The magic of colour – finished

The magic of colour © Angela Porter 2019 - Artwyrd.com
The magic of colour © Angela Porter 2019 – Artwyrd.com

This morning, I focused on finishing this particular artwork. Colour completed, texture and glowing highlights added. All done and I think I’m quite happy with it. That’s right, I’m quite happy with it. There’s bits I could improve were I to do this again, or edit it, but I’m going to leave it as is for now.

There are some design elements that I want to add to my visual BuJo that I created as I worked with this and that I really love!

I managed to leave ‘white space’ in the design (though that became coloured), which is not something I find easy to do; I always seem to want to fill every available space inky creations. I do see the benefits of the white space for sure and it’s something I’m going to continue to add to my little, or not so little artworks.

Of course, I used Autodesk Sketchbook Pro along with my Microsoft Surface Pen and Microsoft Surface Studio to colour the design. I drew the design on Winsor and Newton Bristol Board with Uniball Unipin and Sakura Pigma Sensei pens, then scanned it in. The only digital editing done to the drawing was to remove some smudges and marks, and very minor completions of lines.

How are you doing today Angela?

I’m actually feeling quite content. Though a little tired as I couldn’t get back to sleep after waking a bit too early. I don’t think I’m going to be able to nap later on though as I have a bit of a busy late afternoon and evening.

Meditation the last three nights seems to have helped me greatly. It’s something I find easier to remember to do when I’m feeling more content than when I’m in one of those rough places.

I think that is because when I’m in a tough, low, sad place I don’t consider doing things that will help me, such as meditation. The inner critic takes hold and I neglect my well being once again.

I’m learning slowly to recognise it’s subtle attacks and suggestions to self-sabotage the progress I’ve made in my CPTSD recovery journey.

It’s sneaky though; very, very sneaky. Catching the inner critic in action isn’t easy, it’s easier to see in hindsight when my mood and emotional and mental resilience are increasing once again.

As they increase I can see how low I’ve been, so low that at times I’ve felt that I don’t want to be on this Earth anymore. Not that I’d do anything about that. I know those feelings pass eventually now and I’m well practiced in diversion tactics – art, Star Wars, sleeping, crocheting while listening to something on Audible.

Why I feel that way is complex. I just feel worthless, ashamed, useless, and lots of other things I cant describe.

I can see, now I’m rising up out of the low place I’ve been in, that it’s not me who should feel these things but all those who have acted and spoken in ways that have caused me trauma.

When I’m low, however, the inner critic repeats the messages of these people over and over and over again and again. Until, that is, I can break out of it’s hold on me and rise up from the low place I’ve been in.

I do know the inner critic isn’t as powerful as it once was, thanks to EMDR. However, it still pounces when I’m vulnerable in some way such as anxious when out and about on my own, when someone says something to me that either echoes the words/actions of my past abusers, or when I’m over-tired.

Instead of months and years of being controlled and abused by the inner critic I know weeks or days when that happens.

That’s real progress.

I know that part of the price I pay with EMDR is that I can be vulnerable for a while after it and that lets the inner critic attack. But with each session of EMDR I become that bit stronger and the inner critic becomes weaker.

So, today I’m content and that is good enough and a point of success.

Relax. Slow down. WIP

Relax. Slow down © Angela Porter 2019 - Artwyrd.com
Relax. Slow down © Angela Porter 2019 – Artwyrd.com

I think I’ve finished the line art for this one, and it’s definitely a work in progress. I need to erase the pencil guidelines, scan in edit any smudges out and then think about adding colour.

It seems I have a kind of series going on here – words/phrases added to my drawings.

Dangle Day Friday and the end of an emotionally exhausting Mental Health Awareness Week.

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

Dangle Design – Daisy

I woke up this morning with an idea, which was to use a dangle design of a flower along with some words about that flower. I chose to start with Daisy and you can see what I’ve come up with so far.

I’ve included a fair bit of etymology concerning the word Daisy; I find etymology (the origins and evolution of words) fascinating.

I drew the dangle design on paper and then scanned it into Autodesk Sketchbook Pro on my Surface Studio.

Next, I re-drew the design digitally using my Microsoft Surface Pen on the screen just like pen on paper. I set the brush to have a width that varied with pressure.

My plan was then to hand letter the title and the words about the daisy.

I tried again and again and again and I was never happy with what my pen put on paper (or screen). So, in frustration with myself and the knowledge I have other things that I really need to get done today, I decided to foray into the realms of Microsoft Publisher.

I did choose a font that is very similar to my own basic hand lettering style. I think I may need to look at how I can convert my hand lettering into custom fonts to use in the near future for days like today.

I do quite like the simplicity of the layout, but I do think I could’ve done a bit better with the text. I’m quite happy with the dangle design – the simplicity suits the simplicity and innocence of lovely daisy itself.

If you’d like to learn how to draw dangle designs, step by step, then my book “A Dangle A Day” is now published.

