Tiny Botanical Experiments

I thought I’d start Sunday morning off with some experiments with my tiny botanical drawings.

I apologise for the photograph quality – I’m really not a good photographer, something I really do need to work at! The pale colours really don’t help at all.

The artwork on the bottom right is one where I applied rectangles of watercolor on 100% cotton rag paper. Then, I used Sakura Pigma Micron pens to draw designs in the windows. Finally, I added some watercolours to the designs to help bring them forward from the background.

I don’t think I messed the drawings up at all, which was my worry. Mind you, I do have to be careful what colours I do add so I don’t make weird colours.

That led to me wanting to try watercolour pencils and Inktense pencils on different watercolour papers:
top – 100% cotton rag paper
middle – Canson Moulin du Roy paper
bottom – Daler-Rowney Smooth watercolour paper.

On each paper, I drew four rectangles, two of which I coloured with a wash of watercolour.

I used the same colours of Derwent Aquatone and Inktense pencils to draw the stylised/abstract floral design and a waterbrush to activate the pigment. I did my best to apply the same amount of pencil in each case. However, I noticed that the papers grabbed different amounts of pencil even though I was using the same kind of pressure.

The amount of pigment grabbed, however, wasn’t at all indicative of how vibrant the colours would be.

The 100% cotton rag paper seemed to have the smallest amount of pigment from the pencils, yet it gave the most intense colours of them all. This paper is quite ‘hard’ in feel and very textured and I was surprised it didn’t seem to take as much pigment. Appearances are deceiving it seems. This paper also allowed me the longest ‘wet’ time to move the coloured pencil pigment around, and to lift some of it where it had got too intense.

The Moulin du Roy paper was a softer texture and it was lovely to colour with the pencils on it. The resultant drawings have a soft quality to them too that I rather like.

The Daler-Rowney seemed to grab the most pigment, yet the colours are not as vibrant, except the for the Inktense on the watercolour background. I think that’s because the watercolour background was still very slightly damp and Inktense pigment activates with the tiniest amount of water. I also think that’s why this one was the hardest to blend the colour smoothly. This was the paper that was the hardest to add the watercolour background to as it dries so darned quickly, or water just puddles on the surface with a tiny bit more water.

The cotton rag paper is, again, my favourite for working with watercolour and Inktense pencils. The vibrancy of the noticeable too – much less pigment is needed to get a rich colour on this paper.

For the other two papers, I did enjoy drawing the flowers on the plain paper and activating the pigment with a waterbrush. I partiuclarly like the Moulin du Roy paper for this technique, though the Daler-Rowney gave a pleasing result on the plain paper.

Tiny Botanicals

I have been really enjoying drawing tiny botanicals in little ‘windows’. So, I combined drawing with watercolor practice.

The image on the left involved me using a pencil to draw the boxes and their contents, then watercoloring. For some, I tried painting the image in sections and with layers of colour. I really wasn’t happy with the results. I painted the rest of the boxes with washes of watercolour and then either inked or re-drew the designs in pencil. I felt happier with these.

I used Daler-Rowney Smooth watercolour paper and I’ve been struggling to get the paper to stay wet enough for long enough to mix colours wet in wet. Not even on these tiny little windows. It was becoming very frustrating.

A couple of days ago, I’d ordered a pack of 100% cotton rag paper and it arrived early evening. I used a small piece of it for the illustration on the right.

I started by painting rectangles of colour on the paper. I used a waterbrush rather than a paintbrush for this. I used the same kind of transparency of watercolour for each as I did for the illustration on the left. Oh my gosh, did the colours shine and show up so much more vibrantly! Not only that, it was so easy to mix colours, wet in wet. The cotton rag paper is an absolute joy to work with!

I was beginning to get frustrated with myself and watercolors once again. This has been a common feature of my love-hate affair with them over many years. This paper may change that totally.

This morning, after letting the paper dry, I drew tiny botanicals in each window. I used, as in the image on the left, a 005 Sakura Pigma Micron pen to draw with. I was worried it would struggle with the paper’s rough texture. The lines aren’t as uniform as they’d be on, say, smooth Bristol board. I just went with the rougher nature of the lines and was surprised at how much I enjoyed them. They meant I loosened up my drawing style a little.

I really enjoyed creating these little artworks (the one on the left is approx. 5″ x 5″, the on on the right 4″ x 4.75″). There is something I find really satisfying about creating teeny tiny drawings, in the same way I find drawing intricate designs makes something inside me smile.

What I do want to try later on today is adding some more colour to some of the design elements on both drawings using both watercolours and watercolour pencils or inktense pencils. On second thoughts, I think I’ll do some samples to experiment on, annotate and add to my journal, just in case I don’t like what transpires.

