Just trying out new 05 fineliner pens in vintage tones.
The central motif/pattern was worked on a small square of cotton watercolour paper (2″ x 2″ or 5 cm x 5 cm) coloured with Tea Dye Distress Ink. The larger panel beneath is a piece of Bristol Board (6″ x 6″ or 15.5cm x 15.5cm) coloured with Rusty Hinge Distress Ink.
I used various shades of Carbothello chalk pastel pencils and a paper tortillion to add colour and shadow. Gold higlights and a border around the central motif were added with a metallic gold Gelly Roll pen.
I’ve just noticed I really didn’t do a good idea at adding my initials so they were oriented harmoniously! Still, this really was just a trying out something kind of thing. I’d seen a Zentangle video about the use of cartouches – frames around writing or an illustration. And thought I’d try it out, in my usual clumsy kind of way.
I do like the idea of creating frames around other small pieces of art or precious items. That may be something I do going forward.
Monday dawns and along with it is the desire to create a mandala.
This one is a work in progress for sure. I’m still playing around with various brush settings to get the depth of contrast I desire. It’s working out fairly well so far, especially as I’ve chosen a limited palette of blue, teal and green. Also, my favourite seedpod, leaf and arch shapes are very much in evidence here. There’s also lots of little orbs. It never ceases to amaze me how such a simple collection of shapes can result in a fairly complex design.
What is unusual for me, like last week’s mandala, is the lack of black lines in the design. I think that’s a bit of a rebellion by me to all the pen drawing I’ve been doing of late. Also, I love colour, but find it so frustrating to add to my pen drawings.
When I work digitally, colour seems to work differently for me. I think it may be the ability to work and rework the colour endlessly until I get something that suits me. Maybe it’s the ability to get the depth of contrast I like. Or maybe it’s something else entirely, I really don’t know.
This part of the mandala, about a quarter to a third, has taken me around three hours to do so far, thanks to the symmetry tools available to me in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro.
I’ve enjoyed doing these! The squares are 3.25″ x 3.25, 3.5″ x 3.5″ or 4″ x 4″ in size. The circles are almost 3.5″ in diameter.
The tiles were cut from a variety of papers – watercolour, bristol vellum and heavyweight smooth cartridge paper. I used Distress Inks to colour the paper tiles before drawing on them.
I’ve used Sakura Pigma Micron pens (05 and 01), along with some brown and one blue-green Stabilio fineliner pens.
I like them all, But my favourites are the ones that are much more geometric in nature – my initials and the A in particular. My least favourite is the E; the background to the letter just feels disjointed. I think that’s why I like the more symmetrical, geometrical designs more.
I’ve enjoyed using one or two tones of colour to add variety, interest and ‘dimension’ to the tiles. I’ve not added any shadow or highlight to these. That’s when things tend to go wrong for me as far as traditional media is concerned!
It also occurred to me that if I were to draw these on a different shaped paper, I could add dangle designs to them. (My book “A Dangle A Day” is still available). Maybe I’ll try that out in a while. Of course, I’d like to get a full set of monograms done too.
I had a wee bit of trouble doing this week’s template for the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group. This is either the third or fourth I drew, and the only one I think is just about good enough. I think that’s a reflection of the stress-comedown I’m experiencing after a week of trying to make a decision, which is actually more like months. I finally did it, and now I have to find that sense of inner balance and peace again.
Anyway. I drew this design on Bristol board with a 05 Sakura Pigma Micron pen. The colours have been added digitally. And after my messing around with Chameleon markers yesterday, I really enjoyed adding colour digitally.
I think it may be more or less time for me to abandon traditional coloring media! I always get so frustrated in using them very quickly.
Pen and paper is still something I love to use for drawing, so that’s not going to change!
Here’s just some of the smaller pieces of art I’ve done over the past week or so. They’re all entangled, zentangle, zentangle inspired. The biggest is 9″x9″, the smallest around 3.5″x3.5″ in size.
All have been fun to created, but I’m really not sure about colour choices, the backgrounds colours of the papers I used and so on.
I have yet more in the pile created over the past two or three weeks! They’ve been comforting to do, even if I’ve doubted myself with them and what I was doing. That’s often the case when my emotions are all over the place, as they still are to some extent.
