Testing, testing

This is a rather mechanical-organic-entangled kind of drawing, that is a work in progress. I started two similar drawings, but then messed them up as I smeared ink too badly.

This one, though, is gradually growing. Perhaps the machinery is all abandoned bits and bobs that nature is now reclaiming. Who knows! Perhaps there is a bit of a story in my art after all.

I did make a short youtube video this morning as I drew part of this design. Yesterday, I took delivery of a stand-sit thingy that sits on my desk. I realised I spend way too much time sitting down in a day, drawing and so on. So, I thought being able to stand and work may be a good thing.

Yesterday afternoon, after it arrived, I tested it out to do some digital art. All fine and good! It was a pleasant change to stand and work, that’s for sure.

This morning, I wondered how I’d get on drawing traditionally. So, I thought I’d make a little video of me drawing a thinking out loud.

It’s OK to work when standing up, but i’m going to have to set the thingy (must give it a name!) a bit higher so I’m not bending my back a tad awkwardly to work. Mind you, that may be solved if I wear the right pair of glasses!

All the same, I think it’s a fab investment, and as it lowers to being just about three inches higher than my desk surface and I can push it back out of the way, it’s fab.

It’s raining fairly steadily and heavily at the moment. We have a weather warning here in South Wales, one to take care when driving. I’ve got no plans to go out. Actually, even if it was dry I have no plans to go out. A walk isn’t a good idea at the moment. I twisted my knee awkwardly yesterday. Walking up/down slopes was problematic for me on my walk yesterday. Going up and down stairs can be really painful. So, my knee needs some tlc to recover, quiet day today then.

Friday entanglement – WIP

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.

Friday work in progress

The artwork

Started yesterday evening, worked on during my hours of mid-night waking, and on waking this morning, this measures 21 cm x 21 cm (approx 8.25″ x 8.25″) The paper is natural coloured Claire Fontaine Paint-On mixed media paper coloured with Aged Mahogany Distress Ink. The design is being drawn with a mix of 03 Unipin and 01 Sakura Micron pens.

I’m using a mixture of Stadedtler Triplus and Chameleon Fineliner pens to add colour to the design, along with a barely damp waterbrush to spread the colour out. Interestingly, some of the colour lines added remain visible, to a greater or lesser extent, depending on how much I work the colour with the waterbrush. Also, I’m finding that I really enjoy adding colour and texture like this.

The finishing bright white highlights are added using a Sakura Gelly Roll pen.

I find the fineliners used in this way give me much greater control over how much the colour spreads in the small areas in my drawing. They also don’t spread as much as, say, Tombow Dual Brush pens or Inktense pencils. That helps to control the spread of colour too.

I rather like the vintage-y look that the palette of browns and olive greens confers on the design, helped along by the background colour and texture of the paper.

Oh, I do intend to leave a ‘hole’ in this first layer of designs. I’m not sure I’ll do inside the space; a quote, more layers of design. For now I’m not sure. But once this first layer is done, I can scan it in and use it in different ways digitally.

There are lots of my favourite motifs appearing in this one, rather organic ones for the most part. What will appear from the tip of my pen in the rest of the design? I don’t know yet! It could be more of the same, or not. All I know is that the intricacy, detail and revisiting old favourite motifs is making my arty crafty heart smile.

Cognitive dissonance

“The state of having inconsistent thoughts, beliefs, or attitudes, especially as relating to behavioural decisions and attitude change.”

Finally, the penny dropped as to why I’m feeling so out of sorts. Oddly, it was while I was listening to a documentary about the cult NXIVM as I was drawing during the stupid o’clock hours of drawing. Don’t worry, I’m not a member of a cult! However cognitive dissonance was mentioned and that was the ‘ta-da!’ moment for me.

Cognitive dissonance causes emotional distress related to holding contradictory beliefs or values. I’ve experienced this before during breakthrough moments in therapy where I’ve had to accept that I was a victim of trauma, that I really do have CPTSD and I’m not (as my mother would tell me) making it up, for example.

