Entangled Art

©Angela Porter 2019 - Artwyrd.com
©Angela Porter 2019 – Artwyrd.com

This morning I started my day with some warm-up drawing. I drew this one with Sakura Pigma Micron pens on Daler-Rowney Bristol Board that measures approx. 7cm x 30cm. I added the coloured background digitally, along with the watermarks.

You may be curious why I use a square of coloured and textured paper behind my art work. Well, for Instagram, a square image fits perfectly without being cropped weirdly, and as many of my pieces of art are not square…well, you get the idea! So, for consistency across my social media, I use the same image.

I enjoyed drawing ths one. There’s some new patterns and motifs in it. I spent yesterday looking at ‘Art Forms in Nature’ by Ernst Haeckel for inspiration to add new patterns and motifs to my visual reference book. This little A5 dot grid notebook from Claire Fontaine is becoming rather useful. I add my favourite patterns, new patterns, motifs, doodles to it as I need to. I make use of the idea of ‘threading’ used in Bullet Journals to help link sections together.

What a brilliant idea ‘threading’ is. I used to get so frustrated with either folders with drawings in or having sections scattered in a book with a clumsy index to help find them. Now, I just follow the page numbers to direct me to where the particular collection continues. The index then lists just the first occurrence of that particular collection. My collections include abstract botanicals, foliage, floral, fungi, trees, feathers, crystals, Christmas, favourite patterns, dangles and charms.

I’m sure that when I start a new book, there’ll be a way to thread to the new book!

Why am I doing this? Well, as well as keeping track of patterns and motifs I like and organising them roughly into collections it’s also a source book of inspiration for art when I feel I’m lacking in inspiration or I feel my work is getting more than a bit samey.

It’s also something that is part of my self-care on days where it’s too much of a challenge to do something completely new and different. Sometimes this means adding familiar patterns and motifs. At other times it means researching new ones.

Yesterday I was really tired and feeling quite low after a very tiring day on Saturday followed by a poor nights sleep. Last night my sleep was even worse. I woke from disturbing dreams with my mind busy, busy, busy. Not sure why this is, or why I just feel more anxious than usual. There’s no reason at all for me to feel this way. Just some stormy emotional weather in advance of EMDR today and starting to process something new to EMDR but old to me. The CPTSD recovery journey continues…

Morning Mandala

© Angela Porter 2019 Artwyrd.com
© Angela Porter 2019 Artwyrd.com

Today’s morning warm up art – a mandala, drawn digitally. I added the colour with a gradient tool. Maybe I’ll go back and add colour section by section at another time.

I used my usual tool trifecta – Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, Microsoft Surface Pen and Microsoft Surface studio.

The soundtrack to my work has been The Killers Station on Amazon Music.

My mood isn’t wonderful today. Seems the effects of EMDR on Monday are lingering still. I do need to write about some thoughts I had while doing this mandala. Complex swirls and circles of my life, but also how throughout my life I’ve been conditioned to think and feel as someone else has told me to think and feel. Started early in life, an easy pattern for others to make use of later in life. A pattern that has led to repeated trauma time and time again.

I’m now aware of it though. So it’s something to be processed and released in EMDR and replaced with a better way of thinking and acting. That’s not easy as it’s a totally new way to be learned, not just a reinstatement of an old, healthier way of being. That’s the problem with childhood trauma; it’s the way I’ve forgotten much of my early life, even the good bits. I’ve realised that I’ve never known anything other than constant anxiety and depression, amongst other things. I don’t remember any times where I was genuinely happy and at peace.

Each time I recognise something in me, a way of thinking and acting that is not healthy and bring it to the light and the ‘magic’ of EMDR, the closer I get to that tipping point of having dealt with more trauma from my past than the trauma left to deal with. The problem is the stuff that’s left is the seriously tricky icky stuff.

Any way, it looks like today is the fourth self-care day in a row. Not sure what I’ll do today, though I do have some errands to run this morning.

RSPB Newport – a mandala

Yesterday I took a short trip for a short visit to the RSPB reserve in Newport, Gwent.

With dark, leaden skies with golden sunshine pouring through gaps in the cloud cover the lighting was dramatic; it caused the winter colours to positively glow against the dark blue-grey of the sky.

This mandala is my response to those colours, along with some very stylised motifs from the things I saw – arching branches, dancing golden grasses, fungi and more.

I took photographs as I took a walk around part of the reserve. I also stopped to record my observations, my thoughts, in words in my journal.

I surprised myself…

It was all a bit of a spur of the moment decision to head to the wetlands reserve. I was still feeling headachy and emotionally drained after my Time to Change Wales talk to the police yesterday. I needed to do something to help shift this and to lift my mood and getting out and about is something I do struggle with, hugely. Anxiety about being around people kicks in and I can become almost paralysed with it. However, today I didn’t. Perhaps because the reserve is familiar to me; I have been there a few times before. However, I’ve never really taken much of a walk around it. That has always been a problem for me.

