Monday is, usually, mandala day. I have at least one mandalas-in-progress, but I started a new one today, primarily because I wanted to try out some different brushes in Clip Studio Paint Pro.
It took me a few experiments to settle on one brush to work with for this mandala – a coloured pencil brush.
It also took me quite a few goes to work out how I wanted to lay down colour for this mandala too. Eventually I settled on highlight on one edge, shadow on the other, and quite a sharp delineation betwixt the two.
I didn’t realise it at the time, but the effect I was achieving reminded me of the abstract oil paintings I did many, may years ago. The abstract patterns came from Romanesque architecture and rusty parts of steam and diesel locomotives. I remember myself playing with light and shadow. I also remember at the AS level exam exhibition I was puzzled as people kept touching the paintings. I asked someone why they had. They answered that they wanted to see if the paintings were 3D in nature. I hadn’t seen that illusion at all, but once it was pointed out to me I could see what others could. I put it down to having worked so closely on the paintings.
This was around 17 years ago now, and I still tend towards working with highlights and shadows, and the resultant illusion of volume or dimension in my work.
I’ve also finally worked out that I tend to use light and shadow as part of the patterns in my work instead of related to a light source. I think that penny dropped when I was listening to a Zentangle video on youtube.
As lovely as it is to work with varied colour palettes, for this one I wanted to return to a simpler palette. I’ve chosen just two colours and various shades of those colours.
I can see how my colour blending technique has developed from the centre outwards! The difference between highlight and shadow has increased a tad.
I have so many works in progress at the moment, and I tend towards creating new all the time. I think I really do need to learn perseverance and get works finished more often!
Finished! The addition of coppery tones was a bit of a surprise, even to me. But it seemed the right thing to do. I do like the combination of copper and the verdigris tones of teals, greens and blues.
I spent some time darkening the shadows in the inner rings of the mandala, as well as adding some depth of colour. They looked so washed out against today’s additions.
Also, I changed the colour of the background. Everything was so lost against the teal background.
Digital art – Autodesk Sketchbook Pro – Microsoft Surface Studio and Surface Slim Pen.
Monday dawns and along with it is the desire to create a mandala.
This one is a work in progress for sure. I’m still playing around with various brush settings to get the depth of contrast I desire. It’s working out fairly well so far, especially as I’ve chosen a limited palette of blue, teal and green. Also, my favourite seedpod, leaf and arch shapes are very much in evidence here. There’s also lots of little orbs. It never ceases to amaze me how such a simple collection of shapes can result in a fairly complex design.
What is unusual for me, like last week’s mandala, is the lack of black lines in the design. I think that’s a bit of a rebellion by me to all the pen drawing I’ve been doing of late. Also, I love colour, but find it so frustrating to add to my pen drawings.
When I work digitally, colour seems to work differently for me. I think it may be the ability to work and rework the colour endlessly until I get something that suits me. Maybe it’s the ability to get the depth of contrast I like. Or maybe it’s something else entirely, I really don’t know.
This part of the mandala, about a quarter to a third, has taken me around three hours to do so far, thanks to the symmetry tools available to me in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro.
I woke this morning knowing I needed to draw a mandala and dragonflies. Sometimes I have no idea why, but this is what flowed from my pen.
Soft teals and lavenders colour the dragonflies and mandala. Calming, restful, meditative. The bodies of the dragonflies are ornate, but the wings are not so, which is unusual for me. Perhaps because I feel I’ve lost my ability to fly at this time, I’m doubting myself an awful lot.
Carl Jung used mandala drawing to help inform him, and his clients, about what was going on in the unconscious and needed to be brought into the conscious mind to be processed. The unconscious mind works through symbols and metaphors. So, what do dragonflies (four in number), teal and lavender symbolise?
Dragonflies are said to symbolise wisdom, change, transformation, light and adaptability in life. They are also a symbol of the realm of emotions and so invite you to dive deeper into your feelings. They also symbolise a change in perspective of oneself by removing the doubts that we cast on our own sense of identity in order to reveal our authentic self.
When they appear to you, they are a reminder that there is a need for lightness and joy in your life.
As I’m delving into the realms of symbolism, what about the colours?
Teals are calming and emotionally healing. They also represent self-awareness. This colour promotes an open communication between the heart and spoken word, in both directions.
Lavender represents gracefulness, calmness and creativity. There is also a sense of fragility, sensitivity and vulnerability connected to this colour. It is also considered a grown-up pink.
The teals and lavenders I’ve used in this artwork are both quite subdued, which actually does describe how I am feeling at this time.
And what about my choice of four dragonflies? What does the number four symbolise?
