Dangle Day Friday

Angela Porter Dangle Day 14 September 2018

Here’s two dangle designs for dangle day Friday. Simple designs, perfect for getting into the weekend vibe.

These are both experiments where I’ve worked on vellum/parchment, the kind that is used for Pergamano.

The one on the left – the monogram A – is nowhere near as garish in colour in real-life; I really don’t know what the scanner has done to the colours. I drew the design with a metallic gold Sakura Gellyroll pen. I then used Tombow Dual brush pens to colour the design on the reverse. I used shades of yellow, orange, red and magenta, but the scanner seems to have removed much of the red. I also managed to smudge the colours too. I don’t think I’ll be using Tombows on Vellum again.

I do like the gold linework and I think I’ll draw this design out again and colour on the reverse with coloured pencils, like in the dangle design on the right.

You may recognise the design on the right as last weeks dangle design. I traced that design onto vellum using a white Uniball Signo pen. I altered some of the details and the style of lettering.

Next, I did a little bit of ‘whitework’ on the reverse. This gave the highlights on the design that help to give the illusion of dimension as well as some texture. I let the design rest under a heavy book for an hour or so.

Finally, I used my Chameleon coloured pencils to colour the design in, again doing this on the reverse.

I like the colours on this one. The vellum mutes the colours somewhat, but it also softens any imperfections in the colouring.

I’m not sure about the white lines though. I need to try this one with some coloured paper underneath to help the lines stand out a bit more. I’ll post an image of it if it works.

I’d like to draw this design in gold and see how that looks. I may try black too. As well as using coloured pencils, I want to try using Copic  or Chameleon markers to colour the designs in, to see how they work on vellum.

These certainly were experiments, which I’ve learned from. Not only that, I’ve got some ideas to try out the next time I use vellum. I’m trusting I’ll find the combination of line colour and colouring medium that works for me and my style of working.

What would I do with these designs? Well, they would both work really well as spreads in Bujos, planners, journals and scrapbooks. I also think the monogram would make a lovely bookmark. They’d both make nice greetings cards or notecards. I’m sure there’s lots of other things they could be used for, such as framed pictures.

If you have any suggestions for how they could be used, leave a comment.

It’s Friday!

Angela Porter 6 April 2018 colouredFriday means it’s #dangleday, #freebiefriday #fridayfreebie and #furbabyfriday all over the web!

I’ve designed the dangle to the left for #dangleday.  I will also be putting an uncoloured version of it on my facebookpage – Angela Porter Illustrator – for you to download and colour for free.  So that makes it a #fridayfreebie.  It’s also great for getting into that #weekendvibes going – nothing like a bit of creativity to relax you after a busy week.

I’ve left the banner blank so you can add your own message.

Perfect for a bullet journal (BuJo) cover page.  Lovely turned into a greetings card.

Make sure you print it out to the size you need; the image is sized to fit on an A5 BuJo page, but it will print out cleanly to A4 (US letter) sized paper.

All I ask is that you don’t share the uncoloured image, but feel free to share the coloured image stating where you got it from. Also, the template is not for resale either in it’s uncoloured or coloured form; it’s for personal use only, though you can give the finished project away as a gift if you wish.

I’d love to see how you use the template, so please share on my facebook page.  You can also tag me on Instagram as @angelaporterillustrator or on Twitter as @wyrdsmithing.  On facebook you can tag me either as #angelaporter.

Don’t forget, my new book ‘A Dangle A Day’ is available to preorder.

It’s also #furbabyfriday over on the facebook group Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans, and I love to see everyone’s furbabies!  I don’t know if I’ll manage to get my very camera shy kitty to allow me to snap a pic of him…

 

 

Tea and musings around liminality

Yesterday I sat at a table lit by the golden light of the late spring sun, enjoying the feel of a soft breeze contradicting the warmth of sunlight on my skin while the glorious sound of birdsong gently caressing my ears in the café at the Blaenavon World Heritage Centre. On the table was a lovely pot of tea and a home-made fairy cake (small ‘cupcake’) topped with vanilla buttercream icing and my journal-sketchbook into which I would be recording my thoughts and observations. This was a treat after picking up a batch of mugs that I’ve had printed with a piece of my artwork and a short greeting for my lovely year 11 class who are leaving on Thursday. That will be a day filled with tears and joy, a liminal moment for the pupils as they stand on the threshold of the next phase of their life. The leavers’ assembly being an opportunity to mark this transition point, a liminal point, with celebration, with laughter and with the memories of experiences.

