this.

On reflection…

I’ve found I really like to work on a smaller scale. I feel like I’m creating small ‘treasures’ full of interest and fascination. I’m happier working smaller and more detailed than I am working on a larger scale.

I want to try coloured fineliner pens to draw patterns on watercolours.

Another experiment will be for me to use metallic and plain acrylic and other inks to draw with. I do have a glass pen that will work nicely with indian ink and writing ink. I’ll have to dig some dip-nib pens out to try with the metallic acrylic paints as well as a brush. I think that ball tools could be used to dot spots of ink onto the work rather than a brush; something else to try.

I also need to find a way of leaving a border on the page! When I draw a colouring template or other piece of lineart, I start by drawing a pencil line to demarcate the area I want to draw in, leaving a border around the line. I need to do the same for watercolour panels, either using a pencil or masking or washi tape.

Something else I’ve worked out is that I tend to use too much water when I paint, and I need to experiment with using less and trying dropping colours in when the area is at different levels of dryness.

Lots of things to try and consider.

Doodling? Really?

I see a lot of people calling the addition of line, texture and pattern as part of an artwork ‘doodling’. I don’t like doodling being used in that way.

Here are the definitions for ‘doodle’ from Dictionary.com

verb (used with or without object), doo·dled, doo·dling.
*to draw or scribble idly:
He doodled during the whole lecture.
*to waste (time) in aimless or foolish activity.
noun
*a design, figure, or the like, made by idle scribbling.

https://www.dictionary.com/browse/doodling

When I add line or pattern to my drawing, it’s not an idle or unconscious activity. I deliberately choose what patterns and textures I want to use and where to place them. The process of adding the lines, patterns and textures may be a more mindful process if the pattern is familiar to me.

The lines, textures and patterns are used to add interest to elements of the overall design. But they are not meaningless, as implied in the words scribble and doodle, and they are anything but idle or mindless scribbles. There is purpose in them, and this is why the use of the word ‘doodle’ irks me!

What am I going to do with the panels?

The leafy panel I created to add to a tag to put in my journal. The other panels will also live in my journal, even the one with annotations, possibly with a pocket behind it for my notes and reflections!

Dragonfly Designs

©Angela Porter | Artwyrd

One of my ideas is to create a digital library of designs of things that interest me and that may be useful in my journal making, card making, or just other kinds of art.

For some reason, I decided on dragonflies. So, I sketched out some ideas and then inked the drawings in digitally. I also added details and patterns ot the designs that weren’t present in the sketches. The dragonflies are in my signature entangled style for sure.

I still have a few sketches to work on, and some alternatives of the wing shapes and body designs. I also want to do them as silhouettes. I like silhouettes on coloured backgrounds, like the one I’ve used today.

I used Autodesk Sketchbook Pro to ink in the designs. I also used it to add the background, shadows and typography.

The background is one of my own made using Distress Oxide inks and water. I love that I can recolour the image digitally; the original was in shades of pink and purple, but I thought that blues and greens would suit the dragonflies much more.

I’ve left the dragonflies uncoloured, for now, though adding colour will bring the designs to life and add some dimension to them.

I don’t have a colour printer anymore, just a black and white laser printer. I may consider getting a colour printer in the future, however, as I think being able to print my own digital art would be useful, especially for using in journal making. An inkjet printer would be the most useful; it would allow me to print on many different kinds of paper and lightweight card.

I’m also thinking of putting together digital collections of backgrounds and ephemera and/or digi stamps for sale via my Etsy shop. Let me know if you think that’s a good idea by dropping a comment.

Journal – pages 4 to 7

Over the past day or so, I’ve done some work on my journal and have pages 4 to 7 mostly complete. I’ve included lots of pockets to slip paper or artwork or other surprises into. I’ve also used some artwork I created as ephemera and embellishments.

Page 4 – top left.

This page has three pockets. One made by adhering two pages together, with a thumb notch punched out. Another is made from a sheet of tracing paper. The third is behind one of my signature entangled drawings; it’s a fairly secret pocket, unless I add something that peeks out from it.

I coloured the reverse of the drawing with Distress Inks as I didn’t know how they’d react with the pen drawing. Then, I adhered the tracing paper to some old book paper, and then adhered this to the tracing paper pocket, applying glue along three sides to create the pocket.

Once the glue was dry, I added some zentangle style patterns to the tissue paper pocket, just for fun. I used one of the Chameleon Fineliner pens to do this, using a colour that went well with the colours I’d used to ink the paper.

Page 5 – bottom left.

Page 5 is a little bit bigger than half the width of a page. I folded up the bottom of the page and adhered it along the edges to make a tuck-in. I punched out the thumb notch with a circle paper punch.

I decorated the tuck in with flower art at that I created myself. I also added some zentangle style patterns in between the flowers. I used Chameleon Fineliner pens, this time using a red and orange to get a gradient.

Page 6 – top right.

Again, a page that is a little more than half the width.

The drawing was done in gold ink on tracing paper. I used Distress Oxide inks to colour the reverse of the tracing paper before adhering it to some old book paper. The text and diagrams on the book page shows through faintly, as it does with the drawing on page 5.

Page 7 – bottom right.

This page just has a flower painting I created along with old book paper that have been collaged onto the journal page.

You can see the thumb notch on the edge of the page, showing I created a pocket by adhering two pages in the journal together.

Next steps…

None of the pages are fully completed. I’d like to add quotes or meaningful words or phrases. Some pages have gaps where I can add ephemera or pockets and so on. There’s certainly many spaces on the pages where I can draw patterns and designs.

I’m going to let the pages rest for a while as I turn my attention to other things today.

I’ve been feeling a bit ‘off’ or ‘meh’ in the last couple or so days. I’m finding it hard to settle to work of any kind. That I’ve been able to focus on getting some little bits and bobs done for the journal shows I’m feeling a bit more focused than of late.