Before I do any of that, I woke with a headache. It’s beginning to shift, but as it lifts it’s leaving me feeling really tired.

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.

Journal Ephemera

This morning, I woke early-ish and thought I’d spend a little time on my journal.

On page 2 I’ve added one of my silhouette irises backed onto some pearlescent card that i coloured with Chameleon Color Top marker pens. I’ll be adding a quote beside the flower, when I find the perfect quote to go there!

Above the flower you can see a little tag with a semi-circular bottom that has a little pocket in it. The tag will flip up so I can hide some journaling or quote or something pretty and surprising behind it.

On both pages you can see paperclips that have inchies embellishing them. This is a fab way for me to use my inchies in a practical way.

Finally, you can see three mini paintings – two floral, one abstract – that I can use in future pages.

Unusually for me I started by painting the basic shapes of flowers and leaves. Then, I added stems and details using various colours of fineliner pens as well as a white Sakura Gelly Roll pen. I added some sparkly dot details with Sakura Stardust and Uniball Signo glitter gel pens.

For the abstract pattern, I painted arcs on the watercolour paper and when they were dried I added curved lines using a white Sakura Gelly Roll pen and a gold glitter Uniball Signo pen.

I’m not at all sure how I’ll use these, other than the colours of the three cards go really well together so they’ll help me with the colour scheme for another pair of pages further on in the journal, as well as making other ephemera and so on for it.

I do like relatively straight edges, neatly regimented bits and bobs in my journal. I’m not one for lace and frills and frothy additions. It’s not completely clean and simple; I do like old book paper that’s been torn. It’s like I need to control shapes and positions and arrange things ‘just so’, neat and tidy like. That may very well be my way with journal creation, which is in juxtaposition with those I see on youtube.

Being confident with something new, like making my own journal, is something that takes time, perseverance and patience – the patience mostly being with myself until I gain enough confidence.

It’s also the confidence that doing something different to others is perfectly fine.

Yesterday

I was missing in action yesterday. I was unsettled, dissatisfied with anything I tried to do, and needing a lot of sleep it seems. I kept away from the ‘puter and social media. So, no art was done (other than a couple of templates for Entangled Gardens) and no blog post was written (nor any other social media).

One lesson I have learned from my time in counselling/therapy was the importance of knowing when to exercise self-care. I try my best to do this, though sometimes it’s difficult as I know there are expectations and pressures I place on myself.

However, I have learned that if I try to push myself to do things when I’m just not in the right place to do them, I just get more and more frustrated and fed up. If I give myself the time and space to do what I need to do to take care of my emotional and mental health, when I settle down to work, the work flows more easily and I’m more satisfied with what I create.

Although I did draw two templates yesterday, I started three or four others and just threw them as I really wasn’t at all happy with them, and they really were nonredeemable.

Once those two were complete, I felt better about my deadline for the book, a bit more settled in myself. However, any other artistic things I tried I was just frustrated with. So, a complete break away was needed. So, it was crochet while binge watching American Gods on Amazon Prime Video.

I don’t know if I’m feeling any better today as far as art goes, I do know I need breakfast before I consider doing any!

Journal Making – 16 May 2020

The Cover

On waking this morning, I wanted to work on the cover of my journal.

Yesterday evening, I managed to get a coat of gesso on to the cover and painted edge closest to the wire binding with gold. In hindsight, that may not have been the best idea.

I knew I wanted to use my silhouette iris drawing on the cover. Irises are my favourite flowers. Also, my aim for my journal is to use my own art as much as possible.

So, I printed out an arrangement of three irises, tore them out and coloured the paper with Distress Inks.

For the background, I used a piece of Claire Fontaine mixed media paper. I coloured it with Distress Inks – Old Paper, Tea Dye, a touch of Iced Spruce and a dusting of Vintage Photo around the edges and here and there on the main sheet.

This I adhered to the cover. I’d cut it narrower than the cover so that I didn’t have to butt it up against the wire binding. That’s why I wanted a gold border there.

Anyway, I decided to put some old book paper behind the irises. I added some ink to the edges of this paper too. I then glued them in place, along with the flowers.

I drew a border around this page with a copper-coloured Sakura Metallic gelly roll pen. Then, I used a gold glitter Uniball Signo pen to fill the background with tiny spirals.

I wanted to add the definition of ‘journal’ to the front cover. So, I did the typography in Affinity Publisher and printed it. After tearing the meaning out, I used Old Paper and Tea Dye Distress Inks to colour the paper, followed by Vintage Photo to ink the edge.

I then glued this to an old book page, tore that out and edged the paper with ink once again.

