The patterns here remind me of the folds of fabric in Romanesque sculpture. The memories of visiting Romanesque churches, cathedrals and abbeys are filled with the sense of awe and wonder at the beauty of the sculpture, as well being fascinated, contented and happy.
The smooth curving forms, the play of light and shadow – these are things I love to play with in my work, whether pure abstract or with coloring templates.
The quote is how I feel about what I create. I know I put more of myself into my art than I realise, but creating beauty, allowing others to share in what I find to be beautiful and fascinating is what I do. And there is nothing wrong with that.
When I create, I carve out time to find a space of peace, calm, contentment in my life. Creating art is my sanctuary, a time and place where I can forget about the pressures of life, the pains of the past, and worry about the future for a while. If viewing my art, or colouring my colouring pages, even for a moment, gives another person a sanctuary from the pressures upon them, then that is a good thing.
I’ve just managed to get today’s Inktober drawing mostly done. I’m now too tired to do any more work on it this night.
My prompts for today were an otter skull, Tremella mesenterica fungus and Diva Dance tangle pattern.
As otters are water creatures (and one my my favourite animals – did you know they have pouch of folded skin where they keep stone that is special to them?) I chose watery blues and blue-greens. I also kept the fussy drawing behind the skull monochrome. I’m too tired to work out what else I could do. I quite like that the background design is a tad etheral and ghostly.
I’m so tired now; it’s nearly 11pm here in the UK. I’ve spent the last two or three hours working on the illustration above.
So, Angela, how are you feeling?
My day began with getting myself sorted to give a Time to Change Wales anti-stigma talk to the CHAMPS Group based in Pontllanfraith. Champs stands for ‘Chartist Help 4 All Mental Health Peer Support Group.
I was invited to talk there by a friend of mine that is involved in CHAMPS and I met a fantastic group of people, all of whom experience mental ill-health. So, after telling them about Time to Change Wales and the story of my own mental ill-health, there were lots of conversations, some taking the chance to talk to me to say how my story mirrors theirs in many ways, or how something I said made a penny drop for them. I’m also an example of someone well on the way to recovery from CPTSD, and that shows people it really is possible to heal from a mental illness.
I think it was a positive experience for everyone, myself included. However, it did leave me drained and after having some lunch I retired to bed to sleep – all part of my self-care routine.
I woke in the early evening and had a long chat with a friend who is struggling with mental ill health, had supper and then turned my attention to Inktober.
I woke after my nap feeling quite awake and alert. I felt that way until just half an hour or so ago; my mind has become foggy, I’m tired and I will soon be back in bed to sleep.
I know the toll doing talks like this can take on my energy. There’s anxiety about a number of things – finding my way to the venue, meeting strangers, sharing my story to name the main ones. However, the Time to Change Wales campaign is a cause I feel strongly about and if by giving my talks I can help others to understand what it’s like to live with mental ill health and the impact of how they behave towards us as a result of stigma/discrimination, or help others to feel they’re not alone, or to consider other aspects of their mental health that they’ve perhaps not considered before, then my day or so of emotional tiredness is worth it.
Yes, for a day or so I may feel drained but I now know that this drained feeling doesn’t persist for long. Even though I’m tired, I can still sense that inner contentedness glowing warmly with in me as a smile in my heart.
I have had an artsy kind of day so far. A lot of the gloom, anxiety and troubled thoughts that descended on me have lifted, but not all. Once provoked the beasties that are my cPTSD take a while to settle down again. I also feel tired – mentally, physically and emotionally tired, despite a fairly good nights sleep.
I managed to get some work done on a template for my next book for Creative Haven by Dover. I got to a point, however, where I wasn’t happy with how it was going so I thought a break was in order.
So, for my break I thought I’d work on a mandala, and this is the one I’ve created today.
