#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.

Monday Mandala

Monday Mandala ©Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

I actually drew this one last night. My emotions were overwrought and I needed something that was calming and relaxing.

I used a digital equivalent to scratchboard art. I used my digital brushes to remove areas from the upper black layer to reveal the lower, coloured layer.

To create the more geometric areas I used the digital equivalent of fineliner pens. For the more organic lines, I used a flexible nib digital brush.

There is a kind of magic in revealing the colour hidden by the black darkness. I found myself working in a quite different way to recent mandalas; it’s going to be a technique I return to again and again I’m sure.

Digitally created using Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, Microsoft Surface Pen and Microsoft Surface Studio.

Monday musings

Monday is still EMDR therapy day for me. My emotional and mental health is generally the best it’s ever been. However, I’ve discovered that I’m still a bit too close to the edge of the abyss within which I was trapped for most of my life. I wore a well practiced mask so that few people really knew the inner struggles I had on a daily basis.

It was such a good mask that I mostly fooled myself, until I could no longer do so around ten or twelve years ago.

I thought everybody thought and felt the same way I did; I never knew any different. Now, however, I know what contentment is and what feeling happy is too.

Last week’s EMDR session floored me for around three days. I didn’t expect it to do so. Memories surfaced that I’d pushed away and they distressed me greatly. The emotional exhaustion was intense; all I wanted to do was sleep. That wasn’t possible – as well as having the Spectacular Sea Life colouring book to finish I’m involved in an intense project which requires a lot of focus and concentration of a different kind. It’s also provoking emotional responses in me that are causing me some difficulties. One of those emotional responses resulted in me running away from the internet to watch Star Wars and then to create this mandala.

I have learned how to self-soothe!

The realm of emotions is really tricky for me. For most of my life I numbed my emotions. It was a strategy that helped me to survive as a child and the unhealthy strategy continued into my adult life.

Through EMDR, I’ve discovered that I have emotions, some I never knew existed in me and I had no names for them. Which is odd, as I could always recognise those emotions in others!

Anyway, by becoming more self-aware of my body and emotions and dropping the protective mask I’m having to learn to put boundaries and barriers in place to protect myself. Learning to say no, or the clear equivalent of that little word, is not an easy task. However, I am learning.

Healing from CPTSD is a tricky process, but it really is possible! It takes time though. Well, in my case it has.

Evening Mandala

Evening Mandala ©Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

Yesterday afternoon, I arrived home from EMDR therapy feeling very emotionally drained, fragile and vulnerable. Creating art is one of my self-soothing activities, particularly mandalas.

I’d downloaded a pile of new backgrounds in the past couple of days and wanted to make use of a chalkboard background. It was so dark I knew I needed to make the mandala full of light and colour.

This was a somewhat symbolic choice as my long journey to recovery from CPTSD has been about bringing light into the dark places of my trauma damaged psyche. EMDR has helped me turn the dark into light in terms of my mental and emotional health.

I really enjoyed creating this mandala. Usually, I work with black on white; here I started with colour – the abstract ‘flower’ ring close to the centre. I wanted the colours to glow against the darkness, so I chose lighter shades of aqua and violet. I even added some glowing golden seeds or pollen grains, which is also metaphoric for the personal growth I’m going through in my healing journey.

I then used a white, chalky pen ‘brush’ to draw patterns inside this ring and around it. I decided the white was too plain, so, to break up the white, I blended soft colours into it.

Finally, I added the ring of mushrooms. These had to be my favourite colour – purple. I added some dots to the mushroom caps in lime-green, which is kind of a complementary colour to purple. My last step was to add the stylised foliage behind the mystic mushrooms.

This mandala really helped to soothe me, and it was a pleasure to create. It gave me a break from Inktober and other work that’s ongoing too.

Talking of Inktober, I will be getting Day 29 done later today; I have some things that need doing first.

Oh, the mandala was created digitally using Autodesk Sketchbook Pro and a Microsoft Surface Pen on the screen of a Microsoft Surface Studio (the digital analogues of pen and paper).

I am content!

Raven Mandala ©Angela Porter 2019 | Artwyrd.com

I need to be very clear about something.

