Summer Solstice 2020

Tonight, at 10:43 BST, the Sun appears to enter Cancer, as viewed from the Earth. Of course, it’s the Earth that is moving around the Sun. Today, marks the official start of summer, but it also marks the time when we have the days of most light here in the Northern Hemisphere, and we’ll soon notice there’s not quite so much daylight at the end of our days.

This year, English Heritage are live-streaming the solstice sunrise tomorrow morning on their facebook page. You’ll have to be up early (or just not go to bed!) as they start streaming from 04:07BST, with sunrise at 04:52BST. I’m certainly going to do my best to watch it. This is one of the good things to come out of the pandemic. The live stream hasn’t been done before. I would never go to Stonehenge on either Solstice as there would be too many people and far too much noise and bustle for me, but this is a nice way to see it as it happens, not recorded and shown after the fact.

I’ve always felt an affinity with the cycle of the seasons and marking the solstices and equinoxes has felt far more natural to me than any religious celebrations. The scientist in me appreciates the facts around these dates in the calendar, my heart and soul appreciate them in different ways that are personal to me.

I found this quote about the solstices, and it sums up a little bit about how I feel about them.

The artwork shows a lot more about how I’m feeling today – not quite with it, spaced out, emotional and well out of sorts. I had an idea in mind, but I just couldn’t execute it to my satisfaction today. It looks like I need another self-care day. Which is fine. I’ve learned that sometimes it’s best to go slow in order to go fast. By taking time out from commitments, I return to them in a better frame of mind and emotional state and I’m more able to fulfil them to my satisfaction for sure.

What is self-love?

Self-love is a concept that isn’t fully understood. It took me a long time to understand it, or to accept that it is possible.

Self-love isn’t about ego, grandiosity, boastfulness. It’s not about thinking you’re perfect or the most beautiful or the cleverest person in the world.

Self love is about accepting yourself as you are, strengths and weaknesses, successes and failures, mistakes and all. It’s about accepting that all these, and more, make you who you are and that it is OK to be perfectly imperfect.

It’s about learning to treat yourself kindly, not to be so hard on yourself. It’s about being compassionate towards yourself.

Self love is about nurturing yourself, taking care of the needs of your body, mind, emotion and spirituality.

It’s about having a high regard for your own happiness and well being. It’s about not sacrificing these to please others. It’s about not settling for less than you deserve, about setting healthy boundaries.

It’s a practice, some days it will be easier to do this, others a bit harder. But it’s an importance practice for mental and emotional health.

Over the past few days, I’ve had to practice a lot of self love and self care. I don’t profess to be an expert; I’m constantly learning more about it, as well as constantly having to refer back to what it means and what I need to do.

So, I thought I’d do a blog post about it, as well as some arty stuff. I’ve not done much digital art of late. I became lost in the world of watercolour and journal making and paper crafting. This morning I felt the need to do some digital art. I dug out a sheet of small designs I’d created back in January 2020 and picked one to colour. The rest just fell into place.

Lalochezia

Lalochezia © Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

I have a life-long fascination with words and facts that appeal to my curious, squirrel-y mind. I like unusual words. I also like etymology – the origins of words.

Since my first episode of severe mental ill-health due to burnout and cPTSD, I’ve found it difficult to read and retain information as I once used to as well as to recall information that was once on the tips of my neurons.

I’m finding it much easier to read and retain some of what I’ve read, thank goodness! And with that comes a desire to seek out interesting words and facts once again.

Lalochezia comes from the Greek ‘lalia’, meaning speech, and the Latin ‘chezo’, meaning to relieve oneself.

I admit, quite freely, to lalochezia. Not just for physical pain, but emotional pain too. There’s nothing quite like a swear word full of hard consonants to express the pain, frustration or upset verbally.

A friend of mine is constantly amused by my use of swear words even though I sound ‘quite posh’, according to her anyway. I thought of her when I found this particular word and just knew I had to use it for one of my ‘quote’ artworks.

The floral motif is influenced by Art Nouveau. It is highly stylised but there’s also the influence of Celtic knotwork in the way the foliage intertwines and overlaps.

The typography was completed using Affinity Publisher. The artwork was completed in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro. In both cases I used a Microsoft Surface Studio and Microsoft Surface Pen.

Art Quote

Artwork (c) Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

This is a drawing I did late last night as I settled down to sleep. It feels quite disjointed in places, which was how my mind felt in it’s state of tiredness. Even though I was tired, I wasn’t ready to sleep.

I thought I’d work with it, adding a background and colour to it. I wonder if adding colour will resolve the disjointed areas as it breathes life into the design.

I’ve only taken a short time this morning to ad some colour. I do have to do other things today. The colour certainly helps to lift it from the background, as well as adding dimension to the design.

I’ve chosen fairly dusky, dusty, pastel colours which seem to glow against the darker background. The pinks remind me of faded Victorian velvets.

I drew the design traditionally, using a Tombow Fudenosuke pen and ClaireFontaine dot grid paper. The flexible nib of the fudenosuke pen results in lines of varying thicknesses, and a drawing that reminds me of linocuts or woodcuts.

After scanning the drawing, I removed the dot grids and cleaned up the drawing digitally before adding a background.

