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.

Entangled Assemblage #01

I’ve finished it! Well, I think I have. One crazy assemblage of all kinds of bits and bobs. I will look at it again in a few days and see if I want to add anything to balance the design. Fresh eyes are always a help in this. I’ll also decide if I want to add shadow and light to bring out more of a sense of dimension.

I really, really enjoyed doing this drawing. It’s my favourite style of drawing, yet different to things done in the past.

To complete the drawing I used a 0.25 Rotring Rapidograph pen, which is the same thickness as the Pilot G-Tech-C4 pen I drew the first part of this design with. The difference is that the Rotring pen’s ink flowed more freely onto the paper.

I didn’t realise it until last night, but the sketchbook I’m using is one by Sea White. The acid-free cartridge paper is sized so that it is more robust with wet media. That causes problems for pens, however, as the size tends to clog the nib/point/ball up. The Rotring pen seemed to have fewer problems.

Also, I found the larger barrel of the Rotring pen easier and more pleasurable to hold and draw with. I need to dig out some pen grips to use with the Pilot pens.

Saturday morning art

A different work in progress today. I started this one late last night and continued for a while after breakfast this morning. I used a Pilot G-Tec C4 pen, which has a very fine tip, on white acid-free cartridge paper (the camera flash has turned it a creamy colour, I have no idea why!).

It is always a pleasurable experience to draw with such a fine pen and to created such detailed and intricate designs. No real thought or planning, just trusting my intuitive creative instincts.

Purely abstract drawing, using my favourite shapes, motifs and texture patterns, along with a few new motifs that have developed as I’ve drawn this. It looks like a weird assemblage of bits and pieces, mechanical and sculptural, botanical and textural.

Assemblage is a fairly good way to describe my signature style of drawing. There are layers of all kinds of bits and pieces – flowers, mechanical tubes and pieces, textural areas, pipes, sculptural bits and bobs, seeds or berries and curls.

What is hidden beneath the various layers? Where did all the bits and pieces come from? What was disassembled or broken to liberate the pieces? Who or what did the disassembling, and why? What new things could they be assembled into? What dream fragments, story parts of my unconscious mind do they represent?

I can spot various influences in the bits and bobs present in the drawing – Mayan sculpture, dials and mechanical levers, pipes and conduits, discs and berry lights, flowers and seeds, textures and patterns, arches and columns, rocks and strata.

What do you see in this drawing? Leave me a comment, I would be intrigued to know!

Friday Warm-up Drawing

This is just the start of what will be a bigger drawing. It’s my way of warming-up, artistically, this morning. Rotring Rapidograph pens on bristol paper.

Warm-up is something that is appropriate again this morning as it’s a cold start to the day. A hard frost greeted me as I opened the curtains, glittering in the dawn light. The sun is now well up, and there’s a haze in the air. Frost lingers on the north-facing roofs and shadowed pavements. Properly autumnal morning.

The sunshine is making my heart and soul smile gently. Solar energy always lifts my spirits, my mood, which is most welcome after a series of days filled with fatigue and brain-fog once again.

I did get out for a walk yesterday, and it was lovely to be walking in the chill air and sunshine. I twisted my knees, however. Age doesn’t come by itself and arthritis in my knees is causing me some issues. My plan is to look after my knees, take it easy at home and focus on getting work done. Mind you, the pull of a sunny afternoon, the need to be out and moving around may make me get out for a short and easy walk on the flat. I’ll see how i get on.

Insomnia

Two drawings I did last night when insomnia hit.

The blue one I drew while trying to settle to sleep in the first place. I was still stressed and wound up after a meeting earlier in the evening. I used light and dark ball point pens as well as a light blue metallic Sakura Gelly Roll pen. It’s an odd kind of drawing for me, but it helped to settle me so I could sleep.

The other one was done between 4:30am and 6:30am when I woke up ruminating about what I said, could’ve said and what others said at the meeting. A sure sign that anxiety reigned, even if I didn’t already recognise it at the time with flushed face, cold sweaty hands and that feeling of being a rabbit caught in the headlights.

Anyway, I picked up the same A5 sketchbook and a kind of pinky-red metallic Sakura Gelly roll pen and just drew. A bit more like my usual kind of abstract art – swirls, curves, circles and teardrop shapes.