My Emotional well being

I am emotionally exhausted. I’ve not had much of a chance to recover from my EMDR session on Tuesday which left me absolutely poleaxed.

Wednesday and Thursday I took care of a stand for Time to Change Wales, and though they didn’t take up all the day it still drained me.

I’d said to myself on Wednesday I’d not put the happy smiley mask on over my exhaustion and emotional ‘flatness’ as I had little energy to spare for the effort it takes to keep that mask in place.

I had no choice about the mask; it appeared automatically, draining me further on Wednesday and very much so yesterday.

What didn’t help was that I had a commitment on Wednesday evening which I couldn’t cancel. So I had very little time between the stand and dashing out again to have some self-care time.

The result of all this is that when I got home after the stand and then running a couple of important errands that couldn’t be put off was that I was absolutely running on empty. I had something to eat and ended up sleeping for a couple of hours.

This has all taken it’s toll on my digestive system which has been upset since EMDR on Tuesday. It’s still not right today even though I went to bed early and woke up later this morning than I usually would.

I know I have a busy day tomorrow, one I can’t cancel on and I have lots of things to get ready for that today. All I want to do is sleep. My mind doesn’t want to work but it has to work.

You may be wondering why I do all this to myself. Well, Time to Change Wales (TTCW) with it’s goal to end stigma and discrimination around mental health by getting people to talk about it to gain more understanding and compassion is very important to me. I’ve faced that stigma, discrimination and total lack of understanding by so many people.

Mental Health Awareness Week happens but once a year (though it should be mental health awareness week every week!) and TTCW are so busy everyone who can help does to make sure the message gets out.

Also, I had no idea that EMDR would floor me this week, but it did.

I knew about my commitment for tomorrow, but didn’t think that everything else in the run up to Saturday would drain me.

You may think I’ve let myself down by not taking care of myself.

Perhaps that is true. However, I think it’s worth it for just this one week. I’ll recover, most probably just in time for EMDR on Monday!

Even though I do have a fair amount of stuff to do in preparation for tomorrow, I can stay at home and take a nap if I need to. I also don’t have to answer the door – I already ignored a knock from someone who seemed to be trying to sell double glazing; I saw him and his mate walking down the street with a handful of leaflets each.

Even though I am very tired, emotionally and mentally, it was important to me I took time to do some art and I’m quite pleased with my drawing, and disappointed in myself that I just couldn’t hand letter it myself.

So, as much self-care as I can do in the next couple of days is absolutely essential for me, and art is part of my self-care toolbox.

Entangled Art and World Mental Health Awareness Week 2019

Entangled Art 14 May 2019 © Angela Porter - Artwyrd.com
Entangled Art 14 May 2019 © Angela Porter – Artwyrd.com

Entangled Art

Another drawing today. Approx 6″ x 6″ (15cm x 15cm) drawn with Tombow Fudenosuke and Uniball Unipin pens.

Therapy day today

I’ve been struggling a little the past couple of days. I’m feeling quite emotional and I’m rather anxious about being out where there are people.

It’s World Mental Health Awareness Week and this year’s theme is body image. That theme is provoking some emotional upset with me.

Or maybe it’s that we started working on a situation when I was visiting somewhere and I ended up in full flight mode.

It was late lunch-time and I was really hungry. So, I went to cafe I’ve been to in the past. When I got there I couldn’t go in the door. I was convinced I was so fat that I’d not fit and if I did I’d not manage to anywhere in there.

I turned tail and dashed back to my car and drove nearly 100 miles home without stopping for a drink or food. Luckily I had a bottle of water in the car as I was really thirsty.

Since I was six years old and I broke my leg I’ve been overweight ever since. I’m the best part of 6″ tall and I’m uncertain of my dress size as I tend to buy clothes that are a bit too big for me in the belief they’d hide me. I’m probably somewhere between a UK size 18 and 22 – it depends on the style of clothes and the type of clothing.

Any ways, I was horribly bullied as a child – about my weight, about my appearance, about me being me. I was an easy target for bullies, they sniff out a victim and it matters not how old you are. I’ve been bullied throughout my adult life by people of all ages, genders and backgrounds.

These people included my mother, her father and other family members. I grew up believing I was stupid, fat, ugly and that no one loves me or would love me, that I’d never have friends and I was never as good as anyone else, just to name a few of the negative beliefs I still carry about myself, even if there is evidence to the contrary.

So, it was quite natural that I developed a lot of social anxiety and would hide myself away even as a child.

There were times when I was put on diets. My mother forced me to go to weight watchers when I was about 9 or 10 years old. Every fad diet that came along, she put me on it. I remember one which involved an inch of cucumber and one hard boiled egg three times a day. I was handed these things, told to eat them and then go up to my bedroom while everyone else had a proper meal.

