Drawing and Watercolor Practice

Yesterday turned out to be a funny old day. Funny as in not what I’d planned.

I got most of my recent experiments into watercolour added to the journal I’m making/working on, with brief notes. That journal is now getting a partly open ‘crocodile mouth’ look, which is fine by me. Before adding the experiments to the journal, I needed to colour some pages with Distress Ink.

As I was adding the little pieces of art to the journal, I realised that the background colours tied in rather nicely with the artwork placed on them – all completely by chance.

After that, I had some tasks around the house to do, and had phone calls that disrupted my flow of work somewhat. In the evening, though, I decided to continue with the Mattias Adophsson Domestika course, and the drawing/painting above was the result.

I’d already done some sketches of the anthropomorphic items in my sketchbook, and I re-drew the character drawing of myself, again. I made myself too thin by far! Ho hum. More practice is required for sure.

Anyways, after drawing the characters, I used flat, controlled watercolour washes followed by glazes to colour them in. This I felt more confident with – and more controlled about.

I can see how the kitty needs some shading, both on it’s body and on my top. I also need to add a line to the hand holding the balloons to make it more like a closed hand.

I’ll be following Mattias’ course, well parts of it. People and characters aren’t quite my thing. I don’t have the imagination it seems, or maybe I just don’t have the need to draw them. However, it’s nice to explore other ways of artistic expression. Those explorations are never wasted as it may just be that I find out that a particular style isn’t for me, no matter how much I admire it! Also, there’s always new things to learn that can be incorporated into my own art going forward.

More Watercolour Practice!

Over the past couple of days I’ve been playing around with watercolours. Apart from fun, it’s trying to work out how I can get them to work for me, and here you can see some of my experiments.

As well as continuing with the Domestika course, I found a book on my Kindle called “The Art of Creating Watercolor : Inspiration & Techniques for Imaginative Drawing and Painting” by Danielle Donaldson.

I’d forgotten I’d bought this, but on rediscovering it and looking at it I found it inspired me, particularly when it comes to drawing people.

What was reassuring, is that Danielle Donaldson is someone else who likes to work on a small scale! She also uses a very fin (0.3mm) pencil to draw with, but also to add line and pattern to her drawings instead of pen. I wanted to try that out.

I also really like the whimsical nature of her art, and her people inspired me to have a go. The three people in the collection of images above are inspired by her work, one more than the others. The one that is most directly like Danielle’s work is the person to the right of the trio. I used a pencil to draw the design as well as outline it after it was painted.

With the other two, I used a very fine Pitt Artist pen to outline them once the paint was dry.

Looking at them all together, I quite like the softer quality of the pencil line.

Oh, these trio are also my way of developing a version of myself. Unfortunately I look pregnant in the middle one (I’m not!), though I rather like my hair in this one – I wish my own hair was as thick and long! I really need to work on feet and foot positions.

Watercolours have vexed me, and continue to do so though I will persevere with them. Drawing people has vexed me for longer!

I started a course on Domestika – The Art of Sketching: Transform Your Doodles into Art by Mattias Adolfsson, Illustrator. But kind of let it fall by the wayside when the practice exercise was about drawing people, particularly myself. I baulked, big time. Perhaps I’ll now continue with the course, now I’ve found a style that makes sense to me, and I can work on developing my own.

I’m not entirely sure that watercolour will be the best medium for me to use…I’ll try others, including digital, to see what I can get to work for me and is in my style.

I also spent sometime experimenting with monograms and botanical themes. I really like the blue foliage, and the cute tree too.

Yesterday my art and other stuff was put on hold for much of the day; I woke with a migraine and couldn’t do much until painkillers had kicked in and I could sleep away the remnants of it. Once I woke, that’s when I found the book and did some art inspired by it.

I slept quite well last night, and woke just fine and dandy today.

All these bits of art will find my way into the journal I’m making, including notes and reflections on them.

