Mandala in succulent colors – version 2

Mandala in Succulent Colors © Angela Porter 2019
Mandala in Succulent Colors © Angela Porter 2019

Yesterday, I had an urge to try colouring my latest mandala design but without black lines, just pure color. This is the result. I’m actually quite pleased with it, and I’ve surprised myself too, in a nice way. I’m quite eager to do more art like this as time goes on.

I chose a similar color palette to the one from yesterday, similar but not the same. I also edited the shapes and lines as I felt I needed to as the design grew out from the centre.

The color palette was of just six colours – two greens, one aqua, two orangey colours and one yellow, all muted, subdued colours. I think I could’ve done with one more colour, or used the darker version of the aqua as the background in the inner and middle ‘circles’ of the design. Of course, I can try that out without ruining this version. That’s the beauty of digital art.

I would never have done this using traditional media. My skills with colours are relatively limited in the physical realms.

The world of digital art is opening up new ways for me to express my creativity, that’s for sure. The skills required are different but equally as complex as traditional media in my opinion.

There’s also a lot of learning and exploring for me to do to get the style of coloring right for ME. The advantage of digital work is that you can try and try again until you get it how you want it to be without having to start over from the beginning. Some see that as ‘cheating’ or ‘making it easy’. I see it as learning and growing and developing in real time. Digital art is very forgiving, but that doesn’t mean it’s any easier. Far from it in my opinion.

I know my limitations with paints, markers, pencils and so on. I’m kind of competent with markers and pencils I suppose. Working digitally, however, allows me to really work at making sure I get the finish I want in each section of the design, with or without my characteristic black lines. I can try things out and adjust to get them just as I wish them to be.

Each time I do something different like this I learn. With this mandala it’s the use of high contrast to gain the depth and dimension I like, and it’s working out how to get that with the various types of brushes and effects that are available to me.

It’s a huge thing for me to use my line art as just a guide and to lose the lines to create a design such as this. It involves learning how to make the different sections separate from each other using shadow/light as well as color, something I’ve rarely done in my artistic journey.

This is definitely something I’m going to do more of in the future and develop my skills in creating art in this way too. It’s taking me a long while to get my head around it all, but little by little my digital art is developing I think, and I’ll find my own voice with it for sure, or maybe another voice.

I used my usual trifecta of Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, Microsoft Surface Pen and Microsoft Surface Studio.

Mandala in succulent colours

Mandala in succulent colours © Angela Porter 2019
Mandala in succulent colours © Angela Porter 2019

I do struggle with colour schemes at times. I either go crazy overboard with bright, vibrant, rainbow colours or monochrome. For this one, I took the colours from some images of succulents and used small colour palette of just five basic colours, with varying tones of those colours to achieve the depth I like in my artwork.

The colour palette is also a bit different for me, much more muted, subdued. That may reflect my current emotional and mental weather. I’m not as gloomy as I have been over the past few weeks, but it certainly isn’t as bright and sunny as it can be.

I always find creating soothing to my mind and emotions. It’s my main self-care activity. It’s not the only one, but it’s the main one. Others include crochet/knitting, reading, napping. I’d like to add going for a walk to that list, but on days like today that can be difficult for me to do. Weekends tend to be more peopley than I can cope with even on the best of my days.

I have invited my sister over for a meal this evening. However, I’m not up to facing the craziness of a Saturday supermarket to do the shopping, so I’ll take her out for a meal instead. That would do me some good too, a change of scene and someone else cooking for me. It will also allow me to conserve what energy I have at the moment. I’m so tired all the time after a few very draining weeks through EMDR and Time to Change Wales anti-stigma talks.

Coloring nearly done …

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

I’ve had a quiet morning at home today and have taken the opportunity to have some self-care time, which for me means adding more colour to this design.

I’ve had three emotionally tiring days in a row; EMDR on Monday and anti-stigma talks on Tuesday and Wednesday. I also had two longish trips on Tuesday to Swansea and then Hereford in absolutely horrid weather.

I had a good sleep last night, but I still feel exhausted and I have one more anti-stigma talk to do in Cwmbran this afternoon. All done in my role as a champion for Time to Change Wales.

