I have had a little period of using hand lettering along with my style of entangled drawing. I love words, and aliferous is a word new to me. It comes from the Latin ‘ala’, meaning wing, and the word’s first known use was around 1726.
Over the past week or so, I’ve been losing myself in A5-ish-sized drawings, all Entangled art. The peaceful, quiet time has been and continues to be what I need. I’m sure I’ll find a new equilibrium point regarding focus, a clear mind, and calm emotions and mind. How long that will take… I don’t yet know.
Until that point is reached, I’ll be doing what I can to be gentle and kind to myself. As we all need to be.
On the weekend, I like to do an artwork of some kind using some of the pattern or motif variations that I’ve developed in the week. This week, the seed pods and flowers just needed to be used in some way.
I thought of lettering the word ‘peace’ but decided on using the peace symbol as the focal point instead. Being born in the early 1960s, I do remember hippies, flower power and the peace movement, so popping plenty of flowers and foliage around the symbol seemed the right thing to do.
The seed pods fit in well, and the song ‘Sowing the seeds of love’ by Tears for Fears came to my mind too. so doubly fitting the message of peace.
Naturally, there are some hearts hidden in there too! And the plumptious moonberry blueberries too, adding some delicious goodness too.
The green background was a tad serendipitous. Partway through the drawing, I remembered that green is symbolic of peace and harmony, among other things. Rather fitting!
I’ve only got the skeleton of the design done. I’ve yet to decide on how to add colour, shadow and/or texture. So, I’m taking a bit of a break from it for my mind to mull things over subconsciously. I think I’d better scan the page before I do anything more to it though! Things tend to go awry when I start to add colour etc.
This week, a little more than usual, my thoughts have been on peace.
Mother Theresa said, “I will never attend an anti-war rally. If you have a peace rally, invite me.” The essence of this is that if we want peace, our thoughts, words and actions need to be on peace. That resonates with me a great deal, and I did before I’d heard of this particular quote!
However, if anyone wishes to send me an email to Artwyrd at AOL dot com, I can send them to you.
I was born in the early 1960s and have a sister who is ten years older than me. I was, from my birth, surrounded by music and imagery of the hippy era. So, it’s natural that some of the symbols of that time can be seen in my drawings.
Art is my way of not just expressing my creativity but is a way to take my mind off worries and troubles and to focus on more positive thoughts. Any creative activity that you can lose yourself in, not being aware of your thoughts, brings a sense of peace and calm, relaxation and pleasure. Colouring has the same effect on the mind as mediation, something else that I do.
Both templates were drawn with fineliner pens on paper. Colours and coloured backgrounds have been added digitally using ClipStudio Paint.
The patterns here remind me of the folds of fabric in Romanesque sculpture. The memories of visiting Romanesque churches, cathedrals and abbeys are filled with the sense of awe and wonder at the beauty of the sculpture, as well being fascinated, contented and happy.
The smooth curving forms, the play of light and shadow – these are things I love to play with in my work, whether pure abstract or with coloring templates.
The quote is how I feel about what I create. I know I put more of myself into my art than I realise, but creating beauty, allowing others to share in what I find to be beautiful and fascinating is what I do. And there is nothing wrong with that.
When I create, I carve out time to find a space of peace, calm, contentment in my life. Creating art is my sanctuary, a time and place where I can forget about the pressures of life, the pains of the past, and worry about the future for a while. If viewing my art, or colouring my colouring pages, even for a moment, gives another person a sanctuary from the pressures upon them, then that is a good thing.
It’s WIP Wednesday, so here’s a work in progress I started this morning.
I woke thinking it was about time I tackled rendering one of my abstract, stylised, imaginary botanical designs in watercolour.
I think I’ve gained a bit of experience with watercolours, kind of have a feel for them and how I like to work with them. Or so I thought.
Anyways, I started by drawing the design lightly in pencil. I used a 0.5mm mechanical pencil by mistaked; I had intended to use a 0.3 mm one instead. No matter, this is an experiment, a trial in my Arteza watercolour sketchbook.
Once I was happy with the drawing, knowing I can always add more to it or alter it before painting it, I started to add colour.
I started with the bottom right blue seed-poddy/stylised flower motif. I thought I’d use two different shades of blue alternately around it, adding shadow and depth. That didn’t work out too well. I tried dry brushing on the ‘spokes’ of the motif. My reaction was ‘yeuch! Angela what were you thinking???’.
