About a week ago, I hurt my back. I pulled a muscle at the base of my shoulder blade towards the middle of my back. I’ve been unable to sit up for much of the week, let alone draw.
This afternoon, I discovered I could sit and draw, and so I took the opportunity to work on my slightly rusty hand-eye coordination and fine motor control skills. Just over half an hour of blissful drawing before the soreness started to return, telling me I had nearly over done it.
I did film my drawing practice (view it here on YouTube).
I’ve so missed drawing in the past several days, and I am looking forward to building up my stamina for drawing as my muscles heal in the coming days.
I want to thank you for sticking with me through this lean period of posts.
I was at a loss as to what to do in terms of art today. Inspiration was lacking. But a sudden thought came into my noggin and I though, “I could do a small drawing, stop-motion”. So that’s what I did!
It’s only short – 58 seconds to be precise, or is it 57 seconds? Either way, it’s short. And I make absolutely no apology for the silly music! I needed a smile today and I hope that this little video will bring a smile to others.
I have a lot to learn about stop motion, especially sorting out lighting. But it’s always been fun to to do, and so I will again at some point in the future.
I had an idea. It may not be a great idea. It may not be executed in the best way today. But it’s a start, but first, some background as to how this idea came about before I explain myself.
Last week, I went to a local café for a late lunch. So late that it was almost tea time! The first time I’ve been out for lunch by myself since the start of the Covid pandemic. I’ve had lunch out three times with a friend in this time, but I still rarely leave my home for such things.
It was a lovely lunch, broccoli and stilton soup with a large pot of tea. The people working in the cafe were lovely and helpful. The food was delicious and beautifully presented. I was made to feel very welcome there.
So, it took a few days, but yesterday I woke with an idea. Why don’t I do some tiny artworks to leave for people to discover. Little notes to thank those who run a café or restaurant. Little notes of kindness, inspiration, or compassion are on the back for strangers who may need to read them. Little notes to brighten up someone’s day. And maybe put my email address/blog address on there. Maybe. I’ve not decided if that will be a thing, yet.
So, the first step was to see what sizes of little envelopes I could buy. I really wanted glassine ones, so the tile is protected but visible. But the only tiny ones I could find were 6.5cm square (that’s 2.5″). So some have been ordered, and some watercolour card has been cut into pieces 6cm square, ready to use! The tiles in the image are 6cm square in size. So quite tiny!
The others I found are so sweet. They have a heart fastening on the rear flap and are made of kraft paper. Perfect! That way, what’s inside will be a surprise and, hopefully, a pleasant one for those who find it. These are a bit bigger at 10.5cm x 7 cm (approx 4.13″ x 2.75″), which is about the size of a gift card, business card or credit card. So, I cut paper to 10cm x 6.5 cm to fit these envelopes.
For this morning’s video, I decided to use two of the small squares. I started by colouring one side with Distress Inks. Then I drew the designs with various black fineliner pens. Next, I added more colour with Inktense pencils and a water-brush. Finally, highlights were added with white gel pens and a gold gel pen on the Aquafleur design. Not sure the gold pen was a good idea; I might have been better off using a dip pen and gold ink. It’s all a learning process!
Then, it was time to hand-letter a message on the back and decorate. This is where I think things went a tad to pot. In hindsight, I wish I’d coloured the reverse of the tile too, as, the white looks so stark. But they’ll do. My hand-lettering isn’t the best, but again it will do. My biggest problem is not letting the ink dry fully before erasing pencil lines and/or adding Inktense pencils. But they’re not too shabby…possibly.
What I may try doing, as these are test pieces, is using some Microglaze to seal them. Not only will it seal the Distress Ink, but will give a glossy finish that will bring out the colours more. The problem with Micro glaze is that it smears the black pen lines. But as these are test pieces, if that happens, I’ll learn not to do it again in the future, or use different kinds of pens. I wonder how the Dokumentas in the Twisbi’s will react to Micro glaze? That is an experiment I need to try out!
My only problem once I’m happy with this, apart from learning how to take better photographs of my work, is finding the courage to leave these things. The intense embarrassment and shame I know I’ll feel will be great. That will come out of the old fear that no one will like what I do or appreciate it or understand that it comes from a place of unconditional love and gratitude for our connections. And this is the reason why I’m dithering about whether or not to include my email.
I’ll work it out. I usually do, eventually! Until then, I have a small pile of tiles to decorate, Micro glaze and different pens to experiment with, and how to put messages on the back… part of me thinks printing them out and glueing them on could be a way to go. I have actually turned one of my hand-lettering styles into a font! Something else for me to think about.
Today was a day to draw some mushrooms! I do love them, especially the quirky, whimsical and cute ones. These fit the bill, I think, a little resplendent in their autumnal tones.
As far as I’m concerned, I don’t think there is such a thing as too much whimsy or cuteness. Ever. Though I may seemingly stray away from things cute and kawaii from time to time, it’s not long before I feel the pull to add some more whimsy to this worrisome world.
There’s such a huge variety of fungi on the Earth, so much inspiration to draw from. But today, I kept it fairly simple.
To add colour, I used Inktense pencils with a Kuretake Zig water-brush. Oh, and the ‘frame’ was coloured with iridescent gold watercolour paint. And that gave me the perfect excuse, not that I needed one, to scatter some gold dots around the background. Oh, the white dots on the ‘shrooms and foliage were applied with a Sakura white Soufflé pen. Its opaque white ink is perfect for this job, especially as it doesn’t seem to pick up any underlying colours. Must remember to get some more of them.
