World Kindness Day

Art and health

My day so far has not gone to plan! Do they ever?

I didn’t sleep all that well last night. I’m still not feeling quite right. My abdomen is still uncomfortable, though I have eaten. I’m still tired and I can feel my brain starting to get a bit fuzzy.

I had wanted to settle to drawing for the next colouring book, but other things happened and my mind is a bit scattered. I thought some art for the sake of art may help and this mandala was the result.

I had no idea what I was going to create, but warm, autumnal colours were calling to me, along with evergreen leaves and bright red berries.

It’s simple, stylised and I’ve not spent a lot of time adding shadow/highlight. It is really just a play around before I do my best to settle to drawing. It’s achieved a bit of calming and focus, though I could go back to bed.

World Kindness Day

Kindness is the thread that connects all sizes and types of communities and families. It’s what connects us all, one to each other.

This year has been a difficult one and kindness has helped people through it.

A big shout out to all those who have made the world a nicer, kinder place in such a time.

Thank you.

Starry Skies

This morning I woke and picked up the workload for the latest colouring book I’m working on. I completed drawing one template – first a sketch on paper, then inked digitally. After that, I thought it would be fun to colour a section in and share. So I’ve done so.

I’ll be quietly arting for the rest of the day. I had a broken night’s sleep back and forth to the toilet to either vomit or …well, I don’t need to detail that! My tummy feels better at the moment, but I’m tired.

Having quiet time is not a problem. I live alone. We’re on lockdown here in Wales, so staying home as much as possible is a requirement. I tend to stay home as much as possible anyway.

Anyway, I’ll be quietly researching references for the templates for the next book and creating my own reference sketches, as well as writing down ideas as they occur to me, and, hopefully, thumbnail sketches of ideas for templates, for as long as I can keep awake, anyway.

Abstract Strata

This morning’s warm-up art is another abstract digital painting inspired by patterns in rocks and strata.

It’s a very soothing process for me to create art like this, even though it lacks the intricacy and detail of my more usual ‘entangled’ style. Simplifying and stylisation is a feature of my entangled art; this artwork takes those processes a few steps further along.

I started the day sketching some simplified patterns taken from geology in general. I scanned them in and chose one to turn into a painting.

Layer by layer, I added colour and texture, choosing earthy colours. I paid attention to shadow and highlight making sure that there’s an illusion of dimesion in the painting.

I’m still experimenting with this style of digital painting. In this one, I think I’ve chosen one or two colours too many, and a couple of them are a bit brighter than the others which makes them stand out more.

I also need to work with different color palettes, limiting the colours to produce a cohesive design.

The ragged edges created by the brush texture I used make the layers look a bit like torn paper. However, I would like to try a smoother edge in future experiments.

It’s been a nice way to spend three or so hours this morning. It’s now time for me to breakfast!

Art for heart’s sake.

Experiment in watercolour

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.

Hello August!

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!

Template Thursday

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!

As always, I love to see what people create using my templates – share with and/or tag me on social media :
f: @artwyrd
t: @artwyrd
i: @artwyrd

Flower?

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.

Coloring Template

©Angela Porter | Artwyrd

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.