Template Thursday

It’s Thursday again, and that makes it #TemplateThursday.

Each Thursday throughout the pandemic, I’ve created a coloring page / coloring template for the members of the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group.

This week’s offering, is a geometric pattern, which reflects how drawing more geometric, structured work this week has helped me be contented with my artistic efforts. Something in my heart and soul needed the comfort of the repetition and the delight of symmetry. That led me to really feel the touchstone of contentment within me once again.

So, I thought that others might like such a geometric design.

And there’s so much that can be done with it. Color it as it is. Divide some of the smaller spaces with doodles or zentangle patterns. Look for what hidden patterns you can bring out. Play with light and shadow to add dimension to the design.

I’ve deliberately coloured my version in flat, spring-like colours. Maybe I’ll find time over the week to add more detail to it, and to play with shadow and light as I love to do!

Oh, I drew this on dot grid paper with an 05 Sakura Pigma Micron Pen before scanning in, cleaning up and coloring digitally.

Monday Mandala

Today’s mandala includes a couple of Zentangle patterns – Taiga by Tomas Padros and a variation on Fescue, an original Zentangle pattern. Plus some ‘orbs’.

This was fun to do. It’s not often I use such a large area of a pattern, but Taiga is such a lovely pattern and it’s taken me a long time to work out how to do it well. I didn’t think I’d managed it this time, until I added shadow and highlight. Then, it just became so dimensional and, to use the crafty vernacular, ‘popped’.

Today, I just wanted a mossy, spring-like green. There’s still snow lying on roofs and hilltops, cars and shaded pavements. The days are noticeably growing longer, and the bright sunlight today is most welcome after the fog of yesterday.

It won’t be long until I see brave snowdrops and crocuses breaking the winter-hard ground. They herald that the return of spring is nigh!

I’ll be waiting until the snow has mostly disappeared before I go and take a walk.

Zentangle – y art

The result of a duvet day…zentangle entangled type of art. Lots of botanics and abstract patterns.

Materials:
6″ square Strathmore Artists Tile – Smooth Bristol Vellum coloured with Distress Inks
05 and 01 Sakura Pigma Micron pens
Sanguine, light sepia and white Daler-Rowney Artists Sketching pencils and some tortillons.

Mandala 13 Jan 2021

I realised that I haven’t drawn a mandala in quite a while. So, that’s what I did! Intricate, geometric and organic repeating patterns. It was a pleasure to do.

I’m quite happy with the highlights and shadows on this one, and keeping it all monochrome works for me today as well. A calm and soothing green – just what I need today as I’m still recovering from the stress from earlier in the week.

Tools – Microsoft Surface Slim Pen, Microsoft Surface Studio, Autodesk Sketchbook Pro.

Nurture

The artwork

I took a 6″ square Strathmore artist’s tile and coloured it with Distress Inks. Next, I used Sakura Pigma Sensei 04 and Pigma Micron 01 pens to draw the design. Finally I added some graphite shadows.

Nuturing

This zentangle inspired drawing contains the Zibu symbol for ‘nurture’. Nurture is all about growth and expansion which involves encouraging, nourishing, protecting and caring.

I certainly need to care for myself today. For the past few days anxiety gradually increased as I got closer to meeting my accountant to hand over my paperwork. I was left exhausted after the essential business trip to meet her in a car park to do this. I’m still feeling exhausted, fuzzy headed, and not with it today.

Nurturing myself was an important lesson to learn through EMDR therapy. It’s not an easy lesson for any of us to learn, but it is essential. It’s not just about taking care of the basic needs, it’s about the whole of your being.

Yesterday, this involved quiet time with art, or just sitting and being, and some comforting, as well as nourishing, food. An early night was in order.

My nights sleep was broken and I’m still feeling the effects of the post-stress come-down. But these will pass as the cortisol and other stress hormones gradually leave my body.

On the good side, I was up to creating the cover for the next colouring book after Entangled Starry Skies. So, if the sketch is approved, I can get to inking and colouring it over the next couple of days.

Drawing Practice

Every time I draw it’s practice, even if the result is a finished and fairly polished artwork.

This page from my new A5 landscape Enviro sketchbook from Artway, is definitely practice. Practice of pen drawing, geometric pattern creation, colour and using pencils and a tortillon to add shadow.

It was also a chance for me to practice creating iterations of a square ‘fragment’ used to create the surface patterns and border patterns.

This isn’t something I’ve done often when delving into the Zentangle realms. I’ve never really taken the time to try out different permutations to do with rotating and mirroring the unit square. Nor have I really spent time altering the unit square ways that it’s the same but different.

Using a different colour to add interest and depth to the patterns is also something I’ve not really done, but I found it interesting to do.

How did this come about? Well, I’ve been watching lots of Zentangle videos on YouTube while cwtched up all snug and warm.

The idea to work with the basic pattern unit, or ‘fragment’ as the Zentangle creators term it, and try all these different things out.

It becomes addictive, especially as it seems almost impossible to do something truly horrible! But if something doesn’t work, it’s learning about why it doesn’t, and can you make it work.

I’ve ended up with a page filled with variations on a ‘fragment’ that I can refer to for inspiration as I need to.