Journal – pages 4 to 7

Over the past day or so, I’ve done some work on my journal and have pages 4 to 7 mostly complete. I’ve included lots of pockets to slip paper or artwork or other surprises into. I’ve also used some artwork I created as ephemera and embellishments.

Page 4 – top left.

This page has three pockets. One made by adhering two pages together, with a thumb notch punched out. Another is made from a sheet of tracing paper. The third is behind one of my signature entangled drawings; it’s a fairly secret pocket, unless I add something that peeks out from it.

I coloured the reverse of the drawing with Distress Inks as I didn’t know how they’d react with the pen drawing. Then, I adhered the tracing paper to some old book paper, and then adhered this to the tracing paper pocket, applying glue along three sides to create the pocket.

Once the glue was dry, I added some zentangle style patterns to the tissue paper pocket, just for fun. I used one of the Chameleon Fineliner pens to do this, using a colour that went well with the colours I’d used to ink the paper.

Page 5 – bottom left.

Page 5 is a little bit bigger than half the width of a page. I folded up the bottom of the page and adhered it along the edges to make a tuck-in. I punched out the thumb notch with a circle paper punch.

I decorated the tuck in with flower art at that I created myself. I also added some zentangle style patterns in between the flowers. I used Chameleon Fineliner pens, this time using a red and orange to get a gradient.

Page 6 – top right.

Again, a page that is a little more than half the width.

The drawing was done in gold ink on tracing paper. I used Distress Oxide inks to colour the reverse of the tracing paper before adhering it to some old book paper. The text and diagrams on the book page shows through faintly, as it does with the drawing on page 5.

Page 7 – bottom right.

This page just has a flower painting I created along with old book paper that have been collaged onto the journal page.

You can see the thumb notch on the edge of the page, showing I created a pocket by adhering two pages in the journal together.

Next steps…

None of the pages are fully completed. I’d like to add quotes or meaningful words or phrases. Some pages have gaps where I can add ephemera or pockets and so on. There’s certainly many spaces on the pages where I can draw patterns and designs.

I’m going to let the pages rest for a while as I turn my attention to other things today.

I’ve been feeling a bit ‘off’ or ‘meh’ in the last couple or so days. I’m finding it hard to settle to work of any kind. That I’ve been able to focus on getting some little bits and bobs done for the journal shows I’m feeling a bit more focused than of late.

Journal Ephemera

This morning, I woke early-ish and thought I’d spend a little time on my journal.

On page 2 I’ve added one of my silhouette irises backed onto some pearlescent card that i coloured with Chameleon Color Top marker pens. I’ll be adding a quote beside the flower, when I find the perfect quote to go there!

Above the flower you can see a little tag with a semi-circular bottom that has a little pocket in it. The tag will flip up so I can hide some journaling or quote or something pretty and surprising behind it.

On both pages you can see paperclips that have inchies embellishing them. This is a fab way for me to use my inchies in a practical way.

Finally, you can see three mini paintings – two floral, one abstract – that I can use in future pages.

Unusually for me I started by painting the basic shapes of flowers and leaves. Then, I added stems and details using various colours of fineliner pens as well as a white Sakura Gelly Roll pen. I added some sparkly dot details with Sakura Stardust and Uniball Signo glitter gel pens.

For the abstract pattern, I painted arcs on the watercolour paper and when they were dried I added curved lines using a white Sakura Gelly Roll pen and a gold glitter Uniball Signo pen.

I’m not at all sure how I’ll use these, other than the colours of the three cards go really well together so they’ll help me with the colour scheme for another pair of pages further on in the journal, as well as making other ephemera and so on for it.

I do like relatively straight edges, neatly regimented bits and bobs in my journal. I’m not one for lace and frills and frothy additions. It’s not completely clean and simple; I do like old book paper that’s been torn. It’s like I need to control shapes and positions and arrange things ‘just so’, neat and tidy like. That may very well be my way with journal creation, which is in juxtaposition with those I see on youtube.

Being confident with something new, like making my own journal, is something that takes time, perseverance and patience – the patience mostly being with myself until I gain enough confidence.