I could just curl up in bed and sleep again now, but the shower is calling me and I need to sort myself out for that trip to Cwmbran.

Some might say I’m doing too much. Possibly. But it’s important stuff talking about mental health in the aim of raising awareness, understanding and reducing the stigma and discrimination that exists around mental illness.

Yes, I may be exhausted afterwards. Yes, I may need self-care time for a day or so. But it’s important to do this. It’s important to me.

If I’d known more about what a healthy mind and healthy emotions are when I was younger maybe, just maybe I could’ve sought out help and it may have been easier to achieve recovery.

Maybe I would’ve been more self-aware and able to make better life choices so I didn’t add to the trauma I already carried within me. Maybe I would’ve been wiser and cared a little more about myself and not given so much of myself.

If I can help people to recognise that their mental or emotional health isn’t as it could be and to find a way to change that without fear of stigma or discrimination then I think it’s worth it.

That’s why I do it. Even when I myself am emotionally drained from it. I know I’ll recover. I know that on my way home today I’m likely to get some nice food to cook this evening, maybe even some Ben and Jerry’s Karamel Sutra, and I would like to settle down and watch some Star Wars.

I also want to get some cotton yarn. I had a book in the post at the weekend that has crochet patterns in it for what the American’s call ‘market bags’ and we in the UK call ‘shopping bags’. Crocheted, netting, pretty, reusable, personalised in terms of colour and embellishments.

I shall look forward to an evening of such self care tonight. A chance to properly stop, breathe and relax.

The difference colour makes …continued

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

I thought I’d show you the progress I’ve made on this drawing. I hope you find it interesting to see how things are progressing with it.

Yesterday, I didn’t get much done as I was whacked out after EMDR therapy in the afternoon. It was very intense with some very powerful physical pains as well as some emotionally upsetting insights. Tears flowed. An hour of discomfort to help to release years and years of emotional/mental pain and suffering isn’t too bad is it?

Today I’ve not done anything. I did an anti-stigma talk to a group of health-care employees for the ABMU Health Board at Singleton Hospital in Swansea. This was on behalf of Time to Change Wales in my role as a champion.

The drive there was horrendous. The rain was absolutely hammering down. Then, it was really difficult to find somewhere to park. I did find somewhere eventually. Then, there was the walk to the hospital and the problem of finding my way to the Chapel/Multi-faith Centre. By that time, the stress of not finding parking easily had caused me to flip into hypervigilance mode and it wasn’t easy to see or decode information.

Eventually I must’ve looked totally lost, a nice man asked me if he could help. When I said the chapel, I noticed another chap had come over and he had a Time to Change Wales badge on and it turns out he was Martin, one of two new champions who had come to observe me.

We had directions to the chapel and the other champion was waiting outside.

I did my talk, became, for me, quite emotional, and left, after chatting with people and Martin and Connor, the other TTCW champion.

I was glad to find my way back to my car, and started to feel a bit spaced out as I drove home. Thankfully the rain had mostly stopped though the spray was horrible.

I’ve eaten and had some tea but I still feel drifty and floaty and I really, really could do with a long nap now. It’s taken nearly 4 hours for me to feel ready to nap. However, I can’t take a nap as I have to drive to Hereford this evening for around 7:15pm. My sat nav said it would be an hour and a half journey there. Perhaps I could have a quick nap …

I know tomorrow I have another anti-stigma talk to do – this time with a group of police officers at Ton Pentre police station – and a medical appointment later in the day. Thursday I’m doing another antistigma-talk to a group of trainee nurses and midwives over in Abergavenny.

I foresee some early nights ahead of me, though most probably not tonight!

International Women’s Day 2019

International Women's Day 2019 - ©Angela Porter 2019 - Artwyrd.com
International Women’s Day 2019 – ©Angela Porter 2019 – Artwyrd.com

I matter. I matter equally. Not ‘If only’, not ‘as long as’. I matter. Full Stop.”Chimamanda Adichie, Nigerian writer.