The view from the window was of the neglected graveyard attached to St Peter’s Church which falls away towards the valley bottom as the café abuts the eastern edge of the graveyard and I realised that I was sat at a liminal place, but not one of one phase of life to another. This liminal place marks the boundary between the living and those who have passed out of this earthly existence.

As I realised this, a pair of magpies flitted from tree to tree, their tails twitching as they settled on branches, and sunlight on their plumage revealing the iridescent purples, blues and greens that are so often missed. A solitary cabbage white butterfly careened from plant to plant, it’s pale colour standing out against the brown tangles of brambles and the bright greens of spring growth, signs of life surrounding the memorials of those long dead.

Magpies are associated with bad omens, and one such superstition is that if you see a single magpie on the way to church then death is close (myth-making at blogspot). Considering that many churches have a graveyard around them or close to them, then that is quite true! I love magpies and the other members of the corvidae family of fine feathery friends, despite their gloomy reputations.

As one thought bounced to another, I realised that I too, was at a liminal point in my life as I continue to work on unravelling the tangles of the past through journaling, meditation, self-hypnosis, gratitude and pennies-dropped-epiphanies as I’m becoming more aware of the inner critics and their continual sussuration of negative messages about me. I’m learning how to dis-empower them, little by little, and I may be approaching a turning point for myself in how I view myself and what my beliefs are.

The grave markers were splotched with lichen and algae, patterns reminding me of growths of penicillin on laboratory agar plates or stale and mouldy bread. Tumbled tangled brambles wrapping round them, seemingly pulling them down, down, down into the ground, the Earth reclaiming what had been taken from it, and with it the memories of those long passed. Despite the pull of time and neglect, the taller columns and headstones bravely rose above the tangles, holding their heads up high in the sunshine, proud of their leprous appearance, suggesting age and longevity, that they remember even if the living no longer do.

Others, however, seemed to be surrendering to the gradual depredations of time. Their sharp leaning stance, the first phase in laying down, showing an acceptance of their fate. No one alive who remembers them, who cares for them enough to tend to the memorial of a life once lived. The connections between the present generation and the past generations fading and weakening with time as symbolised by the tumble-down state of the gravestones. This was reflected in the laughter and chatter of the living enjoying beverages and vittles in the bright, warm, life-giving sunshine. The proximity to the necropolis and it’s visible symbols of death, funerary rites, and grief having no effect upon the high spirits of the living.

Perhaps that is because a wall, a visible boundary separates the activities of the living from the area of the dead. If we were to dine and party on their graves, perhaps we may feel differently, irreverent perhaps; an attitude maybe not unique to our own culture or time. I saw this video about dining with the dead in Georgia on the BBC news website earlier this week, and an example of how different cultures approach death and the places of the dead and how rigid and solid the boundary between us, the living, and our deceased friends and family are.

Death is, essentially, a great leveller; the great and the good lie alongside the poor and meek. Only the memorials tell us who is who,and only a skilled osteologist would be able to tell which was which were their skeletons disinterred and separated from any clothing, jewellery or other funerary offerings that they were interred with. To most of humanity they would be the remains of people, equal in death as they were not in life. Given enough time, all return to the Earth, return to what we were created from, very few leaving traces that will last for centuries, millennia or the aeons of time.

Traces remain in the bones that remain of their lives; hardship, luxury, adversity, ease all leave their marks in the bones. As the flesh decays, as memories fade, so do the individual stories of each person’s life, the stories that make each of us unique. The funeral monuments may tell us about them, there may be hints of their life in written records, but so much about them, such as whether they were kind or cruel, loving or neglectful, are lost.

Gloomy thoughts? Not at all! I like what the we can learn of our ancestors from their funerary rites, from records, from stories still held in the memories of the living, maybe experienced first hand or tales handed down through the generations. It matters not whether they are iron-topped tombs of the magnates of Blaenavon or the ring-barrows of a person from the Bronze Age, or the fossilised remains of our distant relatives. For many, we can only make educated guesses about their life and times, sometimes more educated than others when written records exist.

Of course, the choice of a place for cemeteries is a story in itself. In ancient times where a lot of effort was expended to bury a few in monuments such as cairns, ring barrows, cists, long barrows, then they weren’t just plonked in the nearest available place. The choice of place had meaning, just as the choice of place has meaning to us whether it’s where we go on holiday, where we choose to live and experience life. We choose places that give us meaningful experiences, be they linked to happy or sad times. The same is true when we choose places for funerary rites, whether we choose them ourselves before we die or whether we choose them for our loved ones who have passed away. My father’s cremains were buried beneath a sapling plum tree in a country lane where he used to collect all kinds of fruits and plants to make wine from. A friend’s father’s ashes were sprinkled from a bridge to return to the sea which he loved and sailed while serving in the Navy. Another friend’s father’s ashes are to be buried with his brother, if permission can be gained from her aunt.