I’m poised on a knife edge, wanting to make a decision to leave something, but feeling guilty about thinking that way. I need to find a way to find some clarity to help me make that decision, and it has to do with my core values and beliefs.

Recognising this doesn’t make me feel any better, but it helps me understand what is going on, and that understanding will help me work my way through it! Making a decision won’t make it any easier for me to act upon it as there’ll be a lot of guilt and the old reactive feeling of believing I’m letting other people down.

However, I can’t put other people ahead of my own mental and emotional well-being. It’s never been easy for me to say ‘no’ to people, to leave organisations or people who are contributing to emotional and mental distress in myself. But I have done so occasionally, more so in the last year or two. And I will do so this time if it’s what I need to do to find that sense of balance, harmony, peace in myself once again.

Monogram “a”

I got this monogram finished yesterday evening. I think I may have been a bit heavy handed with shading in some places. However, overall I like it and I like the volume or dimension that the shading adds.

I definitely enjoy working in such a detailed, intricate and organically intuitive kind of way. Having the monogram as a design to work around does help quite a bit.

On a kind of related point, I had a new A5 dot grid notebook delivered yesterday so I can start to make a collection of motifs and patterns as I use them or create them. The idea is I can winnow out those that I never/rarely use. The reason for this is that the dot grid notebook I’ve kept as a visual dictionary for the last couple of years is just about full! I will keep it as a reference, but it’s time to start a new, more relevant one I think.

I have a snazzy, teal coloured notebook, covered in vegan faux-leather. It has 218 numbered white pages that are a tad thicker than the usual dot grid notebook pages, The paper is velvety smooth and a pleasure to write/draw on. It’s made by Wordsworth & Black and I came across it on Amazon. Oh, the ink doesn’t feather, bleed through or ghost on the pages. I paid £15 for it and I’m very happy with it so far.

A little entangled

A little entangled ©Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

Today’s arty offering is this little bit of entangled art. It measures 4″ x 3″, so is small in size, but big in detail, I think.

Distress Oxide inks were used to colour a 4″ x 3″ piece of Claire Fontaine mixed media paper, with water to add extra texture to it.

I drew the design using 08 and 02 Unipin pens. To bring the design out of the background, I used Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Brush pens. Dots of gold and white finished the embellishment.

My final step was to apply some Distress Microglaze to add a subtle sheen that brings out the colours and layers of texture, not just to the Distress Oxide ink, but to the Pitt Artist Pens too.

I thought I’d try the Pitt Artist pens with this background as it seemed more dull and dusty, and that’s how I find the colours in the Pitt Artist Pens. Initially, I was going to keep it monochrome. However, I liked the nature of the colours in the pens, so experimented with them.

I enjoyed creating this little work of art. Now, it’ll find its way into my sketchbook-journal, with reflective notes for future reference.

Entangled Borders

Entangled Borders ©Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

I’ve enjoyed creating this sketchbook sampler page. I drew the designs with a mixture of Uniball Unipin pens, Faber-Castell Pitt Artist pens, a medium nib Schaeffer fountain pen, and an extra-fine nib Faber Castell fountain pen. I used dot grid paper from Claire Fontaine.

After scanning the page in, I removed the dot grid and added a grungy paper background. I then decided I’d like to add some colour and shadow/light to the designs. To do this, I used a messy chalk brush, so my colouring isn’t as precise as I usually like it. However, it’s loosened up my expectations of myself as I went with it.

Pastel colours were my palette of choice as I like the way they seem to almost glow against the grungy kraft background. I also like the way they help to enhance the 3-D appearance of the designs. I do enjoy playing with shadow and light.

Some of the designs are examples of my organic, entangled style of drawing. Others are repeating, geometric zentangle-style patterns. And then there’s some inspired by Medieval illuminated manuscripts.

I also enjoy working within a clear border. I like the sense of structure it brings to my work. It also satisfies some kind of aesthetic need within me. Every now and then I try work without a border, but the artwork I produce just never feels quite right to me. So, it’s time for me to accept the need for borders is part of my artistic voice.

There is a purpose for me creating these borders. I’m building up a library of them that I can use to embellish quotes and other projects.

