Golden mandala

©Angela Porter 2018

It’s stupid o’clock here in the UK and just as I was getting ready for bed I had an idea that I just had to try out. So, this was a very quick mandala where I used a gold texture background and drew on top of it.

Digital art this time. Had to try it out. My idea kind of worked out. Now how to figure out how to use this with dangle designs! But I think I may have to sleep first!

Microsoft Surface Studio and Pen, Autodesk Sketchbook Pro and a texture I found lurking in my files.

#createdonsurface

Snowflake Mandala – WIP

This one is very much a work in progress. Drawn using a Microsoft Surface Pen on the screen of a Microsoft Surface Studio, I made good use of the symmetry tools in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro.

When ice crystals form they have a symmetry based on hexagonal shapes, so my mandala is separated into 12 sections, though I’m choosing to bring out the six-pointed patterns in different colour schemes.

I’m not sure if that makes sense – I know what I mean!

Of course, there’s only so much pointy-ness I can have in anything I draw, so curves have to make an appearance. And this is very much apparent in the fine detailed patterns within each section. Here I’ve used simple line patterns to more complex pattern fills using spirals and swirls. I’ve played around with adding a drop shadow and a highlight to these patterns to add a sense of dimension, not that it’s easy to see in a low-resolution image for the web.

I do like my colour choices of cool purples, blues and aquas so far. I think I’ll go with a more blue-purple to complement the purple in the design so far.

I do have an idea or two as to what I can do about the black lines as well, though they may not work out. As I’ve said often before, I do like black lines in my art; I like the way they define spaces and patterns and often give that feel of ‘stained glass’ to my work. However, sometimes I think they look a tad childish too, but that’s mostly on days where I doubt myself an awful lot, rather than the usual little to a lot.

The design isn’t quite as open as perhaps a snowflake is considered to be, but I rather like filling spaces in, though I may leave some of these spaces open so the background, when I add one, can shine through. That means I may end up erasing some of the colour I’ve added already to created a more open feel to the design.

It’s a lovely way to spend a Sunday morning, especially now I’ve finished downloading all the Amazon invoiced for the last financial year in preparation to getting my accounts to my lovely accountant, Leah.

Remembrance Sunday 2018

Angela Porter Remembrance Mandala 2018

Today marks the 100th Anniversary of Armistice – the ending of the First World War. This took place at the eleventh minute of the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918. The guns fell silent. World War I ended.

But war has not ended.

The Second World War, among many others, followed. Burma. Korea. Vietnam. Falklands. Iraq, first and second. Afghanistan. And so many, many, many other conflicts around the world that barely get a mention in the western news.

Today, we remember all those lost in conflicts/wars around the world, those who have given their lives in the service of others. Those who have selflessly given the most precious thing we have – life – so that others may live in peace and safety.

Not only do we remember the men and women from all walks of life, social backgrounds, countries and beliefs who lost their lives and were injured during conflict/war, we remember the animals who were also killed and injured during conflict as they served and supported the troops.

My grandmother’s first husband, Frank, was gassed in the trenches in WWI and eventually died back in England, nursed by his own wife. It’s said that her hair went pure white overnight when she received the news.

My father took part in WWII. He was at the D-day landings. Amongst other things he witnessed, he saw the piles and piles of bodies at a concentration camp in Poland.

People like Frank and my dad, Robert John Porter, went to war to bring an end to such atrocities, to bring peace to our societies.



IN FLANDERS FIELDS

In Flanders’ fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place: and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders’ fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe;
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high,
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow  
In Flanders’ Fields.

Lt Col John McCrae, a Canadian Doctor who lost a friend at Ypres, was inspired by a field of poppies to write this poem in early May 1915

From www.royalbritishlegion.org.uk


Thoughts about my mandala

I knew I wanted to create a mandala that looked like a round stained glass window, but could also be used as a focus for meditation about peace, about remembrance, about the ultimate sacrifice of life in order to bring about a more peaceful world.

I wanted to create something that featured red poppies.

The poppy is not a symbol of war. It is not about glorifying war. It is not a symbol of support for war. It is not a reflection of politics or religion.

The poppy is a symbol of remembrance. It is a symbol of hope. It is a symbol of respect for all those, regardless of nationality, religion, race, who selflessly gave of themselves to return peace. You can find out more about remembrance poppies by following this link.

Eleven poppies to go with the eleventh minute of the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month.

I wanted a bright centre to the mandala as the symbol of hope for a better future. A more peaceful future. A brighter future.

I included some hearts as I thought of the words from Martin Luther King Jr:

Darkness cannot drive out darkness. Only light can do that.
Hate cannot drive out hate. Only love can do that.

I chose blue as a colour that represents to myself peace and calm. Green as a symbol of growth, balance, harmony, understanding.

As is so often the case with my artwork lately this was created using Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, a Microsoft Surface Pen and a Microsoft Surface Studio.


Closing thoughts

I thank Frank and my dad for their sacrifice.

I thank all the others who through the ages have fought with peace and a free world as their goal.

I wish there was no need for armies and wars. I wish we could all learn to get along. I wish there would be an end to hatred and racism and bigotry. I wish we could get over the fear of the ‘different’ or the ‘other’. I wish we could all work together to find common ground and build upon that.