I share memes about mental and emotional health, not because I’m struggling myself at this time, but because in the past, I either have or would have found the words and information useful and I know others will find them helpful in their now. I still find them interesting, useful and helpful myself too.

At present, my mental and emotional health is the most resilient it has ever been. I have discovered what inner contentment feels like for the first time in my life. I’m also starting preparing myself to leave EMDR therapy in the coming months.

I have emotional weather like every human being. Some days I’m chatty and smiling and laughing. Other days I’m quieter and more subdued. Those days have always been there, but I wore a mask as a way of protecting myself. The mask wasn’t the authentic me. Very few people have got to see the authentic me, especially on my bad days. If you have seen me like that, then it is because I have trusted you to see me as I am at that time.

I rarely wear that mask any more. It’s exhausting to keep on. However, people who are used to interacting with me only via that mask think there’s something wrong with me, or that I’m experiencing mental ill-health.

That is not the case.

Now I rarely put that mask on. The introverted part of me, the part of me that is happy to sit and listen and observe what is going on and being said. Not the mask that talks and talks, barely pausing for breath, all to avoid questions being asked of me that could lead to me being upset. The mask I wore to try to stop people working out that I had very poor mental and emotional health.

People are making assumptions that because I’m quiet and attentive that I must be mentally ill again. There’s going to be a lot of challenges for me as I leave the mask on going forward. It’s already started to be an *interesting* time.

I am not mentally or emotionally un-well. In fact, I am the most well, mentally and emotionally, than I ever have been in my life.

That doesn’t mean I will never experience emotional weather and tough times again; the shifting sands of emotional and mental wellbeing are all part of being human. 

What it does mean is that I no longer feel the need to wear that mask all the time. That I feel able to let it drop where I feel safe, secure and comfortable. 

It also means that I am able to prevent my gloomy days from spiralling down into a dark pit of deepest despair.

I also am more aware of the person I really am; not the mask I wore to try to fit in, be noticed and survive around others from a very young age.

It’s not easy to let that mask fall. It confused people who have only known the mask, they think I have changed. I am the same person. I just no longer want to wear that mask now that I’ve discovered the parts of me that were buried way, way back in my life.

That I feel safe enough in this word to remove that mask, to show myself and my emotions to others is a testament to how far along my CPTSD healing journey I have come.

Inktober 2019 Day 15

Day 15 #Inktober2019 #Inktober ©Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

This morning has been getting the day 15 of Inktober 2019 drawings done, but also catching up on those I didn’t get done yesterday.

I’ve gone, yet again, for a sketchbook style montage; focusing on line and pattern is something I enjoy. I’ve even managed to create a stylised motif from the cap of Lactarius resimus.

As before, I drew the mushrooms and tangle patterns on Rhodia dot grid paper with a Sakura Pigma Sensei 04 pen. After I’d scanned the page, I increased the contrast to remove the dot grid.

I drew and coloured the cat skull digitally in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro. I just copied my illustration and made it greyscale for the smaller drawing. I thought purple would be a fun way to colour the skull in; cats are my favourite animal and purple is my favourite colour.

I’ve also included a little more hand lettering on this page than in the past. I know my hand lettering needs regular practice, and I do tend to neglect it.
I’m using Inktober 2019 prompts from three Instagrammers:

  • Animal skulls from @book_polygamist
  • Mushrooms from @nyan_sun
  • Tangle patterns from @havepen_willdraw

So, Angela, how are you feeling today?

Today I’m feeling tired and have a rather tender digestive system. I had a really upset stomach yesterday afternoon and through the night, which disturbed my sleep.

Yesterday I was really upbeat, ebullient even. However, that drifted away as I drove home, my head full of the thoughts that I’ll soon be finishing therapy. Today, I feel content, a bit weepy, but the dull grey, dampness of the weather is having its effect. I really do need to get one of the SAD therapy lamps to help me on gloomy days.

I had therapy yesterday, but no EMDR. Instead, I talked about my trip to Llandudno last week and how proud I was of myself for walking in a strange town and going out for a meal by myself.

