Watercolor Greeting Cards

About the artwork

I needed a quiet morning, again, today. So, I thought I’d dig out my Caran D’Ache Supracolor Soft watercolour pencils and try some stuff with them.

I wanted to use them to draw a flower, or two, and then use water to create a watercolour effect. The result you can see on the left-hand side card. I’ve left loads of white space on this card, which is unusual for me. I couldn’t resist, however, adding some gold dots around the flowers. The colour of the petals was so delicate that I used a 2H 3mm pencil to outline them and the leaves. Just for info, the piece of watercolour paper measures 4″ x 4″.

For the other cards, I just wanted to work with the pencils to create gradients and abstract patterns in colour. I drew on the little panels using a 0.25 Copic Multiliner SP pen and added some lines and details with metallic gold watercolour. These cards are approx 3″ x 4″ in size.

Watercolor pencils are nice to use when it comes to drawing in colour with them, then activiating the colour with water. They really glow on 100% cotton rag paper (bottom right) compared to the other cellulose papers.

Cute and whimsical cards, some very detailed, one not quite so. But a nice way to spend my morning.

Self-care time, again.

There’s a situation going on around me that is draining my emotions greatly at this time. I’m doing my best to not become overly emotionally involved in it, but it’s difficult when it’s to do with people you care about.

It all has a knock on effect with me. I’m anxious, tired verging on exhausted, really grumpy, irritable, and lacking patience at this time. I’m also not able to concentrate too well. These are all behaviours I could do without in dealing with this situation. Yet I’m exhausted by it.

I have been meditating, making sure I take time to do self-calming and self-soothing activities, such as my morning art, Though I have work to do for contracts, I need to take a day away from everything, if I can.

I know there are lessons for me to learn about myself in how I’m reacting ot the situation, stuff from my past that wasn’t processed during my EMDR therapy. If I can work out what it is, I can work through it myself now. Organising EMDR therapy isn’t possible at this time, with lockdown still very much in operation and me being very nervous of going out into the world as well.

So, I’m going to make time today to drink tea, meditate, journal and try to get to the bottom of my own issues and start doing what I can to work through them and heal the past traumas that are causing my reactions at this time.

I think I’ll also take time to crochet (I started a mosaic blanket earlier this week) and watch films or crafting shows on the TV. Eat healthily – I have a yearning for brussel sprouts, of all things! And take time away from social media and news. I may even pick up my flute and play it, for the first time in months and months.

Adventures in Watercolor

I’ve had a stressful couple of days to say the least and all my plans to edit templates and create new ones went out of the window. It was like I had ‘ants in my pants’ and I just couldn’t settle to anything that required concentration and focus.

Last night I was beginning to settle a bit. I’d had some news that had helped to calm me a little, but not enough. While I was attending an online talk, I drew this design on watercolour paper. I used a 05 Sakura Pigma Micron pen. I also scanned the finished drawing into the ‘puter. I really like this drawing, I have to say.

This morning, I wanted to start the day with something relaxing and meditative, so I broke out the watercolour pencils. I have a collection of Derwent Aquatone and Faber-Castell Albrecht Durer. I used them to colour the trios of large flowers at the bottom left and bottom right. For the small flowers, leaves, tendrils and the large flowers at the top I used White Knight watercolours.

I found the watercolour perncils slow and laborious on such a large scale, and I had to lay down layers to get the intensity of colour I like. However, they did mean I could control the gradients a lot more.

On larger flowers, watercolours frustrate me a bit. I can’t seem to get to the right amount of dampness so that colours will flow one into another.

I also found that by drawing the flowers to begin with, I felt compelled to paint each petal one at a time, and I found that may work against me in terms of making the most of watercolour.

Watercolour has always been a medium that vexes and frustrates me, and it’s continuing to do so at times, even as I explore adding colour. I think I’m realising that the best way for me to work with watercolor is by using it for backgrounds which I then draw upon and add more colour to the drawings.

