Morning entanglement

30th November 2019 ©Angela Porter 2019

I woke this morning, refreshed after a long, deep sleep, and wanted to draw something relatively simple, something I could work on in the future.

I used a Uniball Vision Elite pen on a sheet of dot grid paper from Claire Fontaine. If you zoom in, you can still see the dots of the dot grid.

I had no idea of what I was going to draw. All I knew was I wanted to draw, and I wanted to start with a flower. Which I did.

I then started to grow the design by adding the swirls. Those swirls had shapes in them perfect to add some round seeds.

Next, I thought a rectangular background panel, filled with a geometric design, would be a good counterpoint to the more organic flower and swirls. So, I did draw in a pencil grid to use as a guide for my inked lines.

After adding a narrow border to the panel, I decided to add some simple dangles to the lower swirls. I thought the design needed to be lengthened a little.

When I’d finished the dangles, I knew the design was complete. I felt no need to add anything more to it, despite having a lot of white space! So, I scanned it in and prepared it for posting to social media.

I’d like to work this one with some colour to the flower and swirls, maybe the dangles too. The geometric pattern I’d like to add shading to bring out a more dimensional appearance to it. I may add that shading as shades of grey, or maybe as lines.

If you’d like more ideas about drawing dangles, then my book “A Dangle A Day” is a good place to start.

That’s where I have to leave it for now as I have a busy day away from home today.

Thanksgiving 2019

Thanksgiving 2019 ©Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

Happy Thanksgiving!

I’ve created a simple bit of line art to celebrate the day, and it’s available exclusively to members of the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group. It’s free to join and I have a number of templates that are exclusive and free to members of the group.

I love to see how people use colour to bring my drawings to life. I provide the bones, the colorists add the flesh in the form of colour.

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!

Inktober 2019 – Day 7

Tiger skull and Mycena chlorophos

Inktober 2019 Day 7 © Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com
Inktober 2019 Day 7 © Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

I realised my skull and fungi Inktober illustrations were becoming a bit samey, so I’ve tried something a bit different.

Today, I used three Inktober prompt lists – Animal Skulls from @book_polygamist and Mushrooms from @nyan_sun, both of which are on Instagram. The third is the Inktober 2019 tangle from everythingis_art.com.

I kept the tiger skull drawing very simple, but added a complex patterned mandala behind them, incorporating the Mycena chlorophos mushrooms as the final ‘ring’. I did add some very simple (and rough) shading to the skulls.

As I wanted a more graphic feel to the design, I left it in black and white, though I did place a paper texture to overlay the artwork.

Again, I worked digitally, making use of the available symmetry tools to help speed up my work. Even then it took me more than a couple of hours to complete this design.

Yesterday, I stumbled upon an Inktober 2019 tangle list on the Everything is Art blog. So, I thought that it would perfect to include the Huggins zentangle tangle pattern, along with some others from earlier on in Inktober viz. Zonked, Toodles and Tunnel Vizion.

I do like the contrast betwixt the more scientific skull illustrations and the busy background of the mandala.

So, Angela, how are you feeling today?

It’s Monday and so it’s EMDR therapy day for my CPTSD. I am tired today from a lack of sleep, but underlying that tiredness is that contentedness that now seems to be constantly present within me. When my emotions and thoughts are in turmoil, whipping up a veritable storm on the surface of the ocean that is me, I can still sense the contentedness in the ocean-depths.

I have no idea how EMDR will go today, nor do I have much of an idea of how I will feel after it. Last week’s session was so very confusing and not all that clear that I think that a new negative thought about myself may be started upon to bring EMDR back to a definite focus.

Be gentle with yourself.

Artwork © Angela Porter 2019

About the artwork

This is the same illustration I used for yesterday’s quote, however, after adding some textural lines to the drawing, I’ve coloured the design.

I decided to use flat colours as it brings a feeling of a coloured wood cut or lino cut print to the design. I used a grungy texture overlay to enhance the vintage feel of the coloured design.

The line art was drawn using Tombow Fudenosuke and Faber-Castell Pitt Artist pens on paper, but the colouring, textures and text have been added digitally. I used Affinity Publisher to produce the typography. A Microsoft Surface Pen and Surface Studio along with Autodesk Sketchbook Pro were used to complete the colouring

It’s always interesting how just small changes can make such a big difference to artwork.

So, Angela, how are you feeling today?

I’m feeling fairly content and quite optimistic. I am, however, still a little tired to say the least.

My trip to Llandridnod Wells yesterday left me exhausted. I went there to give an antistigma talk as a champion for Time to Change Wales. Telling my story of cPTSD still leaves me emotionally exhausted and vulnerable. This is, however, a small price to pay for giving people food for thought and getting people talking about mental illness.