I also needed to talk about the flash of anger that rose up in me when I saw my narcissistic mother at a family thing on Friday. My therapist was pleased when I told her I felt anger; that is a perfectly healthy response to someone who has abused and neglected you. That I didn’t express that anger in a negative manner, such as screaming, shouting, abusiveness, was also a healthy thing to do.

My therapist was also pleased that I was self-aware enough to recognise this. We had a conversation about how far I had come since I started seeing her over six years ago.

Then, I talked about how I thought it would soon be time for me to end therapy, for now. I got all emotional and tearful about that. I still am as I type it.

I’m working on one trauma in EMDR at the moment, so I’d like to finish that. Also, a couple more have come to mind that need processing. Still, it won’t be long until I leave therapy.

First, I need to complete processing the trauma I’ve been working on, and there are another two that I need to process. But shortly I will be leaving therapy feeling I am good enough for now.

I need to continue with the positive steps made in being out and about by myself with some confidence and not much in the way of fear/anxiety, particularly when I am at home. I am, however, going to plan a short trip away over one or two nights in November, most probably to West Wales. I first need to finish my contracts and commissions.

I need to remember that I can always return to Linda should I have problems in the future. I don’t know what my life is going to bring me and what interactions with people there will be that may bring up a trauma response. Linda will always be there for me to go back to help process the traumas.

So long September

October Coloring Template for the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group
© Angela Porter

October-eve

Can you believe that September is nearly over? I swear that the older I get the faster time seems to go.

Anyway, a new month on the horizon means a new colouring template for the members of the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group. There just has to be a Hallowe’en theme for October’s page, and you can see a sneak peek of it above. I couldn’t resist colouring some of it in as a way of trying out some new digital brushes and some ideas too.

I put some of my favourite All Hallows’ Eve motifs into the drawing, including a raven, skulls, fungi and a vampire cat! I always enjoy drawing stuff to do with Hallowe’en; it’s my favourite time of year because I don’t have any past traumas associated with it.

If you’d like to colour this template, pop over to the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group and become a member; each month I do one drawing exclusively for group members (terms and conditions of use and sharing apply).

About the art

I used a combination of fountain pens and fine-line pens to draw the design on dot grid paper. I then scanned the drawing in and cleaned up smudges and smears digitally.

Then, I set about adding colour digitally using my usual tools – Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, Microsoft Surface Pen and Microsoft Surface Studio. I also added a background and surface texture that I had purchased via Creative Market.

I am really quite pleased with how the colour is bringing the illustration to life, especially the skull in a jar. I hope to be able to continue to add colour as the month progresses, though I do know I have quite a bit of work to do and focus on.

To Inktober or not Inktober, that is the question.

Last year, I really enjoyed taking part in Inktober. Inktober has become a really popular social media event where artists and creatives use a daily prompt to draw (or create) something based on that prompt and share it on social media.

There is an official prompt list, but people do create alternative lists and I may look at some of them as there may be variations that might be less time intensive than last years’ was!

I shall see what I find and go from there I think.

So, Angela, how are you today?

Tired. However, I’m am quite content, my mood is good enough today. I do have EMDR later on, and I often feel ‘flat’ before my therapy session. I think my unconscious mind starts to bring stuff up in preparation for EMDR.

I know that the likelihood of me being exhausted later is rather high, so I’m not planning to do loads of stuff later on. Self care will be the order of the late afternoon and evening.

Dandelion Card and Envelope Mail Art

Dandelion Card and Envelope Mail Art © Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com
Dandelion Card and Envelope Mail Art © Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

About the art.