Idealist? Dreamer? Yes, I’m guilty of that for sure. However, if enough of us believe in this come together we could make a difference.


There Will Be Peace

There will be peace:
when attitudes change;
when self-interest is seen as part of common interest;
when old wrongs, old scores, old mistakes
are deleted from the account;
when the aim becomes co-operation and mutual benefit
rather than revenge or seizing maximum personal or group gain;
when justice and equality before the law
become the basis of government;
when basic freedoms exist;
when leaders – political, religious, educational – and the police and media
wholeheartedly embrace the concepts of justice, equality, freedom, tolerance, and reconciliation as a basis for renewal;
when parents teach their children new ways to think about people.
There will be peace:
when enemies become fellow human beings.

David Roberts 1999.

From Warpoetry.co.uk

 

Autumn mandala 6 November 2018

Angela Porter Mandala 4 Nov 2018

This has taken me a couple of days to complete, mainly because of appointments but also a big need for some self-care.

Autumn Mandala

I don’t get to create many mandalas at times. So, On Sunday, after creating the cute angel kitty dangle design, I put my creative energy into drawing and starting to colour a mandala.

I worked directly on my Surface Studio screen with the Surface pen using Autodesk Sketchbook Pro and it’s fab symmetry tool to outline the the design in black ink.

Next, I used a marker brush and a blender brush to colour the design.

It’s the colouring that takes a lot of time.

I wanted to keep the colour scheme fairly simple, so I chose some vibrant shades of blue, green, yellow, orange and red.

Finally, I added a beautiful blue background and texture to the finished artwork.

On the whole, I’m quite pleased with it. The bright colours have been needed today as it’s a rather grey and damp day here in the Valleys of South Wales. Someone has a bonfire burning on the hillside opposite my home and the smoke is floating down the valley. There’s a temperature inversion that’s trapping the smoke quite low.

Add to that all the smoke and particulates from the plethora of fireworks that have been set off in the past few days and the air is rather fuggy, hazy.

However, the golden hues of the autumn trees glow all the more brightly against the grey skies, especially with a dusting of rain on them.

What I absolutely love to see are the dark trunks and branches becoming more visible as the leaves fall from the trees. The architectural contrast fascinates me; it’s being able to clearly see the skeleton that gives the tree form.

I didn’t have autumn in my mind when I was drawing or coloring this mandala, even though autumn is my favourite season. However, the jewel tones and the gradual predominance of the autumnal golds, oranges and reds on the outside of the mandala give it that kind of autumnal feel. The greens gradually change from blue-greens to more yellow-greens from the centre out, adding to that sense of a seasonal progression.

The coloured mandala also has a feeling of stained glass. I love stained glass windows and this one would make a very interesting ‘rose’ window! That I adhere to using black lines to delineate my design only reinforces the suggestion of stained glass.

What I haven’t done is add detailed patterns to the mandala. I don’t think this one needs it, though the leaves may need a bit of shadow and highlight to make them feel less ‘flat’.

On the whole, I’m quite pleased with this one. I think I’ve manged to get enough contrast from dark to light in each section to give that sense of dimension – something else I like to incorporate into my artwork.

The need for self-care

I’ve been rather emotional over the past few days. The post about remembrance and my Dad tapped into some grief, a door that had never opened before I had to say goodbye to my beautiful white cat Cuffs back in May.

I took time out of things to watch some Harry Potter films. I do get emotional when I watch them (or read the books) even though I know what’s going to happen. However, this weekend I was more emotional than I’ve been before.

Yesterday, was EMDR therapy day, and various memories had cropped up and one we worked with yesterday. That left me absolutely pole-axed, emotionally that is.

Part of my mental health – the CPTSD – is that I avoid emotions and when I get emotional I have shoved it aside and locked the emotions in a box, symbolically. I also shove the memories away, something referred to as dissociation.

I have very few memories of my childhood, adolescence or even adulthood. That’s because many of them are painful in some way or another and they have been locked away.

Locking them away means I have never worked through, processed, them and the trauma or emotions that go with them. The trauma is still there and is still hurting my emotional and mental health.

EMDR is helping to unlock memories, sometimes very painful memories I don’t want to believe happened or believe certain  things about people. I always want to see the best and believe the best in people, except when it comes to myself; then, it’s always the worst possible.

I’ve been experiencing some cognitive dissonance and some very uncomfortable times as I try to come to terms with various realisations.

Add into the mix a busy week or so with appointments and events and I’m emotionally tired. Oh, not to mention the constant jumpiness with all the fireworks going off.

So, self-care is important. I watch films. Knit. Drink lots of tea. Snuggle up under a cosy throw. Nap if I need to. Eat healthily, when I can. Create art that I want to create rather than any that I feel I have to to meet a contract or some deadline or other, either real or self-imposed. Have some alone time – being an introvert beneath the face I present to the world I need alone time to recharge.

I know I’m on a jolly tomorrow with my pal Liz, so it’s even more important I recharge before that day out.

So, that’s why I’ve needed some self-care time.

