Tomorrow is Time to Talk Day

©Angela Porter 2019

I’ve created two coloring templates for Time To Talk Day, which is tomorrow, and the art above was created using one of them, but more about that later in this wittering.

Time to Change Day and mental health

The whole idea of the day is to get people talking about mental health. Mental health problems affect 1 in 4 of us, yet people are still afraid to talk about it. There’s still a huge stigma surrounding mental ill-health and that leads to discrimination of those experiencing mental illness.

I’m one of the 1 in 4. My cPTSD means that I am constantly anxious and it’ doesn’t take much of a trigger to get me into a full state of panic. I can have bouts of depression, nowadays not as deep or dark as they have been in the fairly recent past. I get emotional flashbacks to times of trauma. I don’t remember many traumatic experiences, but my body remembers the feelings associated with that trauma and I experience them yet again, retraumatising me.

Thanks to EMDR, however, these emotional flashbacks are less common and sometimes aren’t quite as intense, sometimes just as intense.

I have a whole host of other issues related to cPTSD and a quick google will bring back lots of information if you’re interested.

Tomorrow I will have my champions hat on for Time to Change Wales as I go to give an anti-stigma talk to a group of police officers in Ton Pentre and then on to man (woman?) a stand in Port Talbot after that. That means I won’t be parking in the police station car park again after my last experience there!

The anti-stigma talk has me telling people a little about Time To Change Wales, the statistics for mental illness, what stigma and discrimination there are and then I tell my story of my mental illness.

The talks wipe me out emotionally. I end up exhausted and often with what I call an emotional ‘hangover’ – I feel headachy and spaced out, sometimes quite upset too.

However, I consider that a small price to pay if my talks (and my blogs) help one person to recognise their mental health isn’t what it should be, or to find the courage to seek help as they know they are struggling.

It’s also important as meeting champions who have experienced or are experiencing mental health problems helps to break the stereotypes of what people with mental illnesses look like and behave.

I’m well on my path to recovery. I don’t know if that will be a full recovery from cPTSD or whether it will be a good enough recovery that I’m resilient to lifes ups and downs, that I’ll be able to form meaningful relationships, trust people, be able to travel by myself, be able to go places because I can go there not because I have to have some reason…and more.

I know that crowded, noisy places are always likely to be a no no – I don’t appear it, but I am an introvert. I learned to wear a mask of extroversion (among other masks) when I was very young and that mask kind of protects what is beneath it. Wearing that mask is exhausting.

So, back to the art.

I’ve created two coloring templates for Time to Talk Day 2019. Originally they were for the colouring day being run as part of Time to Talk Day at the Welsh Office! I’ve also made the templates available to Time to Change Wales and Mind have copies of them too, so they’ll be available over social media.

I’ll also be adding them to my facebook page – Angela Porter Illustrator as well as on the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group too.

To create the art above I used one of the templates as a basis for the art. I think you’ll agree that this is a very different piece of art from me. It’s rather graphic and quite 1960s psychedelic too!

I had a lot of fun doing this artwork and I’m surprisingly happy with the result.

It is digital art; I used my usual trio of Microsoft Surface Studio, Microsoft Surface Pen along with Autodesk Sketchbook Pro to create it, along with my creativity.

Shades of pinky-red mandala

©Angela Porter 2019

I created this mandala after I returned home from EMDR therapy yesterday. I knew that my time today would be limited, so thought a bit of chill-time would be good for me before heading out for another commitment in the evening.

As is my way, I sat down with a blank concentric circle grid for mandala drawing on the screen of my Microsoft Surface Studio, Surface Pen in hand, and chose a colour to draw with. I had no idea how this mandala would unfold as I started to draw the first shape at the centre of the mandala.

As always, the lines and shapes just flowed from the centre out, one by one. In this case interlocking in a way that is a first for me.

I drew the whole design in one colour, before adding lighter and darker shades and blending them out to give some interest and dimension to the design.

As I worked, as the lines and colours flowed, even where I had to make adjustments or erase and start again, I could feel myself relax and my whole body started to breathe.

The whole mandala took a little less than 2 hours to complete, thanks to the magic of Autodesk Sketchbook Pro which does the work of repeating my motifs around the circle and makes it so easy for me to fluidly, organically develop and adapt the design elements as I go.

I firmly believe that digital art is allowing me to create art I wouldn’t have created for a very long time, if ever, if I were still using pen and paper. I’ve said it before, I say it now and no doubt I will say it again – digital art is opening doors to my creative expression I never thought would be possible, especially with the styles of mandalas I’ve been creating of late.

Drawing really does help me to relax, except when I’ve become overwrought as last Saturday and then nothing I do seems good enough to me and just serves to compound the unsettled nature. Finally, I’m aware of this part of my cPTSD and in future I can, hopefully, manage it better by doing something other than art to help to shift the mood.

