Friday floral

Friday Floral 28 Feb 2020 ©Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

Yesterday, I was out with the DSLR and my friend Liz. We had a need to visit the sea. As we live in the Valleys of South Wales in the UK, we’re not far from either the sea or mountains, towns or country. So, we paid a visit to The Glamorgan Heritage Coast, specifically Southerndown and Newton in Porthcawl. If you’d like to read more about our day out and see some of my photos, visit Curious Stops and Tea Shops.

Today, after a busy week with people and errands, I need a day at home. I also needed some time to just create.

I turned to my folder of photos from my trip to the National Botanic Gardens of Wales last August and found a picture of flowers that inspired me to create this floral design.

I started with the line art with the intention of using it as a guide for painting each petal. However, once I’d completed the line art and added the base colour and some of the brighter tones, I realised I wanted to keep the white lines because it was reminding me of batik or silk painting, particularly as I’d chosen a black background to work against.

I love the vibrance of the colours against the dark background, again very reminiscent of silk painting/batik.

I reined in my usual inclination to intricate, detailed mandalas and kept this particular one quite simple. I decided to echo the golden tones of the stamens in the centre of the flower, and I think that has worked out really, really well.

If I were to try to change something in this artwork, I may try a gold outline – metallic gold. But I like it very much, just as it is.

My tools were Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, Microsoft Surface Studio and Microsoft Surface Slim Pen.

Mandala 26 Feb 2020

Mandala © Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

About the mandala

This morning, after a couple of topsy turvy days, I managed to get some art done before I get sorted for the day.

It’s always lovely to return to art after a little break from it. Today, I used a photograph I took last August while visiting the National Botanic Gardens of Wales. Gorgeously coloured flowers were blooming in the great glasshouse, and this stylised flower is based on some of them, including the colour palette.

A bright, sunshiny, warmly glowing flower is just what I needed to paint this morning. I think I’ve chosen a background colour/texture that allows those colours to shine too.

Digital art created with Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, Microsoft Surface Studio and Microsoft Surface Slim Pen.

Leaving therapy…

Monday was a crazy kind of day. In the morning I got sidetracked by a friend, all while I was trying to pack gifts up for my therapist before I headed to my last appointment, for the foreseeable future anyway.

That’s right. I’ve finished with EMDR therapy, for now. I feel I’m good enough learn to fly through life without the support net of my therapist. My wings haven’t spread much, and though weak, they’re strong enough for me to take my first bumbling, solo flights in life (solo as in not with therapy). I’m going to crash onto the ground, bump into trees and obstacles, even get tangled up from time to time in branches and brambles. I do feel, however, that I can cope with the bumps of my flight through my post-therapy life.

Getting tangled up may result in me needing help to untangle myself as something happens in life that triggers a part of the cPTSD that is still hidden and causes it to rise up to the conscious mind where it can be dealt with. This may mean a return to EMDR to deal with that particular set of traumas.

It was both a little sad and a fairly exciting and happy time too. My therapist and friends are proud of me for the work I’ve put in, as well as the perseverance and courage I’ve shown in facing some of the traumas that have resulted in the cPTSD.

New Camera!

I’ve had a need floating around my head for a little while – to buy a DSLR camera. I’ve looked at them, read about them, tried to decode the technical blurb, and finally found myself drawn to one particular model time and time again.

Rather than purchase it online, I steeled myself yesterday to take a trip into Cardiff to visit Cameraland. I’d looked at various shops where you can buy cameras, but this one really ‘felt’ right. And I have to say, it was the right choice.

So, after breakfast, I headed off to Cardiff, parked up, and walked from the Museum to Cameraland through the town. For many years I’ve not been able to go into Cardiff. Loud voices, noises and the high number of people ramp anxiety in me up to a level of startle and hyper-vigilance. So, I used noise-cancelling earphones and upbeat music to help me cope.

And I did! This wouldn’t be possible to do if I was with someone or people, but on my own it’s completely do-able.

Anyways, the chap I talked to in Cameraland was very helpful, knowledgeable. I explained what I’d like a camera for, my experience with SLRs in the past, and the model I’d had my eyes on. He did say there were other options, but none as good as the one I’d chosen.

He showed me around the camera, let me hold it, use it, and then when I’d decided it was the one for me helped me with a uv lens filter, memory card and a camera bag that is spacious enough for me to use as a handbag too.

This camera is a celebration gift to myself for completing therapy, to mark a kind of rite of passage for me. It’s also a way for me to encourage myself to explore the world a bit more. I’ve invested a fair bit of money in the camera and I really don’t want to see it sitting in the bag, being unused.

I still can’t just go out because I’d like to go out. I still need a reason to leave my home. Going out to use my camera is a good reason in my mind.

It also means that when I’m with Liz, or others, on days out, I can record things that catch my attention that I’d usually sit and draw. Yes, I can use the camera on my phone, which is a good phone camera. However, the images aren’t as clear or colour-faithful as I’d like.

So, I may be sharing particularly nice photos I’ve taken too, of all kinds of things that I find interesting, fascinating.

