Bee in your bonnet, Porter?

Got a bee in your bonnet © Angela Porter 2019 - Artwyrd.com
Got a bee in your bonnet © Angela Porter 2019 – Artwyrd.com

Bee in my bonnet? I think I may have the whole hive! And it’s all to do with copyright infringement and copyright law.

I found a very, very useful and interesting article on wikihow.com called ‘avoid copyright infringement.

I recommend the article. It’s simple and clear and the quote above makes it very plain and clear that just because something is on the internet doesn’t mean it has no copyright. That includes Pinterest.

The only things that have no copyright are things that are in the public domain and/or declared copyright free.

Public domain is NOT the same as the internet. Public domain is another way of saying the images or content are without copyright or the originators of the images or content have waived their right to copyright.

Reputable websites, companies, people will give the source of an image, credit the artist/creator with it and won’t remove any signatures, copyright statements, watermarks or change the website address.

Reputable companies and people are proud to name the artists/creatives whose work they are placing on product or showcasing. They approach the owners of the work for permission to use the work, seeking a license and are willing to pay for this.

Disreputable companies make no effort to find out who the original creator was, even though it’s easy to drag and drop an image into the search bar of google images to find websites where the artwork has been shown. Yes, it might take a little effort to find the artist/creative, but not as much effort and time as it’s taken the artist/creative to create their work.

Disreputable companies and people usually remove any references to the original artist/creative and make no mention of who they are. They don’t sing their praises.

Disreputable companies and people make no effort to contact the original artist/creative in order to gain permission to use the work.

Now, we artists and creatives are more than happy for our work to be shared with proper credit being given and links back to the original source of the work. It’s always nice when people share our work as it shows it’s liked and appreciated and we’ve made someone happy for a while. It’s even nicer when someone leaves a comment; that always lifts the heart. Of course, it’s even nicer when someone wants to purchase our work.

It doesn’t take much to see if companies are proud of their artists or hiding that information. If they hide that information or don’t bother to find it then you can bet your bottom dollar (or any other currency of choice) that they aren’t working with the artist who created the work.

Many artists have their own shops online where you can buy original artwork, prints or products with their art on. I have an Etsy shop (though it’s been very much neglected lately) and a shop at RedBubble.

It is through these official outlets that you can purchase high quality products with really good resolution artwork prints on at affordable prices, and by doing so you can be sure the artist themselves is getting some monetary return for their efforts.

Of course, it can be hard to do this if you don’t know the name of the artist and you’ve seen their art on a facebook shop or similar. But use the drag and drop trick into google images to do what you can to find who they are. It takes a short amount of time for sure.

If we all did this these companies that use copyrighted work without permission (a licence) would soon have no one buying from them and they’d not profit from someone else’s hard work and creativity without even mentioning the original artist/creative.

It would be lovely if this blog post was shared far and wide (properly credited of course) to try to get people to understand what copyright and the internet is all about and how important it is to creatives who make their living through their creativity.

Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group.

I’m going to make the black and white version of this artwork available as a coloring template for the members of the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group. It’s free to join, and I try to add one template for members to colour each month. Some months, like this one, I add more.

It would be lovely if people would colour the template and share, properly credited, to try to get the message out.

About my illustration of the day

I must admit I didn’t handletter this quote, I used Microsoft Publisher to set the quote on the page and then printed it out on Winsor and Newton Bristol Board.

I then set about adding some artwork around the quote using a soft Tombow Fudenosuke pen. This has resulted in much bolder pen lines as well as variable width lines in my drawing. The motifs are also a little bigger than I’d usually draw.

I like the more graphic nature of my penwork; it gives it a bit of the feel of being linocut. It also adds plenty of depth and dimension to the artwork.

I will be colouring this one myself. Not quite sure if I’ll do it digitally or whether I’ll use my Chameleon markers. I need a break for some tea first.

Entangled Quote

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

This is a postcard sized drawing with some not very good hand lettering. The pens I used were a Schaeffer R2D2 pen for the broader lines and a Pilot Kakuno for the rest. Oddly, they both have medium nibs, but the width of medium nibs vary from brand to brand. Both pens are, however, smooth writers and a pleasure to hold and use.

