Monday Mandala 30 Nov 2020

A mandala in my entangled assemblage style. I really enjoyed drawing this, not least because I proved to myself I can transfer this way of drawing to digital art.

Unusually, there’s not a single botanical element in this artwork. Not one leaf, not one flower, nor any seed pods. It’s purely abstract.

I think I may have used up too much of my time this morning (a deadline is about to go whoosh past me), but it has given me ideas for some of the remaining templates I need to complete.

Sketchbook / Journal Pages

Sakura white, metallic and starlight gelly roll pens in a black Sakura journal/sketchbook. I had a lovely few hours last night, sat in bed, settling down for a good sleep.

What you can’t see in the photos is how the matt white and shiny blue/green inks create interesting weirdness visually. By weirdness, I mean a strange kind of 3D effect that I can’t put into words. That was totally unexpected.

I haven’t decided what to do with these pages yet. Will I fill them in completely with colour/pattern, or will I leave the pages as they are. If I leave them as they are then they can be used for journaling, writing, and I quite like that idea to be honest. As the writing is likely to be very personal, I’m not likely to share that, but maybe I’ll mock something up digitally, see for myself what it’s like and then decide.

And with that last sentence, I may scan these in and use them as templates for a digital journal, which would then take away my worries about making a mess of the page by writing on it!

Of course, they’d work quite nicely as frames for quotes too.

Too many possibilities!

Whatever I decide to do – and it may be all of these things – there is something satisfying about working with shimmer and shine and the contrast with the matt white ink on black. The sparkle and shine makes my arty soul rather happy.

Just a note on the black Sakura sketchbook / notebook /journal. I like it! It has a LOT of pages in it of acid-free, sturdy enough, smooth paper.

Sunday Morning Art

This was a lovely way to spend the first three hours or so of Sunday morning. Abstract digital painting. Chilled out music playing on Spotify. A slow sunrise behind the grey, rain-dropping clouds.

Again, the pattern was inspired by rocks and geology. Some of the patterns I’ve added remind me of rocks and shells, others are a bit too geometric.

It’s always nice to play around with pattern, texture and colour. And when I limit my palette to just a couple of colour families I get much better results. Today, I used the B and YR Copic colour families from the Copic palette included with Autodesk Sketchbook Pro.

While not reminiscent of rocks, the colours remind me of sea and sand. This year, I’ve not been able to get to the coast, other than once way back in February. The colour choice is a subconscious desire for the sea and shore, a liminal place, a boundary between one element and another.

The coast is a place where I feel my whole body exhale and relax. Sadly, it’s not possible to visit at this time, maybe not for a long while. However, the pandemic won’t last forever and the coastline will still be there.

Anyways, creating this artwork was a lovely way of spending some time on a Sunday morning. I can see where I’ve been clumsy with the patterns, making the layers look flatter than I wanted them to.

Monday Morning Mandala

I actually started this mandala yesterday morning, but I did most of the work on it this morning.

Black, white and craft paper, with some warm grey shading to help to bring out a sense of volume to areas of pattern.

The number five.

I chose, to start with, five-fold symmetry.

The number five symbolises balance and harmony. It also can represent freedom, independence, adventure, curiosity, intelligence, individualism, courage, and important life lessons to be learned from your experiences.

Five can also be symbolic of a problem, but there are solutions to the problem. As five also symbolises inner wisdom, the solution comes from our own inner wisdom. Once a solution is identified, then a plan of action needs to be developed through passion, emotions, ideas or work. Then it needs to be followed through.

Star symbolism

The central motif of the mandala is reminiscent of a five-pointed star.

Stars are symbols of guidance and are often considered protective symbols. They are also associated with wishes, mysteries and magic. Most often, they represent something that is good, beautiful or positive. They are symbols of hope, truth and spirit.

The colour brown

Brown is a natural colour that evokes a sense of strength, approachabilityapproachability and reliability. It is often associated with resilience, dependability, security and safety.

Feelings of loneliness, sadness and isolation can also arise with brown, especially when used in large amounts, like a vast, expansive rocky landscape or desert. But it also can bring to mind feelings of warmth, comfort and security as brown also represents a hearth, the heart of a home, and so it represents a deep connection to one’s home.

Of course, brown also represents connections with the earth and so nature. It is a wholesome colour.

Symbolism and my art

I’m finding looking into the symbolism of numbers, colours and motifs quite interesting. I don’t often think overly hard about the colours I use when I create art, especially my daily ‘warm up’ art practice.

However, it is interesting to look at the meanings of colours, motifs I choose and how they relate to what I am currently experiencing on a personal level.

Blessings

Wibbly-wobbly sculptural columns and arches surrounded by layers and layers of abstract bubbles, ripples and swirls of thoughts, wishes, blessings. Well, that’s what came to my mind as I added the architectural details.

No highlights, no sparkle, limited pattern and texture. Just flowing line work, for the most part. I’ve even left some ‘white space’ in the design, which is becoming less unusual for me.

Rounded arches with patterns reminiscent of Romanesque architecture. The columns are, however, more delicate, which is more reminiscent of the move towards Gothic architecture. Both forms or architecture have long been a source of artistic inspiration for me.

