I always relax, feel my whole body let out a sigh of relief as I work on drawings like this one. Purely abstract, line and pattern being the focus, with healthy doses of black giving a very graphic feel to the design.
Playing with line width and pattern to bring layers and depth to the design is always something I’ve enjoyed.
I start with one single line, shape or motif and go from there instead of having an overall plan for the design all sketched out and ready to go. I like this organic, intuitive way of letting the design grow, developing it one pen stroke at a time.
I’m learning, slowly but surely, that areas of white space can be a powerful part of the overall design. It’s been a long journey to realise I don’t have to fill the whole sheet of paper with line and pattern.
I need to have a lot of trust in the whole of this process; that something pleasing will be created after hours of work with very fine nibbed pens.
What next when I’ve finished the pen-work? Do I add shadows, colour, highlights with traditional media or digitally? Do I just add a background coloured/textured paper? Do I leave it in it’s very graphic black and white?
Working digitally with a scan of the finished drawing allows me to experiment, though I’ve yet to work out how to add shadows in the way a blended graphite or pastel pencil would do. And I do have a tendency to use much brighter, saturated colours than I would with traditional media.
Perhaps it’s time I sorted out my own digital colour palettes from my traditional media. That is something for another day, however. For the rest of the day, I’m going to lose myself in completing this drawing.
One drawing I’m working on and three Zentangle tiles that are complete.
TheA4 drawing is very much full of contrast and drama, very ‘graphic’ in nature. It’s not finished yet, but I’ll get there with it for sure.
The smaller tiles are rather geometric in nature with repeating patterns. I find drawing this kind of art soothing and pleasing too. I also enjoy the combination of the vintage brown tones with the black and grey. They just seem to work so well together.
I turned to work on the smaller ’tiles’ as I was feeling a tad overwhelmed last night. I really do find smaller pieces of art help me to settle back down. The repetitive nature of the patterns is soothing in itself.
I seem to be constantly circling around and returning to Zentangle – watching YouTube videos, looking at artwork online, and creating my own. I’ve been thinking about becoming a CZT – a certified zentangle teacher. I’m dithering about it, and I don’t know why that is. It’ll sort itself out I’m sure.
Yesterday, I got so focused on editing templates that time ran away with me. I only realised at bedtime I’d not blogged! By then it was way too late as I was tired, headachy and had an upset tummy (again!).
Today, the tummy is better, thank goodness. I was up early for the weekly Abel & Cole organic grocery delivery, and after breakfasting I ended up back in bed.
Before I turn my attention for the rest of my work-day to Entangled Starry Skies, I thought I’d put together a quick montage of my latest drawings, what I’m calling Entangled Assemblages. The weird exercise cyclist makes another appearance, but there’s a couple of drawings I’m working on during my insomniac periods of night.
For someone who doesn’t do faces/people artistically, there sure are some appearing in this style of my personal art. Personal as opposed to contracted work.
Whatever, I’m enjoying drawing in the moments I can do so just for my pleasure.
I will get to colour them in at some point, and add a funky background of mandala or other design too. Just not today. Today I need to turn my attention to the artwork for Starry Skies as soon as I’ve completed social media posts.
This particular abstract intuitive drawing took an unexpected turn as pareidolia kicked in and I saw a stylised figure on some weird kind of exercise bike! Well, I just had to go with it. When you see something in the purely abstract, it is hard to un-see it.
I used a 0.35 Rotring Rapidograph pen on SeaWhite acid-free cartridge paper for the drawing.
I wanted to see how I could add colour/texture to this drawing, which I think is now complete. So, I added a Kraft paper background to the image and started to add some highlights and shadows to the image.
It never ceases to amaze me how just simple shadow and highlight can add so much to a drawing. I chose a monochromatic colour scheme. I also have left my notes to remind me which colours and digital tool I was using to achieve this effect in the image.
