Amazing Mandala – nearly done

Amazing Mandala-nearly done ©Angela Porter 2019 Artwyrd.com
Amazing Mandala-nearly done ©Angela Porter 2019 Artwyrd.com

Yup, that’s right. I’ve nearly finished this mandala. I’m on the last ‘ring’ of the design.

It’s rather busy, as designs go, but that’s also typical for me.

I’ve learned a lot about creating digital art that reflects my style. I’ve also learned a lot about my own creative expression too.

This is also a piece of art that has taken me the longest to create in terms of hours or work put in to it. I didn’t keep track, but I estimate it’s taken me well over 20 hours to do, maybe a lot more.

I’ve yet to settle on a background colour/texture. I found the green I had used wasn’t working given the minty greens of the leaves in the penultimate ring. So, for now, I’ve settled on a grey. When I finish the outer ring I’ll play around with different colours/textures until I’m happy.

Of course I’m thinking ahead to my next project of this kind and my mind is going to my usual entangled art. This is going to be an interesting experiment for sure! However, if I can create a mandala that looks like this, I can work with a sample of my entangled drawings and work out how I can do similar for them.

As usual, my digital tools have been Autodesk Sketchbook Pro along with a Surface Pen and Surface Studio from Microsoft.

So, how are you feeling today Angela?

I’m feeling fairly content today. A little tired, but content.

I had EMDR yesterday and though I was left feeling rather tired in the evening, I left the session feeling quite content.

That word crops up a lot – content – but that’s how I feel. And content is a good feeling to me.

More work was done with the inner child as well as EMDR on the feelings/thoughts that came up. This is surprising to me, but it also seems to be helping with stored trauma.

I also started reading a book recommended to me by my therapist. It’s called “The Body Keeps the Score” by Bessel Van Der Kolk. I’ve only read 30 or so pages, but out of the several sections I’ve highlighted this stands out:

We have also begun to understand how overwhelming experiences affect our innermost sensations and our relationship to our physical reality – the core of who we are. We have learned that trauma is not just an event that took place sometime in the past; it is also the imprint left by that experience on mind, brain and body. This imprint has ongoing consequences for how the human organism manages to survive in the present. … For real change to take place, the body needs to learn that the danger has passed and to live in the reality of the present.

Bessel Van Der Kolk “The Body Keeps the Score” 2014, Penguin, page 21

The body needs to learn that the danger has passed.

Part of cPTSD is living in a near constant state of anxiety. It is easy for something to happen that provokes the flight/flight/freeze response. Levels of stress hormones constantly flood the body. These hormones can wreak havoc with the functioning of the body and can cause long term health problems. I don’t know too much about that…yet. But I will.

This put in black and white what the purpose of EMDR is about – releasing trauma that is stored in the mind, brain and body.

I know that EMDR is working for me. I am so much better nowadays than I have been. Not just in comparison to the darkest days of my two big ‘breakdowns’, but to the majority of my days.

I have a lot of work to do yet, however. The anxiety that having to do some ‘adulting’ this morning showed me that. The bit of adulting I’ve done was to get a new quote for motor insurance. The quote from the brokers I’ve used for years had gone ridiculously high. So after one call I had a quote for one-third of the quote from my old brokers. After sorting the new insurance out, I then had to phone the brokers to cancel the renewal.

To do this I had to quite literally sneak up on myself, catch myself unawares and just do it. If I’d thought too much about it I would’ve got so anxious I wouldn’t have been able to make the phone call. Not only that, I would most likely develop a horrid headache and upset stomach too that would preclude me from doing anything else today.

Just one example of how anxiety causes a problem for me in everyday life.

I can now not worry about adulting again today!

Instead, I can ‘art’, read, crochet or do anything else I might care to do.

Happy Birthday Brett – all coloured

Happy Birthday Brett © Angela Porter 2019 Artwyrd.com
Happy Birthday Brett © Angela Porter 2019 Artwyrd.com

I finally got round to finishing colouring the Happy Birthday coloring template I created for Brett, the lovely person who runs the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group.

I drew the design on Winsor and Newton Bristol Board using Unipin pens and then I’ve added colour digitally, as well as a rose gold coloured and textured background.

I chose pink as a fairly dominant colour as Brett loves pink so much.

Oh, to colour I used Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, Microsoft Surface Pen and Microsoft Surface Studio.