I also have ended up surprised at how much I like this page. It’s not my usual kind of thing, and while working on it I had many moments of ‘What the feck am I doing? This really isn’t going to work out nicely at all’. I persevered and am quite happy with the end result. It may not be my usual style of art, but it gave my pen skills a nice work out!

Zentangle is a particular method of drawing abstract patterns, step by step, with a focus on meditation and gratitude. It is something anyone can do with the most basic of equipment – pen, pencil and paper. There are lots of fab videos on Youtube from the Zentangle creators, Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas, along with others. They also have a website – Zentangle.com – full of resources. Another great online resource is TanglePatterns.com, run by Linda Farmer, a Certified Zentangle Teacher.

These kinds of patterns and abstraction have been a feature of my art long before Zentangle was a thing. It’s nice, however, to dip into the Zentangle resources from time to time for new inspiration and challenges, or just to practice my drawing skills.

Template Thursday (on a Wednesday)!

The template

I’ve created this week’s template for the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group a day early this week.

This has been drawn with a Sakura Micron 05 pen on smooth, heavyweight cartridge paper (acid-free of course). I’ve added the background and colour digitally, keeping to a wintry, night-time kind of theme. Of course, this will work for any season at all, and any time of day.

As always, I look forward to seeing all the amazing, colourful interpretations of this template.

Taking a big of a break

I may not be as active on social media over the next few days. Christmas and New Year are difficult times of year for me emotionally and mentally and I know taking myself off into a largely Christmas-free bubble helps me drift through this time, as well as deal with anything that may creep in and cause some upset in me.

I know I’m not the only person who has difficulties with their emotional and mental health this year. Given all that has happened in the world this year, the huge number of people who have passed away during the pandemic and measures taken for people to keep themselves and their families free of Covid at this time, many more than usual will be struggling.

Being by myself at this time of year is not new to me, nor is withdrawing from the world at this time. I find it exhausting to keep up a mask of seasonal jollity when I feel anything but that. I find it easier to deal with whatever finds its way into my safe-bubble. It’s easier to deal with being alone if I do my best to carry on as normal.

I’m aware of what things I can do to self-care and self-soothe. Art. Music. Books, Films. TV. Naps. Nice food. Meditation.

Do you have a list? Have you learned to give yourself permission to take care of yourself, give yourself time and space to self-soothe?

Learning to give yourself permission to look after yourself, even if it means saying ‘no’ or setting limits, is one of the hardest things to do. And it takes a lot of practice. But it is one of the most important things we can learn to do.

I remind myself this is for just a few days a year, and that soon after the celebrations are done, life returns to ‘normal’, whatever that is in these pandemic times.

Friday Art

Yesterday really didn’t go to plan. I ended up having a major emotional and stress episode and I was so tired afterwards that I didn’t have much in the way of focus. It also gave me a seriously upset stomach, as any emotional/stress event does.

I did, however, work on these two zentangle-style drawings.

The one on the left I did during the night and early this morning as my sleep was disturbed. I used a small square of Claire Fontaine Natural Paint On mixed media paper and a 03 Sakura Micron pen. The paper is 5″ square. The colour and shading was adding using a selection of Daler-Rowney artist’s sketching pencils and a white Sakura Gelly Roll pen. I left a blank space so I could add a quote at a later time.

The one on the right I started after I’d completed the line-art for Entangled Starry Skies. I used a 6″ Strathmore Artist’s Tile along with Unipin pens. To add colour and shading I used Stabilo Carbothello pastel pencils and Derwent Graphitint pencils with a light wash of water. I used this particular drawing as a way to try out different traditional media I’ve not used for a long time. I did mean to add gold to the white circular highlights, but it slipped my mind.

It was actually really nice to lose myself in the intricacy of these drawings. Intricacy, pattern, abstract, organic satisfy a large part of my arty heart.

I do feel a bit more settled today, but I am tired after yesterday’s stress and upset and a poor night’s sleep. But I do need to sort out my Christmas card design for this year!

World Kindness Day

Art and health

My day so far has not gone to plan! Do they ever?

I didn’t sleep all that well last night. I’m still not feeling quite right. My abdomen is still uncomfortable, though I have eaten. I’m still tired and I can feel my brain starting to get a bit fuzzy.

I had wanted to settle to drawing for the next colouring book, but other things happened and my mind is a bit scattered. I thought some art for the sake of art may help and this mandala was the result.

I had no idea what I was going to create, but warm, autumnal colours were calling to me, along with evergreen leaves and bright red berries.

It’s simple, stylised and I’ve not spent a lot of time adding shadow/highlight. It is really just a play around before I do my best to settle to drawing. It’s achieved a bit of calming and focus, though I could go back to bed.

World Kindness Day

Kindness is the thread that connects all sizes and types of communities and families. It’s what connects us all, one to each other.

This year has been a difficult one and kindness has helped people through it.

A big shout out to all those who have made the world a nicer, kinder place in such a time.

Thank you.

Monday Mandala

Weird kind of patchwork going on here. In violets.

I woke with an idea about using digital art tools this morning, in relation to mandalas, and I wanted to try it as my morning warm-up art.

As odd as the completed mandala is, I’ve gained a bit more understanding of digital art tools.

As soon as I’ve finished my morning social media postings, it’ll be time for some breakfast. Then, it’ll be creatively wielding some pens to work on colouring templates.