Today’s image is a collection of watercolors and drawings I’ve done over the past couple of days.
There’s a coordinating card and envelope (mail art), along with some small panels of watercolouring (approx 1.5″ x 1.5″, so a bit bigger than inchies). I’ve also included my foxglove experiments, which I did this morning.
Sometimes, black pen looks too harsh against the delicate but vibrant watercolours, so for the poppies, I tried pencil instead. I’m really not at all sure about them.
The foxgloves are symptomatic of how I feel today – out of shape, wobbly, ill-defined with harsh edges. I woke with a stinker of a headache again, definitely stress/anxiety/worry induced, as well as a lack of sleep last night. It will pass. In the meantime, I’m watching The Clone Wars on Disney+.
I don’t know if I’ll be doing any art for a few hours; my head and emotions are all bent out of shape at the moment. I’m dissatisfied with all the above; I know that’s me being so frustrated at the moment and it stops me seeing my art for how it really is. When I’m like this, I know that drawing will frustrate me, and the fact I’m not drawing will frustrate me more, especially as I have deadlines looming. However, I logically know that if I try to do things now, I’ll just prolong the feeling of frustration and I’ll end up having to do much more in the long run than if I’m kind with myself until the headache goes and my mood lifts.
The weird thing, however, is that I can sense that touchstone of contentment inside me. It’s very confusing; on one hand my emotions are really unsettled, yet there’s contentment within. My EMDR therapist mentioned that it’s a peculiarly Western view that you can only experience one feeling at a time when I mentioned this kind of thing to her. So I know it’s possible to be both discontent and content at the same time – discontent with some parts of life yet still have an inner contentedness.
So, I wander off now to sit with these paradoxical feelings, to try to relax and let the headache ease off enough that I can sleep off the extreme tiredness it will leave me with.
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.
One of my ideas is to create a digital library of designs of things that interest me and that may be useful in my journal making, card making, or just other kinds of art.
For some reason, I decided on dragonflies. So, I sketched out some ideas and then inked the drawings in digitally. I also added details and patterns ot the designs that weren’t present in the sketches. The dragonflies are in my signature entangled style for sure.
I still have a few sketches to work on, and some alternatives of the wing shapes and body designs. I also want to do them as silhouettes. I like silhouettes on coloured backgrounds, like the one I’ve used today.
I used Autodesk Sketchbook Pro to ink in the designs. I also used it to add the background, shadows and typography.
The background is one of my own made using Distress Oxide inks and water. I love that I can recolour the image digitally; the original was in shades of pink and purple, but I thought that blues and greens would suit the dragonflies much more.
I’ve left the dragonflies uncoloured, for now, though adding colour will bring the designs to life and add some dimension to them.
I don’t have a colour printer anymore, just a black and white laser printer. I may consider getting a colour printer in the future, however, as I think being able to print my own digital art would be useful, especially for using in journal making. An inkjet printer would be the most useful; it would allow me to print on many different kinds of paper and lightweight card.
I’m also thinking of putting together digital collections of backgrounds and ephemera and/or digi stamps for sale via my Etsy shop. Let me know if you think that’s a good idea by dropping a comment.
The weeks are flying by! It seems like hardly any time at all since I posted last week’s coloring template. I decided at the start of the Covid-19 quarrantine that I’d design a weekly coloring template for the members of the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group. And so far I’ve managed to do that.
And here, partly coloured, is this week’s offering. I look forward, as always to seeing the coloured templates by members of the group. I love the way that they use different colours and interpret the design differently!
The template is only available in the facebook group, and is for free. I know how much colouring and creativity can help people manage their emotional and mental health. Creating art and being creative certainly helps me, especially if I have a good audiobook on or uplifting music!
I created this design digitally in Autodesk Sketchbook using a Microsoft Surface Slim Pen and Microsoft Surface Studio.
I woke at around 4:30am again today and couldn’t get back to sleep. So, I got up, made tea, and did some work on my art journal / sketchbook.
Making Distressed Paper
I spent a good two or three hours making the papers you can see to the left. I used the following:
printer and layout paper, cut to A6 in size (UK size)
Distress Oxide Inks
5″ x 7 ” Gelli plate
small Brayer roller
water in a spray bottle
pieces of cut and dry foam
metallic inks and paints
For some of the pieces, I brayered the Distress Oxides onto a Gelli plate and then pulled the print onto a piece of paper. For others, I used the Brayer to apply the ink to the paper. I also used the black side of a piece of cut and dry foam to apply ink to some of the papers.
I sprayed the papers with water to activiate the Distress Oxide, and used the heat tool to dry them. After doing this, I crumpled up a lot of the papers and then used the brayer to flatten them out. Both of these techniques resulted in textured paper. So, I used the cut and dry foam and some Distress Oxide ink to lightly brush the paper to help to accentuate that texture.
