Entangled art, mental health quote.

©Angela Porter 2019

The Art…

Yesterday, I stumbled upon this quote before I headed off to my EMDR therapy session. I decided I wanted a fairly simple pattern around/behind it, and just simple colours, though I’ve played around a little with adding patterns to the sections.

I printed out the quote and the borders. I Used a Pentel Sign pen to draw the bold, black lines of the design. To colour the design, I used a Microsoft Surface Pen, a Microsoft Surface Studio and Autodesk Sketchbook Pro. Behind the design I added a paper texture which, with some wizardry of Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, I was able to add to the design to add some texture and imperfection.

Walks, EMDR and being brave…

I had a lovely drive to Neath for my EMDR therapy and I arrived with enough time to go seek out some yarn to buy for my knitting/crochet stash as well as have a walk around Victoria Park in the winter sunshine.

The first blooming daffodils were proudly holding their bright yellow heads up for all to see, and there were signs of plenty more to follow. Snowdrops, crocuses, pansies were all there to be seen too. Lichens on the bark of trees created a beautiful natural tapestry of colour and pattern. It really was lovely to see.

Without the leaves on the trees to muffle the songs of the birds it was quite raucous at times, but raucous in a beautiful way. The birds didn’t quite drown out the sound of traffic, people or the tinny sounding music coming from the speakers in the bandstand, but they were loud enough that I could listen to them and filter out the other sounds.

It was nice to be out in the fresh air after a few days of barely leaving my home as I recovered from the emotionally draining days of last week. It was nice to take a space to breathe before going in for therapy.

The quote above was a starting point for my session, during the usual reflection on how last weeks EMDR had affected me and how I’d been through the week. One of the weeks sticking points that cause me some discomfort was the many people telling me I’m brave for telling my story, for going to therapy and how good it is that I’m showing people that it is possible to recover from mental illness.

Brave? Me? Surely not! That goes against everything I was led to believe about myself from as young as I could remember.

“You’re fat, thick, stupid, ugly. No one loves you. No one will love you. No one will be your friend. You’re useless. You’re a failure. So and so is much better than you at everything. Don’t bother me. You’re making it up. You’re’ to blame for all of this. Why do you want to bother doing that?”

If I asked for help I was either made fun of, dismissed or ignored. Me and my feelings weren’t important.

No matter what I did to try to please or make people proud of me or to acknowledge how well I had done it was never good enough. There was always a put-you-down.

The only time my narcissistic mother ever expressed any pride in me wasn’t really pride in ME.

My daughter has graduated.” ” My daughter has a PhD.”

She has three daughters. I was never mentioned by name, not even if I was stood next to her. It was all about her. I was only useful for what could make her look better, for her to be the centre of attention.

These messages were taken up by other people around me. They became ingrained in me as the view I had of myself. I still speak to myself using these phrases when I’m in a fragile state mentally or emotionally.

I’ve known about the way I think about myself and where it has come from long while. However, the realisation that my feelings have never been important to anyone, not even to myself. I’ve pushed my feelings, my needs away so that other people don’t get upset or angry with me, so I make sure they’re always happy, even if inside I’m suffering in some way. This was something that came out of the very, very painful, emotional and frustrating EMDR session that followed.

Frustrating as I have very, very few memories of my past. I was made aware I was trying to hard to find a memory and reminded that part of cPTSD is hiding painful memories away, forgetting about them as a way of coping. I was told it’s ok not to have any memory. That I just need to let things be as they are in EMDR.

I think I’m trying so hard to ‘succeed’ at finding a memory, not to disappoint, the harder I try, the less likely it is for a memory to appear. The funny thing is, that once I accepted that through all the tears and anger and frustration with myself, the memories just appeared. There were so many that we just bundled them together as a ‘cluster’ and worked with them.

Then, through the tears and the pain in my throat and heart, a quiet, small voice told me that I had done nothing wrong and I did not deserve any of this. That I deserve better.

We tried working on me believing that through EMDR techniques. That caused me more tears and upset and emotional pain. So we called an end to the EMDR and talked a little about things.

Through EMDR I’m revealing more and more of my story. It causes me pain when new parts are discovered or insights are gained. But without that revealing taking place there is no hope of me healing. My aim is to tell my story without feeling any pain.

I was very tearful with weird memories cropping up as I drove home and through the evening. I had weird and disturbing dreams through the night. I woke with a blinding headache, which is still with me despite some painkillers. I feel so tired, weepy. However, I know there’s been a breakthrough, more than one actually, through yesterday’s therapy session.

The last words my therapist left me with were that she thinks I am very brave. Brave for telling my story. Brave for seeking out therapy to help me heal. Brave for persevering with EMDR when it can cause me a lot of distress and upset. Brave for showing people that recovery from mental health problems is possible. Brave for telling people that seeking therapy/counselling is a strong thing to do as we are helped to learn the skills we need to regain our mental and emotional wellbeing.

I don’t feel brave. I don’t understand how people think that I am. I do know I want to tell what I feel able to do so of my story to let others know they’re not alone. I do want to tell people about my journey to recovery so they can see that recovery is possible. I tell it to try to help others.

I don’t do it for attention. I don’t do it to have people feel sorry for me. That is my narcissistic mother, and others, still putting me down via the voice that is my inner critic.

Entangled Monogram N

©Angela Porter 2019

Fountain pen and ink on marker paper. A4 in size.

Enjoyable few hours (around 6) drawing this one. I have toyed with the idea of mocking up gold foil for the N…not sure if it works though having tried it out.

