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.

Mandala

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

I love the combination of teals and coppery tones so I chose to use them as part of the colour scheme in this mandala. A simple black outline mandala with no crazily intricate detailed patterns included. I’m not so sure about the purple-ish I used for the ‘crystals’ in the other most rings of the mandala though.

Drawn and coloured in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro using a Microsoft Surface Pen on the screen of a Microsoft Surface Studio very, very late last night and into the wee small hours of this morning.

Today is likely to be another self-care day. I thought I was in a place where I could do loving kindness meditations again this morning. I’m not. So much emotional distress and even physical pain during the part of the meditation that involves bringing loving kindness to myself. I have no problem sending loving kindness to another being I feel love for. I have no problem sending it out to all of the Earth. Still, the nasty messages of the inner critic are fodder for EMDR. And it’s such a lovely sunny, late winter day here in the Welsh Valleys.

Morning Mandala

© Angela Porter 2019 Artwyrd.com
© Angela Porter 2019 Artwyrd.com

Today’s morning warm up art – a mandala, drawn digitally. I added the colour with a gradient tool. Maybe I’ll go back and add colour section by section at another time.

I used my usual tool trifecta – Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, Microsoft Surface Pen and Microsoft Surface studio.

The soundtrack to my work has been The Killers Station on Amazon Music.

My mood isn’t wonderful today. Seems the effects of EMDR on Monday are lingering still. I do need to write about some thoughts I had while doing this mandala. Complex swirls and circles of my life, but also how throughout my life I’ve been conditioned to think and feel as someone else has told me to think and feel. Started early in life, an easy pattern for others to make use of later in life. A pattern that has led to repeated trauma time and time again.

I’m now aware of it though. So it’s something to be processed and released in EMDR and replaced with a better way of thinking and acting. That’s not easy as it’s a totally new way to be learned, not just a reinstatement of an old, healthier way of being. That’s the problem with childhood trauma; it’s the way I’ve forgotten much of my early life, even the good bits. I’ve realised that I’ve never known anything other than constant anxiety and depression, amongst other things. I don’t remember any times where I was genuinely happy and at peace.

Each time I recognise something in me, a way of thinking and acting that is not healthy and bring it to the light and the ‘magic’ of EMDR, the closer I get to that tipping point of having dealt with more trauma from my past than the trauma left to deal with. The problem is the stuff that’s left is the seriously tricky icky stuff.

Any way, it looks like today is the fourth self-care day in a row. Not sure what I’ll do today, though I do have some errands to run this morning.

Monogram S dangle design

©Angela Porter 2019

Over the last couple of days we’ve had some glorious late winter, sunny, mild weather. The kind of weather that can uplift my spirits.

It’s also lovely to see the late winter flowers bursting into bloom – snowdrops, crocuses, daffodils – and even celandines and daisies showing the heads in the sunshine. I also spotted the first signs of pussy willow about to burst into its furry delightfulness. The cascading catkins always lift my spirits. They’re all signs that winter is coming to an end and spring is waiting ready to burst forth.

I woke this morning with the idea of a simple monogram dangle design in my head. I knew it had to have a pusscat in it along with a snowdrops. It’s been a while since I included a cat in a dangle design, but today is the perfect day for that. Actually, every day is a perfect day to draw a cute, cuddly cat. A white cat to match the white snowdrops. I also included a paw print charm; my beautiful white cat, Cuffs, certainly left very deep paw prints on my heart and though I said goodbye to him last year after over 16 years with him as my companion he lives on in those paw prints and my memories of him.

The monogram had to be an S for snowdrops and spring. The monogram also had to have a spring flower as part of it’s design.

I’ve chosen quite a pastel and simple colour scheme for this dangle design to reflect the more pastel colours of spring. I also included a black and white chequerboard frame for the monogram, to add some contrast and some ‘weight’ to the design, grounding it onto the paper.

A sunny blue background with the cooler sky colours of winter but with the warmth of the sun seemed appropriate. It reminds me of these glorious days we’ve had that are presaging the coming spring.

