Friday work in progress

The artwork

Started yesterday evening, worked on during my hours of mid-night waking, and on waking this morning, this measures 21 cm x 21 cm (approx 8.25″ x 8.25″) The paper is natural coloured Claire Fontaine Paint-On mixed media paper coloured with Aged Mahogany Distress Ink. The design is being drawn with a mix of 03 Unipin and 01 Sakura Micron pens.

I’m using a mixture of Stadedtler Triplus and Chameleon Fineliner pens to add colour to the design, along with a barely damp waterbrush to spread the colour out. Interestingly, some of the colour lines added remain visible, to a greater or lesser extent, depending on how much I work the colour with the waterbrush. Also, I’m finding that I really enjoy adding colour and texture like this.

The finishing bright white highlights are added using a Sakura Gelly Roll pen.

I find the fineliners used in this way give me much greater control over how much the colour spreads in the small areas in my drawing. They also don’t spread as much as, say, Tombow Dual Brush pens or Inktense pencils. That helps to control the spread of colour too.

I rather like the vintage-y look that the palette of browns and olive greens confers on the design, helped along by the background colour and texture of the paper.

Oh, I do intend to leave a ‘hole’ in this first layer of designs. I’m not sure I’ll do inside the space; a quote, more layers of design. For now I’m not sure. But once this first layer is done, I can scan it in and use it in different ways digitally.

There are lots of my favourite motifs appearing in this one, rather organic ones for the most part. What will appear from the tip of my pen in the rest of the design? I don’t know yet! It could be more of the same, or not. All I know is that the intricacy, detail and revisiting old favourite motifs is making my arty crafty heart smile.

Cognitive dissonance

“The state of having inconsistent thoughts, beliefs, or attitudes, especially as relating to behavioural decisions and attitude change.”

Finally, the penny dropped as to why I’m feeling so out of sorts. Oddly, it was while I was listening to a documentary about the cult NXIVM as I was drawing during the stupid o’clock hours of drawing. Don’t worry, I’m not a member of a cult! However cognitive dissonance was mentioned and that was the ‘ta-da!’ moment for me.

Cognitive dissonance causes emotional distress related to holding contradictory beliefs or values. I’ve experienced this before during breakthrough moments in therapy where I’ve had to accept that I was a victim of trauma, that I really do have CPTSD and I’m not (as my mother would tell me) making it up, for example.

I’m poised on a knife edge, wanting to make a decision to leave something, but feeling guilty about thinking that way. I need to find a way to find some clarity to help me make that decision, and it has to do with my core values and beliefs.

Recognising this doesn’t make me feel any better, but it helps me understand what is going on, and that understanding will help me work my way through it! Making a decision won’t make it any easier for me to act upon it as there’ll be a lot of guilt and the old reactive feeling of believing I’m letting other people down.

However, I can’t put other people ahead of my own mental and emotional well-being. It’s never been easy for me to say ‘no’ to people, to leave organisations or people who are contributing to emotional and mental distress in myself. But I have done so occasionally, more so in the last year or two. And I will do so this time if it’s what I need to do to find that sense of balance, harmony, peace in myself once again.

WIP Wednesday

‘The pen is the tongue of the mind’ is a quote by Horace, a Roman who lived between 65 BCE and 8 BCE. Today, we may add that the keyboard is the tongue of the mind too. Though sometimes I wonder how many people actually think before they type what they do in social media!

The quote refers to writing, but I also think it refers to art. Not all of our thoughts are in words. Our subconscious/unconscious mind takes in a lot more information than our conscious mind does. Also, the subconscious mind works in metaphors, symbols, stories.

Sometimes I can manifest the abstract and symbolic thoughts that wander around my head in writing. Others need to be brought out in conversation, by questioning by another. And then there are times, when words aren’t adequate. That’s when art has its role to play.

I rarely plan art out, other than perhaps a vague guide as to where I’d like particular motifs to be. I tend to let it flow as it needs to. If I overthink my art, it all goes to pot. It feels disjointed, contrived to me and I end up quite dissatisfied with it. Going with the flow seems to work best for me.

This particular work in progress does have a little planning in it – the placement and arrangement of the quote along with the pencil border. I do like a border to work within and up to.The rose motif is a current favourite, so roses were the first part of the drawing to be done. Everything else will flow from there. I do like a border to work within and up to.

I’d like to finish this today. However, I do need to create a template for this week’s Template Thursday.

For those of you are curious, here’s the details of the materials used:
A5 natural Claire-Fontaine Paint-On mixed media paper
Faded Jeans Distress Ink
04 Sakura Pigma Sensei pen
05 Sakura Pigma Micron pen

Monday Mandala

After doing some admin work this morning, I felt the need to create a mandala.

I decided to use one of the stylised bird heads from my recent drawings as a starting point, and, well, the design just grew from that.

There’s some zentangle-style patterns, and some that seem to be inspired by Meso-American architecture.

I think the drawing is done, just the shadow/highlight work to be continued with and completed. The small area I’ve done really lifts the design. It’s just working out how to get the digital brush settings just right!

I’m quietly pleased with it, so far, but I need to put it to one side for a while. This afternoon I need to work on the cover for my next colouring book for Creative Haven. The one thing both projects have in common is that they make me smile. And that is a good thing, a very good thing!

Abstract – WIP

This is the result of last night’s attack of the insomnias as well as this morning.

I’ve been drawing with a Sakura Pigma Sensei 04 pen on A4 natural coloured Claire Fontained mixed media paper.

