Entangled Art – 1 May 2020

This morning, I finished this Entangled Art drawing.

The background was created using Distress Oxide inks and sprays of water on mixed media paper then scanned in.

The drawing was done digitally using Autodesk Sketchbook Pro.

A very intricate, detailed drawing in my signature ‘Entangled’ art style, that includes inspiration from nature, architecture, geometrical and repeating patterns, and overlaps a little with zentangle.

A new month!

While we may all be in lock-down, the days still pass us by and go into the past.

I sit here, at my desk and looking out of my window as I work. Sunshine, blue sky with some heavy grey clouds cover the world. Fluffy dandelion seeds are dancing around in the air, thanks to a fairly swift breeze. The trees that cover the valley sides are all cloaked in their spring green finery. It’s a fitting view for Beltane, May Day.

The world is now fully awakened from it’s winter sleep. The long, dark days of winter are now behind me and the days have been rapidly lengthening towards the longest days around the summer solstice in June.

In years past I’d be looking forward to days out, enjoying evening activities and meetings in daylight. I was looking forward this year to going out with my DSLR to take photos of flowers and plants, architecture, and anything else that grabbed my attention. That’s not to be. However, I will be looking forward to doing this in the future.

As much as I would like to be wandering around with my camera, I know it’s more important to be at home, to avoid contact with others, and to help slow down, if not halt, the spread of the Covid-19 virus.

The most difficult thing is not knowing when the current restrictions will safely be lifted. And when they are, the number of cases is likely to increase once again and we’ll return to lock-down.

I am so grateful that I am able to work at home, am happy to stay at home, for as long as it takes. The longer this goes on, the easier I find it to remain at home. I do worry that when the lock-down is released I may find I’m filled with fear and anxiety about leaving my home. I struggle with that anyway, but I do wonder what effect this will have on me.

Still, I can still think of things I’d like to do, places I’d like to visit, once it is safe to do so once again, even though that particular point in time is, as of yet, not in the calendar.

Monday mood

©Angela Porter

Another day on lock-down, and I started the day by colouring a Strathmore Bristol Board tile with Distress Inks, then drawing. You can see the result above, sorry for the poor photo.

The random generated tangle pattern for today is ‘BB‘, and it’s the wavy set of blocks across the middle of the design. The rest of the design is made up from some of my favourite patterns and motifs, as well as a few dangle designs.

The overall design doesn’t feel as if it flows. That may be a reflection of my emotional state, which is a mixture of anxiety, fear, being overwhelmed and exhausted.

So, self-care is in order. So that’s doing things that won’t frustrate me, or that won’t having me feel that whatever I do is rubbish.

Sunday tangling

Sunday Tangling ©Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

This morning, I was in the mood to do a bit of tangling/zentangling. I used a random tangle pattern generator to choose the main pattern for my design and it threw ‘Purk’ at me.

Yesterday, I spent some time creating some backgrounds digitally. So, I decided to use one of those and to tangle digitally too. This is the result.

It took me a lot longer to finish than if I’d drawn with pen on paper. Mainly because I spent time adding shading and highlights to the image. That let me play around with different kinds of layers and brush effects yet again. Bit by bit I’m learning how I can make them work for me.

I need a break from this for a while. But I can see how I need to add more shadow/depth to the background patterns.

So, Angela, how’re you doing today?

I’ve suddenly come over all tired. My sleep is all over the place. Despite me feeling content, there’s still a deep seated anxiety about the pandemic and how life is at the moment. That anxiety is draining me emotionally. I feel emotionally out of sorts today, even though I can still feel that contented touchstone inside me.

I’m surprised I settled to do some drawing this morning. Yesterday, I had trouble settling to anything to the point I was going to throw out my yarn stash. Whatever I’ve tried in terms of knitting or crochet has just frustrated the heck out of me rather than settled me down.

I found myself swearing at my phone yesterday as it pinged with alerts. I’ve now put my phone on silent. I will check in on messages etc in a short while, but they are going to be silenced until I am no longer getting so angry I’m swearing and shouting at the phone. I’ve never done that before and it’s a sign of how much on edge I am, even though I feel content.