But not today. Today, I walked along some paths that were unfamiliar to me. I didn’t go all that far, though my walk took an hour. I did fear getting lost there, but I kept my eye on some fairly obvious landmarks such as wind turbines, the lighthouse at Nash and the huge powerstation. Being able to see these gave me some confidence that I knew what direction to head in to return to the visitors centre. If I strayed from where I could see at least one of them, I backtracked and took a different route.

Most of the people walking and visiting the reserve smiled and said hello, as did I, and that helped me feel at ease too. That, and the rhythm of walking, the sounds of nature – birdsong, rustling leaves in the breeze – and I took pleasure in moving my body, which is something that is new to me.

It’s also something I need to remember and try to get a walk into my schedule most days, somewhere where there’s nature but also where I feel safe to walk. In the wilds by myself is not a good idea, but somewhere like RSPB Newport, with it’s structured. signposted paths is a good idea. Or the beach…somewhere I’ve not been since July, yet it’s only a 40 minute drive away from me.

I forget all too easily how good it is for my mental health to take a walk where there’s nature, birdsong, and not too many people.

As I walked, I could feel the tension leach from me, down through my feet into the forgiving and loving earth. With each step and each breath I felt the anxiety ease little by little. The headache began to lift as well. By the time my walk was over I felt much better. There were still cobwebs left by the headache, but they were manageable.

When I returned to the visitors centre, I browsed in the shop and finally managed to find a raven pin badge! I also bought a small guide to trees. I also had a nice lunch and a very welcome mug of tea in the cafe there, where I continued to write and reflect in my journal until it was time to return home ahead of the rush hour traffic.

Back to art…

I love the stained glass feel of this design. I did try working with the colours in the style of my latest mandalas, but it just didn’t seem to work out for me. Perhaps I was trying to work a step, or several steps, too far for me to be comfortable with that change.

There’s also something about the black lines that gives a definite form to the mandala and this reminds me of how in winter I can can see the underlying form, the architecture that usually is hidden beneath leaves and flowers.

As is my way, I used my Microsoft Surface Pen, Microsoft Surface Studio and Autodesk Sketchbook Pro to draw and colour this mandala.

I used my photos of my visit to get the colour palette I used. And for me this is an unusual colour palette, but it reflects very much nature’s palette on the day and time that I visited.

There’s a bit more about my visit on my other blog – Curious Stops and Tea Shops.

mhaw18

Angela Porter mhaw18 17 May 2018

Today I’m feeling tickettyboo, a little tired, but definitely only a teeny tiny bit emotionally drained.  I think that some lovely icecream on a toasted waffle after my talk yesterday, in the company of a lovely friend, seriously helped, as did time with other friends in the evening and a serious dose of meditation.

Of course, my morning drawing helps me, and today it’s a mandala.

The perfect kind of relaxation to do before I head out later to do my fourth anti-stigma talk of the week, this time at Companies House.

This morning it’s time for some self-care, and for learning how to create amigurumi critters.  Crocheting is always a challenge for me, but I had an overwhelming desire to create a cuddly cuttlefish, all rainbow colours.  However, I think I bit off more than I could chew by starting on something so big without practicing and figuring out how amigurumi works and how to avoid increasing the number of stitches when they’re supposed to remain the same number, and how to know when the next ‘row’ starts when you’re essentially working in a spiral, and and and …

So, I finished the body and ears of a simple bear yesterday and started on a little mouse. I’ve still not figured out fully how it works, but I may be getting there, and smaller projects are definitely the way to go to learn and understand the techniques needed.

Mental Health Awareness Week 2018

Angela Porter mhaw18 14 May 2018

This year, in my role as a champion for Time to Change Wales, I’m giving (at the moment!) four anti-stigma talks to various organisations this week.

The aim of the Time to Change Wales campaign is to help to bring about an end to the stigma and discrimination that surrounds mental health.  In my anti-stigma talk, I talk about the campaign and tell my own story of my mental health issues.

It’s not a secret, I have complex post-traumatic stress disorder (cptsd) that has resulted from constant trauma from emotional neglect, emotional and mental abuse from a very young age and that persisted throughout my life until the past two or three years.

EMDR therapy with a fabulous therapist is really helping me and my mental health is so much better than it used to be.

If I help just one person through my talks, then it’s a worthwhile exercise.

For myself, it’s helping me to ‘own’ my own story and to not minimise the effect the traumas of my life have had on me, on the way I think about myself, about how I behave to avoid triggers or more trauma, and to begin to live a healthier more rewarding life.

Art is not only how I make a living now, but it is also my therapy, my way of helping myself when I’m anxious or depressed or stressed. It helps me to find my balance again, even if temporarily.