I felt this needed quote to go with it, and this one spoke to me today. For the typography, I used Affinity Publisher. The rest of the digital work is being done in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, using a Surface Pen and Surface Studio from Microsoft.

My art is always ‘pretty’, it’s how I express myself artistically. Some of my inspiration for patterns and motifs comes from things that other smay not consider ‘pretty’, such as rust, run down old industrial machines, ruined buildings.

My art does, I think, speak of who I am. It shows what I’m interested in, what patterns, motifs, shapes, textures, colours, and so on that I find aesthetically pleasing. It also shows, to those who look and think a bit deeper, what things interest me, from prehistoric art to Romanesque architecture to La Tene and Celtic art to Illuminated Manuscripts to flora, foliage, fungi, and lichen to fossils and shells to nature in general, and more besides.

I work very intuitively. It’s when I think too hard about what I want to do that things go to wrack and ruin.

By letting my intuition flow, then drawings have a way of coming together in a way that expresses how I’m feeling and what is fascinating me or soothing me at that time.

This drawing is an example of how my feelings come out. It’s only now I can recognise how disjointed I was feeling within myself last night, how I was out of sorts. I think that’s why the art jars with me today as that feeling has now passed by, like clouds in the wind. It’s a drawing that shows the weather my emotions were experiencing yesterday, weather that just happened and has no real source for it.

Flowery

Flowery© Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

Today, I’ve been drawing little flower motifs and borders to go along with a lovely quote about flowers and hope.

The line art was drawn using Tombow Fudenosuke pens on ClaireFontaine dot grid paper. Colour, typography and background texture have been added digitally using Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, Microsoft Surface Pen and Microsoft Surface Studio.

Flowers are some of my favourite things to draw, whether they be highly stylised or more realistic.

My snowdrops and crocus have the feel of being wood cut or lino cut and printed, that kind of vintage feel. The flexible nibs on the Fudenosuke pens help me achieve this look. Also, the fairly simple colouring and addition of texture help too.

I’ve left the colouring as is, maybe for now. However, I now have these motifs ready to use in other projects, as they occur to me. Colour certainly helps to lift them off the background and bring them to life.

It’s time to make art.

I had the need to draw, just for the pleasure, comfort, and soothing that creating art brings. This quote perfectly expresses that need in me.

I drew the artwork with a Pigma Sensei 04 and Pigma Micron 005 pens from Sakura on ClaireFontaine dot grid paper. Pure intuitive art. I didn’t think about it, I just let it flow as it needed to do so. Working this way always soothes my soul, but it also usually works out really well. It’s when I over-think my art that things go wrong.

I digitally removed the dot grid and cleaned up a couple of smudges. I also make the centre and edge or the artwork transparent so that a pink ombre background would show through.

I have an introvert ‘hangover’ today after a get together last night. It’s not as bad as I expected it to be, but I still need a quiet, soothing time today.

Flower quote #2

Flower Quote #2. Artwork © Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

I just had to rework the flower from yesterday, and this is what I came up with. I’m much happier with it for sure. I like the soft, almost velvety texture I’ve achieved with the flower.

Looking at it this morning, with fresh eyes, I think the typography could be a little smaller. However, I’m much happier with this one.

Flower quote

Flower quote. Artwork © Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

A variation on the abstract, stylised flowers of a day or two ago, with a lovely quote.

I got too heavy handed with the texturing in this one, but I just wanted to try the flower out without an outline. I’m disappointed with the texture, and it was too late for me to undo it by the time I realised it. Hopefully I’ll learn to save my work more often at points before I do something where it could go critically wrong and I can backtrack easily.

It was an enjoyable process, even though I’m more than a tad frustrated with myself. Still, it’s an experience to learn from for sure.

“Shadow” – Inktober52

“Shadow” #Inktober 52, week 2
Artwork © Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

I finished this artwork off this morning, finding a perfect quote about shadow, this week’s prompt for #inktober52.

Border design drawn using Unipin pens on dot grid paper. Typography was done using Affinity Publisher. Colour, background and composition were achieved in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro using a Surface Pen and Surface Studio by Microsoft.

Even darkness must pass…

Quote by Sam Gamgee from Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkein
Artwork ©Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

I’ve been listening to the audiobook of Lord of the Rings this week, as well as watching the film adaptations. They contain so many fantastic quotes, many of which are relevant to our lives and the time we live in too.

Personally, I’ve lived through dark times in terms of my mental and emotional well-being. I still have my bad days, sometimes weeks, but I’ve learned that they pass, given time and self-care, and sometimes EMDR therapy too. But they do pass.

Earlier this week, I drew a collection of designs that could be used as decorative borders and motifs for quotes. I felt that this motif would go well with a quote from a hobbit, a gardener no less.

I used Uniball Unipin pens to draw the motif, and coloured it digitally, after adding a kraft paper background, which gives it an aged, antiqued kind of feeling. I thought soft colours would work well against the brown background, and also wouldn’t detract too much from the quote.

I’d like to revisit this sometime and make the edges of the paper aged, torn, damaged. Or maybe add a border around the quote. I’d also consider adding a shadow to the entangled drawing, the illuminated part of this design.

It’s been a nice way to spend a Saturday morning. It’s also nice for me to do something with the art I create.