Some of these borders would look fab as greeting cards note cards, bookmarks, and to use in other paper craft projects. They’d also work well as embellishments for BuJo, planner, diary, scrapbook and journal pages.

Others would be a great foundation for dangle designs (my book “A Dangle A Day” is a good place to start drawing dangle designs).

What I do know, is that I find drawing soothing and relaxing. So, I’m going to be spending the rest of my Sunday drawing more borders.

Entangled flora

©Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

One of the nice things about being between contracts is being able to indulge myself in art. It’s also a chance for me to do ‘comfort art’, art that is in a familiar style that I don’t often do.

This is an example of ‘comfort art’. Art that is soothing to do, is intuitive and surprising in how it turns out. I start with pen and paper (dot grid in this case), and just start with a single motif. I then let the design grow from that point, organically and intuitively.

There are always sticking points where I want to give up as it doesn’t look right, or I’m not happy with what I’ve just drawn. However, I’ve learned to persevere past these points and the end design is usually one I’m happy enough with.

There were many sticking points in this one, some of which I thought were going to be shatter points.

Although I’ve deemed this illustration ‘done’, as I reflect on it now, I can see places where some added line texture would help the design be less homogeneous in places and would add some contrast.

Also, some shadows would help add dimension to the illustration. Having said that, colour would really bring the drawing to life too.

For now, though, this design is finished. Whether I work some more on it remains to be seen.

I used Uniball Unipin pens to draw this design, along with ClaireFontaine Sketch dotgrid paper. The only things I did digitally were to scan the design in, remove the dots of the dot grid, and add the background colour and texture and watermarks.

Winter Solstice 2019

Winter Solstice 2019 ©Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

I’ve been awake since way before dawn drawing this mandala to celebrate the Winter Solstice. I’m looking forward to the increased hours of daylight, though it will be a couple of weeks, or so, before there’s any noticeable difference in the length of day.

It’s been a lovely way to spend the hours as night gradually gives way to the sun. Not that I can see the Sun itself; grey skies and patches of rain obscure the golden wonder of that glowing ball of nuclear fusion.

I created the mandala using Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, Microsoft Surface Pen and Microsoft Surface Studio.

Mandala in succulent colours

Mandala in succulent colours © Angela Porter 2019
Mandala in succulent colours © Angela Porter 2019

I do struggle with colour schemes at times. I either go crazy overboard with bright, vibrant, rainbow colours or monochrome. For this one, I took the colours from some images of succulents and used small colour palette of just five basic colours, with varying tones of those colours to achieve the depth I like in my artwork.

The colour palette is also a bit different for me, much more muted, subdued. That may reflect my current emotional and mental weather. I’m not as gloomy as I have been over the past few weeks, but it certainly isn’t as bright and sunny as it can be.

I always find creating soothing to my mind and emotions. It’s my main self-care activity. It’s not the only one, but it’s the main one. Others include crochet/knitting, reading, napping. I’d like to add going for a walk to that list, but on days like today that can be difficult for me to do. Weekends tend to be more peopley than I can cope with even on the best of my days.

I have invited my sister over for a meal this evening. However, I’m not up to facing the craziness of a Saturday supermarket to do the shopping, so I’ll take her out for a meal instead. That would do me some good too, a change of scene and someone else cooking for me. It will also allow me to conserve what energy I have at the moment. I’m so tired all the time after a few very draining weeks through EMDR and Time to Change Wales anti-stigma talks.

Sunday Morning Art

Abstract wip 24 March 2019 Copyright Angela Porter Artwyrd.com
Abstract wip 24 March 2019 Copyright Angela Porter Artwyrd.com

Spending a lazy Sunday morning (and early afternoon) digitally colouring this drawing and using it as an exercise in learning more about different kinds of brushes in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro.

Microsoft Surface Pen and Microsoft Surface Studio are my other tools for this, though the image was drawn with a Lamy Fountain pen on Rhodia dot grid paper.

I’m finally feeling more settled than I have been all week. Just in time for EMDR tomorrow! Typical. Still, it’s nice to feel settled for sure.