Materials:

  • 5″ x 2.5″ piece of watercolour paper.
  • 5.25″ x 2.75″ piece of black card.
  • 6″ x 6″ blank kraft card with matching envelope.
  • Distress Inks in Bundled Sage, Weathered Wood and Stormy Sky.
  • Distress Oxide Inks in Iced Spruce and Peeled paint.
  • Small paint brushes – I used a 0 for the details and a 4 for the circles.
  • Mini foam blending tool.
  • A spray bottle containing a mixture of gold Perfect Pearls and water.
  • Tim Holtz’s Distress Micro Glaze and a dedicated foam blending pad. (or just your fingers!).
  • A glass pen or other fine nib dip pen.
  • Gold and Silver inks from J Herbin
  • White Sakura Glaze pen.
  • Gold glitter Uniball Signo Pen.
  • Light grey 05 Unipin pen by Uniball.
  • Glue or strong tape to adhere the card layers (I used Tombow Mono glue)

Method:

I started with a 2.5″ x 5″ piece of watercolour paper and a brush. I used water to draw circles where I wanted the dandelion heads to be. I then used the brush to add Stormy Skies and Weathered Wood Distress Inks into the water, letting it spread as it liked. To ensure I had a darker area of the seedhead, I dropped the watered-down inks to the bottom and left of the circles.

While the circles were drying, I worked on the card base. I applied Peeled Paint and Iced Spruce Distress Oxide Inks with a mini foam blending tool. Then, I sprayed the card with a mixture of gold Perfect Pearls and water and let it dry. Finally, I used Tim Holtz’s Micro Glaze to seal in the Distress Oxides – they react all too quickly with the sweat in fingers.

By the time I’d set the card base aside to dry I could return to the dandelion seed heads. I used a fine paintbrush, and some Titanium Iridescent Watercolour paint from Cosmic Shimmer to add the stems of the seeds. Once they had dried, I added dots of Enchanted Gold Iridescent Watercolour paint to the stems and set the panel aside to dry.

I wanted to add some dandelion heads and seeds to the card base. I used a glass pen along with silver and gold inks from J Herbin. I didn’t think these would adhere to the micro glaze treated surface, but they did. On a darker background, I could really see how these inks look like liquid metals as they flow onto the paper. They didn’t dull as they dried, thanks to the micro glaze acting as a barrier to the Distress Oxide ink.

Next, I wanted to add the stems and leaves to the dandelions on the watercolour paper panel. I used some Bundled Sage, Weathered Wood and Stormy Skies Distress inks for this. I pressed them onto a sheet of plastic, diluted and mixed them with water and a brush and then used the mixture to add the stems and leaves. I started with a lighter colour wash, adding darker colours to the left of the stem and also under the dandelion heads to add some dimension.

Once I was reasonably happy with the stems, I worked on the leaves. Again, I started with a pale-coloured wash to get the shape of the leaves in place. Then I gradually added darker tones to give a sense of dimension.

When I’d finished this, I looked at the panel, and I wasn’t happy with the stems and leaves. They looked unfinished. So, I dug out a light grey Uniball Unipin pen and proceded to outline the stems and leaves. This improved matters greatly to my mind. I like the way the stems and leaves are now defined and how they contrast nicely with the airy, ephemeral feel of the seedheads.

I then set about adding some dots of the gold watercolour around the arrangement of dandelion seedheads, added my symbol and year, and that completed the top panel.

I cut a piece of black card that was approx. 5.25″ x 2.75″ and adhered the top panel to it. I then adhered these layers to the card base.

My last task was to decorate the envelope. I used a white Sakura Glaze pen to draw some dandelion seedheads. When the Glaze pen lines had dried, I used a gold glitter Uniball Signo gel pen to add dots.

My reflections.

I started with a 2.5″ x 5″ piece of watercolour paper and a brush. I used water to draw circles where I wanted the dandelion heads to be. I then used the brush to add Stormy Skies and Weathered Wood Distress Inks into the water, letting it spread as it liked. To ensure I had a darker area of the seedhead, I dropped the watered-down inks to the bottom and left of the circles.

While the circles were drying, I worked on the card base. I applied Peeled Paint and Iced Spruce Distress Oxide Inks with a mini foam blending tool. Then, I sprayed the card with a mixture of gold Perfect Pearls and water and let it dry. Finally, I used Tim Holtz’s Micro Glaze to seal in the Distress Oxides – they react all too quickly with the sweat in fingers.

By the time I’d set the card base aside to dry I could return to the dandelion seed heads. I used a fine paintbrush, and some Titanium Iridescent Watercolour paint from Cosmic Shimmer to add the stems of the seeds. Once they had dried, I added dots of Enchanted Gold Iridescent Watercolour paint to the stems and set the panel aside to dry.

