The calendar page turns over and we’re into a new month.
August always heralds the end of summer and start of autumn, my favourite season. It is the last full month of summer here in the Valleys of South Wales. The evenings come noticeably earlier, always a sign that the year is continuing on its endless cycle of seasons.
We have a grey, damp and blustery start to the first day of the month. There are shafts of sunlight finding their way through gaps in the clouds, but there’s a deliciously refreshing snap to the cool and fresh air after the night-time rain.
I thought I’d create a really simple mandala design for the start of this month, one that is full of warm colours, but that hint of autumnal tones in the background.
I kept things simply stylised in the design. If nothing else, working on it made me smile, inwardly as well as on my lips.
I woke early-ish today and did some work on one of the typographic portraits I’ve been doing. Then, in my rush to get to the shower, I clicked the wrong button and lost my work. Thankfully, it’ll be easy enough to do it again. I also think that with the version I’m working on, I’m finding my way with the process. I have a lot of the portrait left to do, but I feel less frustrated with it and have a clearer idea of what I’d like to achieve now I’ve taken a few days break from this kind of work.
Before I settle back to the typography, I am going to take a walk in the fresh air of the morning. Well, after I’ve done my social media posts!
Another week has gone by, so it’s time for a new template for members of the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group.
This week, it’s another of my collections of little windows. Yesterday was a day where I needed to draw a template that wouldn’t overwhelm me, and a collection of tiny drawings and patterns is a way to break the task down into bite-size, cute, whimsical pieces. As I result, I enjoyed the process and found some contentment and peace too.
In fact, some of the colorists in the group have told me that the really like the way the page is broken down into pieces that can be finished quickly if they are limited for time. The different sizes allow them to choose something that can be coloured in the time they have available. That part can then be left finished, freeing them of the worry of leaving something unfinished.
Coloring, like any creative activity, can help calm, relax, soothe and give a break from negative self-talk, to name a few of the benefits. I know that scientific studies have shown this to be the case and that losing yourself in coloring has a similar effect on brain activity as mindfulness meditation.
I use art to help me with times when my emotional weather is stormy, dull, unsettled. As I said earlier, drawing a collection of small designs was far less overwhelming than drawing a full page illustration yesterday. Yet, I still end up with a full page of mini-templates to colour.
I feel I struggle with colours. I tend to try to put all colours available to me into one template. Every now and then I do work with a limited palette, which also has it’s own problems. My window templates take away any pressure I put on myself regarding colour. Each window is a unique image in it’s own right and I can use whatever colours I wish in it without worrying about the overall cohesiveness of the project.
These window templates are also great fun for trying out different colour combinations, for blending colours, and even for trying out new techniques. You could make notes on the template, or cut out the pictures you want to keep and start an art journal where you note down the media, colours and techniques used to get the effects/blends you like. No longer any need to remember what they are, just refer to the journal!
Talking of cutting the designs out, that is a perfect way to make use of a finished coloring page like this one. The individual images, or groups of them, can be used to make greeting cards, bookmarks or to embellish art journals, journals, scrapbooks, diaries, planners and bullet journals!
I’ve spent several hours exploring and trying ideas out in the realms of both digital and abstract art, and this is the result.
I’m really not at all sure about it in any shape or form. I think I was influenced by watching a few YouTube videos about mixed media and abstract art.
It’s been an “interesting” time, as well as a frustrating time in some ways. I also have a bit issue with choice of colours.
I’m pleased to say that I’ve calmed down an awful lot from the stresses of the last week or so. I actually slept for nearly 12 hours last night, which happens once all the adrenaline/cortisol have left my body. It’s nice to be back to my ‘normal’ state of contentment.
Another week of lock-down during the Covid-19 pandemic has passed, so it’s time for another coloring template for members of the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group.
I enjoyed drawing last week’s one so much that I thought I’d do a similar one this week. Lots of tiny templates, or windows, in each one.
I drew the designs on dot grid paper using a 04 Sakura Pigma Sensei pen and scanned it in to clean it up. I used Autodesk Sketchbook Pro to colour some of the little drawings in.
I was awake before 6 am today, so I settled to do some ‘warm up’ art. I water-coloured a couple of pieces of 100% cotton rag paper. I lightly wet the paper and then added watercolour to it and let it work it’s magic – to spread and mingle as it will. The coloured area is approx 3.5″ x 5.25″, so it’s still quite a small drawing in size, but large in detail.
After letting the paper dry, I set to it with some Sakura Pigma Micron pens (01, 03 and 05) to draw the flowers and leaves. I added some more watercolor to these areas to help them stand out a bit, as well as to add a bit of extra ‘dimension’ to them. Finally, I added an outline and the ‘bubble pattern to some areas.
