Tiny Botanicals

I have been really enjoying drawing tiny botanicals in little ‘windows’. So, I combined drawing with watercolor practice.

The image on the left involved me using a pencil to draw the boxes and their contents, then watercoloring. For some, I tried painting the image in sections and with layers of colour. I really wasn’t happy with the results. I painted the rest of the boxes with washes of watercolour and then either inked or re-drew the designs in pencil. I felt happier with these.

I used Daler-Rowney Smooth watercolour paper and I’ve been struggling to get the paper to stay wet enough for long enough to mix colours wet in wet. Not even on these tiny little windows. It was becoming very frustrating.

A couple of days ago, I’d ordered a pack of 100% cotton rag paper and it arrived early evening. I used a small piece of it for the illustration on the right.

I started by painting rectangles of colour on the paper. I used a waterbrush rather than a paintbrush for this. I used the same kind of transparency of watercolour for each as I did for the illustration on the left. Oh my gosh, did the colours shine and show up so much more vibrantly! Not only that, it was so easy to mix colours, wet in wet. The cotton rag paper is an absolute joy to work with!

I was beginning to get frustrated with myself and watercolors once again. This has been a common feature of my love-hate affair with them over many years. This paper may change that totally.

This morning, after letting the paper dry, I drew tiny botanicals in each window. I used, as in the image on the left, a 005 Sakura Pigma Micron pen to draw with. I was worried it would struggle with the paper’s rough texture. The lines aren’t as uniform as they’d be on, say, smooth Bristol board. I just went with the rougher nature of the lines and was surprised at how much I enjoyed them. They meant I loosened up my drawing style a little.

I really enjoyed creating these little artworks (the one on the left is approx. 5″ x 5″, the on on the right 4″ x 4.75″). There is something I find really satisfying about creating teeny tiny drawings, in the same way I find drawing intricate designs makes something inside me smile.

What I do want to try later on today is adding some more colour to some of the design elements on both drawings using both watercolours and watercolour pencils or inktense pencils. On second thoughts, I think I’ll do some samples to experiment on, annotate and add to my journal, just in case I don’t like what transpires.

Before I do any of that, I woke with a headache. It’s beginning to shift, but as it lifts it’s leaving me feeling really tired.

Monday mood

©Angela Porter

Another day on lock-down, and I started the day by colouring a Strathmore Bristol Board tile with Distress Inks, then drawing. You can see the result above, sorry for the poor photo.

The random generated tangle pattern for today is ‘BB‘, and it’s the wavy set of blocks across the middle of the design. The rest of the design is made up from some of my favourite patterns and motifs, as well as a few dangle designs.

The overall design doesn’t feel as if it flows. That may be a reflection of my emotional state, which is a mixture of anxiety, fear, being overwhelmed and exhausted.

So, self-care is in order. So that’s doing things that won’t frustrate me, or that won’t having me feel that whatever I do is rubbish.

Entangled Garden drawing

©Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

Today, I have another entangled drawing for you to enjoy. I worked on it over the past couple of days. I think it’s taken me around six or seven hours to complete.

Because of all the floral and botanical motifs I’ve called it an Entangled Garden. A garden that has grown from my intuition and imagination.

I’m enjoying drawing these kind of illustrations at the moment. I really do have a fondness for botanical motifs, but also for arches and patterns inspired by Romanesque and Gothic architecture. There’s also some influence from Zentangle patterns too.

I’ve not added any shading to increase depth and dimension. There are places in the design that could benefit from a hint of shadow. However, I’m happy with it as it is.

As a drawing, it is a bit too fussy with intricate details to work as a coloring page as far as traditional media are concerned. However, I do know some colourists who would love the challenge of colouring a design like this!

Having said that, this kind of design, with less details, would be perfect for my next coloring book which I do need to start work on soon. I need the cover done for the publishers by the end of this month. So, I can take inspiration from the drawings I’ve been doing recently, though I do have some other ideas rattling around my brainbox too.

I used Uniball Unipin pens, along with ClaireFontaine dot grid paper. The size of the drawing is approx. 7.5″ x 10″.

I added the background colour and texture digitally, after removing the dots from the dot grid paper.

An Entangled Sunday

An Entangled Sunday ©Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

Yesterday evening, I took a combination of Tombow Fudenosuke, Sakura Pigma Micron and Faber-Castell Pitt Artist pens to a 6″ x 6″ piece of Strathmore vellum surface Bristol Board. I ended up with a black and white entangled drawing. This morning, I scanned the image in and added a kraft paper background and then some subtle shading and highlights in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro.

After Inktober and my focus on digital art, it was nice to draw traditionally for a change. My mood and energy levels were such that I needed to slip back into the familiar, comforting entangled style of art to soothe my emotions once again.