I really want to finish adding shadow and highlight to this image, but I must turn my attention to work. I’ve been granted an extension to the deadline for Entangled Starry Skies, but that means I need to get my nose to the grindstone and get the templates done. Yesterday, I did all the edits and reworks of the templates I drew last week. Today, it’s a couple of new templates that need drawing.
I do apologise for the poor photos. These were the best of many that I took of my arty pursuits this morning. I’m not sure if I’m finished with it or not.
This was an unusual excursion into the realms of art for me. I was feeling totally emotionally overwhelmed – scared, anxious, sad and confused.
So, I thought I’d try to express my emotions artistically, with watercolours.
I used masking tape to edge an area approx. 6″ x 2.75″ (15.5 cm x 7cm) in my Arteza Watercolor Sketchbook. I used a new page for this, and it was the smooth side of the paper.
Next, I applied a wet wash of indigo watercolour, and then dropped in greys and rusty oranges, reds and browns into it.
The paper warped with the quantity of water. No biggie though, as this is a sketchbook. Once I’d finished adding colour and letting the watercolour do it’s magic, I used a heat tool to dry the paper. When I removed the masking tape, which was low tack, it lifted some of the paper with it, which was a bit of a disappointment. However, it is a sketchbook, so no biggie.
I then wanted to add some gold patterns and lines. I dug out a Cosmic Shimmer iridescent/metallic watercolour palette and a size 1 brush.
Finally, I thought I’d add some details in black pen (Uniball Signo DX 0.38), but I’m not sure about them at the moment.
My emotions were, and still are to a degree, all over the place. I tried to meditate to find some peace and calm; my mind was just racing faster and faster and I just couldn’t sit with the emotions.
So, I decided to try to paint my feelings, to put into colour and pattern what I couldn’t put in words, or make sense of. I thought I’d try a totally intuitive block of colour where I asked my feelings what colour they wanted to use, where to put it and when it was done.
I chose dark, gloomy inky indigo for the background, and rusty yellows and browns. Indigo for both the sadness and upset I was feeling, but also the deep calm I was seeking. The rusty colours perhaps represent the blood, sweat and tears I’ve been expending for a while now. Or maybe the stains on my soul and emotions that have resulted in my struggle today. Either way, the colours just seemed the right ones to use.
There’s also a lot of depth in the way the colours sit on the paper.
Oddly, this is a colour palette I’ve been using for a while now, but never quite so dark. Perhaps my unconscious has been trying to tell me what was likely to come if I didn’t take care of myself.
Once I’d got the block of colour done, I knew I needed to add lines and patterns of gold, a kind of artistic kintsugi. I hoped that the gold would help to heal the shattered pieces of my emotions and mind in the way gold infused resin is used to repair much loved pieces of porcelain. I hoped that the gold would remind me that my healed trauma-wounds that have been filled with gold would remain healed and I could be reassured that I wasn’t going to break.
I won’t, but I could feel myself unravelling.
For some reason, once I’d calmed a little, I felt the need to put the pattern of black at the bottom. Piles of tiny little stones. What springs to mind is they represent the touchstones that are the foundation of my emotional wellbeing. There’s quite a few of them there! That surprises me, as my usual one is the one of contentment, a gentle smile in my heart. I may have to explore what these other touchstones are at some point.
As I look at the panel now, I can see there are lighter areas, where a storm seems to be breaking. Light is shining through, clarity perhaps. The photo doesn’t show the colours at all well. I really do need to learn how to use the camera on my phone or my DSLR much better I think.
A successful experiment
I know art always is a source of peace and calm for me. What surprised me was that I felt I was expressing my feelings in this little, very personal artwork.
I’ve never really used art as a way to work through difficult (or not so difficult) emotions before. I think it’s something I’ll be doing again in the future.
Good news – the headache has gone! Yay! The sun is shining, I have uplifting music playing, and I’ve spent some of the morning practicing watercolour skills and working out how to subtly draw/paint on top with white.
The little tiles at the bottom have designs painted on them with white gouache. There’s a lot more variability in line width with these.
