Monday Mandala

Monday is, usually, mandala day. I have at least one mandalas-in-progress, but I started a new one today, primarily because I wanted to try out some different brushes in Clip Studio Paint Pro.

It took me a few experiments to settle on one brush to work with for this mandala – a coloured pencil brush.

It also took me quite a few goes to work out how I wanted to lay down colour for this mandala too. Eventually I settled on highlight on one edge, shadow on the other, and quite a sharp delineation betwixt the two.

I didn’t realise it at the time, but the effect I was achieving reminded me of the abstract oil paintings I did many, may years ago. The abstract patterns came from Romanesque architecture and rusty parts of steam and diesel locomotives. I remember myself playing with light and shadow. I also remember at the AS level exam exhibition I was puzzled as people kept touching the paintings. I asked someone why they had. They answered that they wanted to see if the paintings were 3D in nature. I hadn’t seen that illusion at all, but once it was pointed out to me I could see what others could. I put it down to having worked so closely on the paintings.

This was around 17 years ago now, and I still tend towards working with highlights and shadows, and the resultant illusion of volume or dimension in my work.

I’ve also finally worked out that I tend to use light and shadow as part of the patterns in my work instead of related to a light source. I think that penny dropped when I was listening to a Zentangle video on youtube.

As lovely as it is to work with varied colour palettes, for this one I wanted to return to a simpler palette. I’ve chosen just two colours and various shades of those colours.

I can see how my colour blending technique has developed from the centre outwards! The difference between highlight and shadow has increased a tad.

I have so many works in progress at the moment, and I tend towards creating new all the time. I think I really do need to learn perseverance and get works finished more often!

Monday Mandala

My first mandala created in Clip Studio Paint Pro! It was a different yet similar experience to that I’d get in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro. In fact everything is similar, but different. It’s going to take me a while to work out how it all works.

I enjoyed the process, and the challenges it presented me weren’t huge. They were more opportunities to learn than to be frustrated.

One thing I really do need to look into are the settings on the symmetry tools. They didn’t work the way I expected them to, hence the rather unusual way the patterns are repeated around the centre. The fact that they work this way means that there’s a wider range of possibilities for such designs going forward. That is exciting!

I’ve mentioned in previous blogs how I’ve been dissatisfied at times with my artistic expression. It felt stale, samey, and just not working. Every now and again I have a need to explore new things, to shake it up a little. This is turning out to be one of those perfect confluences of frustration, opportunity and freshness.

It has to be said, though, that there are times when I return to what is more familiar, comfortable too. But when I do return to them, I do so with the lessons and outlooks gained from these fresh experiences. And so, my artwork develops, which is a good thing indeed.

Monday Mandala

Mandalas are so much fun to do. In this one are lots of zentangle patterns – can you spot them?

Soft blues and greens play against the coppery tones used in the structure of the mandala. Soft, yet not washed out with plenty of contrast betwixt the highlights and shadows. I’m actually really happy with the color palette I’ve used here, as well as some subtle texture patterns that may not be visible on this smaller, lower resolution image.

What I do like is the light, almost lacy feel to the outermost ring.

A lovely way to spend a few hours on a Monday morning. Indeed, I got so engrossed in this that I’ve not had breakfast yet and it’s gone midday!

Monday Mandala

Yet again, a lovely way to start a Monday. Mandalas are always a pleasure to draw/paint/create. I particularly love creating them digitally for many reasons, not least is the opportunity to experiment and learn new skills. It removes the worry of making a ‘mistake’ on paper and either having to start again or try to make that ‘mistake’ a part of the work. Often, that ‘mistake’ will be worked into the drawing, but not always and if I know it’s there, it bothers me, even if no one else can see it. The perfectionist in me gets a tad upset at it.

Having said that, there are a couple of things I’m not happy with in this mandala, but I can live with them.

One thing I do like is the colour palette of copper/bronze colours and that steely blue-grey. Vintage colours seem to be my thing at the moment for sure.

Monday Mandala – WIP

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.

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.

Monday Mandala

After doing some admin work this morning, I felt the need to create a mandala.

I decided to use one of the stylised bird heads from my recent drawings as a starting point, and, well, the design just grew from that.

There’s some zentangle-style patterns, and some that seem to be inspired by Meso-American architecture.

I think the drawing is done, just the shadow/highlight work to be continued with and completed. The small area I’ve done really lifts the design. It’s just working out how to get the digital brush settings just right!

I’m quietly pleased with it, so far, but I need to put it to one side for a while. This afternoon I need to work on the cover for my next colouring book for Creative Haven. The one thing both projects have in common is that they make me smile. And that is a good thing, a very good thing!

Monday Mandala

This week’s mandala is a tad different. I decided to take my entangled assemblage drawing from yesterday and create a ring mandala behind it. The patterns in the mandala are in keeping with the focal image.

I’ve not finished colouring the focal image, yet. But I have done a little bit more since yesterday. Just a little bit more.

I rather like the contrast of teals and turquoise with browns and coppery tones, hence my colour choice for the mandala.

All in all, a fun way to start my arty work day. It’s always nice to do some warm-up drawing before I get to drawing coloring templates.

Focal design drawn using 0.35 Rotring Rapidograph and acid-free cartridge paper.
Autodesk Sketchbook Pro used to add colour the to focal point, the background texture and to draw and colour the mandala.

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.

Monday Mandala

Eerie and spooky?

A fun, quirky, cute Hallowe’en themed mandala was what was needed on Monday morning.

I started with the skull, without any clue as to what I was going to do with it. Then I thought about adding a mandala around it, and I wanted it in eerie, almost glowing colours.

As I drew the skull without any outlines, I thought I’d do the same for the rest of the mandala. I also kept a pretty simple colour palette – violets, teals and blues.

It’s worked out OK. It certainly is a bit different. The most important thing is that I enjoyed drawing it, and that is most probably the most important thing of all.

Sunshine and mood

Today, there’s some sunshine and that helps to keep my mood up. I did feel a bit better yesterday – sleep and Star Wars really helped! I may have felt better, but settling to art just didn’t happen yesterday.

I’m still so tired. I think it’s all to do with some anxiety at this time. There’s nothing specific for it, just general anxiety. I think it was triggered by my boiler breakdown and then the engineer fixing it, and the increasing cases of Covid combined with a national lockdown in Wales.

I’m not sure I can drive less than a mile to the cemetery I like to walk around. I feel safe there in a way I don’t walking around the streets and town I live in at this time.

Of course, worrying about whether I’ll be breaking the rules to take a walk adds to my anxiety.

What a pickle!

It may be that I baulk and just stay home, and check the rules carefully before I do venture forth for a walk.

Pumpkin knitting

Knitting pumpkins while watching Star Wars. Guaranteed to reduce my anxiety. And knitting, unlike crochet, is something I can do without having to look at my fingers.

Also, I’ve found it really relaxing and the feel of the knitted fabric in my fingers is soothing and pleasurable. As I’ve been kintting in stocking stitch, it’s a very smooth fabric. Crochet tends to have more texture to it. I think I’ll be doing more knitting and less crochet for a while.