I didn’t give up at this point, though it would’ve been easy to do so. I continued on, reminding me this is an experiment, I’m trying something out that I’ve not had much success with in the past; just keep going.
So I did. And I know I have work to do to recognise when the wet paint has dried enough for a different wet colour to spread nicely, but not too much, when dotted into the first colour.
As time was going on, I was becoming more comfortable with how I was adding colour. I was working out that adding glazes was a way to darken areas, and that I could gently blend the edges out while the glaze layer was still damp so I didn’t get harsh lines.
Slowly but surely I coloured in different motifs, careful not to do wet next to wet.
All in all, I’ve worked on this painting for around three hours. There’s a lot more to do, but I can pick at it from time to time.
What I have noticed is, however, how much I want to add colour in the same way I do when working digitally. An interesting observation, the implications of which I have not even started to unpack yet.
Therapeutic art once again…
Once again, I turn to art to help me manage my unsettled emotions and thoughts. I am so tired, again. The stress of the past week or so has taken it’s toll. However, like the heavy rain and rather windy weather we’re experiencing here in the Valleys of South Wales, these will eventually blow over and I’ll be able to focus on my contracted work.
I’ve learned that when I’m all out of balance, it’s best for me to focus on art that is soothing, that no one expects anything from me, that I don’t have to worry about messing up. If I try to do art that others need to be happy with too, then I get frustrated and negative about myself, doubt myself.
So, for today at least, I will be creative in ways that will give me the time and space to heal my frazzled emotions and gradually work my way back to mental and emotional well-being once again.
After a life-time of putting everyone else’s needs and happiness first, I’m gradually learning to take care of my own needs first.
I felt guilty and selfish to say ‘my own needs first’. But it isn’t selfish to look after myself. It’s a recognition of being responsible for myself and my own needs and well-being.
And so, today I art, for art’s and heart’s sake.
I just wish it wasn’t so darned rainy and blowy. The rain alone I’d be happy to go and walk in, or the wind alone. But not both together. It is forecast to ease off in a couple of hours, so maybe I’ll get a walk this afternoon, with brolly and waterproof jacket. I’d like that. But for now, I’m going to go and drink tea, draw the design for Template Thursday, and have the quiet time I need to heal, recharge and refresh.
I used a variety of PaperArtsy Fresco paints to colour a 5¾” x 3⅜” piece of ClaireFontaine Paint-On mixed media paper. I chose, for me, an unusual mixture of colours. It’s ended up looking like old, distressed and grungy painted walls.
Next, I drew the abstract design with Faber-Castell Pitt Artist pens. I did the basic outlines, leaving my decision whether or not to add details for later on.
Then, I tried adding some colour to the background with Inktense Pencils and a damp brush. As this is a sketchbook page, I tried different colours out to see which ones would work well with the background. The finish on the Inktense-d areas was rather chalky and dull, though a subtle colour was achieved on the acrylic paint background. I’m not sure if I like it or not.
I find it difficult to resist a bit of shimmer and shine on my art, so I used a Uniball Signo gold glitter gel pen to fill in some of the circles in the design.
Finally, I added some more complex patterns to some areas in the design. I could’ve filled in more areas, but I’ve decided that this is enough.
This wasn’t the only piece of paper I coloured with the Fresco paints. As they’re for the sketchbook, I coloured each piece on both sides. So, I now have quite a few prepared pages in my custom sketchbook to draw on as time goes by.
I think I’ve finally settled down after the trip out on Tuesday. I seem to be more settled, for sure. Meditation, self-care, self-soothing and enough rest has worked it’s magic once again. Sunshine today is helping as well, along with the refreshing breeze that is gently flowing in through the windows.
The simple things in life are often the ones that bring most peace to me – art, meditation, quiet times, sunshine.
Artistically, I’m feeling cute and whimsical this morning. So a little bit of hand lettering along with some simple, cute and whimsical wreaths have satisfied this feeling.
Pretty hearts with some spiral details that remind me of iced biscuits (cookies to you lovely people in America). Soft pink for love. Evergreen foliage for peace and compassionate love to grow and flourish around this planet. Purple berries to create a harmonious balance of awareness and peace.