Four symbolises what is solid, what can be touched and felt. It also represents the justice and stability that you need in your life. It also resonates with loyalty, trust, wisdom, determination and patience. It is a reminder not to give up on your goals and to reflect on your passions and aspirations. Believe in yourself, your abilities, your talents and show them to the world. It is also a number that symbolises the protection and guidance of angels.
It seems my mandala has drawn concerns from my unconscious mind into the light of day. I find it interesting how the symbols and colours I used relate to what I am working with on a personal level at this time.
It is said that all artists reveal a lot about themselves in their artwork. I think I do that a lot more than I realise.
I had a hankering to create a dragonfly this morning, and this how far I’ve got after 4 hours of work.
I’m fairly happy with the colours I’ve chosen; teals and purples are a favourite combination of mine. I do like the areas of green, magenta and blue in the background.
I’m not sure if the spiral bits work – they look a bit clunky to me. I will, however, let the artwork sit quietly for some time until I work out what to do to improve, or rework it. I may carve out some shapes to lighten the spirals. I don’t know for sure yet.
It’s very stylised, and I’d like to add some details to the wings in particular. I’m not sure what though. Again, I need a break from this particular artwork and come back to it with fresh eyes and a fresh mind.
One of the best things about digital art is the ability to edit work, to make changes without having to re-work everything.
I’m trying to work more without the black line art being visible in my finished work. It’s taken me a long time and lots of trials and errors to become comfortable with work that hasn’t got those outlines. I love to work with light and shadow, and learning how to use these instead of line art is a slow but enjoyable process.
This doesn’t mean I’m turning my back on line art, far from it. I do love to draw with pens on paper (either traditional or digital media). However, digital art is allowing me to explore different ways of expressing myself artistically, ways I’d never manage with traditional media. I think I’ve said that often, but it’s still as valid now as ever.
My digital media are, as usual, Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, Microsoft Surface Studio and a Microsoft Surface Slim Pen.
I now really do need a bit of a break from art and computers and I really do need some tea. I’ve not yet managed to shower and dress and I think I may go out this afternoon with my camera, maybe, if it stays dry.
Artistically, I’m feeling cute and whimsical this morning. So a little bit of hand lettering along with some simple, cute and whimsical wreaths have satisfied this feeling.
Pretty hearts with some spiral details that remind me of iced biscuits (cookies to you lovely people in America). Soft pink for love. Evergreen foliage for peace and compassionate love to grow and flourish around this planet. Purple berries to create a harmonious balance of awareness and peace.
Perhaps there’s more symbolism and messages in my art, something that belies my belief I’m just creating pretty things.
I did create this art digitally using Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, Microsoft Surface Studio and a Microsoft Surface Pen.
I’ve had a busy day learning new things to do with video and so on. The concentration has taxed my brain just a bit, and I needed some time in an arty happy place.
My first task was to find a quote that appealed to me today. This one is quite apt I think, for many reasons. I’m not entirely sure my typography is right for the quote, but it will do for now.
I then knew I wanted to do a mandala as a background. I find this style of mandala very soothing to draw, and soothing was just what I needed today.
Once I’d finished the mandala, I added colour in greens and teal. Calming, soothing, balancing colours for today. Colours of calm contentment, which is just how I feel at the moment. Also hopeful colours. That green reminds me a lot like the first leaves showing themselves at the tail end of winter, spreading hope that the warmer, lighter days will soon be here.
I love the combination of teals and coppery tones so I chose to use them as part of the colour scheme in this mandala. A simple black outline mandala with no crazily intricate detailed patterns included. I’m not so sure about the purple-ish I used for the ‘crystals’ in the other most rings of the mandala though.
Drawn and coloured in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro using a Microsoft Surface Pen on the screen of a Microsoft Surface Studio very, very late last night and into the wee small hours of this morning.
Today is likely to be another self-care day. I thought I was in a place where I could do loving kindness meditations again this morning. I’m not. So much emotional distress and even physical pain during the part of the meditation that involves bringing loving kindness to myself. I have no problem sending loving kindness to another being I feel love for. I have no problem sending it out to all of the Earth. Still, the nasty messages of the inner critic are fodder for EMDR. And it’s such a lovely sunny, late winter day here in the Welsh Valleys.
I’ve spent another quiet, calm and contented few hours drawing this mandala. Admittedly some of the shapes look a bit weird around the edges. However, it’s all about me learning and embedding new skills when it comes to drawing digital art.
Microsoft Surface Pen, Microsoft Surface Studio and Autodesk Sketchbook Pro were my tools for this one.
Some of the areas have patterns in them that remind me of Celtic, La Tene art, or of illuminated manuscripts such as the Book of Kells. These are art forms I’ve loved for as long as I remember and I think there are times when those patterns bubble up to the surface of my mind and find their way out through the tip of my pen! It’s nice when that happens and it surprises me!