All I know is that though it is bitterly cold outside, the sun is shining and I really do need to go for a walk, take in some fresh air, and blow some cobwebs from my mind. Well, that’s my plan. It may change once I’ve showered and so on!
What a couple of days, weeks, months it’s been while I wrangled with a difficult decision I needed to make. Actually, it wasn’t making the decision, it was acting on it by overcoming the uncomfortable feelings of guilt and giving up that were the hardest things to do. But yesterday, I acted. Decisively for me.
A weight was lifted off my shoulders, but there was also the stress-comedown ‘hangover’ of extreme fatigue, spaced-outness, but no headache (thankgoodness!).
I’m still tired today, but that’s to be expected as the stress has been growing and growing. I think that’s been reflected in my dark, dingy, incohesive art of late.
So, when I woke this morning, I really wanted to create a mandala. And this is a mandala that is so different for me. But perhaps it represents what is happening inside me. Carl Jung believed mandalas, when created intuitively, reveal what is going on in our subconscious mind, things we’re not yet aware of, changes that are occuring, emotions we’re suppressing or ignoring.
It has been an enjoyable way to spend a couple of hours this morning. It’s just the art I needed to do after days, a couple of weeks even, pottering around with pen on paper doing zentangle-style drawings. Comfort art in the extreme.
Mandalas are comfort art for me, they do soothe my soul, but sometimes I do ones that break the ‘comfort’ mould a bit. This may be one of them. I’m fairly happy with it for sure, especially using a limited colour palette.
Waking at stupid o’clock meant drawing until I could go back to sleep. I got all the inking done for this particular drawing. Now, the colouring needs to be completed.
Materials: 21cm x 21 cm (8.25″ x 8.25″) piece of Claire Fontaine Paint-on mixed media paper – natural colour Aged Mahogany Distress Ink and a piece of cut and dry foam to distress/grungify the paper 03 and brush Uniball Unipin fineliner pens 01 Sakura Pigma Micron pen Staedtler Triplus fineliners Chameleon fineliners Water brush White Sakura Gelly Roll pen
Started yesterday evening, worked on during my hours of mid-night waking, and on waking this morning, this measures 21 cm x 21 cm (approx 8.25″ x 8.25″) The paper is natural coloured Claire Fontaine Paint-On mixed media paper coloured with Aged Mahogany Distress Ink. The design is being drawn with a mix of 03 Unipin and 01 Sakura Micron pens.
I’m using a mixture of Stadedtler Triplus and Chameleon Fineliner pens to add colour to the design, along with a barely damp waterbrush to spread the colour out. Interestingly, some of the colour lines added remain visible, to a greater or lesser extent, depending on how much I work the colour with the waterbrush. Also, I’m finding that I really enjoy adding colour and texture like this.
The finishing bright white highlights are added using a Sakura Gelly Roll pen.
I find the fineliners used in this way give me much greater control over how much the colour spreads in the small areas in my drawing. They also don’t spread as much as, say, Tombow Dual Brush pens or Inktense pencils. That helps to control the spread of colour too.
I rather like the vintage-y look that the palette of browns and olive greens confers on the design, helped along by the background colour and texture of the paper.
Oh, I do intend to leave a ‘hole’ in this first layer of designs. I’m not sure I’ll do inside the space; a quote, more layers of design. For now I’m not sure. But once this first layer is done, I can scan it in and use it in different ways digitally.
There are lots of my favourite motifs appearing in this one, rather organic ones for the most part. What will appear from the tip of my pen in the rest of the design? I don’t know yet! It could be more of the same, or not. All I know is that the intricacy, detail and revisiting old favourite motifs is making my arty crafty heart smile.
“The state of having inconsistent thoughts, beliefs, or attitudes, especially as relating to behavioural decisions and attitude change.”
Finally, the penny dropped as to why I’m feeling so out of sorts. Oddly, it was while I was listening to a documentary about the cult NXIVM as I was drawing during the stupid o’clock hours of drawing. Don’t worry, I’m not a member of a cult! However cognitive dissonance was mentioned and that was the ‘ta-da!’ moment for me.