This drawing worked out OK. However, I don’t feel it flows at all well, though that does reflect yesterday’s mood and mindset.

The part I really like is the rectangle towards the bottom left. I’m also fond of the arcs to the right. Actually, I like all the design elements, I’m just not happy with how they’ve been lumped together. Maybe I’m just being overly self-critical here.

It’s a sunny Sunday morning in the Valleys of South Wales. I think it’s going to be a quietly artsy day, with a trip out for some essential groceries in a short while I think.

Evening Mandala

Evening Mandala ©Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

Yesterday afternoon, I arrived home from EMDR therapy feeling very emotionally drained, fragile and vulnerable. Creating art is one of my self-soothing activities, particularly mandalas.

I’d downloaded a pile of new backgrounds in the past couple of days and wanted to make use of a chalkboard background. It was so dark I knew I needed to make the mandala full of light and colour.

This was a somewhat symbolic choice as my long journey to recovery from CPTSD has been about bringing light into the dark places of my trauma damaged psyche. EMDR has helped me turn the dark into light in terms of my mental and emotional health.

I really enjoyed creating this mandala. Usually, I work with black on white; here I started with colour – the abstract ‘flower’ ring close to the centre. I wanted the colours to glow against the darkness, so I chose lighter shades of aqua and violet. I even added some glowing golden seeds or pollen grains, which is also metaphoric for the personal growth I’m going through in my healing journey.

I then used a white, chalky pen ‘brush’ to draw patterns inside this ring and around it. I decided the white was too plain, so, to break up the white, I blended soft colours into it.

Finally, I added the ring of mushrooms. These had to be my favourite colour – purple. I added some dots to the mushroom caps in lime-green, which is kind of a complementary colour to purple. My last step was to add the stylised foliage behind the mystic mushrooms.

This mandala really helped to soothe me, and it was a pleasure to create. It gave me a break from Inktober and other work that’s ongoing too.

Talking of Inktober, I will be getting Day 29 done later today; I have some things that need doing first.

Oh, the mandala was created digitally using Autodesk Sketchbook Pro and a Microsoft Surface Pen on the screen of a Microsoft Surface Studio (the digital analogues of pen and paper).

Inktober 2019 – Day 26

Inktober 2019 Day 26 ©Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

Today’s Inktober features a flamingo skull and a mandala.

I really can’t seem to get away from the woodcut style drawing at the moment. I am enjoying drawing in this style, and it is a bit of a challenge to work out which direction the lines and the thickness of the lines need to go in order to give that sense of dimension to the artwork.

The second ring from the centre of the mandala is formed using today’s tangle pattern – Ratoon. The fourth ring out has stylised drawings of the birds’s nest fungus (Cyanthus striatus). The rest of the mandala I just let flow as it needed to.

The colours I used for the mandala are from the plumage of flamingos. I needed a dark background for some of the colours to show up well, so I used a grungy texture which I coloured a murky, algae-green. The skull appears to be resting in the mandala thanks to the way I’ve used the colours.

This is, again, digital art, drawn using Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, Microsoft Surface Pen and Microsoft Surface Studio.

The Inktober prompt lists I’m using come from the Instagrammers @book_polygamist (skulls), @nyan_sun (mushrooms) and @havepen_willdraw (tangle patterns).

Inktober 2019 – Day 24

Inktober 2019 Day 24 ©Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

Aardvark skull, Odumansiella mucida mushrooms and Baton tangle pattern.

Digital art using Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, Microsoft Surface Pen and Surface Studio.

Another woodcut style skull drawing with a mandala that is more organic in feel that recent.

Looking at the design, I’m wondering if the skull needs to be a little bigger…

Inktober 2019 – Day 23

Inktober 2019 Day 23 ©Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

Frog skull, Morchella (morel) fungi and Abundies tangle pattern from Inktober prompt lists by Instagrammers @book_polygamist @nyan_sun and @havepen_willdraw.

I decided I’d use the frog skull as a framework for some tangle patterns. It’s not so easy to pick the skull out, but it is there in the centre of today’s illustration.

I felt the need to add some mandala rings around the design, though I’m not sure that was such a good idea. Still, Inktober is about drawing and reflecting on what is created rather than aiming for something complete, polished, perfect. This reflection on artwork is what leads me to improve my art. Inktober also pushes me just a little to try different styles of drawing.

So, I’m not so happy with today’s offering. But it’s good enough.

So, Angela, how are you today?

Tuesdays are often post-therapy self-care days. I certainly need such a day today. I am absolutely exhausted after yesterday’s very emotional session.

I didn’t do any EMDR, but there were discussions about some issues that had arisen for me in the past week. One of which is preparing to leave therapy sometime in the near-ish future. This is both a good thought and a sad thought. Also, it has to be my decision when to leave therapy. Making decisions is not easy for me.