Eventually, I got back to sleep for another hour or so. This is nowhere enough for me, so I suspect I’ll want to sleep this afternoon. I’ll try to resist the urge so that I’m really tired when I go to bed tonight.

Even though I’m feeling the knock on effects of the anxiety at the meeting, and the introvert hangover from being with people (yes, it even happens when it’s done via Zoom!), it was worth it.

Sketchbook Musings

Over the past week or so I’ve been gradually adding to this sketchbook page. It is entirely what a sketchbook should be, in my opinion. Pages full of ideas, sketches, unfinished drawings, practice of techniques, written notes… a visual zibladone for the creative soul!

It is a reflection of what is catching my attention in my world. That world encompasses the inner worlds of imagination and emotion, as well as the outer world of books, nature, architecture, photographs, and so on.

This page includes inspiration from Mayan glyphs/sculpture, rocks, nature, mushrooms, magic wands/staves/sceptres, pen textures and some inspiration from Hundertwasser.

Everything on the page is a bit wonky (not perpendicular), and I’m OK about that – it’s a sketchbook! But then wonky art, particularly colouring pages, seems to be part of my signature style. Perfectly straight lines just don’t look right to me, nor do sharp corners. Perhaps that’s why I like Hundertwasser so much.

The English gardener William Kent said, “Nature abhors a straight line”. Hundertwasser said, ” The straight line is godless and immoral.”

A sketchbook is always a work in progress (WIP), even when every page is full, it’s full of incomplete drawings and ideas, sketches and notes, jottings and doodlings. Nothing has to be perfect. Not a single thing.

A sketchbook is a place to try things out, experiment, just see what happens. With that comes an acceptance that not everything will work out, and where surprising things happen and discoveries are made that may otherwise never happen.

Sometimes the gems of ideas and colour combinations and ways of using media remain hidden until much later. A sketchbook is a place to practice and learn, to note down what is of interest at this time, what needs to be expressed, without any pressure to produce a finished, polished artwork.

That doesn’t mean, however, that a sketchbook can’t be something interesting to look at, even with it’s own kind of beauty. They are a reflection of the artist that creates them and so is a window into their arty heart and feelings. They are very personal things.

A sketchbook encourages me to use media that are gathering dust because I do so much art digitally. In a physical sketchbook, if I want any colour, then I have to use some of these media.

On this one page I’ve used Pilot Hi-Tec C4, Pilot Maica, Rotring Rapidograph and Uniball Unipin pens. To add colour, watercolours, Tombow Dual Brush pens, Derwent ColorSoft pencils, Derwent Procolour pencils, Derwent Inktense pencils have been used.

Quote

If the quote applies, I have no idea what my morning drawing says about what my art says about the world! Perhaps it says more about my inner world – imagination and emotions. I’ll let you decide that one.

All I know is that my Tuesday morning art has been influenced by the drawing I’ve been doing for the coloring book I’m currently working on. Cute. Doodle-y. Fun. Using colour for the sake of colour. Lots of colour.

I drew the design with an 0.5 Rotring Rapidograph pen on Rhodia dot grid paper. Next, I scanned it in, cleaned the drawing up and added colour digitally. Finally, background, texture and quote were added.

A nice way to spend the first three hours or so of my day before I turn to other things, like breakfast, shower and maybe even a walk if the weather keeps dry.

WIP Wednesday

As it’s work in progress (WIP) Wednesday, I’m sharing my current sketchbook page. A sketchbook is always a work in progress.

At the moment, I’m being inspired by a couple of books :
“Fantasy Genesis” by Chuck Lukacs
“Fantasty World Building” by Mark A. Nelson

I’m using an Art Gecko sketchbook that is almost 12″ square along with Pilot Hi-Tec C and Pilot G-Tec Maica pens and Tombow Dual Brush Pens.

I’ve said it before – I’m not really into characters (unless they’re cute, whimsical, fun ‘doodle’ kinds of characters, usually non-humanoid). However, I’ve always loved to draw plants and patterns as well as designs from architecture, nature, machines and even animals (patterns, textures and such more than the animal itself).

My ‘Entangled’ drawings bring together these various elements to create more abstract or whimsical designs. But to put them together to create entirely new things isn’t something I’d ever thought of.

I’ve always admired fantasy and sci-fi artists, but never considered myself capable of anything like that. However, trying new stuff out is how you grow and develop as an artist.