Or, its where I make use of the randomness of loose watercolour, droping colours into a damp surface where they can bloom, flow and blend as they will, without me trying to make them anything in particular. Then, I can draw on this, picking out shapes and colours, bringing structure to where there is none, and I can get intricate with the details too.

Anyway, with the flowery drawing above, I tried to add details using some Paul Rubens metallic watercolours to add patterns of dots, as well as drawing more black or white lines onto the drawing. I really don’t feel they worked out at all well.

I knew this was going to be a bit of an experiment, and I have plenty of flowers to try out different media, such as Inktense pencils, and maybe adding more lines to to add more detail before I start coloring.

It’s been a nice way for me to spend Saturday morning, lost in art whilst listening/watching season 1 of The Clone Wars. I think I’ll continue to watch that this afternoon as I turn my attention to drawing.

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.

Mixed media index cards

AngelaPorter_1June2017_MixedMediaIndexCard3

I started these 5″x 6″ cards yesterday and finished them (I think) this morning.

The focal images I drew myself on watercolour card.  I used Caran D’Ache Supracolour watercolour pencils and a damp brush to colour them.  I was quite happy with the colouring; I do find pencils a lot easier to use than traditional watercolours.

Nex, I cut three of them out around their edges and used a black marker to colour the white edges (and disguise my poor cutting out skills).  I had to use a craft knife in a couple of places.  The other two I cut out as small panels.

The drawings are a little bare of detail, mabye, but I can go back and add detail once I’ve decided what I’d like to do.

I’m not all that happy about the torn paper behind the focal images; you try things out and learn, maybe.  The torn paper is Gelli printed tracing paper made using PaperArtsy Fresco paints.  I then ran them through my Sizzix Big Shot in various embossing folders, and on some the embossed images have had some metallic waxes gently brushed over them. I also added some Inktense to the papers to darken the edges and add shadows.

What I am really happy with are the index cards themselves.

I started by covering them with gesso.  Then, I used some foliage stamps from IndigoBlu with grey Archival Ink by Ranger to add patterns.  I really liked this, as the patterns were softer and already ‘ghostly’ in the background, a much better choice than black Archival.

My next step was to add colour using ink blending sponges and Distress Oxide inks, followed by a spray of Gold perfect pearls mixed with water.

This is where there was an unexpected effect – the wet Distress Oxides were repelled from the Archival ink.  I loved the result, as well as the way the colours mixed as they pooled around the stamped patterns.

Here’s a close up where you can see how the Archival Ink has repelled the Distress Oxide inks:

AngelaPorter_1June2017_MixedMediaIndexCard1

Then, I used Versamark Ink to stamp more foliage on some of the cards, and mini-mandala type patterns on others.  I then sprinked WOW Embossing powder (clear holographic) over the ink then melted it with a heat tool.  This added an extra layer of interest – a subtle layer as it can only be seen from certain angles.

I framed the cards using black Archival ink and a foam blending tool to give a distressed looking edge.

Then, it was just assembly of the focal points and so on, before sticking the index cards to some really thick card to get them nice and flat; the cards are so thin that they curl a lot when working on them, even with the layer of gesso to seal the card in.  Cosmic Shimmer’s Specialist Acrylic Glue worked beautifully for this.

I had intended to make more ACEO cards, but I drew the focal images a tad too big for that format, so thought I’d try out an index card instead.  I quite enjoyed working on the slightly larger scale.

My scarred heart…

My Scarred Heart 5Feb12©Angela Porter 2012

8″ x 5″.  Inktense pencils with a water wash, fine black drawing pen and metallic watercolour pencils on watercolour paper.

Over the past couple of weeks or so, my emotions have been in a fair amount of turmoil, and this drawing has flowed out from my core.  I finally settled down enough to complete it today.  The turmoil has prevented me from settling to do much art lately, and I find my inspiration has gone somewhat.  I know it will return, eventually, it always does.  For now, however, I think it’s time for healing to occur in other ways, though art always has a part to play as a meditative activity.