A balanced world is a better world.
How can you help forge a more gender-balanced world?
Celebrate women’s achievement. Raise awareness against bias. Take action for equality.

www.internationalwomensday.com

Today is International Women’s Day, Furbaby Friday and Dangle Day so what else could I do but combine them all into one design?

I started by sketching them out on dot grid paper. My favourite sketching tool at the moment is any one of the darker tones in the Koh-I-Noor Magic multicoloured pencils range. The thickness of the lead encourages me to be bold in my hand lettering and drawing. It also encourages me to draw on a larger scale than I usually do.

Something else I’ve noticed is that drawing with such a thick (but fun and coloured) pencil,I can’t put all the small details in that appear in the final image in the sketch. It really is a sketch which I can then use as the skeleton, the framework, the architecture for the final design.

The thickness of the pencil also means that my hand lettering is bigger than usual. I can also deliberately wear the lead down into more of a chisel shape which helps with the thick downstrokes and thin upstrokes.

It’s also a pleasure to write with pencil and my writing always feels neater when I do write with a pencil. I have no idea why that is, but it just is.

Anyways, once the design was sketched out, I scanned the design into the Microsoft Surface Studio and used Autodesk Sketchbook Pro and a Microsoft Surface pen to first ink in the outlines and then add colour, details and texture.

For the colours I kept to a fairly simple colour scheme with pink and purple for the flowers and hearts and the Women’s Day symbol. I just had to use a rainbow to fill the hand lettering (apart from the word ‘women’s’). And the pusscat just had to be mainly white, but I thought peachy-pink stripes would be quite nice.

My dangle design tutorial book – A Dangle A Day – is now available from all good booksellers.

Rosy Mandala

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

A simple mandala today, with some very stylised rose-like buds in shades of pink and purple. Just two colours of foliage too. Something a little pretty today.

I used my Microsoft Surface Pen, Microsoft Surface Studio and Autodesk Sketchbook Pro.

RedBubble account

I now have an account at RedBubble – Angela Porter | RedBubble.

I have just two images up there at the moment – the recent Daffodil Mandala and the Dragon with Daffodils. Both are available on a range of quality products including wall art and stationery.

My Journey to cPTSD Recovery

Today, I’m feeling more content and settled than I have for a number of weeks. Even though EMDR floored me on Monday, I seem to have been able to find my balance faster than previously. This is a good thing as I do have a contract to fulfil by the end of the month.

I am writing in a journal most days, particularly any insights I have through the day. They seem to be coming more quickly now I’m working on seeing where I’ve told myself a story to avoid any emotional or mental pain. I know this is a coping strategy that people with CPTSD use to protect themselves. However realising this, that I may have avoided the truth of a difficult, traumatic experience or situation makes me feel really stupid. Realising that this is a coping strategy I learned at a very, very young age doesn’t help stop me feeling stupid. There’s also a lot of guilt too as I’m stuck between the story I want to believe, the one that is nice and pleasant, and the truth of the emotional and mental distress I was experiencing and denying I was experiencing. It’s not an easy place to be in. It also makes me quite sad and teary that I’ve done this all my life.

Realising these kinds of things, no matter how painful they are, is part of my journey to recovery from CPTSD. I won’t stop though. To do so would mean I would have to live with the pain the realisation has caused me without any way of dealing with that pain. So the only way is to face up to these things, process them in EMDR and find a way to a healthier relationship with myself, to find a way to become a friend to myself.

Monogram P – entangled art

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

This became yesterday’s self-care drawing. When I’m not feeling all that right my default setting is this kind of drawing. It really does help soothe my unbalanced mental and emotional health. Thank goodness that today I’m feeling a lot more myself, whatever that means. In this context I think it means more emotionally calm and kind of content and a less worrisome and fretting mind. My background anxiety levels are still a tad elevated, but not as bad as they were over the weekend and through to yesterday.

I hand lettered the monogram on an A4 sheet of Daler-Rowney Bristol Board using Uniball Unipin pens. I then just let my pens draw some new and old favourite motifs and patterns to create this abstract, entangled art.

Yes, the P is a bit off-centre, but I didn’t measure it out! I just drew it. I didn’t plan on doing the entangled drawing stuff. I was just going to spend sometime with hand lettering…just goes to show that instinctively I knew what I needed yesterday to help soothe me. I could lose myself in the flow and give my mind and emotions a bit of a break.

