Seeking Calm

Another morning, another migraine-y headache. Yet again caused by stress and worry. Painkillers taken, just waiting for the pain to go so I can sleep the remains off.

I also completed this peace of art which I started last night. I painted circles of watercolour on a 5.5″ x 6.5″ piece of Canson Moulin Du Roy watercolour paper and left it to dry overnight.

This morning, I wanted to add pattern to the circles. I tried using a white gel pen, but it wasn’t quite opaque enough. So, I used a fine brush and white gouache. That worked really well. It was also good practice using a brush like a pen or pencil. Is it still drawing if you draw with a brush, or is it painting? I don’t know!

The circles have ended up looking like diatoms, formanifera, microscopic bits and bobs, seeds, sea urchins…

Once the gouache dried, I added some more watercolour to add shadows and details to help bring some sense of dimension or volume. The white gouache works really nicely with the watercolour. Black pen can often feel too harsh to me with delicate colours. The white lines of gouache seems a lot more sympathetic with the delicate colours. It adds a lightness, airiness, delicateness to the design. The opacity gives a sense of more solid support, architecture.

While I like the transparency of watercolour, the way I’ve added the lines and shadows doesn’t quite work being able to see the lower layers, and my head doesn’t quite work right at the moment to work out how to add details from the lower layers that could be seen. Mind you, it does give me something to think about (when ny head will let me think) in doing similar kinds of work in the future. I definitely want to explore using gouache with watercolours.

I did think of adding some metallic dots, but haven’t done so at this time. I can always revisit this painting in the future.

It’s also giving me something to think about in working digitally, though I’m not sure what those thoughts are at the moment.

While I was doing this, I felt calm, content, at peace, and the headache wasn’t so noticeable. Hence the title – “Seeking Calm”. That’s exactly what I was hoping to find while finishing this artwork off.

Detailed drawing is something I love to do. Creating abstracts based on patterns/shapes that I’ve observed in the world around me and in nature is also something I love to do.

Exploring different ways of working with different media to see how I can get it to work for me (or not work for me) is also important. Watercolour is something I do struggle with and would like to work with. This little work of art is something that is a stepping stone on my way to finding a way of working that works for me.

Tiny Botanical Experiments

I thought I’d start Sunday morning off with some experiments with my tiny botanical drawings.

I apologise for the photograph quality – I’m really not a good photographer, something I really do need to work at! The pale colours really don’t help at all.

The artwork on the bottom right is one where I applied rectangles of watercolor on 100% cotton rag paper. Then, I used Sakura Pigma Micron pens to draw designs in the windows. Finally, I added some watercolours to the designs to help bring them forward from the background.

I don’t think I messed the drawings up at all, which was my worry. Mind you, I do have to be careful what colours I do add so I don’t make weird colours.

That led to me wanting to try watercolour pencils and Inktense pencils on different watercolour papers:
top – 100% cotton rag paper
middle – Canson Moulin du Roy paper
bottom – Daler-Rowney Smooth watercolour paper.

On each paper, I drew four rectangles, two of which I coloured with a wash of watercolour.

I used the same colours of Derwent Aquatone and Inktense pencils to draw the stylised/abstract floral design and a waterbrush to activate the pigment. I did my best to apply the same amount of pencil in each case. However, I noticed that the papers grabbed different amounts of pencil even though I was using the same kind of pressure.

The amount of pigment grabbed, however, wasn’t at all indicative of how vibrant the colours would be.

The 100% cotton rag paper seemed to have the smallest amount of pigment from the pencils, yet it gave the most intense colours of them all. This paper is quite ‘hard’ in feel and very textured and I was surprised it didn’t seem to take as much pigment. Appearances are deceiving it seems. This paper also allowed me the longest ‘wet’ time to move the coloured pencil pigment around, and to lift some of it where it had got too intense.

The Moulin du Roy paper was a softer texture and it was lovely to colour with the pencils on it. The resultant drawings have a soft quality to them too that I rather like.