I didn’t consciously choose the colours or patterns I used in this mandala. However, the blues bring to mind water, rivers, the sea. I love to be near the sea. I find the rhythm of the waves calming, no matter how gentle or wild they are. The salty wind helps to blow away cobwebs in the mind, cobwebs that not so good thoughts have stuck to. I love to look at the patterns in the sand, rocks, pebbles. There’s so much more I love. So perhaps by choosing blue I’ve identified an unconscious need to visit the sea soon.
A lot of the patterns that have found their way into this mandala remind me of waves or shells. They’re all organic and flowing. Though there are some rather architectural arches and patterns there, lending some form to the design.
The ocean is used as metaphor in mindfulness meditations. I am the ocean. The waves are my emotions that ruffle the surface of that deep, calm body of water. Meditation is about finding that calm and being in touch with it in daily life.
Carl Jung believed that drawing a mandala daily helped to reveal what was going on in the subconscious mind, the things we need to bring into awareness and work on in order to heal.
Curious that this one speaks to me of water, the ocean.
Yesterday’s meditation stirred up the waves for sure. A veritable tsunami resulted of emotional, mental and physical pain. It’s freaked me out a little and I’ve been reluctant to meditate today, well not until I’ve done everything I need to do today.
I did draw this mandala digitally. In fact, returning to digital art let me exhale a little and relax a bit more into art. I also didn’t want to revisit my frustration with traditional media that I had yesterday.
I find working digitally wonderfully liberating in many ways. I know that I’m no expert in the use of mechanics of digital art – I use it more like I would traditional media. However, whereas I feel I struggle with colour and techniques with traditional media these days, I feel none of that with digital art.
Now that’s a surprise to me! I never, ever thought I’d feel that way about working digitally.
My digital tools are my Microsoft Surface Pen, Microsoft Surface Studio and Autodesk Sketchbook Pro. The screen of the Surface Studio is my paper, the Surface pen is a multitude of pens, pencils, brushes and colours in one instrument. Autodesk Sketchbook Pro is the software that allows me to work so intuitively, so naturally as I would with pen on paper, but with other tools and techniques I can use that I wouldn’t be able to reproduce with traditional media – I don’t have the skills to do that.
So, some insights about myself from the mandala, and also some realisations about myself and my relationship with digital art and how much that relationship has strengthened and deepened – and there’s still a lot more to learn and discover about digital art and myself.
I’ve had a very pleasant two or three hours this afternoon creating this mandala.
It’s quite different to my usual styles of mandalas and I rather like it. I also rather like the monochrome colour scheme which inspired the title of this mandala.
Drawing in colour is a departure for me from the usual black line drawings which are then filled in with colour and/or pattern. I’m uncomfortable drawing other things in colour without that black line to define their shape/form. But mandalas are a whole different thing. They are a way for me to explore this way of working with colour.
What is exciting is that I carve into bold shapes, removing colour and adding more designs and interest. This is something that working digitally has allowed me to both discover and to begin to explore. The ability to add colour, remove colour, refine by adding more colour, and so on is what makes creating something like this a little easier than with traditional media, but it is what is allowing me to express my creativity in different ways.
I am really pleased with this design. It’s one of those that makes me smile for two main reasons. The first is I like it, lots. The second is the satisfaction of exploring something new and discovering a new, different and personally satisfying way to work.
My drawing tool was a Microsoft Surface Pen. My paper was the screen of my Microsoft Surface Studio. Autodesk Sketchbook Pro provided my colours and other tools so I could create this mandala design, which I think is lovely.
This is now finished! It’s taken a lot of time over the past few days, but I’m happy with it now.
It’s been completed on A3 mixed media paper using a variety of media. Details have been added using coloured pencils and iridescent/metallic paints, hence the shimmery, shiny spot to the left. These details are a nightmare to photograph, but hopefully you’ll get enough of an idea from what you can see in the image.
Adding the iridescent patterns was a bit like using ithildin; I had to have the light at the right angle so I could see what I was doing and that also involved me cricking my neck at awkward angles!
My only problem now is to put a price on my work to sell it; so any sensible help/advice would be greatly recieved! Oh, I also need to find a name for it too…