Happy Birthday Brett – all coloured

Happy Birthday Brett © Angela Porter 2019 Artwyrd.com
Happy Birthday Brett © Angela Porter 2019 Artwyrd.com

I finally got round to finishing colouring the Happy Birthday coloring template I created for Brett, the lovely person who runs the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group.

I drew the design on Winsor and Newton Bristol Board using Unipin pens and then I’ve added colour digitally, as well as a rose gold coloured and textured background.

I chose pink as a fairly dominant colour as Brett loves pink so much.

Oh, to colour I used Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, Microsoft Surface Pen and Microsoft Surface Studio.

So Angela, how have you been?

I’ve been quiet on social media over the past few days. I’ve needed some quiet time to myself, which has involved an awful lot of crocheting. I’ve not even done anything much that has been arty either.

The reason for this is that I’ve not been feeling all that well. Nothing serious. just not well. I had a migraine on Sunday that took all day to go and left me exhausted.

Also, I’ve not been feeling right in my digestive system/stomach for a few days. This happens on a fairly regular basis (monthly) but this time it was rather unpleasant.

Last night, it hit new highs as I woke hot, sweaty, nauseous and headachy. Thank goodness it was rather chilly here in the UK and I had the windows open. The cool air was pleasant as I lay uncovered. It all passed eventually without me being sick, however I still feel yeuchy today and very, very tired.

Yesterday I had EMDR and that was an interesting session that left me rather tired later in the day. Another inner child made their presence known and I had help to communicate with them, which was so much easier after last weeks session. This child was all to do with loud voices, arguing voices and being startled and upset by them. So, we did some EMDR work with the emotions that came up from that child. A lot of body work was being done with pains around my body as the trauma was being processed with EMDR. Also, lots of memories of raised voices, harsh voices, argumentative voices…and just noisy environments.

I’ve known for a long while that I can be triggered into startle or panic mode when I hear a sudden loud voice or noise around me. I try to remember to take noise cancelling headphones or earphones with me so I can listen to music and not hear such sounds when I’m out and about, especially when I’m feeling rather fragile.

Saturday I flinched and became a bit panicked as I was talking to someone while waiting for a meeting outside a building in my local town. Sunday evening someone spoke quite harshly to me. I don’t think they realised it, but the response in me was one of upset and to withdraw from the situation, permanently.

So, we work with this in EMDR to heal those traumatised parts of me represented by these children.

Hmm, I wonder if these different aspects of me from times when I’ve been traumatised are coming forward so easily because I have so few concrete memories of events.

Either way, as crazy as it may seem to you, it seems to be helping me, and that is all that matters as far as I’m concerned.

“Inspiration” WIP

"Inspiration" WIP ©Angela Porter 2019 - Artwyrd.com
“Inspiration” WIP ©Angela Porter 2019 – Artwyrd.com

Three more hours work done colouring this drawing in digitally. Slow process, but an engaging one, especially as I’m still exploring how different brushes and effects work. Slow but I think it’s coming along quite nicely.

I do need a bit of a break from it now for a little while, however. More tea is needed and it’s about lunchtime.

Drawn with Tombow Fudenosuke and Lamy fountain pens on Winsor and Newton bristol board. Digitally coloured using Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, Microsoft Surface Pen and Microsoft Surface Studio.

So, how are you today Angela?

This section is becoming a regular feature on my blog, isn’t it?

It’s important for us to talk about our mental and emotional health and recognise how they are in the way we do for our physical health. I hope that when I share little bits of my continuing tale of recovery from CPTSD it may help to break down the stigma and discrimination that there is around mental health and wellbeing.

Today I’m feeling ok, content. That’s all I have to say about my emotional and mental state today – contented.

Entangled floral for June

All coloured! © Angela Porter - Artwyrd.com
All coloured! © Angela Porter – Artwyrd.com

I finally finished colouring this one today. It’s the June template for the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group.

There’s rather a lot of purple and teal-blue in ths one, as well as greens. I do have trouble with colour from time to time, it has to be said.

This was drawn with Uniball Unipin pens on Winsor and Newton Bristol board. I then added colour using Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, a Microsoft Surface Pen and Surface Studio.

So, how are you feeling today Angela?

I’m actually feeling quite content, almost happy I think. My mood has been improving over the past week or so, but it’s really headed towards contentedness in the pass couple of days for sure. It’s a welcome place to be in for sure.

I got myself off to Hay On Wye today. It was a quick visit for me. I wanted to go to Bartrums to get a new Leuchtturm 1917 dot grid notebook and came away with a lovely pastel coloured Lamy fountain pen in Mint. Oh, the Leuchtturm is in Pacific Blue, which is a petrel blue. I also wanted to pop into Satori to look at the crystals, minerals and jewellery there. I did come away with a piece of Atlantisite- a combination of yellowish-green serpentine with inclusions of purple stichtite. I also picked up a piece of sunstone. Why? Because I liked them, a lot!

What surprised me, though, was how I found myself walking tall and proud, looking at the world around me and smiling.

