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).

Inktober 2019 – Day 31

Inktober 2019 Day 31 ©Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

Happy Hallowe’en to you all and here is my last skully Inktober drawing for 2019.

The skull prompt was ‘duck’, so I just had to draw a duck-billed dinosaur (hadrosaur) skull! I’ve always had a love of dinosaurs and prehistoric critters, so it’s fab I can include one of their skulls.

I wanted to do a woodcut style skull drawing, but I wanted to use white ink as well as black. So, I used some digital craft paper to draw on. I think it’s worked out well, though some areas of highlights look a bit too geometric. I’ve also just realised that I didn’t add highlights/shadows to the teeth. Oh well.

The mushroom prompt was, quite appropriately, Rubroboletus satanus, and you can see outline drawings of the mushroom in the mandala.

The tangle pattern for today was Florz, and that forms the tiled floor pattern.

When I’d completed the mandala on the same kraft paper as the skulls, I realised that I needed a lighter background, so I just added a different kraft paper to the background.

Reflecting on Inktober

I’ve enjoyed Inktober this year for sure. Picking prompt lists that appealed to me helped a lot. I did start off trying out different ways of approaching drawing skulls and the like. However, I settled on combining the skull illustrations with a mandala. I’ve also discovered a great fondness for woodcut-style drawings.

I now need to work out what to do with my Inktober artworks. Some of them will become available as tee-shirts and other products in the days and weeks ahead; I do want to tweak some of them first.

I’m feeling a bit sad at it being over. Having a ‘brief’ to work to certainly helps to focus my sparkly, grasshoppery mind and takes me out of my ‘comfort zone’ (I absolutely hate that phrase!). I’ve certainly found a passion for skulls; so many more to draw, so many different angles too.

It’s the focus that has been the most helpful. This is something I need to sort out, I think. I do have themes for the colouring books I do, but I think I could do with a theme (or series of themes that repeat over a week) that will help focus my creativity outside of the book.

Inktober has taken over my creativity this month. However, I think I needed that to freshen me up.

So, I shall look forward to Inktober 2020, while doing my best to put into practice some of the things I’ve learned from this year’s challenge.

So, Angela, how are you feeling today?

I’m OK today, a bit tired and the grey, gloomy, damp weather isn’t helping much. I have used my light therapy lamp this morning; that did lift my mood somewhat, to be fair.

Yesterday was the toughest day, emotionally, I’ve had for a while. I was really feeling rather low. It had been coming, however, for over a week. I’m not entirely over it; I’m still feeling emotionally vulnerable and fragile today, but nowhere near as bad as I felt yesterday.

I do know what has caused the stormy weather; being aware of such things shows I’ve come a long way from the start of therapy for CPTSD. I also know that these storms don’t last forever, and that self-care and self-soothing is needed.

That will be the order of the day today. I do have an errand or two to run as soon as I post Inktober, and I do have something happening this evening. However, the rest of the day will be self-care, starting with making a hot, nutritious meal from scratch. I’m tending towards a veggie bolognaise, the leftovers of which can be turned into a veggie chilli for tomorrow.

So, I’d better get this social media stuff done and get on with my day!

Inktober 2019 – Day 30

It’s the penultimate day of Inktober 2019 and today’s drawing features a whale skull, a bowhead whale skull to be precise, complete with baleen.

The mandala in the background has the Nik tangle pattern forming the wider geometric patterned ring. The outer ring is a line drawing of Xanthoria elegans – the sunburst lichen.

I wanted the skull to stand out, so I coloured the mandala in a softer, paler version of the background colour.

I felt quite teary as I was looking at whale skulls and skeletons. They reminded me of the last time I visited the whale skeleton and leatherback turtle in the National Museum and Galleries of Wales, Cardiff. I was overwhelmed with sadness then too. This is a sure sign that I’m emotionally vulnerable once again and that I need to take a lot of care of myself, my emotions in particular.

This is digital art, drawn using my Microsoft Surface Pen and Surface Studio as the digital analogues of pen and paper, and Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, which allows me to do this.

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).

Inktober 2019 Day 21

Inktober 2019 Day 21 ©Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

Day 21 and it’s a pug skull, Pleurotus eryngii (King Oyster mushroom) and the Batnumber tangle pattern from the Inktober 2019 prompt lists from Instagrammers @book_polygamist, @nyan_sun and @havepen_willdraw.

I really enjoyed drawing the wood cut style of skull yesterday so thought I’d go with it for today’s short nosed dog skull – I chose a pug skull.

I echoed the wood cut style in the mushrooms forming a ring in the partial mandala around the skull.

I like the graphic black and white nature of the design elements against the coloured, textured background. I did, however, break up this graphic style with the foliage forming the outer ring of the design. I just felt I needed to push something to the background.

In 21 days I seem to have covered a lot of different styles in my work, though I think my favourite ones are where I place a mandala behind the skull, as in today’s illustration.

