Red and White Mandala

Red and White Mandala ©Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

It has been so lovely to be able to draw this morning. A mandala is a lovely way to warm up my hand-eye coordination and wake up my creativity.

This is an unusual colour combination for me. The bold red contrasts so well with the white line art of the mandala. I think it creates quite a startling design.

I also like the way the beads and teardrops make the mandala seem to shine. I also like the way the fresh, new white is pushing the darkness away to reveal the brighter, vibrant red.

That’s somewhat symbolic for my challenges in life at the moment it seems. My mental and emotional health is good; the contentedness is there. I have some new challenges in life that are engaging my mind in a different kind of focus and concentration. These challenges are, symbolically, to make the world a brighter, more hopeful place.

Yesterday, my day was taken up with meetings and planning. By the time I’d done that I was too exhausted to do any art.

Today, I had a clear plan of what needed to do so I have most of the day to focus on art, starting with this mandala.

I’ll need to get a big mug of tea before I start to ‘art’!

Flowers

Flowers, Art ©Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

I was absolutely exhausted yesterday evening. Thankfully, I had a long, deep sleep last night and have woken feeling more alert but still fuzzy headed.

Between going to the dentist, sorting out other stuff, I finally managed to get a little drawing for my social media done, along with a quote that I think is most appropriate at the moment.

I used Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, Microsoft Surface Pen and Microsoft Surface Studio to complete the artwork, along with Affinity Publisher to do the typography.

It’s good enough for now. I would’ve liked to have added colour the flowers, but that would’ve taken me quite a few hours I think. Still, it’s there, lurking in my digital art folders for the future.

I wanted to draw simple, flowers, and chose to draw them mandala style. They’re cute and naive enough to work, I think.

So, it’s now some lunch for me and then to turn my attention to the Sea-life colouring book I’m working on!

Monday evening

Mandala 11 November 2019 ©Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

It’s been a bit of a crazy day. Between trying to sort out things for a project I’m involved in, some deeply tiring and seemingly powerful EMDR therapy, and a meeting to round off the day, I’ve not had much time for art. I did manage to get one template done for my ‘Splendid Sea Life’ colouring book for the Creative Haven series from Dover Publications Inc. I have also spent some self-care and self-soothing time this evening creating this relatively simple mandala.

Mandalas are incredibly soothing to draw, especially black and white line art ones with a fair amount of repeating patterns.

Digital work using Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, Microsoft Surface Pen and Microsoft Surface Studio.

I’m so tired I can barely type correctly!

Remembrance Sunday Mandala

Remembrance Sunday Mandala ©Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

A Short History of Remembrance Poppies

In Flanders Fields

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.


We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.


Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.


John McCrae, May 1915

Poppies have been the symbol of remembrance for those fallen on the fields of battle since Moina Belle Michael was deeply moved by the last verse of John McCrae’s poem. She vowed to always wear a red poppy of Flanders Fields on her lapel in memory of those who had died in WWI, and wrote this poem in response to McCrae’s.

We Shall Keep The Faith

Oh! you who sleep in Flanders Fields,
Sleep sweet – to rise anew!
We caught the torch you threw
And holding high, we keep the Faith
With All who died.


We cherish, too, the poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led;
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies,
But lends a lustre to the red
Of the flower that blooms above the dead
In Flanders Fields.


And now the Torch and Poppy Red
We wear in honor of our dead.
Fear not that ye have died for naught;
We’ll teach the lesson that ye wrought
In Flanders Fields.


Moina Belle Michael

Moina wrote her poem on 9th November 1918 while working at the 25th Annual Conference of the YMCA War Secretaries’ Headquarters in New York.

Some of the delegates approached her and gave her a $10 donation in appreciation of the flowers she had used to brighten up the place. She showed them the poem she had written and vowed she would buy twenty-five red poppies with the donation, which she did later that day. On returning to duty, delegates at the conference taking place in the headquarters crowded around her, asking for poppies to wear. She gave out all but one of the poppies, which she wore herself.

Moina campaigned to get the red poppy adopted as the symbol for Remembrance for the fallen. However, it wasn’t until the 29th September 1920, that the National American Legion adopted the red poppy as a symbol of remembrance.