I still think the edges of the N are either too wobbly or too straight … not sure if the patterns should just peek over the edge in places with clear lines in others …

Let’s go try another letter out! I will eventually crack this … I will …

Abstract Botanical 16 September 2016

Angela Porter 16 September2018

Another abstract botanical. Here are the steps I took in creating it.

  1. Draw the black and white line art design on dot-grid paper from Rhodia using Sakura Micron pens.
  2. Scanned the drawing in, removed the dot-grid, removed noise and created a transparent background in GiMP opensource photo editing software.
  3. Imported the image with a transparent image into Autodesk Sketchbook Pro and added colour and texture.

It took a couple of hours to draw the design and several hours to colour and so on.

My digital tools are a Microsoft Surface Pen and Microsoft Surface Studio.

I love the way many of the elements seem to glow against the dark green-blue background.

Many of my latest works like this seem to have an ocean, watery background going on. So, in the one I have on the go at the moment I’ve done a kind of sunset background. I’ll see how that turns out. Working digitally means I can alter my backgrounds really easily for sure.

I’ve been creating backgrounds digitally, but I want to create some on paper with Distress Inks and scan them in to use instead of the digital backgrounds.

I also made use of a more limited colour palette in this work – going for a more cohesive look/feel. These aren’t colours I’d normally choose to go together, but they seem to work fine.

I now have a fair few of these images and so now really need to try to work out what to do with them. I may try to import them into Repper and create repeating patterns from parts of them; that could be an interesting exercise for sure, but a fun one!

If you have any ideas of how my artwork could be used, leave a comment – I’d love to hear!

 

Dangle Day Friday

Angela Porter September 2018 coloured

Friday is dangle day!

We’re a week into September and autumn is nearly here in the Northern hemisphere, so I thought my dangle design should be one for this season. I think this would be a lovely BuJo page to separate the autumn months. I also think it would make a pretty notecard or greetings card. The hand lettering could be changed for another sentiment and it would be suitable for an autumn celebration. Alternatively, it would look great framed and hung as part of a quartet of designs that cover the four seasons; now there’s a project for me to do!

I drew the design on squared paper using Sakura pigma micron pens.

Then, I scanned the image in, used GiMP to remove the squares and create a transparent background

Next, I used Autodesk Sketchbook Pro to colour the image, create the textured background and add a shadow to the design.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, I love autumn! I love the way the world changes in terms of colours over the space of a few weeks, and the colours can be absolutely glorious.

I don’t know how the long, very hot and dry summer in here in the UK will affect autumn this year.

If you would like to design some dangles and not quite sure how, then my upcoming book A Dangle A Day (available for pre-order) will lead you through the steps as well as giving you plenty of ideas for dangle design.

Friday freebie

Just a reminder that today is the last day for you to enter any of my giveaways, the prizes being signed copies of Eerily Entangled Art, my latest book in Dover’s Creative Haven series of coloring books.

See my previous blog post for details on how to enter.  I’ll be drawing the winners at random tomorrow evening, UK time.

Furbaby Friday

Over on the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group, it’s furbaby friday.

Of course, it’s Furbaby Everyday over on the Happy Tails Animal Group facebook group.

Both groups would love to see your pictures of your furbabies, as would I.

Abstract Botanical 27 August 2018

Angela Porter 27 August 2018 small

Started yesterday, finished this morning. Another intricate, abstract botanical

I coloured the paper first and worked with the patterns made, mostly. Intuitive drawing with detail and intricacy and black lines is my favourite to do. Botanical things, abstract motifs, from my imagination are also some of my favourite things to draw.

My colour choices are a bit different for me, the way I blended the colours resulted in some unusual, subdued, almost grungy tones. I think I like it.

 

Dangle Day

Angela Porter 24 August 2018

It’s Friday so it’s time for one of my occasional dangle designs.

This one involves elements from my latest bits and bobs of abstract botanical art.

Want to learn how to draw your own dangles? Just follow this link for my upcoming book  ‘A Dangle A Day’ to preorder.

It’s furbaby friday over on the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group – join to share pictures of your furbabies! You’ll be most welcome there.

It’s always furbaby friday in the Happy Tails facebook group. If you love animals, this is a lovely group for you to join.

Angela Porter 18 August 2019

Here’s today’s drawing, design, artwork; yesterday’s ‘just colour’ design.

I did try a small design using coloured pens to add lines, but it just doesn’t feel or look right.

I’m happy with this one, like I was with the one yesterday.

These last couple of artworks have been a bit of a change in the way I usually work. Perhaps more of quite a change.

Usually, I start by drawing my design and then adding colour. Over the past couple of days I’ve been drawing the basic shapes/design with colour from a brush, starting with the broad structure of the design. Then, I add the architecture of the design in pen.

The laying down of colour first means there is, for me, not a lot of control over the gradation of colour/tome and the precise shapes. Using watercolours means that colours can bleed from one shape into another if I forget to move to another area and let each shape dry before adding another next to it.

The resultant colour design, the variations as mentioned, is then the basis for my drawing. I work with the shapes as they are, trying not to be overly concerned if my pen lines done precisely match the edge of each shape. I try to work with the variations in colour/saturation/tone as I add the patterns.

I have tried doing something like this digitally, but so far haven’t been all that happy with the results. I will keep trying though. I know eventually I’ll work out how this will work for me.

It’s a nice way to spend a Sunday, no matter what I do precisely.