Cognitive dissonance causes emotional distress related to holding contradictory beliefs or values. I’ve experienced this before during breakthrough moments in therapy where I’ve had to accept that I was a victim of trauma, that I really do have CPTSD and I’m not (as my mother would tell me) making it up, for example.
I’m poised on a knife edge, wanting to make a decision to leave something, but feeling guilty about thinking that way. I need to find a way to find some clarity to help me make that decision, and it has to do with my core values and beliefs.
Recognising this doesn’t make me feel any better, but it helps me understand what is going on, and that understanding will help me work my way through it! Making a decision won’t make it any easier for me to act upon it as there’ll be a lot of guilt and the old reactive feeling of believing I’m letting other people down.
However, I can’t put other people ahead of my own mental and emotional well-being. It’s never been easy for me to say ‘no’ to people, to leave organisations or people who are contributing to emotional and mental distress in myself. But I have done so occasionally, more so in the last year or two. And I will do so this time if it’s what I need to do to find that sense of balance, harmony, peace in myself once again.
This week’s offering is a mandala. I always find mandalas soothing to draw and colour. The circular form and repetitive nature are beguiling, relaxing, soothing and magical in some way.
This week’s is quite simple, as colouring templates need to be. It’s also quite botanical in nature. The colour palette I’ve chosen is full of sunshine, growth, peace, harmony and self-care. I haven’t quite finished colouring it, but that’s fine. It did what it needed to do for me.
I’m well out of sorts today. I really didn’t want to get out of bed. But I did, and showered.
I know what’s causing my emotional and mental turmoil at the moment. I just can’t seem to actually act to bring that to an end. Guilt, grief, and other emotions are causing me problems. I know I’ll act when I’m ready to do so, but it’s so difficult to let go. But I need to do so for my own emotional and mental well being.
Talking of emotional and mental well being, today is Time to Talk Day. It’s a day where Time to Talk Wales, along with sister organisations, encourage everyone to have a conversation about mental and emotional health. All to help to end the stigma and discrimination that exists around mental health.
This year’s theme is ‘Small things’. I’ve written on facebook about three small conversations I had that have led to me healing from complex post traumatic stress disorder. Not completely. I’m not sure you can completely heal as part of surviving complex trauma is hiding that trauma deep inside. I am, however, healed enough. I’m just waiting for the lockdown to end so I can start pushing my boundaries a bit.
Anyway, I’m going to finish all the social media stuff now and then I’ll be returning to arty pursuits. Maybe a nap too as I’m feeling so tired today. Emotional turmoil exhausts me. Also, sleep is one of my coping strategies when I’m stressed out in some way.
‘The pen is the tongue of the mind’ is a quote by Horace, a Roman who lived between 65 BCE and 8 BCE. Today, we may add that the keyboard is the tongue of the mind too. Though sometimes I wonder how many people actually think before they type what they do in social media!
The quote refers to writing, but I also think it refers to art. Not all of our thoughts are in words. Our subconscious/unconscious mind takes in a lot more information than our conscious mind does. Also, the subconscious mind works in metaphors, symbols, stories.
Sometimes I can manifest the abstract and symbolic thoughts that wander around my head in writing. Others need to be brought out in conversation, by questioning by another. And then there are times, when words aren’t adequate. That’s when art has its role to play.
I rarely plan art out, other than perhaps a vague guide as to where I’d like particular motifs to be. I tend to let it flow as it needs to. If I overthink my art, it all goes to pot. It feels disjointed, contrived to me and I end up quite dissatisfied with it. Going with the flow seems to work best for me.
This particular work in progress does have a little planning in it – the placement and arrangement of the quote along with the pencil border. I do like a border to work within and up to.The rose motif is a current favourite, so roses were the first part of the drawing to be done. Everything else will flow from there. I do like a border to work within and up to.
I’d like to finish this today. However, I do need to create a template for this week’s Template Thursday.
For those of you are curious, here’s the details of the materials used: A5 natural Claire-Fontaine Paint-On mixed media paper Faded Jeans Distress Ink 04 Sakura Pigma Sensei pen 05 Sakura Pigma Micron pen