Believe

Believe by Angela Porter 2019
Believe © Angela Porter

About the art

I’ve spent an hour or so creating this small design; the paper is 4″ (10cm) square. It’s been an enjoyable time. I needed to spend some time warming up my pen skills before returning to drawing the October colouring template for the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group.

My first step was to use a Tombow fudenosuke pen to hand letter ‘believe’. I wanted to make sure that the word stood out from the rest of the design, so I used a Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Pen to draw two ‘auras’ around the word.

The rest of the design flowed onto the page, starting with the flowers to the top right of the word. I used a variety of nib thicknesses in the drawing. I used quite a few of my favourite patterns and motifs in this design; this makes the drawing quite soothing for me as I don’t really have to think and concentrate on constructing the design elements.

Once I was happy with the design, I decided to add some shadows with some grey-coloured pencils. I’m not satisfied with this at all. The pencil ‘leads’ were too hard to get a soft line. In future I need to remember to use a 2B or softer graphite pencil and some kind of blending tool.

I am happy with the design though, apart from the bit I let spill out to the edge of the paper. I also need to note that I’m happy with my hand lettering here too! Using fudenosuke pens with flexible tips for drawing has allowed me to develop the pressure control I need to complete the brush lettering. The brush nibs on the pens are quite small, so the contrast betwixt thick down-strokes and thin upstrokes isn’t as noticeable as with a broader nib, but all the same, I’m still quite happy with it.

I have no idea what I’m going to do with this little panel. It could become the top layer of a greeting card, or frame it and hang it. Perhaps I may add it to my BuJo. It could, of course, end up amongst the piles of artwork I have stored away.

Why did I choose the word ‘believe’?

It’s something that I’m working on – believing in myself. Believing that I deserve better in life than what I grew up with and unconsciously seek to replicate to try to get a different outcome (one of the features of CPTSD). I am beginning to believe that I can turn the negative beliefs I was taught as a child into positive beliefs about myself.

Part of this is believing in my art, believing in my self-expression and not looking to others for approval and validation of what I’ve created. I want to believe that it’s enough to create art that makes me smile, and hopefully other people too. There are plenty of artists in the world who make social statements, political statements and thought-provoking images with their art. I’m not one of them. I just want to add some prettiness and smiles to the world.

Sometimes, part of my art may have quotes that are thought-provoking in them, but the art is, I think, pretty.

To believe that I am the opposite of what I was brought up to believe myself to be (which wasn’t very nice).

There’s so much more I could add here, but I’d need to explain it, and I’m not up to doing that in public. Maybe in the future I will, once I’ve overcome those negative beliefs about myself.

So, Angela, how are you feeling today?

I believe I’m feeling quite content, though that tiredness has sneaked up on me once again. However, there is that contentment there, and that’s a good thing.

I believe I’m feeling quite content, though that tiredness has sneaked up on me once again. However, there is that contentment there and that’s a good thing.

Whimsical Autumn Dangle Designs and More.

Autumn dangle designs and more © Angela Porter

About the art.

It’s been a while since I did any whimsical dangle designs, so here’s an A4 sheet full of ideas!

There are six complete dangle designs on this sheet along with lots of ideas for motifs to use. I’ve also done some hand lettering, something I don’t do often enough these days.

I know there are likely to be things associated with autumn missing from the sheet, but it is a collection of some of my favourites. I had a lot of fun filling in some of the space around the dangle designs with the lettering and design elements.

I used Tombow Fudenosuke and Faber-Castell Pitt Artist pens to draw and hand letter on an A4 sheet of dot grid paper by Claire Fontaine.

After scanning in, I decided I’d like to add some colour digitally. I used a different kind of brush setting – natural blend with an airbrush. I’ve not quite worked out how it works, but I like the way it’s turned out here. The colour blends turn out quite soft and gentle, however this brush setting does need some more experimentation by me.

These are lovely, simple designs that would be perfect for using in bullet journals (BuJos), planners, diaries, scrapbooks and journals as well as for greeting cards, bookmarks and more.

My book “A Dangle A Day” is a great resource for dangle designs and design elements (called ‘charms’ in the book), even if I say so myself. It also has easy to follow step by step instructions for beginners to more confident creatives, as well as lots of inspiration – there’s nearly 200 dangle designs in the book!

So, Angela, how are you feeling today?

I’m feeling content, fairly upbeat and the exhaustion of the past few days seems to have mostly subsided. There’s still some tiredness there, but I feel more able to cope with the demands of daily life.