Sunday morning mandala

Mandala © Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

It’s a sunshiny morning in South Wales. A welcome respite from the rain we’ve experienced most of the week. The cleanup and return to ‘normal’ continue after the flooding that occurred just one week ago.

I had no idea what I would create this morning, other it would be a mandala.

I drew and painted the design digitally using Autodesk Sketchbook Pro along with a Surface Slim Pen and Surface Studio, both from Microsoft.

This one has the floral centrepiece with a zentangle-style background. The flower is an unusual colour choice for me; I tend not to use corals and red tones much. It’s easy enough to change colours digitally, but I went with it, knowing that my colour choice reflects how I’m feeling at this point in time.

Yes, I do tend to create rather intuitively. This design didn’t start with a sketch, but with the first shape to be drawn, which was reminiscent of a petal. The rest of the design grew from there.

I’m surprising myself with how I’m able to ‘paint’ digitally. I enjoy creating more stylised forms, but with added texture and contrast to bring them to life. I know I’m not an expert at this; however, each time I work in this way, I learn more.

Today’s big lesson was how to save a brush style I’d edited and liked as a new brush for my brush library.

I’m glad I’m learning and developing my digital art voices and styles and that it’s happening slowly over time and as my needs demand. I know if I watched videos or followed tutorials on how all this worked, I would become incredibly overwhelmed and frustrated.

I also know that by watching what others do, I would likely be tempted to emulate their style and way of working.

I need to work out my own style/voice and be comfortable with it.
So, I’m not putting any pressure on myself to do something that I’m not yet ready for or haven’t had an awareness of what I could do.

Poppy Pods WIP

Poppy Pods WIP ©Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

I’ve had a lovely, soothing, creative Saturday morning drawing, and this is the result so far.

I’m working digitally as I really wanted to give my new Microsoft Surface Slim Pen a workout. I have to say that I love it as it is so much lighter than the original Surface pen. It also has a different shape, which surprisingly sits well between my fingers. The lightness of the pen really does make it a pleasure to hold and use.

I am also in love with the way the nib glides across the screen. That’s one of hte issues I have with the interchangeable nibs that come with the original Surface pen – all but the ‘2H’ one is just too sticky for me to find pleasurable to use. I also don’t like the way the wear down relatively quickly either.

The Slim Pen is as responsive as the original Surface Pen and just as accurate.

All in all, it gives me a drawing experience that is very much akin to drawing on paper with a Sakura Micron, Uniball Unipin or Faber Castell Pitt artist pen. Having said that, the Surface pen does so too, except that it is much heaver than these pens and I prefer a lighter weight pen. Indeed, my arthritic-y joints seem to be happier with the Slim pen.

So, I’m a happy bunny with the purchase.

Unusually, I did a quick sketch to lay out where I wanted the pods and stems. And by quick sketch I mean the basic shapes using a digital brush.

Once I inked in the basic outlines of the poppy seed pods, I deleted the sketch layer and started to add detail with a flexible nib digital brush/pen. I still have a lot to add to this, but I’m quite happy with how it’s progressing.

#Inktober52 – Week 6

#Inktober52 – Week 6 – Hammer ©Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

I’ve never drawn a hammer before, of any kind. I thought I’d have a go though and try my hand at a fantasy style, possibly dwarfish one.

Not only was designing one a problem for me, adding colour, dimension and texture were some other problems.

I think I’ve left areas a bit bare of line and pattern. Others I could’ve done a better job of creating highlights and shadows. However, overall I’m ok with this, especially as it’s not something I’d usually draw.

Next week’s prompt is ‘dinner’. Sheesh…

I made use of various tools in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro to help me design the hammer, some of the them tools I’ve not used before.

I did consider making a drawing of the hammer from a different angle, but this one has taken me so long that I now need to do some other stuff today.

Monochrome Monday Mandala

Monochrome Monday Mandala © Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

This mandala took an unexpected turn as I was adding colour. I was experimenting with brush settings in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, particularly the ‘colour’ setting. This will change the colour of any area, but preserves the shadow/light values. I thought I’d see what happened when I used grey as the colour, and I liked the monochrome that resulted. So, I completed the mandala in a similar way.

So, quite a different kind of mandala from me, and very different from my usual bold use of colour.

Lavender Mandala – a slow time video.

It took me some time, but I got the video edited and uploaded to YouTube. I’ve left it in real-time with the hopes that people will find it relaxing to watch.

I do have some things to learn about editing still. Not so much the mechanics but the aesthetics and flow of the video. I’m trusting that as time goes on and I make more videos that I’ll get to understand this a bit more.

I also need to try to control how I move the image around as I draw, and also placement of it on the screen. I created this mandala digitally, using Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, Microsoft Surface Pen and Microsoft Surface Studio.

One advantage of recording the screen, is that my hands and pen don’t get in the way of seeing what I’m doing.

I have to say that Movavi is quite simple to use, yet has plenty of features that are quite powerful. Cutting the video, adding music, intro and outro screens, as well as fades are really easy. I can also add transitions, which will help when I can focus long enough to edit out the crazy whirling bits of the video!

As with everything in life, learning to create videos is a work in progress.

I am hoping to get one video done a week. Well, that’s my aim. Life really can get in the way at times.