Before adhering the page to the cover, edged the paper with Ground Espresso Distress Ink as I didn’t think the edge was dark enough. I also coloured the edge of the journal cover with the same ink to hide the white.

An application of Distress Micro-glaze to seal the page and I could stick it to the cover.

I love the subtle sparkle of the spiral pattern on the cover. The micro-glaze picked up some of the fine glitter. It also makes the cover sheet feel very smooth.

I’m not happy with the gold edge to the journal, but I will, no doubt, find a way to make it look much better. Otherwise, I’m quite happy with the cover. I think it needs something else there, but I’ll work out what that is in the fullness of time.

The first three pages.

Page 1 I’ve shown before, and it’s now complete (apart from me adding journaling to the envelopes and other spaces.)

On page 2, I’ve added an experiment I did with Tombow Dual Brush Pens and a blender pen to draw designs on paper. I have some ATC cards coloured in the same blues/purples as the background of this page, so I’ll be finding a way to display them on the page when I’ve finished them.

Page 3 is a tiered series of simple pockets. I made them by tearing the paper of each page and layering them to create the pockets. The inserts are pieces of Claire Fontaine Mixed media paper that have been coloured in the same colours of Distress Inks as the pockets have been. I used Distress Oxide Inks for the pockets.

I’m not really sure what I’m going to do with the third page, yet. It will come to me, I’m sure!

Adobe Spark

I thought that I’d use Adobe Spark to make a short video rather than posting a montage of photos. I uploaded it to my channel on youtube so I could share it via social media more easily.

Adobe Spark is straightforward to use, and it does have a free option, though I pay about £10 per month for it. It makes creating simple content for social media really easy.

How am I feeling

I’m feeling much better today. The headache and light-headed/dizzy/drowsy feelings were with me for the whole day, including upset tummy and digestive system. I had weird pains in my right eye too. I slept a lot during the day, and just took it easy when I was awake. I wanted to crochet in the evening but found it hard to do even something familiar to me.

My digestive system is still uncomfortable and not quite right today, and I’m now beginning to feel rather tired. Like I’ve already done too much today. So, I’m going to be taking it easy for the rest of the day.

Coloring Template – 7 May ’20

Coloring Template © Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

Yet another week has gone by in lock-down, so it’s time for another coloring template for the members of the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group.

Flowers always cheer me up, and I thought they’d make a nice motif in the design. I kept to the same kind of flowers. In fact, although this drawing is still quite detailed and complex, there’s far fewer motifs and patterns in it than I’d usually use.

I also like to partly colour the template – it helps to bring it partly to life to show on social media. Today, I’ve chosen a fairly pastel color palette. I think that reflects how I’m feeling today.

I drew the design on quadrille (squared) paper with a 06 Sakura Pigma Sensei pen. This is an unusual choice for me; the nib is broad and a bit more flexible than I’d usually use. The result is a bold design with bold lines.

I scanned the design in and used some digital wizardry to remove the quadrille grid. I also corrected an error and removed some smudges. All this was done in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, which I continued to use to colour the design in.

So, Angela, how are you doing?

I’m so tired today. I couldn’t sleep past 4:30 am, and after a long while waiting to go to sleep I got up an started doing some arty stuff.

As well as feeling tired, my digestive system is uncomfortable still and I’m feeling a bit icky-sicky too. No headache today, thank goodness.

I am feeling a bit fed up today – fed up of feeling under the weather and tired. Hopefully I’ll have a nap later on today, and that may help my mood a little.

Until then, I’m going to do some arty stuff, most probably in my art journal, or maybe some work for the Mattias Adolphsson Domestika course, “The Art of Sketching: Transform your doodles into art.”

I thought I’d try it out to kick start my imagination and perhaps discover new ways of working, stretching myself somewhat. So far, I’m enjoying it. I work at my own pace.

Zen

What is Zen? Quote – anon. Artwork ©Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

I wonder how many are trying to keep busy, busy, busy during the lockdown? And how many are learning how to just ‘be’, relaxing and taking time for self-care?

Self-care has been a long, difficult series of lessons for me. It’s a practice and not a perfect situation. However, self-care is important.

I don’t mean personal grooming, which is important, but it means taking care of your emotional and mental needs as much as your physical needs.

Today is a day where I’ll need to practice a lot of self-care. Migraine-style headache woke me up way too early and although the pain has gone it has left me exhausted, unfocused, and needing sleep. So, I’ll soon be returning to bed to sleep the lingering effects of the migraine away.

To help me cope with the migraine, I spend a few hours working on my mosaic crochet blanket/throw, and then created the above. Both very self-soothing activities for me.

What do you do for self-care?