It took me several hours to complete, and this morning I scanned it in, added a background texture and the watermarks with digital wizardry.

My only consideration for it at the moment is whether to leave it as is (black and white), to add shading in greys, or whether to add colour. I’m also quite tempted to add some gold to the monogram, just in places. I could print it out and try that on a copy before I commit myself to altering the original.

Today I do need to settle to inking in some sketches for the next coloring book. Maybe do some more sketches as well.

Self-care

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

I drew this one with Uniball Unipin pens using both black and dark grey pens, though the difference betwixt them hasn’t shown up all that well in the scan and the digital wizardry that followed to add colour, texture and watermarks!

The glyph in the box is the Zibu symbol for ‘self-care’. Most appropriate for me today as I’m reeling more than a tad from yesterday’s EMDR session. I keep thinking I’m ok, then I get overwhelmed by a wave of sadness, despair and such like. The wave eventually passes and I feel ok, but a tad light headed. Then, the wave returns …

I had some appointments this morning and after a quick lunch I thought I’d draw something small and found this blank postcard template in my pile of stuff, with the symbol already drawn upon it.

I’m not entirely sure I’ve done a good job with this one. The overall design has a feeling that it is disjointed, that the parts of it don’t flow from one to another at all easily. It feels stilted and stiff.

Perhaps that is just how I’m feeling at the moment and I’m just projecting it onto my artwork.

As I said the EMDR yesterday had me reeling both yesterday and today. My therapist took up the role of ‘blind therapist’ where I chose a memory that is too difficult for me to speak about, and we just went with the emotions, feelings and thoughts about myself as the EMDR session progressed.

There were some observations made yesterday that were quite upsetting, okay very upsetting to me. They’re not something I can talk about at the moment.

Even though it’s upsetting, I still think progress is being made. That is all that really matters at the moment, I think.

Entangled Art

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

This morning I started my day with some warm-up drawing. I drew this one with Sakura Pigma Micron pens on Daler-Rowney Bristol Board that measures approx. 7cm x 30cm. I added the coloured background digitally, along with the watermarks.

You may be curious why I use a square of coloured and textured paper behind my art work. Well, for Instagram, a square image fits perfectly without being cropped weirdly, and as many of my pieces of art are not square…well, you get the idea! So, for consistency across my social media, I use the same image.

I enjoyed drawing ths one. There’s some new patterns and motifs in it. I spent yesterday looking at ‘Art Forms in Nature’ by Ernst Haeckel for inspiration to add new patterns and motifs to my visual reference book. This little A5 dot grid notebook from Claire Fontaine is becoming rather useful. I add my favourite patterns, new patterns, motifs, doodles to it as I need to. I make use of the idea of ‘threading’ used in Bullet Journals to help link sections together.

What a brilliant idea ‘threading’ is. I used to get so frustrated with either folders with drawings in or having sections scattered in a book with a clumsy index to help find them. Now, I just follow the page numbers to direct me to where the particular collection continues. The index then lists just the first occurrence of that particular collection. My collections include abstract botanicals, foliage, floral, fungi, trees, feathers, crystals, Christmas, favourite patterns, dangles and charms.

I’m sure that when I start a new book, there’ll be a way to thread to the new book!

Why am I doing this? Well, as well as keeping track of patterns and motifs I like and organising them roughly into collections it’s also a source book of inspiration for art when I feel I’m lacking in inspiration or I feel my work is getting more than a bit samey.

It’s also something that is part of my self-care on days where it’s too much of a challenge to do something completely new and different. Sometimes this means adding familiar patterns and motifs. At other times it means researching new ones.

Yesterday I was really tired and feeling quite low after a very tiring day on Saturday followed by a poor nights sleep. Last night my sleep was even worse. I woke from disturbing dreams with my mind busy, busy, busy. Not sure why this is, or why I just feel more anxious than usual. There’s no reason at all for me to feel this way. Just some stormy emotional weather in advance of EMDR today and starting to process something new to EMDR but old to me. The CPTSD recovery journey continues…