I like both the Pigma Sensei and Micron PN pens for their much more durable plastic nibs. The texture of this paper makes quick work of the the fibre tips of Unipin or Pigma Micron pens.

I’ve started added some colour, shadow and highlights using a mixture of graphite and coloured drawing pencils, as well as a white Gelly Roll pen. Just the grey and sepia toned pencils start to add depth, dimension and life to the drawing. Oh, and a Tombow Mono micro eraser to remove the pencil from where it may have strayed.

I could’ve done this digitally, but at the moment digital coloring is just irritating me. I have no idea why; it just is. I go through phases like this. It’s the ups and downs, twists and turns of both my emotional health and my creative instincts and needs. At the moment, it also means I’m really limiting myself to the colours I can use, something I do tend to struggle with when I have the infinite digital colour palette available to me.

Adding colour as I work lets me bring out particular areas of the design, as well as finding ways to make areas I’m not happy with either work or fade towards the background.

There’s plenty more work to do with this drawing, mostly in the bottom right area. I like the light and airy features towards the top and want to keep them that way.

Abstract Art – 26 Dec ’20

Today’s artwork

This is another piece of abstract art I’ve been working on over the past few days. I think most of the line work is now done, so I’ve started adding colour, shadow and highlight to it.

It’s taken a good two or three hours to colour the little bit done. I was tweaking digital brushes and effects layers to get the ‘feel’ I wanted, along with setting up a limited palette of browns and greens.

It’s working out OK.

Other arty stuff

I’ve been taking time for some ‘comfort art’ as well. Indulging myself in drawing Zentangle patterns in my sketchbook and adding colour with graphite, charcoal and pastel pencils. It’s been a lot of fun, and some of this has spilled over into my art, which is no bad thing at all.

I still have no idea why faces are appearing in my artwork at this time. They’re stylised for sure, but I always shy away from human figures, faces especially.

I did do life drawing many years ago. I enjoyed it too. But hands, feet and faces vexed me. I realised that I saw architectural forms in the shadows and highlights of the human body, and as interesting as that was, it wasn’t as interesting as my love of architecture, patterns, nature and so on. So, I stopped going. I don’t feel the urge to take it up again either.

But faces appearing in my artwork … weird. Still, I’ll roll with it as there may be very good reason why.

It may be to do with me wanting to get back to typographic portrait drawing at some point. I know my mind is working out how I can do this in my own way, but it’s not quite ready yet divulge it’s secrets to me so I can put them into action. Perhaps these faces are part of the process of reassuring me that I can ‘do’ faces, in my own way.

As always, time will tell.

For now I really need a mug of tea and to prepare myself a meal. No doubt I’ll be doing some more comfort art before it’s time for bed.

Crimbo Day Artyness

I’ve been working on this pen and ink drawing over the past three days. It’s a bit smaller than A4 in size and I’m working with 0.35 and 0.25 Rotring Rapidograph pens on smooth, heavyweight, acid-free cartridge paper.

I’ve digitally added a red background, along with some fast and dirty highlights/shadows.

Once again, all the best of the season’s wishes to you all.

Work in Progress Wednesday

Today’s image is a drawing I started this morning. I’m using a .35 Rotring Rapdiograph pen on Claire Fontaine PaintON paper. After scanning the drawing in, I’ve added colour and backgrounds digitally, just for fun.

After several days where the focus has been on digital art and editing, it’s a pleasure to use pen and paper, just as a change. I’ve said it before – I do love working digitally, but drawing on paper is something I also very much love. Combining the two is my ideal way of working, mostly. Mandalas are most probably the exception – I do like the way digital tools speed up the drawing process.

I have, two final edits being approved, completed all the templates for Entangled Starry Skies. I did them while I was awake in the wee small hours of the morning and stayed up until my Abel & Cole delivery had been made. Then, I was ready to return to bed, after breakfast!

Since I woke, I immersed myself in drawing, and I’ll be returning to it in a while as tomorrow is Template Thursday and I have a template to create!

Work In Progress

A work in progress as I try to work out my Christmas card design for this year. I’m not entirely sure it works, so will let it ‘sit’ in it’s folder for a couple of days before I commit to adding colour to it.

I’ve had a busy day with Entangled Starry Skies. I woke with some kind of inspiration for a couple of the last templates to be created, and so I worked on them. I have three templates left to do, though I’ll be trying to get some more done so there’s some choice for the book.

Me getting engrossed in templates is the reason some personal artwork is later today than usual. Still, it was fun to do! I think it’s time for some ‘Angela’ time now.

WIP Wednesday

Up early for grocery delivery, so spent the time drawing and this is the result. It’s a work in progress as I now really do need to turn my attention to ‘Entangled Starry Skies’ for the rest of the day.

Unipin pens on Canson marker paper. The grid is a piece of quadrille paper behind the marker paper.

Tuesday Thoughts

A little drawing this morning, used to embellish a quote that describes my artistic journey, well part of it.

The quote also describes the long journey I undertook to heal CPTSD enough that I found a touchstone of contentment inside me. That touchstone was something I’d never experienced and it is a very precious part of me.

Part of the healing process through EMDR was learning to trust myself, my memory, my emotions (which I discovered in the process).

The wonky motifs that form the border are perfectly imperfect. The imperfections in my art are part of my artistic expression. I’ve learned to recognise when my art is good enough.

I accept that my art is often perfectly imperfect, much of the time. I’m still learning how to not be so hard on myself, to recognise when something is good enough with me. It’s a work in progress for sure.

The motifs were drawn with Uniball Unipin pens on Canson Marker paper. I used Autodesk Sketchbook Pro and Affinity Publisher to create the ‘meme’.