I wanted to add some dandelion heads and seeds to the card base. I used a glass pen along with silver and gold inks from J Herbin. I didn’t think these would adhere to the micro glaze treated surface, but they did. On a darker background, I could really see how these inks look like liquid metals as they flow onto the paper. They didn’t dull as they dried, thanks to the micro glaze acting as a barrier to the Distress Oxide ink.

Next, I wanted to add the stems and leaves to the dandelions on the watercolour paper panel. I used some Bundled Sage, Weathered Wood and Stormy Skies Distress inks for this. I pressed them onto a sheet of plastic, diluted and mixed them with water and a brush and then used the mixture to add the stems and leaves. I started with a lighter colour wash, adding darker colours to the left of the stem and also under the dandelion heads to add some dimension.

Once I was reasonably happy with the stems, I worked on the leaves. Again, I started with a pale-coloured wash to get the shape of the leaves in place. Then I gradually added darker tones to give a sense of dimension.

When I’d finished this, I looked at the panel, and I wasn’t happy with the stems and leaves. They looked unfinished. So, I dug out a light grey Uniball Unipin pen and proceded to outline the stems and leaves. This improved matters greatly to my mind. I like the way the stems and leaves are now defined and how they contrast nicely with the airy, ephemeral feel of the seedheads.

I then set about adding some dots of the gold watercolour around the arrangement of dandelion seedheads, added my symbol and year, and that completed the top panel.

I cut a piece of black card that was approx. 5.25″ x 2.75″ and adhered the top panel to it. I then adhered these layers to the card base.

My last task was to decorate the envelope. I used a white Sakura Glaze pen to draw some dandelion seedheads. When the Glaze pen lines had dried, I used a gold glitter Uniball Signo gel pen to add dots.

Reflections on this project.

When I started, I only had a rough idea of what I’d like to do. I knew I wanted to use watercolour media and stylised dandelion heads.

At first, I tried to make the circles for the seed heads by using a Tombow Dual Brush pen to draw the outer circle. Then, I used water and a brush to get the ink to bleed into the circle.

The result wasn’t pretty.

So, I regrouped and tried Distress Inks and water, and I was much happier with the result, and the card grew from there.

I’m pleased that I ran with a more stylised dandelion head than I’d initially considered. One of my artistic strengths is my ability to create stylised motifs. I certainly think I managed to do that with the dandelion heads and their leaves, especially as watercolour media is not a strength of mine.

I’m also glad I used the iridescent paints to add the details. That makes my inner raven very happy. The use of metallic inks on the card base increased the happiness of the raven even further!

I was about to give up on the card when I’d added the stems and leaves with just Distress Inks; I wasn’t happy with them. However, trying the grey line made all the difference in the world. The dandelions went from almost being consigned to the waste bin to being good enough.

I’m now happy with the card and the envelope; it’s something I’ll try again in the future, maybe. After all, I do have a few more watercolour paper panels that need to be used!

So, Angela, how are you today?

Yesterday, I had EMDR therapy. The session was quite painful, physically, and a bit distressing emotionally. I felt content and optimistic going to the appointment, and I left feeling pretty much the same. However, I suddenly became exhausted when I was half-way home. And I do mean exhausted. I felt my eyes trying to cross and close.

I made it safely home and, after having a little something to eat, I collapsed into bed and slept until early evening.

I was still really tired when I woke, but a random chancing upon crochet patterns for hyperbolic surfaces and ammonites kept me up for a while. Indeed, I lost myself in crocheting hyperbolic forms.

This morning I woke feeling content and optimistic and cheerful. The sun was shining, which always helps my mood for sure.

Even though I was feeling sunny inside, I wanted to spend time on a little project or two today. I didn’t want to push myself after what turned out to be a gruelling EMDR session yesterday. So, that’s why I threw myself into creating this little card.

Now, it’s nearly 7 pm here in the UK, and I’m bone-tired once again. I’ll spend the evening either creating another card or crocheting. Either way, it’s self-care time.