Some of the time was spent talking about the book I’m reading ‘Will I Ever Be Good Enough?’, which is about the daughters of narcissistic mothers. There are some issues from that which will need some working on before I leave therapy.

I came home from the appointment absolutely exhausted. I stopped off at the local Sainsbury’s for some tea before doing some shopping, as well as to wait out the crazy rush-hour traffic. I kept nodding off as I sat in the cafe.

When I did get home, I put my shopping away, got another drink and went to bed and fell into a deep sleep. I managed to stay awake for a couple of hours before the exhaustion overtook me once again, and I retired to bed.

I slept well; however, I am shattered today, as well as being emotionally drained, fragile and vulnerable. Even though I feel like this, that gentle contentment is present within me. Indeed, it was present during the emotionally distressing moments in therapy yesterday.

So, today is a self-care day, starting with my Inktober drawing for today. I’m just about falling asleep as I type, so I suspect I’ll have another mug of tea and then return to bed to sleep some more.

Inktober 2019 – Day 8

Bat skull and Laccaria amethystina

Inktober 2019 Day 8 ©Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com Bat Skull and Laccaria amethystina
Inktober 2019 Day 8 ©Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

I decided to colour the bat skull and mushrooms to contrast with the graphic nature of the zentangle patterns I used to draw the background mandala.

For a bit of fun, I added an eerie glow to the eye and nasal sockets of the skull. Well, bats, spooky and October-Hallowe’en just go together! Of course, black, white and purple makes for a spooky colour scheme too. I think I’ve made the purple a bit dark, but it’s good enough! I can always, always rework my design in the future if I need to.

I wanted to keep the skull and mushrooms quite stylised rather than realistic. That’s hard for me to do when I’m working from photographic references.

In the past, I have drawn objects in an almost scientifically accurate kind of way. However, I do think that one of my strengths as an artist is being able to simplify and stylise whatever motifs and design elements I’m working with.

I have used Inktober 2019 prompts on from three lists on Instagram for today’s drawing:

  • Animal Skulls by @book_polygamist
  • Mushrooms by @nyan_sun
  • Tangles by @havepen_willdraw

So, Angela, how are you feeling today?

Yesterday’s EMDR session was productive if a bit painful and distressing with the thoughts, emotions and body feelings that arose during the session. I was left feeling a bit dazed but not too bad; I even managed to stop on my way home and wander around three shops, though I did baulk at the fourth one and decided it was time to head home.

After having something to eat and a bit mug of tea I was cwtched up in bed and asleep before 8pm. I didn’t wake until past 8am this morning. Between a late night on Sunday and EMDR yesterday I must have been absolutely exhausted. I’m still feeling a bit tired now.

Although I do feel a bit tired, I’m also feeling quite content. That is helped by it being a sunshiny day and sunshine always helps my mood.

Back to EMDR. I’m working with a physical sensation in my body at the moment. There seems to be no memories of trauma associated with it. However, that may be because there’s lots and lots of similar traumas rolled into one, or I may have dissociated from the memory – the memory being too painful to remember. However, the trauma is stored in the body and emotions and it is being processed.

I’ve experienced a foul, nauseating smell, a horrible taste in my mouth, a sensation that my heart can’t ‘breathe’, a feeling of tentacles being wrapped around my heart, nausea, pains in my abdomen, back, neck, head, my face going numb, my fingers feeling as if they are being burned, electric shocks in my feet and hands, lumps in my throat, a feeling of being restrained by my upper arms, fear, disgust, overwhelming sadness, and a heavy emptiness inside me. There’s also been a an awareness that I just don’t feel right, a feeling of being out of balance, of not knowing what someone or some people expect of me, that whatever I do is never right or good enough. I haven’t experienced these things all at once as I process this particular trauma; each comes and then goes as I just let it ‘happen’. All this happens in the 25 to 45 minutes an EMDR session lasts.

So much goes on in my body, with my emotions and with distressing memories that I can be left exhausted afterwards.

Yet, I know it’s working and helping me have a healthier relationship with myself. That feeling of being content is proof of that!

Inktober 2019 – Day 6

Gecko skull and Stinkhorn

Inktober 2019 Day 6 © Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

Another day, another Inktober drawing – this time a gecko skull along with stinkhorn fungi.

No colouring, no shading, just pen work this time.

I love the skull and the leaves and spirals around it. I’m not so fussed on my fungi. The only thing I would change about the skull is the pattern around the eyeballs; the chequerboard and dots is just a tad too heavy handed.

I’m starting to struggle adding the fungi to the skulls; my drawings are all becoming more than a bit ‘samey’.

Digital art using Autodesk Sketchbook Pro and a Surface Pen and Surface Studio by Microsoft.

I’m using Inktober 2019 prompt lists from @book_polygamist and @nyan_sun on Instagram.