Mindful. Meditative. Calming. Soothing. Just the kind of activity I needed this morning. I was really irritable and frustrated and sad yesterday, all at once. I think I’ve just been overwhelmed by the events in the world over the past few days and yesterday it boiled over somewhat.
I do feel better today, so far, the cooler temperature and the refreshing rain is helping too. I hope I continue to feel better, emotionally; yesterday was was even angry at the templates I was creating for the Entangled Gardens book. Rather, I was angry and frustrated with myself as nothing seemed to be working out well. Hopefully I’ll feel better about it today.
The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance.-Aristotle
Today is World Art Day. It is meant to be an international celebration of the fine arts which was declared by the International Association of Art (IAA) in order to promote awareness of creative activity worldwide.
Each year, on 15 April (Leonardo da Vinci’s birthday), World Art Day celebrations help reinforce the links between artistic creations and society, encourage greater awareness of the diversity of artistic expressions and highlight the contribution of artists to sustainable development. (UNESCO)
“Our Organization would thus like to pay tribute to the solidarity shown by artists and institutions at a time when art is suffering the full force of the effects of a global health, economic and social crisis.”— Audrey Azoulay, Director General of UNESCO
About today’s art
I started by choosing one of my Distress Oxide backgrounds to use for today’s art.
I woke knowing I wanted to do an arrangement of stylised poppies with a mandala for a background, and this is the result.
Poppies symbolise, among other things, a lively imagination, messages delivered in dreams, beauty and success, as well as remembrance. They, along with their seed heads, often appear in my art.
It took me many iterations of colour, shadow and highlight to get the mandala appearing as I wanted it to – lacy, light, in the background but still standing out. I think I’ve managed to achieve that fairly well.
Overall, I’m pleased with the finished artwork. I do think the poppies and mandala could be moved towards the top of the background, something that is easy enough to do as I have the layers saved. However, the artwork is good enough for now.
I suspect I’ll be creating more art using a couple of the backgrounds I’ve created through the day. It’s a satisfying process to use backgrounds I’ve created myself rather than using ones that I have purchased.
Another week in lock-down and quarrantine has passed us by. How long this will last, who knows. But with another week gone, it has to be one week closer to the end of it.
Another week gone also means a new coloring template for the Angela Porter Coloring Book Fans facebook group!
Fancy bringing this template to life with colour? Just pop over to the facebook group and join! It’s free, as is the template!
I drew the template with pen on paper (Pentel ‘Fountain’ pen and Frisk Bristol Board), scanned it in, cleaned it up, and then added some colour digitally.
This is a very typical ‘Angela’ kind of design – abstract with stylised motifs and geometric patterns. The arches are often used as a way of providing little windows into other world.
I do love to see how people use different color palettes to bring my templates to life. If you choose to join in, then I’d love to see, as would the members of the group too!
Just a quick bit of fun this morning. I thought it would be nice to create a little banner for my facebook account and page, and this is the result. Something a bit mystical in nature.
Digital art created with Autodesk Sketchbook Pro along with the usual Surface Slim Pen and Surface Studio from Microsoft.
I used this as an opportunity to try out some new ideas, and it’s worked out well enough I think.
Today, I’m feeling content, at ease and that inner smile is back. It’s nice, once again, to have the windows open a little and to feel the gentle flow of cooler air into my work space warmed by hazy sunlight.
Being creative certainly does help me to find and keep my sense of contentment and to keep the anxiety and fear at bay.
Now, it’s time for me to go get my breakfast. I was so determined to create this new border that I got lost in it!
Today has been a funny day so far. I have, however, managed to get this little mandala done.
The runes represent growth (the rune looks like a B), joy (looks like a P), flow (half an arrow) and strength (a bit like an n), and you are welcome to read into that what you wish.
When I started this I had no idea at all what I was going to create. All I knew was that I wanted to end up with a mandala and try out some techniques to get things to appear to glow.
The artwork started with me creating a series of my own texture backgrounds, and this was the last one I created. I then created the ring of glowing runes, then worked inward. This is an unusual direction for me to work when creating mandalas; usually I work from the centre out. I did, however, add the final ring of the mandala last.
For some reason I needed to add arrows into the design; it was just an instinctive, intuitive kind of knowing. In the same way I knew that runes needed to be incorporated into the design. Spirals are one of my favourite design motifs and they made an appearance too.
The colour palette is quite a simple one, mostly cool tones of blue, purple, teal and greys, but with a little splash of warm pink and mauve.
I do like the illusion of dimension that I’ve achieved in this mandala by using high contrast. I’ve also enjoyed using texture brushes to help with the sense of dimension too.
This is digital art, created in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro and using a Microsoft Surface Slim Pen along with a Microsoft Surface Studio.