It’s also the confidence that doing something different to others is perfectly fine.

Yesterday

I was missing in action yesterday. I was unsettled, dissatisfied with anything I tried to do, and needing a lot of sleep it seems. I kept away from the ‘puter and social media. So, no art was done (other than a couple of templates for Entangled Gardens) and no blog post was written (nor any other social media).

One lesson I have learned from my time in counselling/therapy was the importance of knowing when to exercise self-care. I try my best to do this, though sometimes it’s difficult as I know there are expectations and pressures I place on myself.

However, I have learned that if I try to push myself to do things when I’m just not in the right place to do them, I just get more and more frustrated and fed up. If I give myself the time and space to do what I need to do to take care of my emotional and mental health, when I settle down to work, the work flows more easily and I’m more satisfied with what I create.

Although I did draw two templates yesterday, I started three or four others and just threw them as I really wasn’t at all happy with them, and they really were nonredeemable.

Once those two were complete, I felt better about my deadline for the book, a bit more settled in myself. However, any other artistic things I tried I was just frustrated with. So, a complete break away was needed. So, it was crochet while binge watching American Gods on Amazon Prime Video.

I don’t know if I’m feeling any better today as far as art goes, I do know I need breakfast before I consider doing any!

Flowery

Background – Distress Oxide inks and water spray on Daler-Rowney mixed media paper.

Flowers and background foliage – digital art using Autodesk Sketchbook Pro.

I had a lovely time creating this artwork. Flowers are something I love and find in my art an awful lot. It took a few iterations to get the drawing of the flowers and leaves as I wanted them. A lot more iterations were needed to get the colour and texture of the flowers and leaves so that I was happy with them.

I wanted a bit more interest in the background, so I drew a leafy, simple mandala that was coloured with shades of green. I then replicated it, resized it, and applied different layer effects to each copy of the mandala.

As I was doing this, it was reminding me of the mixed media work I did a few years ago, particularly using stencils to add interest to a background.

Digital mixed-media … without the mess! I’ve said it before – I’m averse to creating a mess!

Anyway, this has been an interesting experiment in the realms of digital art and my brain is now ticking over with ideas for the future. All I have to do is make a note of them!

Poppies

© Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

I’ve had a play around with Distress Ink backgrounds, painting on the basic shapes of flowers, leaves and stems, and then adding black line art to it.

And, as I got up to put this on the scanner, I hurt my back. So, today I’ll be finding somewhere to sit/lie where my back doesn’t hurt and most probably crocheting and hoping the pain/stiffness eases off soonest. My back was a bit niggly as I woke up – I’d slept in a different position to usual and I wonder if that’s what had started it off.

Ho hum, so no arty stuff today, it’s too painful to sit at my studio desk and work.

The purpose of art…

©Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

I often wonder about the purpose of art, the purpose of my art, and can never find the words or ideas to express. So, I’ve fallen back on a favourite quote of mine from Picasso.

It embodies how I feel about creating art. Being creative helps me to dust myself off, find myself back in the present, and to find my sense of balance and contentment. Being creative is so important to me each and every day, more so during the Covid-19 crisis and lock down.

I unashamedly make art that is a reflection of what makes my heart sing – line, pattern, abstract shapes, stylised forms, colour, intricacy. I soak up inspiration from all kinds of things and process it all unconsciously and intuitively to draw and paint things that are pretty and show what I find fascinating visually and that give me a sense of wonder and awe.

My art is, and will always be, a reflection of my heart, soul and mind.

I do, however, sometimes worry that my art hasn’t anything to say about the world, that makes people think about things. That my art is just … pretty.

What the world needs now, however, is some prettiness and beauty in it to dilute the worry and fear and ugliness that abounds. I’d like to think that my art helps in that process just a little.

Today’s mandala and typography were created digitally. I usually use a background from one of the collections I’ve purchased online, but today I used one I created. I used Affinity Publisher to produce the typography and Autodesk Sketchbook Pro for the artwork. My tools are by Microsoft – Surface Slim Pen and Surface Studio.