Dydd Gwyl Dewi Hapus! Happy St David’s Day!

March 2020 Coloring template for Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group
© Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

A new month means a new coloring template exclusive to members of the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group.

March the 1st is St David’s Day, the patron saint of Wales, which is where I live. The daffodil is one of his emblems and so it was fitting I included some in this month’s template. As we are heading towards the spring equinox and the official start of spring here in the Northern Hemisphere, I’ve also included plenty of flowers that would be lovely coloured in spring colours. They’d be lovely in colours of all the seasons, however. Flowers are beautiful no matter what season we’re in.

The template is drawn in my signature ‘Entangled’ style of line art, with very stylised flowers, foliage, and even butterflies and shells, along with patterns derived from architecture, sculpture, pottery, and more. Lots of my favourite things all in one abstract image.

If you’d like to print and colour this template, then please pop along to the facebook group where the members, and I, would love to see how you bring it to life with your own kind of colour magic.

March of the Dragon and Daffodils

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

Can you believe there are just a few hours of February left and March is nigh? Time seems to be just flying by for me.

I’ve spent the last 4 hours or so sketching then drawing this design. It’s yet to be coloured. I need to get some other stuff done first.

I sketched the dragon loosely out on paper, scanned the sketch in, then digitally inked it in using various thicknesses of drawing pen brushes.

I just felt some giant daffodils were needed behind the dragon. Or is it a miniature dragon lounging beneath some daffodils?

It’s been a long, long time since I’ve drawn any dragon. At one time, many years ago, I used to draw them a lot. Often it was a sign that something wasn’t right with my mental or emotional health. As I’m getting better and better thanks to EMDR and some effort on my part, I draw dragons and other fantasical things less and less. Though I guess you could argue that a lot of my art is rather abstract and not realistic.

It’s going to be interesting colouring this one in. Of course the dragon has to be red as tomorrow is St David’s Day. The red Welsh dragon is iconic of Wales. Daffodils are too.

As I’ve said, I need to do some other things for a while. Not just because the other things need doing but because I need a break from this. I may very well add some more elements to the design before I get around to adding colour. I think I’d like the colour to bring up the feel of stained glass or perhaps a lino or wood cut. I’ll see when I do it. I may also use this design and add dangles to it too, as Fridays are when I do tend to post a dangle design (A Dangle A Day is now published and available – my tutorial book on how to draw dangle designs).

Tools used – Pencil and Rhodia dot grid paper. Microsoft Surface Pen. Microsoft Surface Studio. Autodesk Sketchbook Pro. Backgrounds purchased via Creative Market.

March Mandala Dangle Design

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

It’s another beautiful, sunny, unseasonably warm late winter day. Daffodils are out, February is almost over and it’s time for me to turn my attention to a design for a BuJo monthly cover.

This is what I came up with today. A simple mandala of sunny yellow daffodils, bright fresh-green leaves and the lovely clear blue skies we’ve had here in the Welsh Valleys over the past few days.

Of course, 1st March is St David’s Day. St David is the patron saint of Wales, and daffodils are the flowers associated with this day.

As a child we used to have a half-day at school for St David’s Day. In the morning there was an Eisteddfod – a kind of concert and competition involving singing and poetry and music and clog dancing and all kinds of creative things. Much of this was done in the Welsh language. And of course My Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau would be the final song that all joined in with – the Welsh National Anthem that is still proudly sung at international rugby matches and other such occasions.

On this day, children went to school dressed in traditional Welsh costume, wearing either a daffodil or leek pinned to their clothing. The boys would try to show how big and tough they were by eating the whole leek raw.

I could’ve tried to draw a red Welsh Dragon for the mandala, but the daffodils are so pretty…maybe I’ll do another with a dragon in, or maybe a dangle design with a dragon as part of it.

I am going to make this template available to members of the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group. It’s free to join and there’s a lovely lot of people there who enjoy coloring too!

This design would make a lovely monthly cover page for a BuJo, or in a planner, diary, journal or on a greeting card or note card.

A jolly day out

Yesterday I had a lovely jolly day out with my friend Liz.

We visited the stone circle at Stanton Drew. I’ve been there before, but Liz hadn’t. It’s bigger in diameter than Stonehenge but smaller than Avebury. It did have several concentric rings of timber posts inside the stones when it was in use, but they have long rotted away.

After that we headed to Wells. Again, I’ve been there but Liz never had. We had a walk through the town and spent some time buying lovely shoes from Moshulu, mine being rather sparkly and lovely!

Cake in the Cathedral cafe, with plenty of tea in my case, coffee in Liz’s, and then it was off to visit the Cathedral. Always nice to see the scissors arch there and the wobbly wonky steps going up to the chapter house.

It was sunny and warm and I managed to get sunburn! Mind you, that happens easily as I’m quite fair-skinned. In the past I’ve even managed to burn and blister through sunblock. I seem to be a bit more resilient. But who would’ve thought I’d’ve got sun burned in February in the UK!

I’ll be putting photos and a few more words on my travel blog – Curious Stops and Tea Shops in the next couple of days.

My mental and emotional health

The sunny, mild weather is helping my mood an awful lot. Leaving EMDR on monday having completed processing a trauma that was really painful to me has also helped. I’m still feeling a bit light headed from it today, but that’s a good thing – a change from the low moods, emotional distress and upset I have felt.