Yesterday and today I’ve not known what to do with myself. I’ve not felt that way for a long while for such an extended period of time. There was a time when I’d be like this for days or months. I’ve not often felt this way in the past year or two as my healing from cPTSD has really kicked in.

Still, I will be kind to myself about this as these are unusual times; unfamiliar with increased fear, anxiety and uncertainty. The last day or two my usual coping strategies haven’t helped me to distance myself from the overwhelming pervasiveness of constant news and articles, posts and memes about the Covid-19 pandemic.

It’s not just a break from my phone I need; it’s a break from the news and views too. A retreat from the world and everything is needed. For a while at least.

Floral Mandala

Floral Mandala ©Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

The art

I’ve finally finished this mandala. I like the design and patterns, but I wish I’d not used the yellowy greens and teals. There’s no much I can do now, however, as I collapsed all the layers as I went. Something to try to remember not to do in future. I also need to try an even more limited palette, maybe monochrome in my next mandala.

Digital art created using Autodesk Sketchbook Pro along with a Microsoft Surface Slim Pen and a Microsoft Surface Studio.

So, how are you doing today Angela?

I’m doing just fine today. I slept fairly well last night and the sun is shining once more today. I have windows open upstairs to let some cooler, fresher air into the home (of course everyone’s more than six feet away from the, apart from birds and the odd cat who wanders onto my windowsills at the back of the house).

It’s lovely to feel both the warmth of the radiant infrared light from the sun and coolness of the gentle air flow on my skin. Definitely one of life’s little pleasures!

Creating art is also another pleasure, which I have done this morning with my mandala. Something else that lifts my heart. And while I was finishing this mandala, I was listening to ‘The Rise of Skywalker’ audiobook on Audible. Again, something that I really enjoy – listening to a story.

My first mug of tea has been had and it was a satisfyingly comforting experience, as always. I had some dried cranberries in my delivery yesterday, so I had a sprinkling of them in my morning porridge, along with some golden sultanas. The cranberries glowed like jewels in the porridge, which was lovely to see.

I’m not quite sure what I’ll do after I’ve finished my social media posting today. I could do with another mug of tea. Maybe I’ll draw or colour some more paper to draw on. I have crocheting, cross-stitching and knitting to do. And of course there’s plenty of books I’ve yet to read, or listen to. And I’ve got a few seasons of Criminal Minds left to watch too!

As long as I’m purposefully busy, often creatively, I can keep the anxiety and fear of Covid19 at bay. As soon as I start thinking about the pandemic, the uncertainty of the present time, and of the future, anxiety and fear starts to well up again. Healthy distractions are needed to cope with the overwhelming nature of it all.

I am trying to notice all the little things in each day I take for granted – both those that I can still do, and the things that are missing from my life at the moment, such as walking in the park or countryside, day trips and cake runs, popping to the shop, going out for a meal, attending meetings with like-minded souls, being able to just go out for a drive, visiting the museum or churches and abbeys…

I know that each day we go through this pandemic we are one day closer to it’s end. Life will return to some normalcy, but I think it will also be changed in many ways too, hopefully for the better.

Mandala and musings

I love being by myself, having solitude, not having the pressure to be ‘social’. That part is natural for me.

Oddly, I miss the option of just popping out for a short while unless it’s absolutely necessary. I will need some time in nature soon, with my camera, unless we’re denied that bit of freedom.

The freedom to choose what to do without feeling guilty or worrying about my choice is what I’m missing.

The artist/creative in me will always have things to do – drawing, digital art, crochet, needle felting, cross stitching and more.

As well as being an artist, I am also a scientist. So having reliable facts can help me understand this disease and its effects.

I’m also curious, so I will always find things to read or watch that satisfy my curiosity.

The part of me that still has cPTSD tends towards anxiety and depression is much smaller and has less of a hold on me and most of the time, I am content.