Therapy yesterday was a combination of a loving-kindness meditation so my therapist could see what happens to me during one and then we used the physical pain I experienced to do an EMDR session. Lots of body stuff went on during that session – lots of pain and sensation. But by the end of the session I wore a gentle smile – not just on my face but throughout the whole of my being.

I felt content, at ease, for the first time in a few days.

I still feel that way this morning.

I had recommendations from my therapist for some loving kindness meditation cds to try by Tara Brach. So, two are downloaded into Audible for me to use later today!

Wednesday Work In Progress

©Angela Porter 2018

Wednesday is #wipwednesday around the interwebs and sometimes it manifests itself on this blog.

This is my current work in progress, well just a part of it. I drew the design using various pens on paper and then scanned it in. I’m part way through colouring the image. It’s going to take me many hours to finish it, but that won’t be today. I have appointments this afternoon.

I am coloring it digitally with the usual tools – Microsoft Surface Studio, Microsoft Surface Pen and Autodesk Sketchbook Pro. I’m trying to keep to a winter/yule/christmas kind of colour scheme. That means the purple coloured ‘berries’ may have to be changed, but that’s easy enough to alter when working digitally.

#createdonsurface #quartoknows #autodesksketchbook

Abstract Botanical 27 August 2018

Angela Porter 27 August 2018 small

Started yesterday, finished this morning. Another intricate, abstract botanical

I coloured the paper first and worked with the patterns made, mostly. Intuitive drawing with detail and intricacy and black lines is my favourite to do. Botanical things, abstract motifs, from my imagination are also some of my favourite things to draw.

My colour choices are a bit different for me, the way I blended the colours resulted in some unusual, subdued, almost grungy tones. I think I like it.

 

Angela Porter 18 August 2019

Here’s today’s drawing, design, artwork; yesterday’s ‘just colour’ design.

I did try a small design using coloured pens to add lines, but it just doesn’t feel or look right.

I’m happy with this one, like I was with the one yesterday.

These last couple of artworks have been a bit of a change in the way I usually work. Perhaps more of quite a change.

Usually, I start by drawing my design and then adding colour. Over the past couple of days I’ve been drawing the basic shapes/design with colour from a brush, starting with the broad structure of the design. Then, I add the architecture of the design in pen.

The laying down of colour first means there is, for me, not a lot of control over the gradation of colour/tome and the precise shapes. Using watercolours means that colours can bleed from one shape into another if I forget to move to another area and let each shape dry before adding another next to it.

The resultant colour design, the variations as mentioned, is then the basis for my drawing. I work with the shapes as they are, trying not to be overly concerned if my pen lines done precisely match the edge of each shape. I try to work with the variations in colour/saturation/tone as I add the patterns.

I have tried doing something like this digitally, but so far haven’t been all that happy with the results. I will keep trying though. I know eventually I’ll work out how this will work for me.

It’s a nice way to spend a Sunday, no matter what I do precisely.

Decorated Terry Pratchett Quote and Chameleon Pencils first impressions

Angela Porter 23 July 2018

Another quote from Terry Pratchett. This one from one of my favourite characters – Death. Death tries so hard to understand humanity, yet he gets it both very wrong and quite right at the same time.

I like the way I’ve added colour to my black and white line art in this example, but one day I hope to get around to colouring in the black and white version.

Maybe I’ll print the art out and then colour it in using Chamelon Pen’s ColorTone Pencils, which arrived yesterday.

I have spent some time  colouring with them and so far I quite like them.

They are softer than Polychromos and others, but not quite as soft as Prismacolours. They blend quite nicely, and a little help from a blending pencil results in really nice blends.

I like the colour palette; the colours are nice and bright and just the colours I love to use in my art, which is a huge, huge bonus! As I often struggle to choose and use colours in a sensible manner when I have a huge choice, the limited palette of 50 colours is really useful for me, as are the double ended pencils. Being able to flip to add shadow or light is a nice touch, though I would like a bit more contrast between some of the colours as some are a bit too similar.

The leads are a bit thicker than other pencils, such as Prismacolours. However, this makes the barrels of the pencils a bit too thick for a standard pencil sharpener. My Staedtler pencil sharpener – the ones with the handles that you turn around – should cope well with them though.

At a price point of £45 on Amazon.co.uk with free prime delivery I think they’re good value for money, even though you essentially have 50 half-sized pencils. However, the thicker colour leads make up for that to some degree.

I’ve not been able to find out if you can buy individual pencils when some wear down. However, I can’t see that being a big issue as I suspect that I’ll use most of the pencils fairly equally.

 

#Weekendvibes

Angela Porter 21 July 2018As you  may have guessed, I love Terry Pratchett’s Discworld books. I’ve used a few quotes from them of late, and there’s more to come.

After printing out the quote, I drew the designs around it with Uniball Unipin pens. After scanning and printing again I added colour with Chameleon marker pens.

Drawing and colouring is definitely something that brings me #weekendvibes, which means I have those all week! I am so grateful that my job is doing something that doesn’t feel like work.