This morning was a morning that I needed to do some art that was familiar, calming, soothing and intricate enough that I could lose myself in it. A mandala always fits that bill. Always. It doesn’t matter if it’s drawn with pen and ink on paper or digitally. The mindful, calming effect is the same. It’s the process that matters, the repetitive shapes and patterns that are drawn that contribute greatly to the soothing effect.
I do tend to gravitate towards digital art, and I find the symmetry tool in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro helps to save a lot of time. The ability to erase ink removes the frustration that a mistake creates for the hyperperfectionist part of me.
Other than those time-saving (and frustration-saving) tools, the process of mandala drawing is the same for me.
It starts by using a compass, protractor and ruler to set out the circular grid. Then, it’s digital pen on screen to draw the mandala in exactly the same way as I would on paper, just without so much repetition of sections.
However this was created, it has served it’s purpose – given me some time and space for inner peace and contentment.
The calendar page turns over and we’re into a new month.
August always heralds the end of summer and start of autumn, my favourite season. It is the last full month of summer here in the Valleys of South Wales. The evenings come noticeably earlier, always a sign that the year is continuing on its endless cycle of seasons.
We have a grey, damp and blustery start to the first day of the month. There are shafts of sunlight finding their way through gaps in the clouds, but there’s a deliciously refreshing snap to the cool and fresh air after the night-time rain.
I thought I’d create a really simple mandala design for the start of this month, one that is full of warm colours, but that hint of autumnal tones in the background.
I kept things simply stylised in the design. If nothing else, working on it made me smile, inwardly as well as on my lips.
I woke early-ish today and did some work on one of the typographic portraits I’ve been doing. Then, in my rush to get to the shower, I clicked the wrong button and lost my work. Thankfully, it’ll be easy enough to do it again. I also think that with the version I’m working on, I’m finding my way with the process. I have a lot of the portrait left to do, but I feel less frustrated with it and have a clearer idea of what I’d like to achieve now I’ve taken a few days break from this kind of work.
Before I settle back to the typography, I am going to take a walk in the fresh air of the morning. Well, after I’ve done my social media posts!
It’s free to join the group, and the template is a freebie for members of the group.
This week, I created a mandala design with a background of geometric, repeating patterns.
I’m still recovering from the stress of my first trip out since March 2020. Drawing (and colouring) mandalas is an incredibly peaceful, relaxing and mindful activity. So, it was natural that I drew one.
The mandala design is based on some of the abstract art I’ve been doing of late. It’s a bit unusual for my mandalas, but I really do like the organic flow of the lines.
Even though the design is abstract, the repeating symmetry of a mandala bring some structure to the design. I am looking forward to seeing how members of the group add colour to the design.
The geometric patterns in the background also result in a soothing, repetitive rhythm for colouring; a rhythm that results in soothing and calming ones mind and emotions.
I have been totally shaken by the level of anxiety/stress that resulted from my trip out on Tuesday. I am beginning to feel more my contented and calm self. However, I find I’m still irritable and grumpy and have withdrawn from social media and the like for most of the day.
It was a sobering thought when I realised I’d lived most of my life constantly at elevated stress levels, often as higher than what I experienced in the past couple of days.
It’s also a wonderful realisation that I can recognise this now, and I also am able to allow myself self-care time to let all the stress hormones leach from my body. It’s been a long time since they peaked in this way.
It makes me extremely grateful to my therapist for her years of patient work with me. Experiences like the Tuesday Trip remind me of how I used to be and show me how far I have come in recovery from cPTSD.
Yesterday, after my social media post, I binged watched the Harry Potter films from The Order of the Phoenix. I found I was irritated by crochet. I tried cross-stitch, which irritated me too. Eventually, I settled on knitting, which, oddly, soothed me. I think it’s because I could knit and watch the film. Knitting allowed me to channel my irritability into something creative. As I can knit without looking at the knitting, I could also watch and immerse myself in the films at the same time.
My fingers are itching to knit again, now I’ve thought about it.
Even though I slept well last night, I’m still feeling really tired today. This happens as part of the post-stress come-down. It can last a few days. I’ll not be rushing to nap, however. Napping has a knock-on effect on my ability to sleep at night when I’m like this. My naps tend to end up as periods of deep sleep, so I try not to take them unless it’s absolutely necessary.
This week, I’ve decided to do a mandala. Mainly because I find mandalas incredibly soothing and calming to draw. I have drawn and coloured the mandala digitally in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro.
As always, the template is only available to members of the group. It’s free to join the group, and free to download the template. All I ask in return is that you follow the terms and conditions, don’t share the uncoloured template, and credit me with the artwork when you post your wonderful colourations online.
I know, it’s been a watercolour day nearly every day for the past week or so. However, I do like alliteration. As did the Anglo-Saxons, who used alliteration in their poetry rather than rhymes.
Anyway, a fair amount of watercolour being done here in the past day.
Painting (1) This one is now finished. It was an unusual one to do as I didn’t start with a sketch, but just added shapes as the painting grew. It’s colourful, for sure, which is my usual way of working with colour. I know I needed some colour to brighten my heart up yesterday.