It felt like a punishment not love. I was excluded, yet again, from the family, and when the diets didn’t work or I ‘cheated’ due to gnawing hunger and the need to emotionally feed myself something, I was yet again a failure, useless, good for nothing, and embarrassment.

At the same time, everyone else in the family was praised for having good appetites and eating huge meals, and I was given completely the opposite message.

I have always been an emotional eater. There was never love and affection for me, only loathing and ridicule and scapegoating and negative messages. Food would help me swallow down the emotions so I could keep a happy smile on my face, even though inside I was crying and screaming and wishing myself dead.

I grew up believing I was ugly. I grew up hating my body. I grew up unable to do anything about my emotional eating, my weight as whenever I did I felt like I was punishing myself again and again and again. I tried diet after diet after diet. About the only thing that has worked was finishing with the long ago ex! Without him my weight plummeted quite naturally and I eventually was at the thinnest I ever have been in my adult life, around a UK size 16 to 18.

I am often ashamed of myself, of being overweight that I avoid leaving my home, going out where there are people, scared of what people might think or say to me.

I’m embarrassed to eat in public when I’m by myself often. Even if I’m hungry I can find it really hard to go into a cafe that is really familiar to me. I may be brave enough to pick up something I can eat while sat in my car or driving.

The odd thing is that if I’m with a friend or my sister I can manage to go out and eat, even somewhere that’s not familiar. I find some bravery.

But when I’m by myself the story can be very different. At it’s best I’m able to venture into a new cafe in a new place and have something to eat. At it’s worst I end up in full flight mode and cut my visit short to head back to my car and then home – both safe places for me.

I rarely have ever spoken about this to anyone. In this day of ‘fat shaming’ and the hyper-judgemental face of society projected in the tabloid press, TV, the media in general and social media in particular it is very difficult to speak out,, especially seeing the way people who do speak out against the stereotypes and stigma and discrimination that abounds.

You see, there’s a story behind each person. You have no idea why they are overweight. It’s rarely as simple as eating too much and not being active enough. You have no idea what inner battles that person is having with themselves, what they believe about themselves, why they’re unable to change things because are other more painful things that are being buried by literally swallowing them down with food.

Perhaps this is why it’s so important to speak out. To try to change the tendency to make a sweeping judgement about someone and to try to see past that and try to understand that they are fighting battles you know nothing about, how hard it is to put a brave face on and step out into the world and act with confidence even though, in my case, I just want to run back to my safe home.

It tires me out everytime I go out into the world, even when I’m with people I love, as I battle to keep my smiling face, to hold back the tears and the anxiety, to do the things that so many people take for granted.

It’s only in the last week or so I’ve recognised a bit of the depth of my issues with my body and how I see myself. It’s the focus of EMDR therapy at the moment, and it’s not likely to be an easy one to do. I was shocked last week at the number of memories that have come back relating to the one episode of flight mode that cover not just recent times but right back to my early years.

My goals for this phase of EMDR are that I can view myself a bit more kindly, with some more compassion and understanding for myself. I can show other people this, always have done. However, showing the same for myself is a whole different kettle of fish.

I don’t judge other people by their appearance, but self-judgement is sometimes crippling. An internal struggle, battle that is invisible to others.

I’ve only touched the surface here of how I’m affected by this. I have a lot more to uncover and release and to change how I think and feel about myself. I think I can do enough so I think I’m good enough as a person.

Good enough. That’s my main goal. To view myself as a good enough human being and to have a good enough life full of rich experience, whether that is being able to leave my home to have a cuppa in a familiar cafe or to travel to further afield places that are new to me and to be able to leave my car and explore them.

To undo some if not most or even all of the damage to my mental and emotional health throughout my life that has led to me developing CPTSD (complex post traumatic stress disorder).

Monogram I – 13/05/19


Monogram I © Angela Porter 2019 – Artwyrd.com

Tombow Fudenosuke and Uniball Unipin pens on Bristol Board.

Approx 6″ x 6″ (15cm x 15cm) in size.

I think this one is my favourite so far. I feel almost like I’m finding my feet with them. I suppose time will tell with that though, like everything I guess.

Sneaky peeky teaser

© Angela Porter 2019

Today, I’ve settled down to colour the templates for my latest book for the Creative Haven series published by Dover Publications Inc. And here’s a sneaky peeky teaser of the image I’ve just finished colouring not many minutes ago.

If you do a search on Amazon you’ll find out the theme of the book, but can you guess what the theme of this template is?

I’m feeling better emotionally, but I’m still very, very tired today. Processing emotional trauma through EMDR is surprisingly exhausting. After a lot of emotional distress yesterday, I’m feeling content at the moment.

Coloring and art-ing is usually soothing for me, and I have to say I enjoyed colouring this template in. I am going to have a bit of a break before I tackle the next one.

Drawn and coloured digitally using Autodesk Sketchbook Pro with a Microsoft Surface Pen with a Surface Studio.