Although I love colour, I do think the more graphic designs are more ‘me’. Maybe it’s because my experiments in drawing in colour (as in day 18 and day 19) are outside my familar, comfortable work.

I don’t know where this will lead me, though I do want to do more mandalas like today’s, maybe get them available as prints or on t-shirts. What do you think?

Inktober 2019 – Day 3

Fox skull and Ramaria fungus

Fox skull and Ramaria © Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com
Fox skull and Ramaria © Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

I used, mostly, traditional media for the first two days, but today I decided to use digital tools.

My Surface Studio and Pen from Microsoft mean I can draw on my screen just like I do on paper, especially as I have set up pen brushes with lines mimic those left by my favourite fine liner pens.

The added bonus of drawing digitally is that I get to use tools that aren’t available to me when working traditionally. In this case, I made use of the symmetry tool. As my illustration today is rather stylised, perfect symmetry works well in the design.

Stylised, symmetrical designs do make my arty heart and soul smile and sing. Yes, I still like to be challenged from time to time to draw more realistically, however I’ve just realised how much this kind of art really please me.

Yet I still struggle with accepting it as a valid way of producing art – it always seems so simple, like I have no great skill like those who produce wonderfully realistic art, or thought provoking pieces, or abstract wonders. I still struggle to see my style of art, of expression as valid and I think that is why I flip-flop betwixt different styles and media and projects. It’s that lack of self-belief perhaps, or maybe I just have a choir of creative voices in me, each of which need expression in it’s own way.

I think this kind of reflection is part of what Inktober is about.

Anyway, after completing the line art, I added some simple colouring to the image using a marker brush and then an airbrush with the synthetic paint setting, which nicely blends one colour into another.

I am very happy with the stylised skull design, along with the higher contrast colouring that I’ve used for it, which helps it stand out a little from the other coloured elements of the design.

This is, of the three days so far, my favourite Inktober2019 artwork.

Remembrance Sunday 2018

Angela Porter Remembrance Mandala 2018

Today marks the 100th Anniversary of Armistice – the ending of the First World War. This took place at the eleventh minute of the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918. The guns fell silent. World War I ended.

But war has not ended.

The Second World War, among many others, followed. Burma. Korea. Vietnam. Falklands. Iraq, first and second. Afghanistan. And so many, many, many other conflicts around the world that barely get a mention in the western news.

Today, we remember all those lost in conflicts/wars around the world, those who have given their lives in the service of others. Those who have selflessly given the most precious thing we have – life – so that others may live in peace and safety.

Not only do we remember the men and women from all walks of life, social backgrounds, countries and beliefs who lost their lives and were injured during conflict/war, we remember the animals who were also killed and injured during conflict as they served and supported the troops.

My grandmother’s first husband, Frank, was gassed in the trenches in WWI and eventually died back in England, nursed by his own wife. It’s said that her hair went pure white overnight when she received the news.

My father took part in WWII. He was at the D-day landings. Amongst other things he witnessed, he saw the piles and piles of bodies at a concentration camp in Poland.

People like Frank and my dad, Robert John Porter, went to war to bring an end to such atrocities, to bring peace to our societies.



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.

Lt Col John McCrae, a Canadian Doctor who lost a friend at Ypres, was inspired by a field of poppies to write this poem in early May 1915

From www.royalbritishlegion.org.uk


Thoughts about my mandala

I knew I wanted to create a mandala that looked like a round stained glass window, but could also be used as a focus for meditation about peace, about remembrance, about the ultimate sacrifice of life in order to bring about a more peaceful world.

I wanted to create something that featured red poppies.

The poppy is not a symbol of war. It is not about glorifying war. It is not a symbol of support for war. It is not a reflection of politics or religion.

The poppy is a symbol of remembrance. It is a symbol of hope. It is a symbol of respect for all those, regardless of nationality, religion, race, who selflessly gave of themselves to return peace. You can find out more about remembrance poppies by following this link.

Eleven poppies to go with the eleventh minute of the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month.

I wanted a bright centre to the mandala as the symbol of hope for a better future. A more peaceful future. A brighter future.

I included some hearts as I thought of the words from Martin Luther King Jr:

Darkness cannot drive out darkness. Only light can do that.
Hate cannot drive out hate. Only love can do that.

I chose blue as a colour that represents to myself peace and calm. Green as a symbol of growth, balance, harmony, understanding.

As is so often the case with my artwork lately this was created using Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, a Microsoft Surface Pen and a Microsoft Surface Studio.


Closing thoughts

I thank Frank and my dad for their sacrifice.

I thank all the others who through the ages have fought with peace and a free world as their goal.

I wish there was no need for armies and wars. I wish we could all learn to get along. I wish there would be an end to hatred and racism and bigotry. I wish we could get over the fear of the ‘different’ or the ‘other’. I wish we could all work together to find common ground and build upon that.

Idealist? Dreamer? Yes, I’m guilty of that for sure. However, if enough of us believe in this come together we could make a difference.


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.

From Warpoetry.co.uk