Soothing, relaxing and meditative to draw. Circles and spirals, arches and patterns are always comforting and endlessly fascinating to me.

Drawn using Faber-Castell Pitt artist pens on paper coloured by PaperArtsy Fresco paints. The drawing is approx. 2½” x 6¾”.

Template Thursday

This week’s coloring template is a series of bookmarks. A member of the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group said they’d like some designs that could be used as bookmarks, and so I went with the suggestion.

The designs are typically ‘Angela’ and ‘entangled’. I used a Tombow Fudenosuke along with an 04 Pigma Sakura Sensei pen to draw the designs. After scanning and cleaning up, I’ve partially coloured the designs, as well as adding a pale kraft paper background.

To use them as bookmarks, I suggest printing them on some card. If that’s not possible, then gluing the whole sheet to some card and then cutting out the book marks would make them sturdier. Of course, a laminator could prove most useful in preserving your beautiful coloring, as well as making really long lasting book marks that could be given as beautiful gifts, or used to mark the coloring page you’re working on too.

#DYICAD 2020 #ICAD2020 Day 03 “Album”

This index card #ICAD2020 #DYICAD2020 was a bit of fun to create.

I used a mixture of Distress Oxide inks to colour the 6″ x 4″ index card. The colours I used were Old Paper, Bundlesd Sage, Dried Marigold and Chipped Sapphire. I built the background up in two layers, with chipped sapphire lightly dragged across the texture that the spray of water from the first background created. A final spray of water, a dab with some paper towel to leave some bleached areas and the background was done.

I decided I’d go with the typography theme today, so hand-lettered monograms for each letter. I used pieces of Canson XL Bristol paper coloured either with Distress Inks or Distress Oxide inks. After spraying the paper with water, I squished some cling film onto the surface to create abstract patterns in the colour.

Anyway, I used 06 and 03 Sakura Pigma Sensei pens to draw the monograms. Once I was happy with the designs, I edged the monograms with Ground Espresso Distress Ink. Then, I glued them to some brown-ish card, and cut them out with a border. I edged the brown paper mat with Ground Espresso Distress ink.

I then set to adding pattern and colour with Paul Rubens metallic watercolour set. Tiny dots and highlights were sparingly added to the monograms. Then, I used the same 01 brush to draw patterns around each monogram in colours that picked up the background colours of the monograms.

My final step was to edge the index card with Ground Espresso Distress Ink.

This was a perfect little project to practice my hand lettering as well as trying out the Paul Rubens paints. It was also good practice at using a fine brush to draw patterns. I do think a finer brush would’ve worked better.

The scan hasn’t picked up the sparkly, shimmery gorgeousness of the metallic paints.

This was a really nice way to come round after I’d slept off yesterday’s migraine-y stress-come-down headache. It was a small project that I didn’t feel overwhelmed by and there was no pressure on me for it to be perfect, as would be the case for my contracts for coloring books. So, it helped me calm and settle and find that sense of contentment, for a while at least.

Watercolour Practice

Yesterday was another day where I got lost in watercolour practice – unintentionally! I had planned to do some editing of drawings for ‘Entangled Gardens’. However, time ran away with me.

Panel 1

The first panel I completed was the one with leaves on. They do have plenty of gold metallic/iridescent watercolour paint along with traditional paint, though it doesn’t show up in the photo.

I tried different ways of adding details to the leaves – Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Pen (F) and metallic watercolour and brush. I find the black pen either too black or I used too thick a point. The metallics in a red-copper, gold and grey-black were more sympathetic to the colours of the leaves, in my opinion.

Panel 2

The next panel I created is the one at middle bottom. I made circles of watercolour and let them touch while wet so there was some flow of colour from one to another. After they’d dried I used a fine brush and both watercolours and metallic watercolours to add line and pattern to it.

I enjoyed making this one very much. I used some quite earthy colours that are unusual for me. The line and pattern added a lot of interest, though I did wonder if I’d covered up too much of the underlying watercolours.

Looking at this with fresh eyes today, I think it shows through just fine. I want to try using metallic paints that are complementary to the main colours in the watercolour to see how that works out.

Panel 3

This is the one at the middle top. I created ovals of watercolour, again using unusually muted, earthy tones.

Once they’d dried I used some Caran D’Ache Luminance coloured pencils, well sharpened, to add patterns to each oval. I used the variation in colour/tone to help me add the patterns, as well as to choose the colours of pencils I used on each oval.

Finally, I used a yellow-green metallic/iridescent watercolour paint to fill in some of the patterned areas.

I enjoyed making this panel too. Again, I thought when I finished it that the pencil lines were a bit thick. However, after a night’s sleep and with fresh eyes I can see that it’s worked out well. I think that using coloured fineliner pens may work out better than coloured pencils – something I’ll try another time.

Panel 4

The last panel I created yesterday was the fourth panel. I used a different kind of watercolour paper, by Tim Holtz. The paint just dried so quickly on it I couldn’t really drop colours in, though the paints would re-wet and I could blend colours that way. I didn’t really enjoy using this paper.