Today, for the first time in this crisis, I’ve felt weepy, sad, worried for the various layers of society, occupations and the world itself. For those who are scared of how people are reacting. For those who are scared of contracting CoViD-19, and scared that their loved ones may. For those who are suffering the illness, struggling to live, and for those who are losing that fight. For those who are scared because there’s no clear direction being given by our leaders. For those who are scared that because they are vulnerable or old they may just be allowed to die as if their lives, their presence in the lives of others, is of no value.

I can’t even find the words to express my feelings and abstract thoughts/images that I have about this. I want to be eloquent, expressive, and can’t find a way to do so with words. The curse of one with introverted feelings, as well as feelings and thoughts that can be very abstract too.

I feel so sorry that there is so little I can do personally, other than not be a panic buyer, to avoid social contact, to be responsible, so I don’t put a strain on resources and services.

I am but one person and one counted as ‘vulnerable’; I have underlying chronic health conditions. So, I feel helpless to help more, and that increases my sense of guilt and helplessness.

One thing I do know that helps me manage my emotions, my thoughts is art. So, I will try to help others through my art. Through creating pretty things to bring a smile and warmth to people’s hearts. Through finding ways to encourage their own creativity. By producing more frequent coloring templates for people to download and color via a Facebook group for ‘fans’ of my coloring books.

Perhaps this is a bit more than very little, I don’t know. Maybe by us all doing a little to help, it adds up collectively to a lot to help those who have more significant roles to play in this crisis – doctors, nurses, porters, cleaners, shop workers, delivery drivers, farmers, emergency services, and so many more – and I thank each and every one of you more than you will ever know.

Mandala 26 Feb 2020

Mandala © Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

About the mandala

This morning, after a couple of topsy turvy days, I managed to get some art done before I get sorted for the day.

It’s always lovely to return to art after a little break from it. Today, I used a photograph I took last August while visiting the National Botanic Gardens of Wales. Gorgeously coloured flowers were blooming in the great glasshouse, and this stylised flower is based on some of them, including the colour palette.

A bright, sunshiny, warmly glowing flower is just what I needed to paint this morning. I think I’ve chosen a background colour/texture that allows those colours to shine too.

Digital art created with Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, Microsoft Surface Studio and Microsoft Surface Slim Pen.

Leaving therapy…

Monday was a crazy kind of day. In the morning I got sidetracked by a friend, all while I was trying to pack gifts up for my therapist before I headed to my last appointment, for the foreseeable future anyway.

That’s right. I’ve finished with EMDR therapy, for now. I feel I’m good enough learn to fly through life without the support net of my therapist. My wings haven’t spread much, and though weak, they’re strong enough for me to take my first bumbling, solo flights in life (solo as in not with therapy). I’m going to crash onto the ground, bump into trees and obstacles, even get tangled up from time to time in branches and brambles. I do feel, however, that I can cope with the bumps of my flight through my post-therapy life.

Getting tangled up may result in me needing help to untangle myself as something happens in life that triggers a part of the cPTSD that is still hidden and causes it to rise up to the conscious mind where it can be dealt with. This may mean a return to EMDR to deal with that particular set of traumas.

It was both a little sad and a fairly exciting and happy time too. My therapist and friends are proud of me for the work I’ve put in, as well as the perseverance and courage I’ve shown in facing some of the traumas that have resulted in the cPTSD.

New Camera!

I’ve had a need floating around my head for a little while – to buy a DSLR camera. I’ve looked at them, read about them, tried to decode the technical blurb, and finally found myself drawn to one particular model time and time again.

Rather than purchase it online, I steeled myself yesterday to take a trip into Cardiff to visit Cameraland. I’d looked at various shops where you can buy cameras, but this one really ‘felt’ right. And I have to say, it was the right choice.

So, after breakfast, I headed off to Cardiff, parked up, and walked from the Museum to Cameraland through the town. For many years I’ve not been able to go into Cardiff. Loud voices, noises and the high number of people ramp anxiety in me up to a level of startle and hyper-vigilance. So, I used noise-cancelling earphones and upbeat music to help me cope.