Painting (2) A work in progress, this one is on a piece of Arteza Premium watercolour paper, which is 100% cotton. It works in much the same way as the other 100% cotton paper I have, but it’s slightly more offwhite, with a yellow-ish tone, than the Khadi paper. It also has a different texture that is finer and not quite so bumpy. I’ve yet to work out which I prefer.
I’ve decided to complete this painting in shades of blue, green and purple, mostly. I’m sure I’ll end up changing that idea, or sneaking in other colours here and there.
With the 100% cotton paper, I am starting to become comfortable with dropping wet into wet and letting the colours spread and blend with each other. Judging the quantity to get the depth of colour and a smooth gradient is still a tricky task for me.
Painting (3) I don’t know what got into my head this morning, but I felt the need to paint a mandala in much the same way that Carl Jung would to start his day with an idea of what is going on mentally and emotionally on a subconcious level.
I also had a kind of bright idea to use a diecutting machine to cut out circles of paper, in this case Daler-Rowney Mixed media paper.
With the first circles I tried watercolour and had really unsatisfactory results. This surprised me given the fairly pleasing experience I had with the ClaireFontaine mixed media paper.
So, rather than use watercolours, I thought I’d try Inktense pencils, using a damp brush to pick colour up from the pencil nib. I also used a solution of gum arabic to help keep the colour wet for longer. Gum arabic also increases the translucency of the pigments, and can add a glossiness to the colour too. This helped the Inktense colours to work more like watercolours.
I also added dots of gold Daler-Rowney FW Pearlescent acrylic inks to the design here and there. To finish the design off. I had thought of adding patterns in gold to the blank areas, but that just didn’t feel the right thing to do. It felt finished, white space and all.
The aim of this painting wasn’t to create a work of art, but to give an insight into what is going on within me at this time. I’ll keep my observations on this to myself. What I will say is I’m feeling out of sorts and rather sad and low today. I have a lot of confusion, anxiety, fear and despair surrounding various things going on and I’m just feeling a bit overwhelmed by it today. It’s all just emotional weather – just as the clouds cover the sun, they will move along by and the sun (or moon) will shine bright and clear once again, so it is with emotions.
Another lock-down week has passed us by, so it’s time for another coloring template for members of the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group. Here’s my partly coloured version. I’ve gone for rather soft yet glowing colours for this one.
As always, if you’d like to print and colour it, then pop over to the facebook group and join up. It’s free, it’s a lovely community of people who love my artwork and share their amazing colorations with each other. You’d be made most welcome.
I used one of the dragonfly designs from yesterday’s posting as the focal point for this design. Mandalas are something I love, so to place one behind the dragonfly felt the natural thing to do. I’ve used my signature style of entangled art to fill the space around the mandala.
This is digital art, drawn and coloured using Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, along with Microsoft’s Surface Studio and Surface Slim Pen.
It’s a lovely sunshiny day, so a sunshiny mandala seemed an appropriate design to create today.
The background is one of my Distress Oxides ones, though I’ve recoloured it to reflect the sunshiny nature of my mandala.
I drew the mandala digitally using Autodesk Sketchbook Pro.
This was a really nice exercise for me. It’s been a few days since I’ve done much in the way of digital art. I’ve been so focused on stuff for my art journal that I’ve had an unplanned break from it.
I must say that I rather like not having a bit of a mess around me, albeit a bit of a pretty mess. Digital art is very clean, tidy, and that suits my creative inclinations quite a bit.
Talking of my art journal, my A5 mixed media sketchbook arrived yesterday. Actually, a pack of three from Arteza did. So, I started by colouring three of the pages last night. I also drew some patterns on the first page to try some ideas out. I’ll show these another time.
This morning, I affixed some tags to the first page. I hinged them so I could have some tuck-spots on the back of them. I also drew some designs and painted/coloured them. And, I finished off some more inchies!
I’ve had quite a busy arty morning!
So far, the A5 sized journal seems to be working out so much better for me than the A4 one. The smaller sized pages means I can’t put so many items on a page, not without layers anyway. That seems to make it easier for me to achieve a pleasing arrangement of elements. Only time will show if it actually does work out well for me.
The mixed media paper in the Artezea sketchbook is rather rough and very different in texture to the ClaireFontaine one I usually use. However, as it’s likely to be covered with tags, pockets, envelopes and so on then it won’t be too much of an issue.
It’s Thursday again, and one more week of quarantine is behind us. That means one week of lockdown ahead of us. Feeling sad about all those who are sick or who have died as as a result of the sanctions, but the sanctions have kept others safe from Covid-19, thus reducing serious illness from the virus, or death.
As always, the template is available free to members of the group, which is also free to join. So, if you would like to colour it, meet some like-minded people, and share your colourings with us, pop over the the group and join in!
I drew and partially coloured today’s template digitally using Autodesk Sketchbook Pro. I needed to draw a mandala to soothe me. I’m tired today and feeling ‘meh’. That is reflected in my colour choices.