I do have to venture forth into the world; in my rather emotionally fragile state the thought of going grocery shopping filled me with, well not horror but trepidation. Fortunately, I keep a fairly well stocked fridge, freezer and cupboard, but now I do need to go get some fresh fruit and veg, which I will do in a short while I expect.

It is good to be back to having the contentedness the dominant feeling – it’s not as strong as it has been which tells me there’s still some emotional distress lingering. However, it is the prevalent emotion.

I’ve weathered another emotional storm. I do try to remind myself that I’ve come through plenty of hurricane force emotional and mental storms in the past and I can come through them again. Nowadays, I know what contentedness feels like and during emotional storms it acts a lighthouse to guide me back to emotionally calm waters.

Now, that’s a nice metaphor!

Be gentle with yourself.

Artwork © Angela Porter 2019

About the artwork

This is the same illustration I used for yesterday’s quote, however, after adding some textural lines to the drawing, I’ve coloured the design.

I decided to use flat colours as it brings a feeling of a coloured wood cut or lino cut print to the design. I used a grungy texture overlay to enhance the vintage feel of the coloured design.

The line art was drawn using Tombow Fudenosuke and Faber-Castell Pitt Artist pens on paper, but the colouring, textures and text have been added digitally. I used Affinity Publisher to produce the typography. A Microsoft Surface Pen and Surface Studio along with Autodesk Sketchbook Pro were used to complete the colouring

It’s always interesting how just small changes can make such a big difference to artwork.

So, Angela, how are you feeling today?

I’m feeling fairly content and quite optimistic. I am, however, still a little tired to say the least.

My trip to Llandridnod Wells yesterday left me exhausted. I went there to give an antistigma talk as a champion for Time to Change Wales. Telling my story of cPTSD still leaves me emotionally exhausted and vulnerable. This is, however, a small price to pay for giving people food for thought and getting people talking about mental illness.

As I was feeling so emotional after the talk I didn’t take a walk around Llandridnod Wells. When I’m feeling the way I was it’s all too easy for me to panic and enter flight-mode when I’m overwhelmed by noise or an unfamiliar place. The anxiety I feel about getting myself turned-about and lost and not able to find my way back to the car just adds to the vulnerability.

So, I thought I’d drive back and see if I could find the courage to stop at a cafe on the way. I’d passed a nice-looking one called the Wye Knot. However, I just couldn’t bring myself to stop there. I was still too overwhelmed.

My brain kicked in and I thought I’d head to Honey Cafe in Bronllys. I’ve been there a few times before and it’s a familiar setting to me. However, when I went in there were so many people milling around the counter and others coming in the door and pushing past me that I went into flight-mode and dashed back to the car in tears.

I just drove home then, doing a mental inventory of what I had in the way of food.

I had something quick to eat and a big mug of tea and then I curled up in bed to sleep; a nap is one of my self-care activities. I know that if I can sleep for a while I wake feeling refreshed and more resilient than I was.

The exhaustion comes not just from being emotionally overwhelmed and triggered but from the effort of keeping a happy smiling mask up. Yesterday the mask wasn’t as ‘solid’ as on Monday, but I knew it was still there. Once the talk was over, I let the mask drop and I was suddenly exhausted.

This is, as I mentioned earlier, worth getting the word out about the stigma and discrimination that surrounds mental illness, giving people some advice on what to and what not to do, and starting conversations.

I’m beginning to flag here; tiredness/exhaustion is catching up with me. I have managed to get some work done this morning. However, before I try to do anything else I need some more sleep I think.

So, I’m taking the advice of today’s quote – I’m going to be gentle with myself today.

Emotional Pain – A Quote

Emotional Pain - A quote. Artwork by Angela Porter of Artwyrd.com
Emotional Pain – A quote. Artwork by Angela Porter of Artwyrd.com

About the art

This Nicola Lyons quote is another that resonated with me and brought some tears to my eyes and echoes of pain to my heart too. I just had to make it pretty – Angela style of course.

I used a script font and printed the quote out in a square format. I added the illustration around it using a combination of Tombow Fudenosuke and Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Pens. I kept to a small number of repeating motifs in this design. I can now see that I may go back and add some texture and pattern to the leaves, berries and some flowers that are quite bare to help to bring them to add depth and dimension.

I scanned the drawing in, cleaned it up digitally and then added a background to it rather than colour the elements in. I may return to colouring the design in, but I think I’ll use colours that are reminiscent of linocut artworks – flat colour and letting the lines add the shadow and texture, depth and dimension to the image.