Anyway, I thought I’d make a typically ‘Angela’ entangled style painting. I did use a raw umber Caran D’Ache Luminance pencil to draw the design on the paper. This was such a pale colour it disappeared into the watercolour sections. Again, I used uncharacteristically earthy, muted colours.

The final panel was nice enough, however, it was lacking in pattern and interest. So, I decided to use it to experiment with different ways of adding outlines and pattern to the various sections. I also noted on the panel what method I’d used next to each one.

The metallic paints and pens worked nicely and were practically or totally opaque. I prefer using a pen rather than a brush, though I’d not be averse to adding line and pattern using a fine brush and watercolour.

The gold and silver Uniball Signo glitter pens worked really nicely, and because the glitter is suspended in a transparent ink, there’s interesting effect where the watercolour shows through. I actually really like this a lot.

I couldn’t find a gold Sakura Gelly Roll pen, so I used a silver one instead. This, surprisingly, wasn’t as shiny as the Signo silver pen, but it worked just as well in terms of opacity.

I tried two white gel pens – a Uniball Signo and Sakura Gelly Roll. Both seemed to be fairly opaque, the Sakura being very slightly more so.

Finally, I dug out some really fine black pens – 005 and 01 OHTO Graphic Liners and a 01 Sakura Pigma Micron. These worked much nicer than the thicker pen I’d used on the leaf panel.

Of course, I left some areas of the panel without any lines added for comparison.

Of all the pens I tried, I like the metallic and glitter gel pens the best for this.

On reflection…

I’ve found I really like to work on a smaller scale. I feel like I’m creating small ‘treasures’ full of interest and fascination. I’m happier working smaller and more detailed than I am working on a larger scale.

I want to try coloured fineliner pens to draw patterns on watercolours.

Another experiment will be for me to use metallic and plain acrylic and other inks to draw with. I do have a glass pen that will work nicely with indian ink and writing ink. I’ll have to dig some dip-nib pens out to try with the metallic acrylic paints as well as a brush. I think that ball tools could be used to dot spots of ink onto the work rather than a brush; something else to try.

I also need to find a way of leaving a border on the page! When I draw a colouring template or other piece of lineart, I start by drawing a pencil line to demarcate the area I want to draw in, leaving a border around the line. I need to do the same for watercolour panels, either using a pencil or masking or washi tape.

Something else I’ve worked out is that I tend to use too much water when I paint, and I need to experiment with using less and trying dropping colours in when the area is at different levels of dryness.

Lots of things to try and consider.

Doodling? Really?

I see a lot of people calling the addition of line, texture and pattern as part of an artwork ‘doodling’. I don’t like doodling being used in that way.

Here are the definitions for ‘doodle’ from Dictionary.com

verb (used with or without object), doo·dled, doo·dling.
*to draw or scribble idly:
He doodled during the whole lecture.
*to waste (time) in aimless or foolish activity.
noun
*a design, figure, or the like, made by idle scribbling.

https://www.dictionary.com/browse/doodling

When I add line or pattern to my drawing, it’s not an idle or unconscious activity. I deliberately choose what patterns and textures I want to use and where to place them. The process of adding the lines, patterns and textures may be a more mindful process if the pattern is familiar to me.

The lines, textures and patterns are used to add interest to elements of the overall design. But they are not meaningless, as implied in the words scribble and doodle, and they are anything but idle or mindless scribbles. There is purpose in them, and this is why the use of the word ‘doodle’ irks me!

What am I going to do with the panels?

The leafy panel I created to add to a tag to put in my journal. The other panels will also live in my journal, even the one with annotations, possibly with a pocket behind it for my notes and reflections!

Truth

“Truth” ©Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

I like to use a word in my artwork from time to time. Truth was the word I knew I had to use as the central point for some artwork, and that’s where I started, along with one of the Distress Oxide backgrounds I made yesterday (in the middle of the image).

After I’d decided on the typography and placed it centrally, I then started to draw digitally. I made use of the symmetry tools in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, along with a flexible nib and fineliner brushes.

I had no idea what kind of design would result, I just went with the flow and intuition and thoroughly enjoyed doing so and losing myself in the art.

I added shadows and highlights once the drawing was finished for that sense of dimension and ‘life’.

I am really pleased with the finished artwork. There’s something about symmetry, spirals, repeating patterns, and intricate, abstract designs like this that just makes my arty heart smile and sing. I always return to this style, it seems to be at the core of my being.

I also love to draw on coloured and textured backgrounds. I also think I’ve found a way to combine more traditional media (making the backgrounds) with digital art (drawing and adding shadows and highlights) in a way that really works for me.

My only problem is that I do tend to try to branch out into other kinds of art and never seem quite so satisfied with them. This doesn’t mean I’m going to abandon them; they need a lot more work and thought and maybe structure.

Perhaps that’s why I like this particular piece of art so much – it has clearly defined structure. The colour palette is defined by the background and so I’m not struggling with what colours to use. Having the black line structure defines clearly where shadows and highlights need to go.

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.