The book marks have had the designs drawn using a white Soufflé pen by Sakura. The ink goes on clear but dries a matt and opaque white.
I used som Molin du Roy watercolour paper from Canson for these. The tiles are approx 2″ x 2″, the book marks are approx 2″ x 7″.
I may mount the tiles on greeting card blanks. The bookmarks need a hole punching in the top and then some string/ribbon threaded through.
I did try out the Sakura Quickie Glue pen and embossing powder yesterday, but really wasn’t happy with it. I also tried using a variety of Sakura pens to draw the outlines before watercolouring – black Glaze, metallic siver Gelly Roll and silver Stardust. They were waterproof, but just didn’t give me the borders for the patterns that I wanted. The black was very bold and gave a rather stained-glass feel to the tile. But, white turns out to be my favourite.
It’s been nice to spend quite a few hours working with watercolours and trying out ideas without any pressure to create anything that is finished. Sometimes making art for the fun of making art is enough and much needed to soothe some rather battered emotions.
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”.
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.
I often wonder about the purpose of art, the purpose of my art, and can never find the words or ideas to express. So, I’ve fallen back on a favourite quote of mine from Picasso.
It embodies how I feel about creating art. Being creative helps me to dust myself off, find myself back in the present, and to find my sense of balance and contentment. Being creative is so important to me each and every day, more so during the Covid-19 crisis and lock down.
I unashamedly make art that is a reflection of what makes my heart sing – line, pattern, abstract shapes, stylised forms, colour, intricacy. I soak up inspiration from all kinds of things and process it all unconsciously and intuitively to draw and paint things that are pretty and show what I find fascinating visually and that give me a sense of wonder and awe.
My art is, and will always be, a reflection of my heart, soul and mind.
I do, however, sometimes worry that my art hasn’t anything to say about the world, that makes people think about things. That my art is just … pretty.
What the world needs now, however, is some prettiness and beauty in it to dilute the worry and fear and ugliness that abounds. I’d like to think that my art helps in that process just a little.
Today’s mandala and typography were created digitally. I usually use a background from one of the collections I’ve purchased online, but today I used one I created. I used Affinity Publisher to produce the typography and Autodesk Sketchbook Pro for the artwork. My tools are by Microsoft – Surface Slim Pen and Surface Studio.
I had so much fun making these little abstract art creations! They really do go back to my roots, but in the way I like to create now.
To give you an idea of size, the purple one is 3″ x 4″, the other two are 2½” x 4″ in size. I have mounted them on cards that are 4½” x 5″ in size, made from some white Daler-Rowney mixed media paper, and I love how they look!
I started by creating the backgrounds using Distress Inks, a mini foam blending tool and a spritz of water.
Then, I painted on some basic shapes using a brush, water and either colour from Zig Clean Real Brush pens or Distress Inks, followed by some splatters of colour.
The the real fun began. Taking some things I really wasn’t happy with and adding line and pattern to them to give them form, definition, and some dimension.
I used Sakura Pigma Micron pens (05 and 02). I also used a glass pen and gold ink in the top right design. For all designs, I used a gold Sakura Gelly Roll pen to add gold highlights, which haven’t shown up well in the scans.
There was something so satisfying and pleasing in working with vague shapes and patterns, the random nature of the background, and using them to inform how my art would develop in each case.
I really, really enjoyed creating these, and I will do more in the future.
I’m not sure how I could create similar digitally – the randomness of wet media isn’t something I’ve worked out how to do…yet. Maybe I never will. Maybe it’s the case of me creating the backgrounds separately using traditional media, then adding the lines digitally. I don’t know yet, however. It may be that this is something I reserve solely for traditional media.
What I do know, is that each design is a work of art in it’s own right and these would look fab framed. In fact, I had a huge inner smile as I mounted them on the card blanks, giving them a simple frame, and saw how finished they then looked. Teeny, tiny pieces of art, by me, Angela.