So, Angela, how are you feeling today?

I’m tired. I got to sleep early enough but I woke around 3:30am and couldn’t get back to sleep until gone 5am. I’d set my alarm for 7:30am as I have to be in Llandridnod Wells before 11am to give an anti-stigma talk on behalf of Time to Change Wales.

I expect that I’ll be drained after the talk – I usually am. So self-care will be important later on in the day. I need lots of tea before I leave – I have less than an hour to sort myself out.

Warning – the following may contain triggers.

The quote above relates to me being a ‘people-pleaser’, which is one way that CPTSD presents in me.

From as early as I can remember, I tried to do and be what would make others around me like me or love me, even if it meant doing things that made me feel horrible. It’s a pattern of behaviour that carried on through my life.

It never worked though; other people would get what they wanted and in return I would not get what I was hoping for or was told I would get. I’ve been left believing that I am unlovable and unlikable and not good-enough. There’s a good helping of shame around all this too, along with a lot of grief for what never was and never could be.

Nowadays, I’m more aware of my emotional, physical and mental needs now, thanks to EMDR therapy. However, I can still default to this ‘people-pleaser’ setting when I’m anxious or emotionally vulnerable.

It took a lot of work in various forms of counselling, self-reflection and EMDR for me to recognise that I have been a people-pleaser. Once aware of this tendency I could start to change my behaviour. I don’t know how successful I’ve been. One coping strategy I have is that I don’t let people get close to me, yet I yearn for meaningful, deep connection with like-minded souls, kindred spirits.

It’s a conundrum and I’m not sure how I’m going to solve it other than by valuing myself in a healthy way, being able to put up healthy boundaries, and being able to say ‘no’ if I’m uncomfortable about something or it would cause me difficulties.

Heal

Heal - Artwork by Angela Porter at Artwyrd.com
Heal – Artwork by Angela Porter at Artwyrd.com

About the art.

I don’t know who said these words, but they resonated with me when I stumbled upon them. Not only did they resonate, but they also brought tears to my eyes and my heart too. I have words for one of my goals for recovery from cPTSD. This is why I had to do something with the quote in my own inimitable style.

So, I took the words and chose a pretty font for them, arranged them as I wished and then printed them out onto acid-free paper. I trimmed the paper to approx 21cm x 21cm and added some pencil guidelines for space around the quote and the edge of the paper.

Next, I used Tombow Fudenosuke and Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Pens to draw a design. I stuck to just a few motifs that I repeated to fill the space. I also let the design elements to spill over the pencil margins here and there to give a more organic feel to the artwork.

Finally, after erasing the pencil lines, I scanned the drawing in, increased the contrast a little to remove most of the remaining pencil marks. I then added a grungy, colourful, autumnal background.

I’m pleased with this one. I really like the way the Fudenosuke pens work for me now. I love the variation of line and the bolder line that I have used. I also think that using just a few design elements and repeating them to fill the space results in a more cohesive design.

I think I could have left a bit more space around the quote; however, it is good enough.

So, Angela, how are you feeling today?

And for me to say something is good enough is a sign that I am recovering from a bad day yesterday. I’m still somewhat emotionally fragile and vulnerable, but I’m able to see that my art is good enough.

Yesterday, nothing I did was good enough. I lost faith in my crochet, my digital art, my drawing. Nothing seemed to work out, and I really was doubting my abilities.

EMDR therapy for my cPTSD was rather distressing and left me exhausted. Mind you, I was exhausted to begin with. Monday I wore my protective mask as I had to go somewhere where I’d be with people I didn’t know, doing something I was really anxious about, and I didn’t know the place I was going to. I was exhausted after keeping my mask on for just four or so hours.

How on earth did I find the energy to keep the mask up for all those years? 

One good thing has come from this experience – I can see how exhausting it is to keep up a mask for even a short time. I wonder how on earth I managed it for most of my life!

Anyway, after EMDR, I was more exhausted and came home and slept. In the evening, I thought I needed to be creative. It all led to me being hard and overly critical of myself. Little comments made to me just made it worse, even though the comments weren’t negative, my emotionally vulnerable and exhausted state twisted them that way.

Even though I was emotionally vulnerable and caught up in a storm of thoughts and feelings, I was still aware of this contentedness inside me, but I just couldn’t anchor myself fully to it. I was a little bit adrift in the turbulent waters of my emotions and thoughts.