So Angela, how have you been?

I’ve been quiet on social media over the past few days. I’ve needed some quiet time to myself, which has involved an awful lot of crocheting. I’ve not even done anything much that has been arty either.

The reason for this is that I’ve not been feeling all that well. Nothing serious. just not well. I had a migraine on Sunday that took all day to go and left me exhausted.

Also, I’ve not been feeling right in my digestive system/stomach for a few days. This happens on a fairly regular basis (monthly) but this time it was rather unpleasant.

Last night, it hit new highs as I woke hot, sweaty, nauseous and headachy. Thank goodness it was rather chilly here in the UK and I had the windows open. The cool air was pleasant as I lay uncovered. It all passed eventually without me being sick, however I still feel yeuchy today and very, very tired.

Yesterday I had EMDR and that was an interesting session that left me rather tired later in the day. Another inner child made their presence known and I had help to communicate with them, which was so much easier after last weeks session. This child was all to do with loud voices, arguing voices and being startled and upset by them. So, we did some EMDR work with the emotions that came up from that child. A lot of body work was being done with pains around my body as the trauma was being processed with EMDR. Also, lots of memories of raised voices, harsh voices, argumentative voices…and just noisy environments.

I’ve known for a long while that I can be triggered into startle or panic mode when I hear a sudden loud voice or noise around me. I try to remember to take noise cancelling headphones or earphones with me so I can listen to music and not hear such sounds when I’m out and about, especially when I’m feeling rather fragile.

Saturday I flinched and became a bit panicked as I was talking to someone while waiting for a meeting outside a building in my local town. Sunday evening someone spoke quite harshly to me. I don’t think they realised it, but the response in me was one of upset and to withdraw from the situation, permanently.

So, we work with this in EMDR to heal those traumatised parts of me represented by these children.

Hmm, I wonder if these different aspects of me from times when I’ve been traumatised are coming forward so easily because I have so few concrete memories of events.

Either way, as crazy as it may seem to you, it seems to be helping me, and that is all that matters as far as I’m concerned.

“Inspiration” WIP

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

I’ve started colouring “Inspiration”, the drawing I completed yesterday.

The drawing was done with a Tombow Fudenosuke and a Lamy medium fountain pen on Winsor and Newton Bristol Board. I’m colouring it digitally using my favourite trio of Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, Microsoft Surface Pen and Microsoft Surface Studio.

So far, I’ve spent 3 hours colouring, so it’s going to take me a while longer to complete.

To be honest, it would be a lot quicker to colour using Chameleon markers or other traditional media. Weird, when computers make doing other tasks so much quicker and easier.

That doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy adding colour. I mean, I could do that a lot quicker if I chose to use gradient fills. However, this time I wanted to add colour as if I was using traditional media, being able to follow the shapes of the design more closely, having more control over where I add shadows and highlights.

So, I’ll take the time over this one, like I do with many of my artworks.

So, how are you today Angela?

EMDR yesterday was a little different. We didn’t do any EMDR but we worked with my inner child on helping her to heal from past traumas.

I felt silly and daft initially. I didn’t have a clue what I was being asked to do, but my therapist guided me through the process, and eventually I relaxed a little and tried.

I was surprised. Emotional too. It’s not something that I’m comfortable sharing other than in general.

After EMDR I spent sometime in a Starbucks drinking tea, eating a piece of chocolate truffle cake and drawing. Partly this was to wait out the rush hour, mostly it was to give myself a treat after sticking with a therapy session that seemed silly and turned out to be an emotional, insightful and helpful process.

So, the healing journey from CPTSD continues, taking an unexpected turn.

Yesterday, as the sun came out as the day waned my mood brightened a little from just about content to a little more on the happy side. Today I’m a bit tired after a broken night’s sleep with weird dreams but I’m quite content.

Inspiration – Entangled drawing

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

My morning task, afore heading out for my EMDR session later, was to finish this drawing.

I used a combination of a Tombow Fudenosuke pen along with a medium nib Lamy fountain pen on Winsor and Newton Bristol Board, A4 in size, to draw this design and add the hand lettering.

The white space really helps to break up the intricate details; helps to separate out the sections and gives the eyes and brain a bit of a rest from it.

I will add colour to this in the fullness of time, most probably digitally.

So, how are you today Angela?