Part of my self-care over the past week has been pulling together my favourite patterns and motifs into my visual dictionary. I find something soothing in repeating something that is familiar to me. Perhaps because I know I can do it. Perhaps because I feel I’m organising, taking control of something I can organise and take control of. Perhaps it is just the familiarity of the process and knowing the outcome will be a positive one.

However, in doing this, I rediscover patterns I’ve used in the past that I’ve forgotten about and it’s nice to use them once again.

Of course there are some of my old favourites in this drawing, but there are some that haven’t seen the tip of my pen in a long while, and couple that have only been added to my visual dictionary and not used in a piece of art by myself.

It’s very easy for me to fall into the familiar, especially when I’m having a bit of a tough time with my mental and emotional health, when EMDR or life has provoked a response in me that affects my ability to believe in myself and my art. These past six days have been a period of time just like that. I’ve gradually been recovering over the week, in general terms, but there have been some rather tough times too.

I think I’ve mis-written the quote from Christine Langley-Obaugh though, but the meaning is the same. I’m increasingly becoming aware of myself and the repetitions of feelings and thoughts and events in my life that cause me emotional and mental pain. Sometimes even physical pain when they’re revisited in EMDR or even in loving-kindness meditations too it seems.

This kind of reorganisation of my visual notes is just like how I used to write and rewrite and rewrite again and reorganise again and again my notes when I was in school, university and as a teacher. Trying to make things better, perfect and starting over again if I made a single mistake.

What I have noticed is that in my A5 dot grid journal from Claire Fontaine is that I’m not so ‘perfectionist’. I want to gather together my favourite patterns and motifs, doodles and alphabets in one place for a quick and easy reference, as a way to spark my creative juices when I feel I need that happening. There’s mistakes in them. They’re drawn with different degrees of precision and neatness. I’m working hard on not starting over, again, even though I know I’ve most probably got repeats of the same pattern or motif in there. But that’s fine. I’m telling myself that is perfectly fine.

That is a huge change in how I would call myself stupid and useless and a failure if I made one mistake in my pristine page of notes during my educational years or time as a teacher.

Working digitally allows me to achieve a level of perfection in my drawings as any ‘mistakes’ are easy to change.

Working with pen and ink on paper, with few pencil lines, means I have to live with the ‘mistakes’ or adapt them to be part of the design. I can edit out smudges if I scan the artwork in, but I rarely make changes to it unless it is at the behest of the publishers.

I think shows how I have a bit of a healthier relationship with myself now.

It’s always good when I can make connections between present behaviours and those in the past and to see how they have helped me but also how I have healed and made positive progress in my journey to CPTSD recovery.

Entangled Quote

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

I stumbled across this quote from Albert Einstein yesterday. It sums up how I feel about my art and how I create art. I work very intuitively, generally. I choose one place to start, with one motif and I just let everything else flow from that point. If I am thinking about what I’m doing, I’m not aware of those thoughts. In this way, drawing is, for me, a rather mindful activity where I can lose myself in the flow.

My art tends to go wrong if I over-think or try to over-plan it, as I’ve found out recently as I did the first sketches for the coloring book I’m working on.

For this drawing, I printed out the quote and borders on an A4 sheet of Bristol Board. I then used various sizes of Uniball Unipin pens to draw the designs in. If you’re interested, I started at the top left corner of the quote box and it is from this point that the rest of the design flowed out from, sort of.

I’m actually quite pleased with this one. I actually like use of thicker lines to delineate the individual motifs and to give a more structured, layered feel.

I also dug into my visual reference libraries to revisit patterns and motifs I’ve not used in a while, as well as using some of my most favourite ones.

I like the stark, graphic nature of the pure black and white, but I may very well add colour to this one in a way similar to yesterday’s quote. I haven’t finished colouring that one yet, but it is something I will return to later today, though I may not finish it today.