Anna Guerin, a French woman, was present at the National American Legion convention. She was inspired by Moina’s efforts, and saw how the poppy could be extended to raise funds for the needy.

Anna founded the American and French Children’s League, and she organised French women, children and war veterans to make cloth poppies to be sold, the proceeds of which could be used to help fund the restoration of the war ravaged regions of France.

In 1921, Anna either went herself or sent representatives to America, Australia, Britain, Canada and New Zealand, to tell them about the poppy and the work of the American and French Children’s League.

Anna went in person to meet Field Marshal Earl Douglas Haig, founder and President of The British Legion. She persuaded him to adopt the Flanders Poppy as an emblem for The Legion. This was formalized in the autumn of 1921.

The first British Poppy Appeal occurred in 1921, in the run up to 11th November – the third anniversary of the Armistice of the Great War.

Since then, red poppies have been sold during October and early November to raise funds for the charitable causes of the Royal British Legion.

About my Remembrance Mandala

I chose green and red for the background to the white poppies.

Green represents the battlefields that so many lives were lost on, and so many more changed forever.

Red represents the blood spilled that soaked into the ground.

The black lines represent the death of so very, very many during the World Wars, and so many other wars and conflicts since.

Why have I not coloured the poppies red?

White peace poppies are warn by many. Not as a sign of disrespect, but as a sign of respect and a sign of hope for peace in the world, so that no more lives will be lost through war and conflict.

My white poppies are that wish for peace, but also tolerance, compassion and understanding. They are also a reminder of how the causes of past wars still haunt humanity today, of how hate-speech is on the rise, how societies have become divided in ways that are reminiscent of the times before WWII.

I have always hoped I would live in a world where peace reigned between all peoples, where there was enough for everyone, and everyone’s needs were catered for. I hope for a world described in John Lennon’s “Imagine”.

Yes, I know I’m a dreamer, an idealist. I’m also a realist and know it’s not likely in my lifetime. It doesn’t stop me dreaming and doing what little I can to help make the world a better place.

Before anyone complains or criticises me, my father was a veteran of WWII, Korea and Burma. He rarely spoke of his experiences; when he did, it was usually the humorous ones. Once, when he was drunk one New Year’s Eve, he mentioned he’d been at a concentration camp. When he realised what he’d said, he refused to speak any more and I will never forget the haunted, pained, deeply saddened look on his face that showed the ghosts of his past had risen up to torment him once again. I have the deepest respect for my father, for what he must have gone through, and for how he carried that pain with him through his life.

I have the greatest respect for all those who have served in the armed forces, for all they give to help to restore and maintain peace.

I do, however, wish there was no need of them; that all nations, all religions, all people could come together and work out how we can all live together in peace and find better ways to work out our differences rather than through threats, violence and hate-filled rhetoric.

There Will Be Peace

There will be peace:
when attitudes change; 
when self-interest is seen as part of common interest; 
when old wrongs, old scores, old mistakes 
are deleted from the account; 
when the aim becomes co-operation and mutual benefit 
rather than revenge or seizing maximum personal or group gain; 
when justice and equality before the law 
become the basis of government; 
when basic freedoms exist; 
when leaders – political, religious, educational – and the police and media 
wholeheartedly embrace the concepts of justice, equality, freedom, tolerance, and reconciliation as a basis for renewal; 
when parents teach their children new ways to think about people.
There will be peace: 
when enemies become fellow human beings. 

David Roberts  1999.

Mandala

Mandala 9 Nov 2019 ©Angela Porter |Artwyrd.com

This morning, I needed the calming and soothing process of drawing a mandala.

The last few days have been manic, tiring and emotional. I’ve also had to use a lot of mental concentration on a project that involves me. All this has resulted in evenings filled with headaches and emotional vulnerability.

I’m aware of what’s happening to me, and I do take steps to make sure that I practice self-care and self-soothing.

Drawing mandalas is always self-soothing for me. The abstract nature of them means anything goes, within the foundation of rings and angles. Drawing repeating patterns and shapes is also a soothing activity.

Today, I chose to draw in black and white and add a grey, textured background. Some subtle shading in greys helps to add the illusion of dimension to the mandala.

I drew this mandala digitally, using my favourite tool triad of Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, Microsoft Surface Pen and Microsoft Surface Studio. This made it easy to alter what I wasn’t happy with as I worked on the mandala. This removed a source of potential stress and upset and allowed the perfectionist in me to smile.