 

Inktober 2018 Day 13 ‘Guarded’

Angela Porter Inktober Day 13 Guarded final

I like to have a hunt around for quotes that go with the Inktober prompt of the day if I’m stumped for artistic inspiration.

I like Carl Jung’s work, what I’ve read of it that is, which most probably isn’t much in the grand scheme of things. I do know how he used mandalas in therapy, both for himself and with patients. He believed they represented what was going on in our unconscious minds and so could reveal things to us about ourselves that we are unaware of, that are otherwise hidden, guarded.

I happen to like mandalas, a lot. So, today I thought I’d incorporate this quote from the man himself into a mandala and just let my creativity flow as unconsciously as I could.

I must admit, the colour choices I made aren’t ones I would ordinarily choose to plonk together, but I went with them.

I did create the lettering in Publisher and import the file into Autodesk Sketchbook Pro. My hand lettering skills aren’t, I feel, up to lettering in a circle; also, I’m very tired this morning and I think I’ll soon be back abed to continue to sleep.

I did draw and colour the mandala digitally. My past artistic records show that I am more than capable of creating mandalas on paper with the use of compasses, protractors and rulers, but the tools available digitally open up a whole new realm of possibility in creating mandalas by me.

What excites me about it is that I can draw the mandala as if I was using a pen on paper by using the Surface Pen on the screen of my Surface Studio. I still get human imperfections in my drawings – slightly wobbly lines, imperfect repetition of lines and so on.  I choose to use a pen ‘brush’ that isn’t perfectly smooth in the line it draws on my digital paper. This time, I coloured the mandala as if I was using coloured pencils and a blender pencil on paper, but did this digitally.

It does save an awful lot of time too. If I were to draw and colour this traditionally it would take me at least a whole day. It’s taken me around 3 hours to do this small mandala.

So, it’s odd that a rather more traditional mandala was created today. The simpler patterns and lines perhaps reflecting how tired I am feeling at present. It is a struggle to keep my eyes open. It was really difficult to even do the simple steps involved in watermarking, resizing and saving the finished mandala.

Autumn Equinox 2018

Angela Porter Autumn Equinox 23 September 2018 coloured

I’m a day early as tomorrow is the Autumn Equinox (Spring Equinox in the Southern Hemisphere), but here’s my mandala for this year’s equinox.

I’ve made the uncoloured template an exclusive ‘freebie’ for members of the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group. Terms and conditions apply to it’s use, so please make sure you read them if you choose to wander over and join in.

Drawn and coloured in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro using a Microsoft Surface Pen and Microsoft Surface Studio.

Hello September!

Angela Porter September Template 2018 small

September 2018’s coloring template

A new month begins and a coloring template for September 2018(above) for the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group is now available.

If you’d like to access to September 2018’s uncoloured template, which is exclusive to members of the group, just wander over to the group, join and download. Please note, that terms and conditions do apply.

I drew this in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro on my Microsoft Surface Studio using my Microsoft Surface Pen.

Autumn is a-coming!

With the calendar turning to September, my heart lifts with the expectation of the glory of nature as autumn asserts it’s influence.

It’s my favourite season of the year. I love the bright, vivid colours that replace the darker, duller greens of summer. Nature’s picks out it’s most glorious paintbox and sets the world alight in fiery autumnal hues.

I also luxuriate in the cooler evenings and mornings and look forward to waking up to see dew, or even frost, on Binky, my Smartcar.

The fresh, clean, clear air that the turning season brings blows away the dustiness of the hot, dry summer.

There’s also the return of the pleasure and comfort of snuggling up under a duvet as night time is cooler. Not to mention the relief of sleeping well throughout the night.

There are other things I’m looking forward to this year too.

It’s hard to remember now the fear and trepidation that the return to school as a teacher that would come with the start of this month as the new school year starts.

Now, I look forward to the start of the new school year as the world is calmer, quieter during the school day and I can begin to venture forth from my home without my CPTSD panic kicking in when I hear the sound of teenagers shouting and arguing and swearing and being belligerent, just them being themselves really.

It’s not their fault, I know, but their sounds are triggers for my fear, anxiety, panic and cause me to want to hide in a quiet dark corner of my safe home. So much so, that I find it so difficult to venture out of my front door during daytime during the school holidays.

Through therapy, I will overcome this, but the reaction is so ingrained in me and goes right back to my earliest years; teaching, dealing with the dramas of teens on a daily basis as well as being the focus for some to vent their anger, just reinforced these automatic responses. This means not just unraveling the web of trauma that resulted in the panic response, it means learning a healthy response to such triggers, one that I’ve never, ever had in the first place.

Now, with the start of the school year, and a daytime world that is quieter, I’ll be able to find my courage to venture forth during the day once again. Maybe not often, but from time to time.

With it being my favourite season, with the theme of my next book being forests, to sketch and find inspiration in woods and forests during autumn is something I want to do this year.

It’s all part of my road to recovery from CPTSD. Autumn always feels like a time of new starts, more so than New Year. As nature begins to shed what is unnecessary so survival through winter is possible, so I work on shedding the trauma that has kept me in a metaphorical winter in terms of my mental and emotional health for a very, very long time.