What a heck of a time, and bujo update

Angela Porter May Bujo1

The saga of my little car continues

Roller coaster rides abound here.  I’m very anxious, fearful today, but there’s also a calmness there too, which is well weird.

Yesterday I picked up a loan smart car from the garage, and not long after I got home I had a phone call to tell me that after trying what the experts had suggested, the conclusion is that something has broken inside the automatic gearbox.  It would cost over £4000 to replace the gearbox, and the car really isn’t worth it.

So, I had the panic and fear and worry about sorting out a new car. I’m going to try buying a new Smartfortwo first through the garage. I need to trust my car; I have to travel around a fair amount with the talks that I do.  Breaking down causes me huge stress, and not being sure of a car I’m driving does so too.  Having a second-hand gearbox fitted wouldn’t fill me with that kind of trust. There are other options, including buying a cheap runaround until a few things come together for me.

I know things will work out fine.  That this too will pass.  It makes settling down to focus on anything difficult for me, and when I’m like this one of my coping strategies is to sleep, lots.  Which I can’t do at the moment, though I really want to sleep, just sleep.

I need to run errands while I have the loan car, to make the most of it. I have editing work to do for A Dangle A Day.

Other stuff has gone out of the window. I did set up my monthly spread for May in my BuJo, along with my monthly trackers this morning; I couldn’t believe how shaky my fingers were.

May Monthly BuJo Spread and a large disc-bound format

The picture shows my monthly spread for may as well as the pens I used as well some pictures of my new disc-bound journal.

My monthly spread and trackers are decorated with hawthorn blossoms and leaves.  May blossom, as we call it here in the UK, is usually out around now, but it seems to be delayed this year, but it is a flower I associate with May time.

I included a little quote about May below the header:

May, more than any other month of the year, wants us to feel most alive.                          – Fennel Hudson-

I’ve moved to a large disc-bound planner because I like the larger format as well as the flexibility of what paper I can use and the ability to rearrange pages as I understand my needs more without having to re-draw/re-write everything I have in my collections.

As I’ve said before, my BuJo is more like a Zibladone, where I collect all kinds of ‘stuff’ that interests me that I want to reference, including collections of patterns and drawings on various themes.  With the addition of the planner elements that are useful to me, I turn it into a very basic BuJo, where I include yearly, monthly and weekly diaries/calendars and also a journaling section, which is more important to me than having a page for a day with planning and so on in.

The eagle-eyed of you may have spotted that I’ve used quadrille/squared paper in this spread.  The simple reason is that I can cut down on the number of lines I need to draw for the tables! I particularly like it for the tracker.

Yes the lines are more obvious than the dots on dot-grid, but I’m happy to work with this in this instance.

I haven’t done my weekly spreads yet; and I don’t think I’ll get them done today as I have so much to do in terms of errands and also a nearly 3 hour round trip to make to give a talk tonight.

I do need to find time to meditate and let some of this anxiety/fear bleed off and to let the calmness that is under it become stronger.

Pre-orders

A Dangle A Day is available for pre-order.  I will be having a give-away for those of you who do pre-order, so check back for details of this once I’ve set it up.

Eerie Entangled Art is also available to preorder from Amazon as well as anywhere that stocks the Creative Haven colouring books from Dover Publishing Inc.

 

Tuesday Tip

Angela Porter 24 April 2018 small watermarked

My #tuesdaytip is to do just this – create every day!

It doesn’t matter for how long – 5 minutes, 10 minutes, an hour, longer.  Just take time to create.

You can create something new.  You can work on practicing, say, your hand lettering. You could re-work or add to something you thought was finished.  You could try a new skill or technique or medium. You could doodle aimlessly.

There’s just so many possibilities, so many ways to be creative – art, crafts, cooking, gardening, wood-turning, sculpting, decorating, sewing, colouring, are just a few of the possibilities.

Just create.  Have fun.  Play. Relax.

Take a break from the worries, stresses and strains of everyday life by focusing on being creative.

I use art to help me find my inner calm and stay there.  My whole body exhales, calms and relaxes when I ‘art’. It’s a daily practice for me that has a similar effect as meditation and mindfulness does. Even if I don’t meditate every day, I ‘art’ every day, just for pleasure (as well as for my work).

When the days are very trying for me, as they have been lately due to a nightmare of a car breakdown and recovery that took 8 hours Saturday night into Sunday morning, I find creating collections of doodles and patterns for my BuJo or hand-writing quotes or words really soothing, especially if they are familiar to me.  That’s what I needed at that time, something I could do automatically, that didn’t cause more stress for me.  The rhythm and flow soothed. Just the process of repeating the drawings and drawing of letters involved practice and improvement of my favourite motifs, patterns, words; and when calm, I could move on to create something new.

Being creative isn’t just about making great works of art or craft, or any thing else.  It’s also about feeding your heart, your soul, your being and finding calm and joy in what you do.