I’m content. Not quite as smiley happy as yesterday, but content. Calm too, or relatively so. There’s a low level background noise of anxiety there.

I do wonder if the weather affects my moods more than I thought it did. Yesterday was both sunny and rainy – rather heavy spells of rain. The sun and driving in the sun was lovely and helped to lift my spirits somewhat.

Today there’s no sun. Just grey clouds and there’s been rain. I’m not quite as tickettyboo as yesterday.

I think I may need to add a weather tracker to my BuJo alongside my mood tracker to see if there is a correlation.

I have my EMDR session in a couple of hours time. I have no idea how that will affect me at this point in time, nor what memory we’ll work on. I won’t dwell or ruminate on it for now. Just get myself sorted to make the hour-long journey to Neath in a little while. Yes, I think that’s best for now.

Entangled floral for June

All coloured! © Angela Porter - Artwyrd.com
All coloured! © Angela Porter – Artwyrd.com

I finally finished colouring this one today. It’s the June template for the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group.

There’s rather a lot of purple and teal-blue in ths one, as well as greens. I do have trouble with colour from time to time, it has to be said.

This was drawn with Uniball Unipin pens on Winsor and Newton Bristol board. I then added colour using Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, a Microsoft Surface Pen and Surface Studio.

So, how are you feeling today Angela?

I’m actually feeling quite content, almost happy I think. My mood has been improving over the past week or so, but it’s really headed towards contentedness in the pass couple of days for sure. It’s a welcome place to be in for sure.

I got myself off to Hay On Wye today. It was a quick visit for me. I wanted to go to Bartrums to get a new Leuchtturm 1917 dot grid notebook and came away with a lovely pastel coloured Lamy fountain pen in Mint. Oh, the Leuchtturm is in Pacific Blue, which is a petrel blue. I also wanted to pop into Satori to look at the crystals, minerals and jewellery there. I did come away with a piece of Atlantisite- a combination of yellowish-green serpentine with inclusions of purple stichtite. I also picked up a piece of sunstone. Why? Because I liked them, a lot!

What surprised me, though, was how I found myself walking tall and proud, looking at the world around me and smiling.

When I’m in a not so good place emotionally/mentally, I tend to hold my head down, try to shrink my nearly 6 foot tall and rather hefty body into a smaller space so I may avoid being noticed. To that end I also avoid eye contact with people.

Today I didn’t do that. I faced the world almost boldly for me.

I really would like this feeling to last, or if I have a dip, for it to return again soon.

I have experienced feeling like this from time to time in the past, but not for a goodly long while, and not in a way that I’ve really paid attention to it.

The anxiety I have on a day to day basis was there, but just a faint background noise. It didn’t stop me from doing what I wanted to do, though I have to say it was a close call as I was deciding whether to go to Bartrum’s or The Pencil Case in Cowbridge. Bartrums won out because I wanted to visit Satori too.

Anyway, today has been a nice day to have a point of reference as to how I’d like to feel for the rest of my life, mostly. I know that being like this every moment of every day isn’t likely to be realisitic; things happen in life that knock our emotions, we all have emotional weather. However, to be able to return to this place would be a good thing when that weather gets stormy.

Something to talk about in EMDR therapy tomorrow.

The magic of colour – finished

The magic of colour © Angela Porter 2019 - Artwyrd.com
The magic of colour © Angela Porter 2019 – Artwyrd.com

This morning, I focused on finishing this particular artwork. Colour completed, texture and glowing highlights added. All done and I think I’m quite happy with it. That’s right, I’m quite happy with it. There’s bits I could improve were I to do this again, or edit it, but I’m going to leave it as is for now.

There are some design elements that I want to add to my visual BuJo that I created as I worked with this and that I really love!

I managed to leave ‘white space’ in the design (though that became coloured), which is not something I find easy to do; I always seem to want to fill every available space inky creations. I do see the benefits of the white space for sure and it’s something I’m going to continue to add to my little, or not so little artworks.

Of course, I used Autodesk Sketchbook Pro along with my Microsoft Surface Pen and Microsoft Surface Studio to colour the design. I drew the design on Winsor and Newton Bristol Board with Uniball Unipin and Sakura Pigma Sensei pens, then scanned it in. The only digital editing done to the drawing was to remove some smudges and marks, and very minor completions of lines.

How are you doing today Angela?

