World Kindness Day 2018

Angela Porter 13 November 2018 International Kindness Day

I started drawing this yesterday when I was feeling emotional. I was even more so during and after EMDR therapy and woke this morning with an emotional ‘hangover’. Some painkillers for this headache and a couple of hours later and I finished this off with a quote about kindness from the Dalai Lama when I found out today is World Kindness Day.

Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.

I think it needs to be World Kindness Day every single day.  I can’t find the words to express myself why I think this, I just know if everyone on this planet was kinder and had more empathy not just for friends and family, but for others, no matter of their social status or religious, ethnic, cultural background or nationality it could help to bring a better understanding which could lead to a kinder world for us all.

And of course there’s the animals and plants that we share this planet with, along with the ecosystems they co-inhabit with us. There’s too much animal cruelty, damage to the environment going on, and we are dependent on a healthy global ecosystem and need to be a lot kinder to the world around us.

There’s feelings and thoughts drifting around my head here that just can’t find their way out of the maze of the lingering pain and fuzziness from the headache that characterises my emotional ‘hangover’. Still, some words did appear.

I used Pigma micron pens, some circle stencils to draw the design on dot grid paper. That meant I needed to scan it into my Microsoft Surface Studio so I could use GiMP to remove the dot grid and create a transparent background.

My next step was to add the hand lettered quote. I used my Microsoft Surface Pen in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro to do this.

The final step was to add the watermarks and a gentle pink gradient background colour.

I can see how I could add some shading to intensify the 3D illusion of the design elements, as well as adding some more pen details. However, it will do as it is…for now.

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 20 ‘Breakable’ and Day 21 ‘Drain’

Angela Porter Inktober 2018 Day 20 Breakable and Day 21 Drain

Yesterday’s prompt ‘breakable’ got turned into ‘broken’ as that’s how I felt yesterday and still feel today in terms of creativity and inspiration.

Drain definitely became drained as that is how my brain feels at this time. I’ll be fine soon enough.

I don’t know what’s caused this, other than the icky-sickyness I’ve had for a day or two. Not as bad as Thursday night, but it seems to have left me shattered and more than a little bit ‘meh’. I seem to have slept well, but I still feel incredibly tired at the moment. Me being tired for no particular reason usually means something has overwhelmed or stressed me in someway that causes my mood to plummet which results in me feeling tired and usually tearful.

So, today I wanted to catch up on yesterday’s Inktober prompt and do a quick one for today.

And they were quick. Hand lettering practice. Making a list of things I can do for self-care when I feel this way. For me to recognise that I need some time out is a step forward in terms of me looking after myself and my mental and emotional health. Making a list  of things I can do for self-care is also a first I think.

For ‘drained’ it almost counts as a dangle design. I did draw some cute monsters and my white cat there with expressions that show I feel (even though I have a smile on my face and a bright and sunny disposition when engaging with people). I’m not sure the drunk looking skull applies to me – I just think he snuck in there just to lighten the mood a tad.

Sheesh, I really do need a lot of practice with hand lettering! However, these are just quick ‘sketches’. No colour. No fancy-schmancy designs or line patterns. Just the basics, including smudges, mistakes, pencil guide-lines that haven’t been fully erased…

Now, if I were to adapt/edit these to include in my Bullet Journal I would add colour, a few more dangles to the drained design…and perhaps a border full of intricate designs based on flowers and hearts.

It’s a big if though…maybe I will, when I feel up to it.

Today, though, I’m working through my directory of reference designs and patterns seeking out inspiration for the work on my latest Entangled book for Creative Haven. I’m also editing the collection and redrawing them so they can be housed in a new folder as the A5 filofax I was using is now full and I really want to put them on A4 sheets in a ring binder in poly pockets.

Doing familiar work like this is soothing to me. It also has the benefit of allowing me to practice my drawing skills. It lets me workout which patterns I really am likely to use and which can be left to one side in the A5 filofax. As I go through them, one by one, some jump out as being good ones to use in a template for the Entangled book, others for a different project. It also gives me a chance to try out different pens, or use pens I’d not use for any art/illustration/drawing project but I like to write with or use for things like this.

That nasty inner critic tells me I’m wasting my time. My kinder, gentler voice to do with self-care tells me I’m not as it’s helping stir up the cauldron of creativity inside me. As I re-visit and re-draw patterns/design elements they float to the surface and the potential for variety in my work is re-charged as a result.

The kind inner voice, self-talk, tells me if it soothes me when I need soothing, then that’s good.

The nasty inner critic says I’m procrastinating. Maybe that’s true, to a degree. But I’d rather take some time out to do something different, something that will stir up my creativity and recharge inspiration rather than plod on with unsatisfactory work for the book.

The kind inner version of self-talk is winning out, and that is a good thing for me! And a positive change.

What do you do when you need some time out to take care of your emotional and mental well being?