Finally I used cut and dry foam to brush metallic paint or ink over the paper to add some shimmer and shine. I used some textured cut and dry foam to add patterns too.
I now have quite a stash of very distressed papers to use in my art journal in the future.
Both the printer paper and the layout paper are much thinner than I would usually use for such a task. The light spritz of water on each, however, created a lovely, bumpy texture. They were also easy to crumple up, adding that kind of leathery texture.
The subtle shine that the gold metallic ink gave is rather lovely, though I do like the bright, shiny gold of some paint I found in my stash.
I can see me using these papers for collage, for making pockets/envelopes and other bits and bobs for a journal, and no doubt for other things I’ve not yet thought of.
Storing my custom papers.
I realised the papers I’ve made over the past couple of weeks have been piling up and I really needed to do something that would let me find them easily. So, the quickest and easiest solution was to use A4 poly-pockets and a ring binder, both of which I had to hand! That certainly has let me have a tidier desk, and I’ll be able to find the papers easily too.
Art journal pages.
I also finished up the two pages shown to the right. I attached inchies, to fill in some gaps.
I used simple paper hinges to attach the ATC cards on page seen in the bottom image. If I ever wish to remove them to swap/share/gift, then I can remove them easily. That simple solution has relieved my anxiety about adhering them permanently into the sketchbook!
I’ve also folded some squared paper, used distress inks to colour the edges and folds, and put them in the vellum pockets I’d made earlier, all ready for me to journal on. Unusually for me, I made use of some washi tape to embellish the pockets.
I’ve also noticed that I’m very ‘regimented’ about how I put things in my art journal. I much prefer carefully cut paper to torn edges most of the time. Everything needs to be arranged ‘just so’ with me. Just as it is with my line-art – precise and neat. I suppose it’s another example of me expressing my personality through my art.
So, Angela, how are you today?
I’m exhausted. I’m practically falling asleep as I type this; that’s what happens when I wake up at stupid o’clock once again. I’m now officially overtired! I may try to get back to sleep soon; I do have work I need to do today!
As far as me being under the weather goes…
Well, I still have a sensitive digestive system and I feel nauseous from time to time. I did wake with a bit of a headache today, but that could just be lack of sleep, as is the tiredness I feel. I have eaten and my tummy doesn’t seem to be objecting as it has done. This all makes me hopeful that I’m almost over this bout illness. I was really quite grumpy about it yesterday, and I’m entirely sure I’m not grumpy today!
Other than that, emotionally I’m doing just fine. The sunshine helps with my mood for sure, as did being able to hear the bird song as the world was slowly waking up this morning.
Teeny, tiny one inch square works of art are called inchies. Here are two sets of six inchies.
For each set, I cut an ATC sized (3.5″ x 2.5″) Distress Oxide coloured mixed media paper into one inch squares.
I took the chisel nib of a black Copic Ciao marker to the edges, and then drew on the squares using either Copic Multiliner SP or Faber Castell Pitt artist pens. When I was happy with the designs, I added metallic watercolours to bring out some highlights.
What to do with them? I don’t know…yet. All I know is they were fun to do and quite satisfying.
Under the weather
I’ve not been feeling too grand, hence the lack of a blog post yesterday. I had a stomach upset on Saturday night, along with headache, tiredness and loss of appetite.
I’m still not right today – tired, another headache and an uncomfortable digestive system still. I think it’ll be another quiet day for me.
Over the week I’ve been adding to my sketchbook- notes and images, ideas and reflections.
Each page has been coloured with combinations of Distress Inks, applied using the black side of a piece of Cut and Dry foam, followed with a spritz of water to bring out some water-staining grungy loveliness.
All the little drawings have been done on either Daler-Rowney Smooth watercolour paper (300gsm) or mixed media paper, either from Claire Fontaine or Daler-Rowney. The papers have been coloured with Distress Oxide Inks, Distress Inks, or a combination of them. Most of the pieces have had the inks applied with the foam, but some were made by brayering Distress Oxide inks onto a gelli plate and taking a print of them.
The reflection about what I like, what I don’t like, and ideas that arise is important to me in my sketchbook/journal. I do reflect on my art, a bit too much in my head. When I write it down, it forces my sometimes abstract and swirling thoughts into some kind of order. When I make these thoughts a material manifestation by writing them down, it helps me to recognise the thoughts, sift through that which is useful, and still record those that are not particularly useful at this moment but may be in the future.
I think I need to find a way to do this with my digital art. My mind goes to using One Note to do this. I shall think on this one, and make a note of it in my physical sketchbook/journal.
As I’m pretty much an introvert, I’m usually happy in my own company and happy at home. There are times when even I get and a huge desire to visit somewhere else, where the feeling of wanderlust becomes so strong I have to act on it, even if it’s just a drive in my car.
