It’s been a funny old day. A load of deliveries were scheduled today. I’d woken way too early, and by the time I’d drifted back to sleep, well it was time to get up ready for the Abel & Cole delivery, which didn’t arrive until after 11am. If only I’d known, I could’ve had a couple hours more sleep! Ho-hum.
Still, I pottered around with different colours on yesterday’s ‘Give Peace A Chance’ drawing, as well as adding colours to some other drawings.
Finally, all my deliveries had arrived, the last one being my order from CultPens, which included a pair of D&S A5 landscape Hahnemuhle sketchbooks. So I just had to try one out.
The paper is quite thick, has some tooth to it, but not too much. You can very, very faintly see the pen drawing through the paper, but that’s not a problem at all. And adding some tinted charcoal to the drawing was a pleasure as it was gently eased into the paper fibres by the careful use of a paper stump.
I’ve tried some Graphitint pencils and a damp brush to see if that would be ok on the paper. So far so good!
This drawing is a work in progress. I started it yesterday and filmed it’s continuation this morning, and I’m enjoying the process very much.
It’s another blessedly cool day here. The skies are, again, grey. I find the coolness and freshness of the air invigorating.
I did get out for a walk yesterday and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was a delight to listen to the sussuration of leaves in the strong breeze. The remaining dampness brought out colours that seemed so bright against the grey skies. The wind caused tree trunks and branches to creak and groan. It was an absolute pleasure to be moving my recently indolent body surrounded by all these wonders.
Smiles, both on my lips and in my heart and soul, accompanied this feeling of awe and wonder. With my first steps from my car, I felt my whole body exhaling and relaxing, continuing the process started with the breaking of the heatwave.
Even now, as I write about my walk, I find those smiles returning and a sense of relaxation returning.
Caution in walking was my focus, however. I wasn’t sure if my foot had recovered from my last tumble. I was aware that on certain paths I needed to watch where I was putting my feet. But soon, I was on more even paths and roads and could look around, and even take a few photos of interesting textures, patterns and colour combinations.
Haunting the local cemetery again was a pleasure. You’d think I’d be bored with the place after all the times I’ve walked there in the past year. I’m not. Each walk is different. The presence of place is determined by the weather, time of day, season, my mood, my wellness, and the route I choose to take around the necropolis.
Pleasure may seem a strange word to describe visiting a cemetery. Yet that is how I feel each time I visit. It’s a peaceful place, full of interest both from artistic and social commentary/history points of view. Each time there, I notice new and different things. It’s also one of the few places I feel safe when alone. There are no crowds of people. It’s quiet and calm, meditative and reflective, and familiar.
I’m eager to go for a walk again today. It will be later this afternoon, as long as the rain holds off.
This morning, I wanted to try out some abstract art. The picture above shows the colour to be more uneven than it really is.
Anyways, I’ve got ahead of myself here! This really carries on from yesterday’s blog entry where I discussed my relationship with abstract art, colour and expression of emotions and impressions of an experience.
I used a photo of ice melting in a shallow puddle for the inspiration for the shapes I drew. I didn’t choose to use icy colours, however. This morning I really felt that rusty, vintage, earth tones were what I wanted to work with.
I did do some experiments with both watercolours and inktense pencils on some Aquafine watercolour paper. I’m not at all fussed on Aquafine paper; I find it difficult to work with. However, as I’m experimenting, experiencing and learning it’ll do fine for starters. It did make it difficult to get smoothly blended out colour, but it will do for my purposes to begin with.
The vlog is just a few seconds short of an hour long, so I’ve also done a speeded up, time lapse version, with music.
I’ve written it before, talking as I work helps me to gain an insight into what is going on inside my creative, subconscious mind. It forces me to verbalise the thoughts that are abstract so that I can understand myself better. I also think it is helping me to hone in on my artistic voices/styles too.
I chose one of the backgrounds I’d made earlier on in the week with Distress Inks and a white Posca pen. A micro Uniball Eye pen was used to draw the design. I added some metallic highlights with Sakura Gelly Roll pens. To add colour, I used Kuretake’s Zig Clean Colour Real Brush pens and a damp paintbrush.
Here’s a link to the the vlog showing the first part in creating this design – Open Heart.
Part 2 will be shared tomorrow.
As always, I’m not paid, sponsored nor gifted any materials I mention in order to promote them. They are all bought by myself and I share them so you can, perhaps, see materials you’ve not used before.
Thanks to all who’ve looked at my videos, liked and/or subscribed to my channel. I really do appreciate it.
Today’s morning art – ‘entangling’ around “Willingness”. The original is drawn on white bristol board (21cm x 21cm) with black Unipin pens (0.5 and 0.1). The word was laser printed, cut out and glued to the bristol board.
I was willing to work with a lot of new and different motifs in this drawing, though not all are new. Some familiarity is needed!
It was lovely to do and took me about 2 hours in total.
I did create a vlog of this process – link here –> Willingness vlog. The first part, up until 49:33 mins is the chatty bit, from then on, the rest of the drawing has been sped up.
It would be lovely if you’d take a look, and if you enjoy the video please give it a thumbs up and consider subscribing.
I am not willing to use traditional media to add colour and/or shadow and highlight to this drawing, though I am very willing to do so digitally!
It’s been very, very windy here over the past day or so, and it has bucketed down with rain. It’s still fairly blowy, with strong gusts. So, I’m staying indoors unless the rain stops! So, I’m more than willing to keep the hatches battened down, and to settle to coloring at least some of this design. A good decision, methinks!
I’m also feeling well out of sorts after having a very, very weird dream that woke me early, and I was having a conversation in my head with one of the characters in the dream. I really wasn’t at all happy with them and told them a few home truths! Weird, just plain weird. So, it may have a knock on effect on my alertness later today.
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.