The Daler-Rowney seemed to grab the most pigment, yet the colours are not as vibrant, except the for the Inktense on the watercolour background. I think that’s because the watercolour background was still very slightly damp and Inktense pigment activates with the tiniest amount of water. I also think that’s why this one was the hardest to blend the colour smoothly. This was the paper that was the hardest to add the watercolour background to as it dries so darned quickly, or water just puddles on the surface with a tiny bit more water.

The cotton rag paper is, again, my favourite for working with watercolour and Inktense pencils. The vibrancy of the noticeable too – much less pigment is needed to get a rich colour on this paper.

For the other two papers, I did enjoy drawing the flowers on the plain paper and activating the pigment with a waterbrush. I partiuclarly like the Moulin du Roy paper for this technique, though the Daler-Rowney gave a pleasing result on the plain paper.

Tiny Botanicals

I have been really enjoying drawing tiny botanicals in little ‘windows’. So, I combined drawing with watercolor practice.

The image on the left involved me using a pencil to draw the boxes and their contents, then watercoloring. For some, I tried painting the image in sections and with layers of colour. I really wasn’t happy with the results. I painted the rest of the boxes with washes of watercolour and then either inked or re-drew the designs in pencil. I felt happier with these.

I used Daler-Rowney Smooth watercolour paper and I’ve been struggling to get the paper to stay wet enough for long enough to mix colours wet in wet. Not even on these tiny little windows. It was becoming very frustrating.

A couple of days ago, I’d ordered a pack of 100% cotton rag paper and it arrived early evening. I used a small piece of it for the illustration on the right.

I started by painting rectangles of colour on the paper. I used a waterbrush rather than a paintbrush for this. I used the same kind of transparency of watercolour for each as I did for the illustration on the left. Oh my gosh, did the colours shine and show up so much more vibrantly! Not only that, it was so easy to mix colours, wet in wet. The cotton rag paper is an absolute joy to work with!

I was beginning to get frustrated with myself and watercolors once again. This has been a common feature of my love-hate affair with them over many years. This paper may change that totally.

This morning, after letting the paper dry, I drew tiny botanicals in each window. I used, as in the image on the left, a 005 Sakura Pigma Micron pen to draw with. I was worried it would struggle with the paper’s rough texture. The lines aren’t as uniform as they’d be on, say, smooth Bristol board. I just went with the rougher nature of the lines and was surprised at how much I enjoyed them. They meant I loosened up my drawing style a little.

I really enjoyed creating these little artworks (the one on the left is approx. 5″ x 5″, the on on the right 4″ x 4.75″). There is something I find really satisfying about creating teeny tiny drawings, in the same way I find drawing intricate designs makes something inside me smile.

What I do want to try later on today is adding some more colour to some of the design elements on both drawings using both watercolours and watercolour pencils or inktense pencils. On second thoughts, I think I’ll do some samples to experiment on, annotate and add to my journal, just in case I don’t like what transpires.

Before I do any of that, I woke with a headache. It’s beginning to shift, but as it lifts it’s leaving me feeling really tired.

Template Thursday

©Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

Another week in lock-down has passed us by here in the UK, as well as many places around the world. That means it’s time for another weekly coloring template.

This week, the inspiration for this template has come from the pages full of capsules, pods and seeds in my sketchbook. Lots of opportunity to experiment with colour, but also adding little details to each tiny picture.

If you’d like to download and print this template, then pop along to the facebookgroup – Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans – and you can do so for free (terms and conditions for use do apply).

Drawn using Sakura Pigma micron pens (05 and 01) on ClaireFontaine dot grid paper.
Clean up of drawing, colouring and typography done digitally using Autodesk Sketchbook Pro along with a Microsoft Surface Studio and Microsoft Surface Slim 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.

Hello February!

©Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

A new month and a new coloring template, exclusive to members of the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group. If you’d like to download and print this template for your personal use, then pop along to the group.

The days are slowly lengthening here in the Northern Hemisphere. The first signs of nature waking up can be seen in the form of snowdrops and crocuses. It can also be heard in the raucous and beautiful birdsong.