The past affects the present…

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

Francine Shapiro is the person who developed EMDR therapy and this quote from her exemplifies what I’ve becoming more and more aware of through my three and a half years of EMDR.

Today, I am really ‘not with it’ and feeling quite spacey and vague and very tired. I had a broken night’s sleep with very, very weird and disturbing dreams. This often happens after EMDR.

I know that I need some self-care time today, and maybe tomorrow given how I’m presently feeling. I’m also in need of a walk outside, but I’m awaiting a delivery from Amazon. I hope it arrives soon so I can get a walk in early this afternoon.

EMDR yesterday

There were two particularly significant moments during my session yesterday.

The first one was a result of a suggestion by my therapist that I’m keeping secrets about things that have happened to me, particularly in my adult life. There are things I’m too, too ashamed and embarrassed about to talk about even with her. My throat closes up and becomes painful. I feel burning in my cheeks. There’s terror and huge anxiety in the pit of my stomach. She went on to say that in the article she had read it was suggested that clients write about these experiences. She suggested I do that. She added she did not need to read them or be told about them, that she can act as a ‘blind therapist’ where we just assign a code to the particular traumatic event and work with it that way. She even suggested I can burn the things I write after writing them so no one else can ever read them.

The relief I felt with this suggestion and discussion was immense. The discussion that ensued was enlightening in another way. That I’ve never ever really spoken to anyone about my feelings, especially when I was the one upset, hurt, abused in some way. I always put a smiley, brave face on and brushed all the emotions to one side, defaulting to the happy, funny, quick to laugh, person who chatters about faff and fluff.

By pushing away all that hurt and upset and so on I’ve also tried to tell myself that it’s ok, I can cope with this, that I’m incredibly caring about other people and their feelings and want them to be happy. Scared that if I spoke truly about how I was feeling that I would be rejected or that the other person(s) would become angry and would hate me and think badly of me.

So, instead, I brushed it all aside and swallowed it down, often with food, using the food to fill the emptiness within me, to hide the feelings of shame and fear and more. I’ve done this so much in my past that I’m having to learn what emotions feel like and what they are called as they crop up during EMDR.

I was with my older sister and younger brother visiting the British Museum and we stumbled upon the Sutton Hoo treasures. I was entranced by them, only having seem them previously in books. It was hard work to drag me away from the to go visit the mummies in the Egyptology section. My older sister said she’d never seen me so emotional and excited about something; she actually called me an ice maiden as I rarely showed any emotion at all, other than the happy, smiley, funny persona I put across. I was in my twenties then. No idea of emotions or how to express them, swallowing them down all the time.

So, writing about these experiences now, from a position where I understand more about myself, am more aware of emotions and feelings will mean that they are no longer secret, it doesn’t matter that others don’t know about them, but it’s important that I don’t keep secrets from myself and face up to the traumas and feelings I have suppressed from these events.

The second insight was during EMDR when I had a vision of myself looking into one of those mirrors that reflects things to infinity, but in this case it was like the reflections went around and around in a circle. The insight was that this is what has happened to me. I’ve got caught in a cycle of the same kind of things happening again and again – different but the same effects on me, the trauma they’ve caused me and continue to cause me as instead of knowing how to process them in a healthy manner I learned from a very young age to suppress anything I needed to talk about or needed help with because I was upset as no one wanted to know. I was bothersome. A whiner. An attention seeker. A liar. When I was upset the people supposed to care got angry with me. Or just ignored me. Or sent me away.

I am unaware of much of my past, particularly my childhood. I have few memories at all. That bothers me, but my therapist tells me I need to let it just be. People like me, who’ve had quite traumatic lives, often forget what has happened to them as a way of protecting themselves from that particular trauma, especially when there is no one they can talk to about it to help them work through it.

My past really does affect my present. However, I’m becoming more aware of the ways in which it has affected me, more aware that I do have emotions, and I’m trying to believe I deserve to think better of myself, that maybe I didn’t deserve any of this, and that although I’ve allowed things to happen to me I shouldn’t be so hard on myself as I need to understand why, what brought me to that point, why I can’t say ‘no’ easily.

