Entangled Flowers

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.

More Botanical Mail Art

Two fairly quick, small projects this morning – small botanical cards. Simple, cute, whimsical, darling. Little treasures.

These were fun to make, relatively quick too. They’d be darling little cards to receive in the post or in person. They’d also work nicely as an addition to a journal – a place to journal or keep little memory making bits and bobs in the envelope too.

Each card is 3″ x 4″ in size and the panels are approx 3.5″ x 2″ in size. I made the envelopes to fit and decorated them with one of the motifs from the designs on each card. I did a tiny bit of hand lettering on one of them too.

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.

Entangled Art

Entangled Art © Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

Last night, I carried on with the Domestika Course – Modern Watercolor Techniques by Ana Victoria Calderon. The last sections are all about painting ‘galaxy’ style backgrounds. Scientific pedantry here – they’re not really ‘galaxies’, more nebulae. Just had to say that and get it off my chest.

I painted along with her, and the first background I created was really not at all good, perhaps. I used White Knights watercolours, Cosmic Shimmer metallic gold watercolour and salt. Way too much salt and probably way too much water, and trying to work how someone else does. Still, you learn by doing, even if it doesn’t work out as you’d want it to.

I let the paper dry, did my best to remove the salt and then decided to use a 0.1 Sakura Pigma Micron pen to draw on the background.

I allowed the shape and flow of patterns in the colour to inform me as to how I could draw shapes and patterns, and the end result is today’s image!

As disappointing as my first attempt at a ‘galaxy’ background was, I actually rather like the end product that includes drawing, a typically ‘Angela’ entangled design.

What I am also kind of pleased with, is that I chose to leave some areas of colour without any drawing on them. That is something unusual for me to do.

I started with the floral motifs and let the rest of the design flow from there. As it flowed, the patterns became more and more of an abstract nature.

What you can’t see in the scan, are the subtle areas of gold shimmer that resulted from the spreading of the Cosmic Shimmer metallic watercolour paint. It gives a very subtle sheen in some areas.

While the first background was drying, I had a go at creating another, using what I’d learned from creating the first. Instead of the White Knights, I used Kuretake Gansai Tambi watercolours and I had a bit more success. I’m not entirely happy with the overall balance of the colour areas, but when I’ve decided what to do with it, I’ll share it.

Capsules, Pods and Seeds

©Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

I had a very fitful night’s sleep (or non-sleep) last night. So, around 5:30am I decided to get up and ‘art’.

I finished off the watercolour of some seed capsules.

I’m really, really happy with this watercolour illustration, with an unusual color palette for me. I smile when I look at it! I decided to use a 0.5mm HB pencil to add heavier lines to the more shadowed parts, as well as a little bit of subtle line to help give the pods some volume. It’s difficult to see on the image.

I am so happy I drew a ‘window’ on the paper to draw within. I’m never happy drawing without a frame to keep within and the edge of the paper just never feels right for me. I also like the way that it feels like you’re looking through a window and that it’s OK to cut things off (apart from one cheeky leaf that I just had to have overlying the frame!).

There may be a bit too much white space above the seed capsules, I don’t know for sure. It’s so unusual for me to leave space around the various elements in a design that it feels a bit weird. However, I do like the space in this illustration.

Once I finished the watercolour, I turned my attention to drawing more capsules, pods and seeds in my A4 sketchbook. I completed two pages of small drawings, one of which you can see in the background.

Unusually for me, I drew in pencil. I’d usually use pen straight away. I have no idea what that is about, but it was a pleasant and soothing experience for me. I now have plenty of sketches I can use to create more watercolour paintings from, small ones as I really enjoy working on a small scale. Creating my own little treasures, complete with some precious, metallic details.

Painting little treasures will have to wait though. My eyelids are becoming leaden with a need to sleep. This frustrates me as I had things I wanted to get done today, things that need focus and concentration. So, I’ll soon be back in the land of nod.

Drawing and Watercolor Practice

Yesterday turned out to be a funny old day. Funny as in not what I’d planned.

I got most of my recent experiments into watercolour added to the journal I’m making/working on, with brief notes. That journal is now getting a partly open ‘crocodile mouth’ look, which is fine by me. Before adding the experiments to the journal, I needed to colour some pages with Distress Ink.

As I was adding the little pieces of art to the journal, I realised that the background colours tied in rather nicely with the artwork placed on them – all completely by chance.

After that, I had some tasks around the house to do, and had phone calls that disrupted my flow of work somewhat. In the evening, though, I decided to continue with the Mattias Adophsson Domestika course, and the drawing/painting above was the result.

I’d already done some sketches of the anthropomorphic items in my sketchbook, and I re-drew the character drawing of myself, again. I made myself too thin by far! Ho hum. More practice is required for sure.

Anyways, after drawing the characters, I used flat, controlled watercolour washes followed by glazes to colour them in. This I felt more confident with – and more controlled about.

I can see how the kitty needs some shading, both on it’s body and on my top. I also need to add a line to the hand holding the balloons to make it more like a closed hand.

I’ll be following Mattias’ course, well parts of it. People and characters aren’t quite my thing. I don’t have the imagination it seems, or maybe I just don’t have the need to draw them. However, it’s nice to explore other ways of artistic expression. Those explorations are never wasted as it may just be that I find out that a particular style isn’t for me, no matter how much I admire it! Also, there’s always new things to learn that can be incorporated into my own art going forward.

Watercolour Practice

Yesterday was another day where I got lost in watercolour practice – unintentionally! I had planned to do some editing of drawings for ‘Entangled Gardens’. However, time ran away with me.