When I’m in a not so good place emotionally/mentally, I tend to hold my head down, try to shrink my nearly 6 foot tall and rather hefty body into a smaller space so I may avoid being noticed. To that end I also avoid eye contact with people.

Today I didn’t do that. I faced the world almost boldly for me.

I really would like this feeling to last, or if I have a dip, for it to return again soon.

I have experienced feeling like this from time to time in the past, but not for a goodly long while, and not in a way that I’ve really paid attention to it.

The anxiety I have on a day to day basis was there, but just a faint background noise. It didn’t stop me from doing what I wanted to do, though I have to say it was a close call as I was deciding whether to go to Bartrum’s or The Pencil Case in Cowbridge. Bartrums won out because I wanted to visit Satori too.

Anyway, today has been a nice day to have a point of reference as to how I’d like to feel for the rest of my life, mostly. I know that being like this every moment of every day isn’t likely to be realisitic; things happen in life that knock our emotions, we all have emotional weather. However, to be able to return to this place would be a good thing when that weather gets stormy.

Something to talk about in EMDR therapy tomorrow.

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.

The magic of colour – WIP

The magic of colour WIP 27 May 2019 © Angela Porter - Artwyrd.com
The magic of colour WIP 27 May 2019 © Angela Porter – Artwyrd.com

I’ve spent an hour or two this morning adding some colour to this design. I’m using fairly bright and vibrant colours as well as making use of the way complementary colours vibrate against each other. There are some sections that are more pastel and even monochrome, but I’ll see how they blend into the design as I complete more and more of the coloring.

Instead of my usual golden tones for the outlines of arches and swirls I’ve used more coppery tones. Again, I’ll see how that works out as more colour is added.

Just in case you’re wondering, the design was drawn and hand lettered using Uniball Unipin pens on Winsor and Newton Bristol Board. I then scanned the drawing and am adding colour digitally using Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, Microsoft Surface Pen and Microsoft Surface Studio.

So, how are you today Angela?

I’m feeling better today compared to yesterday and a lot better than the previous couple of weeks. I think a meditation session last night really helped.

I’ve not had a regular meditation practice for a long while. The ironic thing is that I meditate regularly when I’m feeling fine, but when the CPTSD crashes in I don’t meditate, even though it can help.

Recently, I think the reticence on my part to meditate has been due to some rather emotional and distressing reactions to loving kindness meditations. Reactions that I’m not resilient enough to work with and resolve, not yet anyways.

I feel I have some more energy today as well, though there’s a lingering tiredness here as well.

It’s taken a week to get to a position where I feel fairly content, not so sad and lacking any oompf.

I’m not entirely sure I’ll have the confidence to go out during the day. Mind you, it’s a bank holiday here in the UK so it’s likely to be busy on the roads and anywhere I may like to go. I’ll see how I get along today.

The magic of colour – WIP

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

The line art for this particular entangled drawing is now done and I’ve started to add colour and texture.

The magic of colour is to bring the design to life, to really accentuate the layers by adding depth and dimension. It’s also very much a personal expression of the colours I like and how I like to put them together.

I finished drawing the design with Uniball Unipin pens on Winsor and Newton Bristol board earlier this morning. After scanning the drawing into the ‘puter, I edited the image and cleaned up smudges before starting to add colour. My tools for this are my usual trio of Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, Microsoft Surface Pen and Microsoft Surface Studio.

I feel a little inspired to start another drawing in this particular series of inspirational words along with entangled art. As well as leaving some white space. I can now see the value of white space in my art. It helps to define various areas of the design. I also like the way the design seems to float above the background too – another bit of magic.

I still like to create areas of dense pattern, but I’m seeing the value of balancing them with either white space or areas of simpler pattern.

I know that the use of colour will help to separate out the different motifs and patterns within those denser areas.

And how are you feeling today, Angela?

I’m actually not too bad today, so far at least. I’m feeling calm, a tad tired, quiet but quite content. I’m actually quite happy with my artwork and not doubting myself with this particular design as I was yesterday. That’s an improvement on the past few days for sure.

I seem to be rising up from the trough of the tsunami that resulted from some emotional triggers that has overwhelmed me during the past two weeks or so (or maybe even my whole life – though that could be a very complex image of many, many tsunami, storm waves, freak waves that have resulted in CPTSD … but lets keep it simple for now!).

No need to rush climbing that wave though; give it time for some of the energy it carries to dissipate so it shrinks in size and the journey up will be a little easier and a lot more stable I think.

So, being gentle to myself is what I’m trying to say with that rather muddled metaphor.

Gentle means self care, accepting that where I am now is good enough, and not to put so much pressure on myself to do things that I’d like to do but perhaps am not quite capable of at the moment due to my proximity to the trough of the ebbing tsunami.

Today I think that means art, working on a lovely shawl I’ve been crocheting (which is in ombre shades of pink from a delicate pink to a deep cerise) and I’m awaiting the delivery of some bluetooth, noise cancelling headphones which will be great for guided meditations, music and audiobooks – both at home and away from home.

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.