So the quote is very appropriate.

About the art

This is very much a work in progress at the moment.

I printed out the quote and borders on Bristol Board. The design is a little less than A5 in size (4.5″ x 7.25″ approx). Then, I added the patterns around it using two Pilot Kakuno fountain pens – one with a medium nib and one with a broad pen.

After scanning the design in, I wanted to add colour to it, so I used my trusty trio – Microsoft Surface Pen, Microsoft Surface Studio and Autodesk Sketchbook Pro.

I think the dark stars at the top could symbolise those parts of me I’d like to ignite after they were extinguished a long, long time ago – confidence, self esteem, the ability to say no, valuing myself, being a good friend to myself, and more …

The tangled nature of the design, with many parts seeming to blend one into another, sometimes not in a very comfortable manner, is like all the trauma and experiences I have had – a tangled mess where I pull on one thing in EMDR and a whole host of others come along with it, all linked by a common effect or effects they had on me.

Flowers blooming, leaves all signs of growth though, even if some are hidden at the moment.

I’m sure there’s more that could be said about it in terms of my journey of recovery from cPTSD along with developing mental and emotional wellbeing. However, not today as the chap from Amazon has delivered the parcels to me. In them are some basic things for me to try my hand at paper quilling.

I’ve been fascinated with some youtube videos on paper quilling, particularly the more modern forms and I was also struck at how some of them seem to be similar to my kind of drawing that has lots of spirals and swirls in it. So, I thought I’d have a go and see what I can do with it!

But first, it’s time for a walk … to see if that can help clear my head a little. I think a little trip to Barry Sidings is in order.

Trauma and change

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

Monday is EMDR therapy day for me and my mind seems to go towards finding relevant quotes and then doing my usual thing of adding patterns around them.

This one has what seems to me to be rather heavy handed patterns around the quote. I drew the patterns with a broad nib Faber Castell fountain pen filled with Diamine Jet Black ink. I may have chosen too broad a nib for this illustration; the artwork is slightly less than A5 in size.

I enjoyed the process of creating this, however, and some quiet, calm, self-care time is needed this evening.

I had a yet another draining EMDR session today, one that had some insight for me. There were plenty of quiet tears too. I suspect that tomorrow will be a quiet self-care day also.

I’m used to this happening now and tend to plan my working time around the need for self-care. I’ve learned that self-care is important. I’m also learning not to be surprised at how something that seems as gentle as EMDR has such a profound effect on myself.

It’s a good thing I had quite a busy morning prior to heading off to my appointment and got a few templates sorted out for the coloring book I’m working on.

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 Quote

©Angela Porter 2019

I’ve worked on this design over the past three days. I wanted to do another version of this particular quote in my more characteristic pen and ink, intricate, entangled style of art.

I used various pens to draw this on recycled copy paper (I know, but it’s preserved for posterity as a digital file now). The quote and the boundary lines were printed out on a laser printer. I could have hand lettered it, but I wanted a typewritten look for the quote.

I did add colour and texture to the background using Autodesk Sketchbook Pro along with a Microsoft Surface Pen and Microsoft Surface Studio, but the drawing was all done traditionally with various black pens.

This is so characteristic of my work from quite a few years ago, before I worked on colouring books. I think last week’s stresses and strains – EMDR, Time to Talk Day – had me wanting to escape into the familiar, the comforting, the easy (for me at least) which is why I defaulted to this style of art.

I do have to push myself out of this very comfortable art zone to work on templates for my next coloring book, one which could have an added bit of stress for me concerning its theme. I’m determined to do it though!

It’s taken me until today to fully recover from all of last week’s emotionally tiring events, just in time for my weekly EMDR session! So, I plan to get some drawings done for the book this morning before I head to Neath in what looks like it’s going to be a sunny late winter day. I also really need to get a brisk walk in nature in today. My fragile state has had me remaining in the safety of my home or car. Today, I feel the need to move my body a bit more.