Panel 1

The first panel I completed was the one with leaves on. They do have plenty of gold metallic/iridescent watercolour paint along with traditional paint, though it doesn’t show up in the photo.

I tried different ways of adding details to the leaves – Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Pen (F) and metallic watercolour and brush. I find the black pen either too black or I used too thick a point. The metallics in a red-copper, gold and grey-black were more sympathetic to the colours of the leaves, in my opinion.

Panel 2

The next panel I created is the one at middle bottom. I made circles of watercolour and let them touch while wet so there was some flow of colour from one to another. After they’d dried I used a fine brush and both watercolours and metallic watercolours to add line and pattern to it.

I enjoyed making this one very much. I used some quite earthy colours that are unusual for me. The line and pattern added a lot of interest, though I did wonder if I’d covered up too much of the underlying watercolours.

Looking at this with fresh eyes today, I think it shows through just fine. I want to try using metallic paints that are complementary to the main colours in the watercolour to see how that works out.

Panel 3

This is the one at the middle top. I created ovals of watercolour, again using unusually muted, earthy tones.

Once they’d dried I used some Caran D’Ache Luminance coloured pencils, well sharpened, to add patterns to each oval. I used the variation in colour/tone to help me add the patterns, as well as to choose the colours of pencils I used on each oval.

Finally, I used a yellow-green metallic/iridescent watercolour paint to fill in some of the patterned areas.

I enjoyed making this panel too. Again, I thought when I finished it that the pencil lines were a bit thick. However, after a night’s sleep and with fresh eyes I can see that it’s worked out well. I think that using coloured fineliner pens may work out better than coloured pencils – something I’ll try another time.

Panel 4

The last panel I created yesterday was the fourth panel. I used a different kind of watercolour paper, by Tim Holtz. The paint just dried so quickly on it I couldn’t really drop colours in, though the paints would re-wet and I could blend colours that way. I didn’t really enjoy using this paper.

Anyway, I thought I’d make a typically ‘Angela’ entangled style painting. I did use a raw umber Caran D’Ache Luminance pencil to draw the design on the paper. This was such a pale colour it disappeared into the watercolour sections. Again, I used uncharacteristically earthy, muted colours.

The final panel was nice enough, however, it was lacking in pattern and interest. So, I decided to use it to experiment with different ways of adding outlines and pattern to the various sections. I also noted on the panel what method I’d used next to each one.

The metallic paints and pens worked nicely and were practically or totally opaque. I prefer using a pen rather than a brush, though I’d not be averse to adding line and pattern using a fine brush and watercolour.

The gold and silver Uniball Signo glitter pens worked really nicely, and because the glitter is suspended in a transparent ink, there’s interesting effect where the watercolour shows through. I actually really like this a lot.

I couldn’t find a gold Sakura Gelly Roll pen, so I used a silver one instead. This, surprisingly, wasn’t as shiny as the Signo silver pen, but it worked just as well in terms of opacity.

I tried two white gel pens – a Uniball Signo and Sakura Gelly Roll. Both seemed to be fairly opaque, the Sakura being very slightly more so.

Finally, I dug out some really fine black pens – 005 and 01 OHTO Graphic Liners and a 01 Sakura Pigma Micron. These worked much nicer than the thicker pen I’d used on the leaf panel.

Of course, I left some areas of the panel without any lines added for comparison.

Of all the pens I tried, I like the metallic and glitter gel pens the best for this.

On reflection…

I’ve found I really like to work on a smaller scale. I feel like I’m creating small ‘treasures’ full of interest and fascination. I’m happier working smaller and more detailed than I am working on a larger scale.

I want to try coloured fineliner pens to draw patterns on watercolours.

Another experiment will be for me to use metallic and plain acrylic and other inks to draw with. I do have a glass pen that will work nicely with indian ink and writing ink. I’ll have to dig some dip-nib pens out to try with the metallic acrylic paints as well as a brush. I think that ball tools could be used to dot spots of ink onto the work rather than a brush; something else to try.

I also need to find a way of leaving a border on the page! When I draw a colouring template or other piece of lineart, I start by drawing a pencil line to demarcate the area I want to draw in, leaving a border around the line. I need to do the same for watercolour panels, either using a pencil or masking or washi tape.

Something else I’ve worked out is that I tend to use too much water when I paint, and I need to experiment with using less and trying dropping colours in when the area is at different levels of dryness.

Lots of things to try and consider.

Doodling? Really?

I see a lot of people calling the addition of line, texture and pattern as part of an artwork ‘doodling’. I don’t like doodling being used in that way.

Here are the definitions for ‘doodle’ from Dictionary.com

verb (used with or without object), doo·dled, doo·dling.
*to draw or scribble idly:
He doodled during the whole lecture.
*to waste (time) in aimless or foolish activity.
noun
*a design, figure, or the like, made by idle scribbling.

https://www.dictionary.com/browse/doodling

When I add line or pattern to my drawing, it’s not an idle or unconscious activity. I deliberately choose what patterns and textures I want to use and where to place them. The process of adding the lines, patterns and textures may be a more mindful process if the pattern is familiar to me.

The lines, textures and patterns are used to add interest to elements of the overall design. But they are not meaningless, as implied in the words scribble and doodle, and they are anything but idle or mindless scribbles. There is purpose in them, and this is why the use of the word ‘doodle’ irks me!

What am I going to do with the panels?

The leafy panel I created to add to a tag to put in my journal. The other panels will also live in my journal, even the one with annotations, possibly with a pocket behind it for my notes and reflections!