Being out and about and spending time with a friend was also a good thing for me. Lots of laughter and silly conversation along side more serious topics too. That’s what happens when you get two quirky, retired science teachers together.

Entangled art, mental health quote.

©Angela Porter 2019

The Art…

Yesterday, I stumbled upon this quote before I headed off to my EMDR therapy session. I decided I wanted a fairly simple pattern around/behind it, and just simple colours, though I’ve played around a little with adding patterns to the sections.

I printed out the quote and the borders. I Used a Pentel Sign pen to draw the bold, black lines of the design. To colour the design, I used a Microsoft Surface Pen, a Microsoft Surface Studio and Autodesk Sketchbook Pro. Behind the design I added a paper texture which, with some wizardry of Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, I was able to add to the design to add some texture and imperfection.

Walks, EMDR and being brave…

I had a lovely drive to Neath for my EMDR therapy and I arrived with enough time to go seek out some yarn to buy for my knitting/crochet stash as well as have a walk around Victoria Park in the winter sunshine.

The first blooming daffodils were proudly holding their bright yellow heads up for all to see, and there were signs of plenty more to follow. Snowdrops, crocuses, pansies were all there to be seen too. Lichens on the bark of trees created a beautiful natural tapestry of colour and pattern. It really was lovely to see.

Without the leaves on the trees to muffle the songs of the birds it was quite raucous at times, but raucous in a beautiful way. The birds didn’t quite drown out the sound of traffic, people or the tinny sounding music coming from the speakers in the bandstand, but they were loud enough that I could listen to them and filter out the other sounds.

It was nice to be out in the fresh air after a few days of barely leaving my home as I recovered from the emotionally draining days of last week. It was nice to take a space to breathe before going in for therapy.

The quote above was a starting point for my session, during the usual reflection on how last weeks EMDR had affected me and how I’d been through the week. One of the weeks sticking points that cause me some discomfort was the many people telling me I’m brave for telling my story, for going to therapy and how good it is that I’m showing people that it is possible to recover from mental illness.

Brave? Me? Surely not! That goes against everything I was led to believe about myself from as young as I could remember.

“You’re fat, thick, stupid, ugly. No one loves you. No one will love you. No one will be your friend. You’re useless. You’re a failure. So and so is much better than you at everything. Don’t bother me. You’re making it up. You’re’ to blame for all of this. Why do you want to bother doing that?”

If I asked for help I was either made fun of, dismissed or ignored. Me and my feelings weren’t important.

No matter what I did to try to please or make people proud of me or to acknowledge how well I had done it was never good enough. There was always a put-you-down.

The only time my narcissistic mother ever expressed any pride in me wasn’t really pride in ME.

My daughter has graduated.” ” My daughter has a PhD.”

She has three daughters. I was never mentioned by name, not even if I was stood next to her. It was all about her. I was only useful for what could make her look better, for her to be the centre of attention.

These messages were taken up by other people around me. They became ingrained in me as the view I had of myself. I still speak to myself using these phrases when I’m in a fragile state mentally or emotionally.

I’ve known about the way I think about myself and where it has come from long while. However, the realisation that my feelings have never been important to anyone, not even to myself. I’ve pushed my feelings, my needs away so that other people don’t get upset or angry with me, so I make sure they’re always happy, even if inside I’m suffering in some way. This was something that came out of the very, very painful, emotional and frustrating EMDR session that followed.

Frustrating as I have very, very few memories of my past. I was made aware I was trying to hard to find a memory and reminded that part of cPTSD is hiding painful memories away, forgetting about them as a way of coping. I was told it’s ok not to have any memory. That I just need to let things be as they are in EMDR.

I think I’m trying so hard to ‘succeed’ at finding a memory, not to disappoint, the harder I try, the less likely it is for a memory to appear. The funny thing is, that once I accepted that through all the tears and anger and frustration with myself, the memories just appeared. There were so many that we just bundled them together as a ‘cluster’ and worked with them.

Then, through the tears and the pain in my throat and heart, a quiet, small voice told me that I had done nothing wrong and I did not deserve any of this. That I deserve better.

We tried working on me believing that through EMDR techniques. That caused me more tears and upset and emotional pain. So we called an end to the EMDR and talked a little about things.

Through EMDR I’m revealing more and more of my story. It causes me pain when new parts are discovered or insights are gained. But without that revealing taking place there is no hope of me healing. My aim is to tell my story without feeling any pain.

I was very tearful with weird memories cropping up as I drove home and through the evening. I had weird and disturbing dreams through the night. I woke with a blinding headache, which is still with me despite some painkillers. I feel so tired, weepy. However, I know there’s been a breakthrough, more than one actually, through yesterday’s therapy session.

The last words my therapist left me with were that she thinks I am very brave. Brave for telling my story. Brave for seeking out therapy to help me heal. Brave for persevering with EMDR when it can cause me a lot of distress and upset. Brave for showing people that recovery from mental health problems is possible. Brave for telling people that seeking therapy/counselling is a strong thing to do as we are helped to learn the skills we need to regain our mental and emotional wellbeing.

I don’t feel brave. I don’t understand how people think that I am. I do know I want to tell what I feel able to do so of my story to let others know they’re not alone. I do want to tell people about my journey to recovery so they can see that recovery is possible. I tell it to try to help others.

I don’t do it for attention. I don’t do it to have people feel sorry for me. That is my narcissistic mother, and others, still putting me down via the voice that is my inner critic.