Perhaps there’s more symbolism and messages in my art, something that belies my belief I’m just creating pretty things.
I did create this art digitally using Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, Microsoft Surface Studio and a Microsoft Surface Pen.
In Flanders fields the poppies blow Between the crosses, row on row, That mark our place; and in the sky The larks, still bravely singing, fly Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow, Loved and were loved, and now we lie In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe: To you from failing hands we throw The torch; be yours to hold it high. If ye break faith with us who die We shall not sleep, though poppies grow In Flanders fields.
John McCrae, May 1915
Poppies have been the symbol of remembrance for those fallen on the fields of battle since Moina Belle Michael was deeply moved by the last verse of John McCrae’s poem. She vowed to always wear a red poppy of Flanders Fields on her lapel in memory of those who had died in WWI, and wrote this poem in response to McCrae’s.
We Shall Keep The Faith
Oh! you who sleep in Flanders Fields, Sleep sweet – to rise anew! We caught the torch you threw And holding high, we keep the Faith With All who died.
We cherish, too, the poppy red That grows on fields where valor led; It seems to signal to the skies That blood of heroes never dies, But lends a lustre to the red Of the flower that blooms above the dead In Flanders Fields.
And now the Torch and Poppy Red We wear in honor of our dead. Fear not that ye have died for naught; We’ll teach the lesson that ye wrought In Flanders Fields.
Moina Belle Michael
Moina wrote her poem on 9th November 1918 while working at the 25th Annual Conference of the YMCA War Secretaries’ Headquarters in New York.
Some of the delegates approached her and gave her a $10 donation in appreciation of the flowers she had used to brighten up the place. She showed them the poem she had written and vowed she would buy twenty-five red poppies with the donation, which she did later that day. On returning to duty, delegates at the conference taking place in the headquarters crowded around her, asking for poppies to wear. She gave out all but one of the poppies, which she wore herself.
Moina campaigned to get the red poppy adopted as the symbol for Remembrance for the fallen. However, it wasn’t until the 29th September 1920, that the National American Legion adopted the red poppy as a symbol of remembrance.
Anna Guerin, a French woman, was present at the National American Legion convention. She was inspired by Moina’s efforts, and saw how the poppy could be extended to raise funds for the needy.
Anna founded the American and French Children’s League, and she organised French women, children and war veterans to make cloth poppies to be sold, the proceeds of which could be used to help fund the restoration of the war ravaged regions of France.
In 1921, Anna either went herself or sent representatives to America, Australia, Britain, Canada and New Zealand, to tell them about the poppy and the work of the American and French Children’s League.
Anna went in person to meet Field Marshal Earl Douglas Haig, founder and President of The British Legion. She persuaded him to adopt the Flanders Poppy as an emblem for The Legion. This was formalized in the autumn of 1921.
The first British Poppy Appeal occurred in 1921, in the run up to 11th November – the third anniversary of the Armistice of the Great War.
Since then, red poppies have been sold during October and early November to raise funds for the charitable causes of the Royal British Legion.
About my Remembrance Mandala
I chose green and red for the background to the white poppies.
Green represents the battlefields that so many lives were lost on, and so many more changed forever.
Red represents the blood spilled that soaked into the ground.
The black lines represent the death of so very, very many during the World Wars, and so many other wars and conflicts since.
Why have I not coloured the poppies red?
White peace poppies are warn by many. Not as a sign of disrespect, but as a sign of respect and a sign of hope for peace in the world, so that no more lives will be lost through war and conflict.
My white poppies are that wish for peace, but also tolerance, compassion and understanding. They are also a reminder of how the causes of past wars still haunt humanity today, of how hate-speech is on the rise, how societies have become divided in ways that are reminiscent of the times before WWII.
I have always hoped I would live in a world where peace reigned between all peoples, where there was enough for everyone, and everyone’s needs were catered for. I hope for a world described in John Lennon’s “Imagine”.
Yes, I know I’m a dreamer, an idealist. I’m also a realist and know it’s not likely in my lifetime. It doesn’t stop me dreaming and doing what little I can to help make the world a better place.