I, like us all, have no idea when I’ll be able to do this again, just like us all. The Covid19 crisis has changed everything and liberties I took for granted are not not available now and shows how much I enjoyed them even if I didn’t use them all the time. I had the choice.
Yesterday was one of those days where wanderlust overwhelmed me. With it came a huge dose of frustration and sadness, as well as a loneliness I rarely feel.
Also, I was over-tired. I know that when I’m over-tired, my emotional resilience is low. So, all of these things bubbled up and I ended up in bed in the afternoon. I felt a bit better on waking, and my attention went to creating some art.
As I couldn’t indulge my wanderlust physically, I thought I’d try to find a way to express it artistically, and the above is the result.
Words always interest me, and their meanings and origins too. So, I wanted to include the definition of wanderlust in my art. I wanted to make it look like torn paper, or a rip in the background, so I created a messy edge for the typography panel. I actually like how this turned out; I felt like I was being torn apart, emotionally, by the feeling of wanderlust, and a darkness was welling up from that tear.
I used one of my Distress Oxide background textures and drew an entangled art design on a layer above it.
Once I was happy with the design, I coloured the line art, created a copy of it, and applied various effects to these two layers.
I’m really happy with this artwork. It made me smile inwardly and helped to lift my mood some more.
ATC Card backgrounds
I’m still tired today, over-tired, exhausted. I woke up, however, with the idea of creating some ATC card backgrounds using Distress Oxide inks, and these are the results.
Except for the middle and right cards in the bottom row. I wanted to try out using Distress Microglaze to see if it brings out the colours and layers of colour and texture. It does, though it’s not easy to see on the scan. I do need to do before and after scans. I also need to see if I can draw on the panels treated this way too.
So, ATC cards are 2½” x 3½” in size and were started as a collaborative art project where artists and crafters could swap the cards with others, sharing inspiration and creativity in the process.
I just think they could be a lovely size to work on and mount on greeting cards.
All of these cards were cut from 300gsm watercolour paper, which is very thick and sturdy.
I’m still playing around with Distress Oxide Inks to get a feel of how I can get them to work for me as well as creating backgrounds for my traditional and digital art.
My mind is ticking over various things I’d like to do with these, both traditionally and digitally.
If you have any suggestions what I could do, leave a comment!
I’ve been creating a lot of little bits of art that I just don’t know what to do with. They’re often little experiments. Sometimes I mount them as greeting cards, other times they end up in a drawer.
This morning, I woke with an idea to start a sketchbook-come-journal as a place to keep safely and annotate some of these artworks. The annotation is important; it’s lots of notes to myself about the techniques and materials I used to create a specific type of effect, thoughts, ideas for the future, inspirations.
I dug out an A4 Goldline sketchbook to use for this. The white pages just looked uninteresting and stark to me. So, I added some colour using a piece of Cut and Dry foam and Distress Inks followed by a quick spritz of water. A blast from a heat gun, and the pages were ready.
I did prepare a couple more spreads with colour. I realised that if I did this after I’d attached my art to the pages I’d get all kinds of lines and marks that I wouldn’t want. So, I need to make sure I add coloured pages each time I add work to the journal.
I adhered the artwork to the pages using Tombow Mono liquid glue, outlines them with either a metallic or plain black pen, and then set to annotations and notes.
It also gives me a chance to practice my hand-lettering and to use design elements used in bullet journals or planners. I have to say that my handwriting appeared far more than hand-lettering. I used the hand-lettering for headings though.
I also let some of the design elements from the artworks to spill onto the page. I have a problem with leaving white space! This gave me a chance to remember media I have in my stash, such as the Chameleon fineliner pens, which I haven’t used much.
Some dangle designs appeared in one of the drawings, so I redrew them above it. And, of course, metallic gold gel pens add a touch of sparkle.
One thing I ‘discovered’ (maybe rediscovered) is how fab Copic Markers work to add colour and shadow to the Distress backgrounds. White gel pen adds bright highlights.
One thing I wanted to do was add notes about my digital art. I’d like to add prints of my art, but I only have a black and white laser printer. So, I’m going to see if I can have sheets of images printed via the web and posted to me so I can then use them in my journal too.
Part of me knows I could do this via One Note or similar, but there’s something lovely about having a physical record of the art completed and with notes to reflect on or get inspiration from in the future.
I am sure this is something I did in the past, but it’s time to do this again. It’ll be fun to add journal elements to the pages, like envelopes or pouches for notes.
I’ll have to be less of a perfectionist, something I still struggle with. I’m hoping it will help me me to recognise the value of work I’ve done that I may not be happy with, but can learn from and make notes about this, and ideas that arise, for future reference.