I have to admit that I, like so very many others, spent the Christmas period alone (except for a couple of hours playing Trivial Pursuit at my little sisters on Christmas night). It’s not the first Christmas that this has happened, but it’s one in a very long succession of solitary Christmases.
I feel the pressure from society and the media greatly at this time of the year; the pressure to be in a happy family, showered with gifts and food and company and loving intimacy.
The image we’re sold that we can’t possibly be happy unless we’re part of a big, loving, happy family and in a meaningful, happy, loving relationship is a trigger point for my mood, for unlocking the kennel of the black dog that can nip at my heels all too often.
This year, though, I’m happy to say that the black dog didn’t visit as often or as long as it has in the past many, many years. Oh, I’ve had my moments, but I’ve survived better than I have for a very long time, most probably 20 years or so.
What helped is indulging myself in my coping strategies – creating art, making music, reading, cat cuddling and generally being creative (which currently means knitting baby blankets for my neice who is expecting twins in 3 to 4 months time). Also, avoiding social media – facebook especially – has helped too.
Reminding myself that I’m not at the point in my healing journey from the cptsd (complex post traumatic stress disorder) that I experience that I feel able to have healthy relationships has also helped. It’s a work in progress, the healing that is.
Another sign of my recovery from the trials and tribulations of the cptsd that I experience is that I made a little effort to add some ‘decorations’ for the Winter Solstice/Yule/Christmas season, which include a trio of small, knitted christmas trees, which kept me a little occupied in the days/weeks leading up to this time, as well as knitting and needle felting some bacteria and viruses for a pharmacist I met at an event I attended as a Time to Change Wales champion.
So, now the next event that can cause the black dog to find some strength is New Year’s Eve…
…which I can survive by using my super-power of being creative to help me cope.
The piece of art above has been done over the past 3 days. The black outlines were drawn first, followed by a base layer of Ranger’s Distress Inks applied with Clarity Stencil brushes.
I then used the Distress Inks as watercolours to intensify the colours in various places as well as to add the colour to the berries/seeds/buds.
Next, I used Cosmic Shimmer’s Iridescent Watercolour paints to add some shimmer in large areas, before adding detailed patterns using coloured pencils (I chose to use my Mitsubishi Uni Pencils for this).
Finally, I added metallic and ‘glittery’ sparkle using Sakura’s Gold Gelly Roll Metallic pen and a Clear Star Gelly Roll pen.
I was rather restrained for me by leaving areas just coloured, not embellished to high heaven and back! The areas I have added texture/pattern to stand out more and it’s not quite so overwhelming.
This could mean my artistic skills are maturing a little.
The most important thing, however, is that I enjoyed the process of creating this large (for me) piece of art. The paper I used is A3 in size, and the drawing is approx 9.5″ x 14.5″.
When I finally figure out how to price my art (any one wishing to offer help/advice/suggestions on this, then it will be gratefully recieved) I may put it up for sale on Etsy.