Today seems to have disappeared. I have been lost in arty pursuits since around 10:30. It’s now 14:49. The video that goes with the drawings has finally uploaded. The three drawings I started in the video are now all completed and shown here.
It’s actually been a lovely way to spend a Saturday. It’s beautifully sunny out, but there’s a coolness in the air that is absolutely delightful and so reminiscent of many early Septembers in the past. All I want to do is curl up in bed and listen to the sounds of the world outside; a car every now and then, the varied sounds of a rugby match, the twitter of birds and the clattering of jackdaws.
All of this has been a lovely soundtrack to do my art to! And I suppose I should talk about that.
Yesterday, I took a look at the tangle pattern Aquafleur. As I was drawing it, the way I made pen strokes reminded me of two other tangle patterns – Pepper and Dra-wings (or Drawings). So, I decided to look at them in today’s video.
One of my YouTube subscribers had left a comment saying they weren’t sure how to get their Aquafleur to spiral inwards like mine did. So, I started the video by showing how to do that.
And it was rather fortuitous that I was asked about that as it meant I had an example of Aquafleur to compare to Pepper and Drawings! The similarity is in how the various segments are shaped. But by some simple adjustments, you end up with three different end results.
Although I left each drawing incomplete at the end of the video, I did show in the Pepper and Drawings tiles how I was planning to add shade and light to them. I wasn’t even sure I would complete the Aquafleur, but I am glad I did.
I’m not sure whether I have a favourite out of the trio of tiles. Each has its own charm and allure.
Aquafleur is a lovely, organic tangle pattern that creates layers as you draw. The result is reminiscent of a flower, coral, seashell or sea plant. It’s also a bold, high-contrast tangle with a lot of dimension. It’s not a tangle pattern I can remember tackling, and the version you see above is actually my second attempt! I misunderstood the Aquafleur deconstruction by Zentangle Inc.
Like most tangle patterns, Aquafleur is quite easy to construct once you’ve made sense of the pattern’s step out (deconstruction).
I used a graphite pencil and a paper stump to add shadow to the purks (nestled orbs). Highlights I added using white charcoal on the purks and a white Gellyroll on the black sections.
But this design needed something a bit more. So, I got a dip pen and a bottle of gold acrylic ink and added stripes of gold to the Aquafleur. Then, I added a few sprigs of golden leafy loveliness to the design and called it done.
I rather like how this has turned out. I particularly like the opulence of the gold against the very graphic black and white. I decided to leave this motif and the sprigs as they were, nothing else added to fill the piece of paper. I could add a drop shadow around the Aquafleur to lift it up. However, I like it just as it is!
This morning I just wanted to mess around with some fragments, and triangular ones seemed the way to go! ‘Fragments’ is the Zentangle term for the cells that make up a repeating pattern.
I started with a simple fragment of a circle (orb in Zentangle-speak) inside a triangle. All of these fragments have orbs as part of them, and I’m not sure if I’ve done many of them before.
I’ve written it before, and no doubt will again, that exploring both fragments and tangle patterns is an absorbing activity. No matter how often I look at one particular fragment, there are endless variations that can result. Some may be of use in a ‘reticulum’ (Zentangle-ese for the grid upon which a pattern is formed), others may just be for the experience of being curious and seeing what happens if I do x, y or z…
This is also a great warm-up activity. It gets my hand-eye coordination and fine motor control working well. My creative brain gets flexed and exercised too. It is also an opportunity to try out new drawing tools and media.
Another big benefit of this practice is that there is no pressure to complete a finished artwork. There’s the implied permission to make mistakes, for things to not work out. Indeed, I learn more from those that don’t work out or where a mistake is made than anything that works out well.
I’m always amazed by how many fragments can be made from a simple start. In this case a circle within a triangle.
Carrying on with the flowy pattern theme, I explore the Zentangle tangle pattern “Narfello” today.
This pattern is based on wavy lines and is easy to construct. The fun lies in all the variations that are possible. The first three steps in setting the tangle pattern up give an unusual grid that can be filled in so very, very many ways.
I always enjoy exploring patterns. It is, for me, a way of practising creativity, giving myself permission to draw without the end product being as nearly perfect as possible. It’s about trying things out to see what happens; if I don’t like what I’ve done, it’s no biggie! I can learn from it or, even better, work on how to change what I’ve done to make it something I like.
It doesn’t matter how many times I explore a pattern or fragment (the basic cell of a repeating pattern); there are always more things to discover and to use. It is quite addictive at times, that’s for sure!
This morning I had no idea what I wanted to draw, so I visited the random tangle generator on tanglelist.com, which suggested Bucky.
Bucky is an official Zentangle pattern that I’ve never drawn before. I had to look up the deconstruction, which you can find on Zentangle.com. So, in typical Angela style, I threw myself in at the deep end by using a ‘crazy’ asymmetric grid (the middle section in the artwork). It worked out fine in the end, but not with a few mis-strokes!
I thought I’d add some organic patterns/motifs to balance out the rather geometric Bucky pattern.
To add shade, I used an Iron Green Inktense pencil with a water brush to produce some colour gradients. I really wasn’t at all tidy and controlled about this. And you’d never really have known that if I’d not said it! I tried embracing the fluidity and random nature of a watery medium and it worked out just fine.
I used a white charcoal pencil and a paper stump/tortillon for the highlights. That meant I had to re-ink the black hexagons, but that was fine.
Finally, I drew Bucky in a more regular grid at the bottom. I didn’t film this part, but it worked out just fine, I think.
Indeed, I’m fairly happy with the overall result. I like the monochrome colour scheme; it gives coherence. The one thing I haven’t done is add shadow and highlight to the narrow bands between the sections.