To the template. I drew this on Rhodia dot grid paper using a Sakura Pigma PN pen. For my partially coloured version, I added a coloured background and colour digitally.

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.

Entangled Borders 02

Entangled Borders 02 ©Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

Another day and another set of entangled borders! I’m enjoying drawing these. There’s something pleasing about creating small designs. Whether it’s the speed at which I can draw them, or their cuteness, different shapes and sizes to my usual art, or something else, I don’t know. All I know is that I’m enjoying it!

The pens I used to draw the designs were Uniball Unipins and Tombow Fudenosuke pens. I used dot grid paper by ClaireFontaine.

To remove the dot grid, edit some smudges and errors, add a background colour and some colour, I used Autodesk Sketchbook Pro.

Entangled Garden 6 Jan 20

Entangled Garden 6 Jan 20 ©Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

Another entangled garden drawing today. I used Uniball Unipin pens and ClaireFontaine dot grid paper to create the drawing. I’ve removed the dot grid and added a coloured background texture as well as the texts and watermarks using Autodesk Sketchbook Pro.

This was, as is usual, a relaxing, calming, soothing and intuitive process for me. I also made use of some of the flying seeds from the first #inktober52 prompt.

I started to add some colour, using a messy chalk brush in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro.

#Inktober52 – Week 1 ‘Flight’

‘Flight’ #Inktober52 ©Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

Jake Parker, the originator of Inktober, has come up with #Inktober52 – a year-long series of weekly drawing prompts.

I’ve completed Inktober in the last two years and really enjoy having a prompt list to work to, all for fun. It is crazy, full-on for that whole month. I most probably will do Inktober again this year, in October.

#Inktober52 will be less pressured as the prompt lasts a week, so plenty of time to think and draw. Of course, it could result in a series of drawings on the same theme each week.

The first prompt of the challenge is ‘Flight’. It took a little while, but then a flash of inspiration came, and I wanted to draw seeds that fly!

I do like botanical things a lot. And though this may not be way outside my usual themes of drawing, it’s still a good one to do. I also thought it would be nice to do a sketchbook page of drawings of these seeds, trying out slightly different ways of drawing with different scales and so on. Oh, and I got a little bit of hand lettering practice in as a bonus!

I drew the seeds with a mixture of Uniball Unipin, Faber-Castell Pitt Artist and Tombow Fudenosuke pens on ClaireFontaine dot grid paper.

After scanning my illustrations, I removed the dots, added a kraft paper background, and used a rough chalk brush to add some shadow and light to some of the seed pods. Add that hint of shadow and light does seem to bring them to life for sure.

I enjoyed creating this page of illustrations. I needed some time to relax and destress today. Yesterday turned out to be a bit of a day. The engine warning light went on in Binky, my SmartCar along with a quick flash of a malfunction warning when I turned the engine off. Luckily I wasn’t far from home and managed to get back quite safely.

A call to Mercedes, then to Smart Assist and within an hour, an AA patrol was at my home to see if they could find and rectify the issue.

It turns out there’s an error in the turbocharger (yes, I have a turbocharged SmartCar).

The patrolman did his best to work out what the problem was, but with no luck. So, he towed Binky to the Mercedes dealership and garage in Cardiff to be fixed. Luckily, Binky is still under warranty, so it should be repaired free of charge.

Before doing that, the Smart Assist cover also provides me with a hire car for three working days, and he arranged for that for me too.

So, by around 4:30 pm, I’d been given an almost brand new hire car to use until late on Tuesday at least, and I was on my way back home to try to breathe, calm and destress.

I worried about driving a car that is much bigger than my SmartCar. However, I surprised myself at how confident I was. Mind you, I’ve not been anywhere where I have to park the hire car in limited space!

Unfortunately, the anxiety this caused is causing me to worry and get scared of all kinds of random stuff. I woke up stupidly early worrying about things I don’t need to worry about!

When this happens, it shows me just how far I’ve come in my CPTSD recovery. So, despite the elevated anxiety, it is already fading as the day proceeds. Creating art has helped with that.