That doesn’t mean there aren’t any imperfections in the design; there are plenty of them! It just means I can fix the big mistakes quickly. I wish it were as easy to do that in life, for myself but also for others.

I enjoyed drawing the mandala. It has helped to soothe my fragile head and heart and has set me up for the rest of my arty, creative day.

So, Angela, how are you feeling today?

I’ve not written much about my mental and emotional health lately. It’s mostly been good. However, I’ve had some challenges with it and have had some weepy, teary times.

Previously, I’ve mentioned that I was looking at leaving therapy soon. I still think that will be the case, but these challenges have caused some flotsam and jetsam from my past to surface. They need to be processed and released before I consider leaving therapy.

I have so much to do in terms of work and other commitments that I really do need to schedule in that self-care time. Also, I’m aware that the challenges I’m currently facing could, potentially, harm my mental and emotional health. All the work of the past five years in therapy could, possibly, be undone. I can’t allow that to happen.

During the recent difficulties, I’ve found my emotions and thoughts harking back to the dark days of my poor mental and emotional health. I managed to stop myself falling into the bottomless, dark pit of despair and anguish. I recognised it was happening. Also, I recognised the trigger for this. It was strong enough to breathe some life into the pale ghosts of my past. Those ghosts have now been dispelled, but I know they can rise to haunt me at my vulnerable moments.

What scared me most was that I lost that awareness of inner contentment that has been present for many months now. It’s now back, once the ghosts had been returned to their realm – the past.

I’ve said it before, and no doubt I’ll say it again – emotions are the weather of my inner being. Things happen or are said that can stir up a storm. The storm opens a portal to the past and ghosts can find their way to trouble my mind and feelings. I’m now more aware of myself, my emotions, and how to cope with this weather. I’m back to a calm sea where the contentment isn’t shrouded by the shades of the past.

Being able to banish these ghosts myself shows how far I’ve come since my darkest days.

Terracotta mandala

Terracotta Mandala © Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

This morning I awoke with a pounding headache, an introvert’s hangover from a therapy session and a busy meeting in the evening with lots of people and noise. A big mug of tea, a couple of Anadin Extra and the head has cleared somewhat, though I still feel quite fuzzy-headed and tired.

Despite the headache, or perhaps because of it, I slipped into mandala mode to start my day. I had wanted to include some wise words in it, but my mind just wasn’t functioning clearly enough.

Unusually for me, I chose a terracotta-coloured kraft paper background to draw with a creamy coloured ink. I added some shading behind the design in places, just to try to increase the depth and dimension. I’m not sure I’ve achieved it well this time, however. Once my head fully clears, I may do the shading afresh.

The resulting mandala is far more geometric and structured than is often the case with me, especially the outside ring. However, I’m quite pleased with it, especially given the state of my head!

I do like the warm, earthy tones of paper and ink in this design. The colours have been quite comforting and soothing to work with.

I drew this digitally, using my favourite combination of Autodesk Sketchbook Pro along with my Microsoft Surface Pen and Microsoft Surface Studio (which are the digital analogues of pen and paper).

Tuesday Thoughts

Tuesday Thoughts 5 November 2019 ©Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

Another mandala today, this time with my favourite Hafiz quote in the centre.

I wanted a mandala that seemed to be almost glowing for this quote. Also, I added a very subtle rainbow colouring to it too. I’m quite happy with this mandala, though some darker shading behind some of the parts, along with some subtle highlights, would’ve helped with the dimensionality of the design.

I didn’t hand-letter the quote; instead I used a clear and simple pair of fonts. I do want to learn how to create circles of typography; I think the quotes would then be more sympathetic to the circular geometry of mandalas. I’ll need a bit of time to play around in Affinity Publisher and Affinity Designer to see if I can achieve this. Mind you, I do need to practice my hand lettering a lot more too.

All the same, I’m still happy with this design. The lettering will do – for now.

I always enjoy drawing mandalas, and it’s nice to revisit the line-art style of mandalas with lots of intricate patterns in them once again. They are so delicate, airy, lacy in feel compared to my more arty, abstract, coloured mandalas. They’re also a lot quicker to create!