I should know by now that I need to choose what activities I do carefully at times like this. Last night, I didn’t do that. However, I eventually got back to sleep, and I woke this morning feeling more content.

There’s not quite the sunshine within present today; there are still some emotional clouds covering it up. However, I know that they will not persist and will move along as I practice self-soothing and self-care and do creative activities that won’t push me too much and won’t engage the inner critics.

I’m still drained, physically, mentally and emotionally, but I am in a better place today. I think my drawing above shows that too.

Crochet Seed Pods

Crochet Seed pods by Angela Porter – Artwyrd.com

I really do wish I could take better photos! However, I think you get the idea of this pair of pods that I created last night and in the early hours on waking.

These ones I’m really pleased with; they’re the ones that look most like the seed pods I draw. I’ve also progressed to adding leaves to the stems and that funny star-shape.

I’m going to spend the evening doing some more crochet. I had EMDR therapy this morning, and it has totally drained me. I was tired and emotionally fragile, to begin with; I’m now emotionally exhausted and need to take self-care time.

I know that if I were to attempt digital or traditional art/drawing, then I would not feel satisfied with what I do. I’d get frustrated with myself, I’d become overly self-critical and would end up feeling worse than I do now. Although I am emotionally exhausted, I feel calm and fairly content. I need to keep activities that would drag me down to a minimum until I am more emotionally resilient.

So, self-care it really does have to be this evening, and maybe some or all of tomorrow.

Hyperbolic!

Hyperbolic crochet samples.

Hyperbolic crochet

I’ve been having a lot of fun with hyperbolic crochet over the past couple of days. The photo shows just a couple of the hyperbolic surfaces I’ve created. they look like corals, flatworms, a kind of flowery ball, and some weird kind of seedpod (the one at the bottom right which I’m still working on)

To create them you only need to be able to crochet chain stitches as well as a double crochet (single crochet in the US), though you can use other stitches if you wish.

I learned a little more about it from an information sheet from IFF.

To create a hyperbolic surface, you start with any number of chains. You then work stitches into each chain, increasing at regular intervals. You can, if you wish, join the chains into a ring.

I’ve also discovered that you can get fascinating shapes if you decrease from time to time. The shapes end up like some of the weird seedpods and organic forms that I draw!

This form of crochet can be as structured or free-form as you like, or a mixture of the two.

I’ve not felt this excited about a crochet project since I made the virus shawl and then some flowers, stars, snowflakes and feathers.

The excitement is not knowing how the hyperbolic surface is going to work out.

My only problem is what to make with them, what use to put them to, or who to gift them to.

I do have to add that they are very tactile – they can easily be manipulated, and there is something pleasurable and soothing in how they do this, particularly the smaller, tighter forms.

So, Angela, how are you doing?

I’m doing just fine today. I feel optimistic, content, happy even. The sun is shining, I’ve been out for an appointment and a short walk into the town to look at some yarn and also a trip into Holland & Barretts for some organic seeds and nuts; I also scored a couple of vegetarian scotch eggs too. So, after that, I realised I really had to return home to pop them into the fridge. But not before visiting Shaws to look at yarn. I came away with three cones of four-ply yarn in cream, grey and a soft turquoise. No prizes for guessing what for!

Yesterday, I managed to get some sleep before I headed to Hereford for a meeting in the evening. I wasn’t feeling all that bright and cheery as I left home for the hour and a half or so drive there. My mood did improve as I was driving through pretty scenery through a beautiful sunset that bathed the world in soft pink.

It was a long-assed day though; I didn’t return home until nearly midnight. Fortunately, I slept well overnight, and I woke feeling alert, if still a bit tired around the edges.

I quickly found my balance after EMDR this week, which is good to notice. I’ve also found myself at times trying to see if there’s anything sad or worrisome lurking; it’s almost as if I want to take myself back to the darker days of my life. How weird. I wonder if it’s because part of me thinks I don’t deserve to be content like this. Or maybe I’m just wondering if it is real and lasting and I expect to be dragged back down into the pits of despair and misery.

However, that inner summer has been ignited now, and it won’t easily be put out again. Now I’ve found it, I won’t hide it away. It will always be a guiding light for me, even if I find myself in darker places emotionally or mentally. I’m realistic enough to know that things will happen that affect me one way or another – that’s just life. The difference now is that I have a point of reference to journey back to, a touchstone. I now know what it is like to feel contented, optimistic, and it’s a feeling I won’t forget…ever.