I started by sketching my design out with pencil on paper. I scanned this sketch in and then re-drew the design with a technical pen ‘brush’ in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro using a Microsoft Surface Pen on the screen of a Microsoft Surface Studio. Then it was time to colour, again working digitally in this instance.

My final job was to choose a square background and I wanted one that spoke of sunshine and the threshold of spring, so I went for a soft yellow watercolour wash.

The whole task has taken me around 2 hours to do. It’s a simple design, with simple colouring.

If you like this dangle design and would like to learn how to draw your own then my book ‘A Dangle A Day’ takes you through the steps and has lots of dangles you can use to create your own designs as well as suggestions for where you could use them.

Valentine’s Day Vespers

©Angela Porter 2019

As the velvet-black star-sprinkled night settles over the world, I post this second heartfilled and heartfelt mandala.

May this mandala be a reminder to you to be your own best friend, to speak kindly to yourself, to show yourself the compassion that you would show another, that you are loved.

Valentine’s Day 2019 – a mandala

©Angela Porter 2019

I created a really simple mandala for Valentine’s day. A day that is about love. A mandala that doesn’t have a single black line in it! That’s rather unusual for me!

Soft greens and pinks really speak to me about self-care – which is about taking care of oneself, treating yourself and speaking to yourself kindly and with compassion.

Compassion to oneself, that’s what ‘loving oneself’ is all about. Being your own best friend, speaking to yourself as you would a best friend in need.

This is one of the hardest things I have to learn as part of my cPTSD recovery.

I say learn, as it’s something I’ve never done or knew how to do, ever. Being kind to myself in words and deeds.

The inner critic is never kind, caring or patient and never ever has good advice. I think I’m a good friend to others, I try to be kind, caring and patient and if I’m asked I try to give good advice, even if that is ‘I’m sorry, I don’t know the answer to that but lets see if we can find it together’.

I’m very, very rarely, if ever, kind to myself in that way. If anything, the emotional neglect and abuse I experienced from the earliest time I can remember taught me to hate myself, that I wasn’t worth anything. It’s hard to overturn beliefs from the past, beliefs about myself fostered by the attitudes and behaviours of others towards me when I have no point of reference to when I didn’t think about myself in this way. The inertia of the past, the power of the inner critic constantly wants to drag me back to how things always have been in terms of how I think and feel about myself.

However, every single time I manage to show myself some caring, some kindness, some patience, some compassion it’s a victory over the inner critic. And each little victory is vital as it is teaching me that I can learn to be that friend to myself that I so desperately need.

So, Valentine’s day is about love, we tell others we love them, but let’s make today also a day where we show ourselves some kindness, compassion, patience and caring, for the sake of our mental and emotional wellbeing. And lets not just do that on this one day, lets make it a part of every day of our lives. Lets learn how to befriend ourselves.

A simple mandala

©Angela Porter 2019

Yesterday was very much a quiet, self-care day. Today, I’m feeling better in terms of energy and concentration.

This mandala was a product of yesterday’s quiet downtime doing art for arts sake. Though it was this morning I thought I’d like golden outlines to the design rather than the usual black. It took me a while to get my head around doing that!

I like the way I’ve repeated the simple spiral pattern in three layers. Keeping the colour palette simple has also worked nicely for me, even though the combination of colours is an unusual one for me. The colours remind me of cacti with flowers and a soft, golden sun.

I could mention that green is about achieving balance, the red is the energy I need to stoke up on, but a softer, more gentle kind of motivational energy. Golden sunshine is the healing I see. The way the spirals flow outwards and are unfurling suggests growth , springing forth from seeds long lain dormant in the ground of my soul. There’s hints of buds ready to bloom there too. Maybe the golden background and lines are suggesting that I am worth more than I think I am, that I do deserve better.

Oops, I have mentioned that! But somehow this mandala seems to show how I’m progressing in my recovery from cPTSD.

Now how’s that for an insightful piece of art?

No matter whether you agree with the interpretation of the mandala or not, it was definitely a calming and soothing experience, both the drawing and colouring.

It is a piece of digital art. I used my usual Microsoft Surface Pen, Microsoft Surface Studio and Autodesk Sketchbook Pro to create this mandala.