If we take time and care to choose an appropriate resting place for the physical remains of our loved ones, I’m sure our ancestors did so too, even though it may not have seemed so to us as in many cases we have no ideas of their beliefs and the practices that stemmed from them. Nor do we know for sure why certain people were accorded such seemingly prestigious and important funerals, whether they were the great and the good or whether their deaths had a different meaning and the funeral a different purpose than commemoration and a reminder of our connections to the people of the past, to our ancestors, to those who have shaped the society we life in at any particular point in history.

I couldn’t help but wonder what stories the land could tell us if we could access it’s memory. I’d love to know what events the stones beneath my feet have witnessed in their long aeons of existence. What lovers’ trysts and promises. What betrayals, joys, toils, griefs. Whose feet have passed over them and what is the story of the lives. I don’t just want to know about the great and the good, people whose lives are most probably fairly well documented. I want to know about the ‘ordinary’ people as well. Everyone has a story to tell, everyone’s life experience is unique to them due to their unique perceptions, beliefs, actions, reactions and personality, and what thoughts and beliefs they had about themselves and others.

Perhaps the land, the position of the cemeteries, their relationship to the use of the land in the past and the present, the stories told about the land, it’s people all serve to keep alive the memory of the ancestors, aiding in remembering their stories and the stories previous generations and in so doing keeping the ancestors alive, in memory, and our connection to them stronger. The scape surrounding the cemetery becomes woven into the stories of the recent ancestors and the myths of the more ancient ancestors, acting as aide-memoires to the tales. Each feature in the land around the cemetery is not devoid of emotion, of meaning, and for each feature these would change as the time of day, the season of the year and the weather changes. We interact with these scapes through the feelings and meanings and the way that we make use of them and that induces a feeling of belonging to them. Ideas such as these are propounded by archaeologists such as George Nash.

I realised then, how much I’d enjoyed writing my thoughts, how going to a different place other than home allowed me the inspiration I needed. It’s also brought up links between things that are occurring in my life at present, and that will help to unravel any tangles knotted by the inner critics in the past.

Diaries and Journals

In today’s Magazine section of the BBC News’ Website, was this gem of an article:

A Point of View: The Art of the Diary

I’ve kept a journal for the past 9 years or so now.  Originally I used A4 hardback notebooks, now I use A5 notebooks as they are far more portable and can accompany me on my travels as they slip easily into my handbags.  I can write and let my feelings flow into my journal whenever I wish and  I don’t need access to a computer of any kind or size.  Also,  the process of writing with a pen slows my thoughts down and helps with inner reflection.  I find this particularly useful at the end of the day, to reflect on the day, to get out any problems or issues.  I then always spend some time focusing on the positive points of the day before closing my journal and going to sleep, hopefully gaining a balance in favour of the positive over the negative views of my life.

I started my journal when I started exploring my spirituality, and since I started there have been relatively few days when an entry hasn’t been made.  Some days the entries are really short, other days they go on for pages and pages and pages.  I’ve moaned and groaned into them.  I’ve written about thoughts/feelings I don’t want to share with anyone else for fear of upsetting/hurting them. I’ve recorded the highs and lows of my life, the things I’d like to remember, and sometimes the things I’d rather forget.  I’ve wittered on about all kinds of things, worked my way through problems and issues, allowed my subconscious mind to let the words flow onto the page to help me with insights.  The process has helped me to realise I do have emotions, and to start the process of recognising them, expressing them, and doing what I can to become comfortable with them.  A lot of my journalling is very personal and I’d not want anyone to read them while I’m still here on this Earth.  But who knows, in the future I may meet someone or someones who I’d be comfortable in allowing to peruse my journals.

I’ve not looked back on my journals, not yet, not while I’m still undergoing counselling.  They record some of my darkest times in recent years as well as memories of the dark days of childhood, adolescence and earlier adulthood.  I don’t think I’m strong enough yet to face them and not be pulled back into a dark place.  When I’m ready, no doubt I will read them, and then I will realise just how far I have come along in terms of personal progress.  I’m hoping that when I read back through them, I’ll recognise the stages of unfolding my true self, the healing of the wounded soul, the successes rather than the perceived failures.

It was nice to read this article, some of the reasons for keeping a journal echo mine, some don’t.  It was also nice to see that other people keep journals too.

Of course blogging is the modern form of diary or journal, however they do tend to be about things we are willing to share with others.  Still, there are some things that just need to be kept between a writer and their journal and I hope that the art of journalling or diary writing will never disappear.