And I did! This wouldn’t be possible to do if I was with someone or people, but on my own it’s completely do-able.

Anyways, the chap I talked to in Cameraland was very helpful, knowledgeable. I explained what I’d like a camera for, my experience with SLRs in the past, and the model I’d had my eyes on. He did say there were other options, but none as good as the one I’d chosen.

He showed me around the camera, let me hold it, use it, and then when I’d decided it was the one for me helped me with a uv lens filter, memory card and a camera bag that is spacious enough for me to use as a handbag too.

This camera is a celebration gift to myself for completing therapy, to mark a kind of rite of passage for me. It’s also a way for me to encourage myself to explore the world a bit more. I’ve invested a fair bit of money in the camera and I really don’t want to see it sitting in the bag, being unused.

I still can’t just go out because I’d like to go out. I still need a reason to leave my home. Going out to use my camera is a good reason in my mind.

It also means that when I’m with Liz, or others, on days out, I can record things that catch my attention that I’d usually sit and draw. Yes, I can use the camera on my phone, which is a good phone camera. However, the images aren’t as clear or colour-faithful as I’d like.

So, I may be sharing particularly nice photos I’ve taken too, of all kinds of things that I find interesting, fascinating.

#Inktober52 – Week 1 ‘Flight’

‘Flight’ #Inktober52 ©Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

Jake Parker, the originator of Inktober, has come up with #Inktober52 – a year-long series of weekly drawing prompts.

I’ve completed Inktober in the last two years and really enjoy having a prompt list to work to, all for fun. It is crazy, full-on for that whole month. I most probably will do Inktober again this year, in October.

#Inktober52 will be less pressured as the prompt lasts a week, so plenty of time to think and draw. Of course, it could result in a series of drawings on the same theme each week.

The first prompt of the challenge is ‘Flight’. It took a little while, but then a flash of inspiration came, and I wanted to draw seeds that fly!

I do like botanical things a lot. And though this may not be way outside my usual themes of drawing, it’s still a good one to do. I also thought it would be nice to do a sketchbook page of drawings of these seeds, trying out slightly different ways of drawing with different scales and so on. Oh, and I got a little bit of hand lettering practice in as a bonus!

I drew the seeds with a mixture of Uniball Unipin, Faber-Castell Pitt Artist and Tombow Fudenosuke pens on ClaireFontaine dot grid paper.

After scanning my illustrations, I removed the dots, added a kraft paper background, and used a rough chalk brush to add some shadow and light to some of the seed pods. Add that hint of shadow and light does seem to bring them to life for sure.

I enjoyed creating this page of illustrations. I needed some time to relax and destress today. Yesterday turned out to be a bit of a day. The engine warning light went on in Binky, my SmartCar along with a quick flash of a malfunction warning when I turned the engine off. Luckily I wasn’t far from home and managed to get back quite safely.

A call to Mercedes, then to Smart Assist and within an hour, an AA patrol was at my home to see if they could find and rectify the issue.

It turns out there’s an error in the turbocharger (yes, I have a turbocharged SmartCar).

The patrolman did his best to work out what the problem was, but with no luck. So, he towed Binky to the Mercedes dealership and garage in Cardiff to be fixed. Luckily, Binky is still under warranty, so it should be repaired free of charge.

Before doing that, the Smart Assist cover also provides me with a hire car for three working days, and he arranged for that for me too.

So, by around 4:30 pm, I’d been given an almost brand new hire car to use until late on Tuesday at least, and I was on my way back home to try to breathe, calm and destress.

I worried about driving a car that is much bigger than my SmartCar. However, I surprised myself at how confident I was. Mind you, I’ve not been anywhere where I have to park the hire car in limited space!

Unfortunately, the anxiety this caused is causing me to worry and get scared of all kinds of random stuff. I woke up stupidly early worrying about things I don’t need to worry about!

When this happens, it shows me just how far I’ve come in my CPTSD recovery. So, despite the elevated anxiety, it is already fading as the day proceeds. Creating art has helped with that.