Before anyone complains or criticises me, my father was a veteran of WWII, Korea and Burma. He rarely spoke of his experiences; when he did, it was usually the humorous ones. Once, when he was drunk one New Year’s Eve, he mentioned he’d been at a concentration camp. When he realised what he’d said, he refused to speak any more and I will never forget the haunted, pained, deeply saddened look on his face that showed the ghosts of his past had risen up to torment him once again. I have the deepest respect for my father, for what he must have gone through, and for how he carried that pain with him through his life.
I have the greatest respect for all those who have served in the armed forces, for all they give to help to restore and maintain peace.
I do, however, wish there was no need of them; that all nations, all religions, all people could come together and work out how we can all live together in peace and find better ways to work out our differences rather than through threats, violence and hate-filled rhetoric.
There Will Be Peace
There will be peace: when attitudes change; when self-interest is seen as part of common interest; when old wrongs, old scores, old mistakes are deleted from the account; when the aim becomes co-operation and mutual benefit rather than revenge or seizing maximum personal or group gain; when justice and equality before the law become the basis of government; when basic freedoms exist; when leaders – political, religious, educational – and the police and media wholeheartedly embrace the concepts of justice, equality, freedom, tolerance, and reconciliation as a basis for renewal; when parents teach their children new ways to think about people. There will be peace: when enemies become fellow human beings.
I started drawing this one a couple of days ago using a fine nib fountain pen on paper. I’ve spent much of today finishing the drawing and I’ve just started to add colour digitally. Not sure about the colour yet though.
The words appeared intuitively, instinctively as I was drawing. Something’s obviously bubbling in my unconscious mind, most probably a result of the loving kindness meditations I’m continuing to do.
It’s always relaxing for me to draw in this way – just letting shapes and patterns flow from the nib onto the page without too much in the way of consideration or fretting about what appears. Partway through the whole drawing, or even sections, it looks like a total hot mess to me, but I push forward. To give in would be easy, to persevere takes a bit of effort. The effort is usually worth it though; my past experiences have taught me this.
I’m looking out of my window as I’m typing. I can see jackdaws swooping and wheeling in the now sunny skies. We’ve just had a wintry snow shower, which hasn’t lasted on the ground at all. The black feathery jokers are revelling in their fun and games in the air, exuberant in the dry but cool air and the sunshine. There are veritable clouds of them and I know they’ll soon return to their roosts, cloaking the winter-bare trees with their featheriness and raucous caws. I’m smiling as I watch them. I do have a big soft spot for the corvids of this world. Their antics delight me, especially the ones that zoom past the window next to my work area! They whooshed off to my left and now some are whooshing back to my right. What a lovely sight close to the end of the daylight hours!
It also brings back memories of sitting with my cat perched upon my chest, both of us looking out of the window and watching the jackdaws flying by, and in the summer dusk hours bats. His eyes would be wide and alert as his head spun back and forth, avidly watching the flying critters. I’d be equally delighted watching the antics of both the flying and cwtched up critters! So many precious times with my companion to treasure though he has been gone to pusscat heaven for nearly 9 months. I’m sure he’s still keeping an eye on things that fly , wherever his little soul, spirit is residing!
Watching the birds brings me some joy and peace too. And happy memories of my companion of sixteen years.
I did use some circle, oval and hexagon templates to help me design the wreaths and snowflakes. The dot grid paper helped me draw mostly straight lines for the dangles.
I did sketch them in pencil first before inking them in with a Uniball Unipin pen. Colouring was done with various Tombow dual brush pen markers and some sparkly elements added with Uniball signo sparkle gel pens.
These would look lovely as greetings cards. In fact, I’m thinking of redrawing them digitally and using them to make my own christmas cards this year. Printing out the black line work and then colouring them with traditional media. In the past couple of years I’ve designed my christmas/winter/yule cards digitally and had them printed professionally. This year, I think I’ll do it the way I suggest in my book ‘A Dangle A Day’.
They’d also look great as note cards or as pages in a BuJo, planner, scrapboook or journal. They’d lend themselves to cute bookmarks too.
These relatively simple and small dangle designs are perfect for practicing hand lettering too. And in these four dangles I’ve used four different lettering styles.
I’ve also kept the finished designs simple by not adding any drop shadows, except around the ‘HO! HO! HO!’. Not only that, a lot of the colouring is very simple too.
I do hope you’ll have a go at designing your own, maybe using these as a bit of a guide. If you do, I’d love to see what you’ve created.