I’m actually feeling quite content. Though a little tired as I couldn’t get back to sleep after waking a bit too early. I don’t think I’m going to be able to nap later on though as I have a bit of a busy late afternoon and evening.

Meditation the last three nights seems to have helped me greatly. It’s something I find easier to remember to do when I’m feeling more content than when I’m in one of those rough places.

I think that is because when I’m in a tough, low, sad place I don’t consider doing things that will help me, such as meditation. The inner critic takes hold and I neglect my well being once again.

I’m learning slowly to recognise it’s subtle attacks and suggestions to self-sabotage the progress I’ve made in my CPTSD recovery journey.

It’s sneaky though; very, very sneaky. Catching the inner critic in action isn’t easy, it’s easier to see in hindsight when my mood and emotional and mental resilience are increasing once again.

As they increase I can see how low I’ve been, so low that at times I’ve felt that I don’t want to be on this Earth anymore. Not that I’d do anything about that. I know those feelings pass eventually now and I’m well practiced in diversion tactics – art, Star Wars, sleeping, crocheting while listening to something on Audible.

Why I feel that way is complex. I just feel worthless, ashamed, useless, and lots of other things I cant describe.

I can see, now I’m rising up out of the low place I’ve been in, that it’s not me who should feel these things but all those who have acted and spoken in ways that have caused me trauma.

When I’m low, however, the inner critic repeats the messages of these people over and over and over again and again. Until, that is, I can break out of it’s hold on me and rise up from the low place I’ve been in.

I do know the inner critic isn’t as powerful as it once was, thanks to EMDR. However, it still pounces when I’m vulnerable in some way such as anxious when out and about on my own, when someone says something to me that either echoes the words/actions of my past abusers, or when I’m over-tired.

Instead of months and years of being controlled and abused by the inner critic I know weeks or days when that happens.

That’s real progress.

I know that part of the price I pay with EMDR is that I can be vulnerable for a while after it and that lets the inner critic attack. But with each session of EMDR I become that bit stronger and the inner critic becomes weaker.

So, today I’m content and that is good enough and a point of success.

Entangled Inspiration – WIP

Entangled Inspiration 25 May 2019 © Angela Porter - Artwyrd.com
Entangled Inspiration 25 May 2019 © Angela Porter – Artwyrd.com

I’ve been working on this one over the past couple of days, when I’ve felt up to it.

I’m fairly pleased with it, though I’m not sure I should’ve added the upside down mushrooms. I guess if they really don’t work with fresh eyes then I can always remove them using some digital wizardry.

I wanted to use the words ‘The magic of colour’ as a nod towards my coloring books and the people who bring my drawings to life by adding colour; they really do work some magic!

As lovely as the black and white line drawings are, even with shadows added, it is colour that really brings them to life for sure.

But there’s another kind of magic that goes on when people lose themselves in coloring or creating, and that’s the magic of relaxing and giving the brain a break from thinking.

I get that when I draw or colour.

My challenge to myself in this one is again to leave some white space.

The drawing and hand lettering has been done with Uniball Unipin pens on Winsor and Newton Bristol Board (A4 in size, roughly US letter size).

There’s more to be done with this drawing yet; I particularly want to incorporate some of the patterns and textures I’ve observed and recorded during my visits to the National Museum of Wales in Cardiff and Kilpeck Church near Hereford.

How am I feeling today?

I’m flat. Tired. Lacking oompf. Part of me is content enough but part of me is sad. It’s weird, but that’s how it feels.

I’m still experiencing the ripples/waves from the tsunamis of therapy and the person trying to tell me I don’t need therapy last Sunday. I really don’t want to leave my home today.

If that’s what I need to do to look after myself, then I need to accept it’s ok to stay at home.

I am tired as well as I had an evening out with some friends – a pub meal and chitter chatter until nearly midnight. Even though it was with a small group of people and it was a nice evening I’m absolutely drained today.

So, to take care of my emotions and mental health I need that quiet time again. I may play my flute, crochet, draw, read. I may also nap later on as I’m so tired. I’ll see. Napping may make me be up until the wee small hours.

So that’s how I am this day. A weird mixture of contentedness and sadness. This healing journey from CPTSD is full of weird twists and turns, ups and downs, but on the whole it’s definitely moving forwards and upwards. EMDR is really my panacea for CPTSD.