Not that I’m going to become a fantasy artist, but maybe exploring these avenues will allow me to add new things to my art in ways I never expected. In much the same way my adventures in cardmaking, mixed-media journaling, watercolour and other such things have helped me to develop my digital art and drawing.

I’m also realising how important sketches are for my digital art – be it drawing or painting or just colouring in line-art of mine. I think it has to do with me being able to have a good overview of the whole design, something I seem to be unable to do when working digitally, even when I zoom out entirely. I’ve mentioned it before, but I do have a bit of a problem relating to size and scale even in everyday life.

There’s a different kind of sensory pleasure in working on paper – the tactile and sensory feedback is quite different to that gained from digital work. That’s not to say I don’t get pleasure from working digitally, it’s just different.

There’s also the fact that each page doesn’t have to be a complete or finished piece of work. It’s a place to try things out, explore, experiment, and just let the pen/pencil/brush take a walk across the paper to see what happens. Serious work and not so serious work all have a place in a sketchbook.

As do written notes, ideas, observations, sources of inspiration, lists, reflections and more.

Strata

Arty musings

I’ve been awake since silly o’clock. I have a delivery due before midday, so while awaiting it I have been arting.

This started off as a simple line drawing of patterns from the strata of rock formations of Raplee Ridge, Utah. Then, I added some patterns between them, zentangle or entangled style. I used fineliner pens on paper to do this drawing (left image).

My next job was to scan the drawing in and tidy it up digitally. Then, I thought I’d colour the design in. I kept to fairly earthy tones for this (middle image).

Finally, I thought I’d do a pure colour study of the line art. And I really like this one. I’ve played with shadow and light to give a sense of dimension to the artwork (right image).

I’m really pleased with the pure colour image. Not just for choosing a fairly pleasing palette, but for finally discovering how to use textured brushes to draw, colour and texture the different areas.

I’ve done work like this with traditional media, but have never really had much success digitally. It seems I have found some confidence here.

It does remind me of work I did some 15 or so years ago while studying for A level art as an adult, and how much pleasure I got from that. Now, as back then, I used simple colour palettes.

I suspect I’ll be doing more work like this – line art of patterns, followed by a coloured interpretation of those patterns. My mind is ticking over whether I could include some typography in these kinds of artwork too.

Moody mutterings

My mood is better today, I’m pleased to say. I’m not sure if it’s rest, self-care, Star Wars, knitting, art, or a combination of all these things that has helped lift it.

I know that my mood has weather, just as the world does. And in Wales, the weather can be changeable and varied! But like all weather, the gloom passes and sunshine returns. Though I wouldn’t say I’m sunshiny, I am content with a soft glow within. That is good enough for me, and for today as it’s rather wet and gloomy outdoors.

Saturday arty day

Artsy ramblings

Today I’m feeling a tad ‘meh’ to say the least. I’m tired despite sleeping plenty last night and yesterday. The weather is gloomy – leaden grey skies and rain. At least the autumn colours are glowing a little in the gloom.

So, today I just needed some arty fun. Nothing too big and overwhelming, something with a little whimsy, and no pressure for anything other than making art for art’s sake.

Hallowe’en is my favourite festival, so that’s where I started, along with pen and paper.

The drawing isn’t all that big – 8cm x 10 cm approx (3.25″ x 4″),s o it was relatively quick to complete. I scanned it in to tidy it up, but decided to add a spooky border around it, which I did digitally.

Then, I set to colouring the image, in Hallowe’en colours, mostly.

I played with texture brushes and how I can work with colour. I’m pleased to get some areas that seem to glow eerily. My brain won’t let me fully process that or go back to the image to add this effect to other design elements.

It was, after all, a few hours of fun, arting for art’s sake, and to do what I can to lift my mood.

Polymer clay

I spent sometime yesterday afternoon playing with polymer clay. The Sculpey clay I purchased is soft enough to work with almost straight out of the packet, which is a good thing.

I’m not entirely sure how I’m going to work with it. What I thought would work just didn’t for me. So, I’m going to let the ideas rumble around my subconscious and come up with how I could work with the clay my way.

I was disappointed with myself, but worked hard be easy on myself as this is a new skill to learn and develop. It won’t happen overnight. Also, there’s no rush or panic to get it done either.

In the meantime, I’m wrangling with myself as to whether I should invest in a pasta machine to roll out the clay or whether that’s a decision that can wait until I work out if polymer clay is for me or not.