Amazing Mandala – Finished!

Amazing Mandala © Angela Porter – Artwyrd.com

Thoughts about the mandala

I finally finished this mandala today. I think I’ve logged somewhere around 35 hours on this image. I think that makes it the longest I’ve spent on any art project.

I have learned so much about how I can work with digital tools. I’ve also learned far more about my abilities and how I can express myself, particularly through digital art.

Although I find looking at the mandala rather strange now. That may be due to the closeness that I’ve worked with it, or the combination of colours not being too pleasing to me at this time, or the choice of backgorund colour. I don’t know for sure.

I’m am pleased with myself for persevering with the project, even though there are parts I’m not at all sure about, as I’ve mentioned.

I never, ever thought I would turn my hand to digital art.

Yes, I enjoy digital drawing; the beauty of Microsoft’s Surface Pen and Surface Studio are that they make drawing digitally so similar to drawing on paper.

However, this is the first time I’ve really ‘painted’ digitally, where I’ve worked in colour without black outlines.

It marks a huge step forward for me, as well as a coming together of things I’ve learned along my way. Not just digital things, but my observational skills, drawing skills, general art skills.

Lots of different aspects of my artistic/creative journey seemed to have gelled together in the past week or so, and I am really pleased about that. I’m more pleased that I’ve recognised this and gone with it.

About me and art

What I’ve come to realise more and more lately is that I like to create art that is pretty, beautiful even maybe. That is my whole drive in being creative. I enjoy making art that is pleasing to the eye, colourful, and full of intricate details that fascinate and call upon the viewer to spend time looking carefully at all the sections of the artwork.

There’s no hidden messages in my art. You don’t need to ‘understand it’. All I’d like it to do is to make you smile, to bring a little bit of colour and beauty into your life. I’d like it to be something that can give you a break from the harshness of life. I’d also like it to be something that you never tire looking at.

That may not be what many people think art is, but that’s what it is for me. Adding a little more prettiness, maybe beauty, colour and smiles into the world.

Is that a bad thing? I don’t think so.

So, Angela, how are you today?

I’m fine today. A bit tired, but fine. It’s been a warmish sunshiny day and I’ve been out to Cowbridge with my friend Liz for icecream at Fablas. And fabulous it was too! A well earned treat I think.

Yesterday I had my Time to Change Wales champions hat on as I gave a talk to around 100 people from Health Education and Improvement Wales (HEIW) at the University of South Wales in Treforest as part of the pledge signing ceremony.

An anti-stigma talk involves relating information about mental illness, stigma and discrimination and then I tell my story of mental illness (CPTSD) and the stigma and discrimination I’ve faced. Mostly it’s been self-stigma, telling myself I’m weak, pathetic, useless for having anxiety and crying and being depressed or having panic attacks and absolute dread and so on.

Yesterday, I noticed how anxious I was before I left home to go to give the talk. I’d not really noticed this before and it kind of jolted me a bit. Either I’m becoming more self-aware or my daily background level of anxiety is diminishing. I do hope it’s both, but particularly the latter!

These talks leave me rather emotionally exhausted and a nap was required yesterday. I could do with a nap now, but that would really mess up my sleep tonight as it’s early evening here in the UK as I type this.

I’m still tired today, despite sleeping well last night.

I do these talks as the I think it’s important to lead by example and open up about the struggles I’ve faced. I hope that it will encourage others to be brave and open up, or even admit to themselves that they’re struggling with their mental and/or emotional health.

I also hope it helps to increase understanding and awareness of what it’s like to have a mental illness, what poor mental health is.

If only I’d known more when I was young, maybe I would’ve sought help sooner and I wouldn’t have ended up having two really bad and lengthy bouts of severe anxiety/depression.

There are quite a few of us champions, all with different stories to tell around our experiences of mental illness and the stigma and discrimination that goes with it.

It’s always nice when people come up to me to share their stories, often quite shyly, or to ask more questions. It always amazes me that people think I’m really brave in telling my story.

Maybe it is brave. But if I don’t tell it how can things change if people are unaware of how mental and emotional ill-health affects us? I’ve lived it. I still am living it. All the champions have lived it and many still are.

Telling our stories is powerful; not just for the audience listening and perhaps getting an insight into mental health they’d never had before, but also for us.

We should never be ashamed of having mental or emotional ill health. Yet many of us are or have been. I’m not ashamed that I’ve broken bones or had the measles or mumps or chicken pox or other illnesses. I’m not ashamed I have asthma.

It’s high time we stop being ashamed that we have a mental illness. It’s high time society stopped being afraid of people with mental illnesses or judging people unfairly because of them. It’s high time that mental and emotional illness are viewed in the same way as physical illnesses.

I’m now tired and have lost my train of thought, and so this blog post comes to an end.

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