As I was feeling so emotional after the talk I didn’t take a walk around Llandridnod Wells. When I’m feeling the way I was it’s all too easy for me to panic and enter flight-mode when I’m overwhelmed by noise or an unfamiliar place. The anxiety I feel about getting myself turned-about and lost and not able to find my way back to the car just adds to the vulnerability.

So, I thought I’d drive back and see if I could find the courage to stop at a cafe on the way. I’d passed a nice-looking one called the Wye Knot. However, I just couldn’t bring myself to stop there. I was still too overwhelmed.

My brain kicked in and I thought I’d head to Honey Cafe in Bronllys. I’ve been there a few times before and it’s a familiar setting to me. However, when I went in there were so many people milling around the counter and others coming in the door and pushing past me that I went into flight-mode and dashed back to the car in tears.

I just drove home then, doing a mental inventory of what I had in the way of food.

I had something quick to eat and a big mug of tea and then I curled up in bed to sleep; a nap is one of my self-care activities. I know that if I can sleep for a while I wake feeling refreshed and more resilient than I was.

The exhaustion comes not just from being emotionally overwhelmed and triggered but from the effort of keeping a happy smiling mask up. Yesterday the mask wasn’t as ‘solid’ as on Monday, but I knew it was still there. Once the talk was over, I let the mask drop and I was suddenly exhausted.

This is, as I mentioned earlier, worth getting the word out about the stigma and discrimination that surrounds mental illness, giving people some advice on what to and what not to do, and starting conversations.

I’m beginning to flag here; tiredness/exhaustion is catching up with me. I have managed to get some work done this morning. However, before I try to do anything else I need some more sleep I think.

So, I’m taking the advice of today’s quote – I’m going to be gentle with myself today.

Experimenting digitally…

Experimenting digitally ©Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com
Experimenting digitally ©Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

My experiment laying down areas of colour with Chameleon markers then adding colour inspired me to try the same idea out with my digital art tools.

Here is the result of several hours trying the idea out.

I’m not at all sure about lots of parts of it. I’m not happy with it at the moment. I have some things to think about going forward.

Firstly, the way I have my pen brushes set up is giving a black line that seems to be way too stark against the colour. Black ink in fine line pens isn’t quite so opaque. So, I need to play around adjusting this.

Also, I have the edge of the pen brushes set up as ‘sharp’, so I do get that very sharp edge to the line. I need to play around with adjusting this as well. It’s not enough to have an uneven line edge; if anything, the sharpness of the rough edge jars my senses.

The background colour is quite OK if perhaps a tad complex. Again, I need to spend time playing around with various brush types, properties and textures to work out the best way for me to create such backgrounds if this is a route I’m going to go down in digital art.

As always, by taking time to do experimental art (not that all art is experimental I think) I explore the tools, effects, settings, and so on that are available to me in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro. Of course, I use my Microsoft Surface Pen on the screen of my Microsoft Surface Studio to create my digital art.

What’s important is that I make the time to do this regularly. It’s the only way I can learn and develop my digital art ‘voice’ as well as understanding how the different brushes and settings work.

So, Angela, how are you today?

I’m OK. Tired, but much better than earlier this week.

I’m tired from not enough sleep last night, but also from dealing with some difficult issues around a member of my family. I don’t mind myself becoming drained when it’s about helping another person. I know how to take care of myself now so that I recover and don’t stay stuck in this emotionally exhausted state. That’s what self-care is all about.

I did go out yesterday with my younger sister. We visited the Roman baths in Caerleon and ended up at the Honey Cafe in Bronllys for a late lunch.

I popped to the toilet at the cafe, and I got stressed out there. Children loudly screaming with a very loud hand-drier caused me to become anxious, stressed, hypervigilant. The children weren’t distressed at all, just screaming with the noise of the hand-drier for fun. Their mother was with them, so they were safe. So, I have no idea what my reaction was all about. All I know it’s grist for the EMDR therapy wheel.

Oh! The joy of the CPTSD triggers that hide from me. Well, this one has now come out into the light of a startle, so it can’t hide any longer!

Still, the startling left me twitchy, jumpy, on-edge and on the point of tears for quite a long while after this. Any slightly loud noise, someone walking past me in the cafe and I’d jump and catch my breath.

When I got home, I felt exhausted and collapsed into bed and slept for a couple of hours.

I did sleep well through the night, even though I went to bed a bit later than usual. However, I still feel tired, exhausted today.

I know it will pass. Self-care is required. I have some ginger chai that I’m sipping as I write this blog. I know that art, crochet, naps, music all help to soothe me. I’m not sure a walk in a people-y world would be a good idea today, well not if my by myself. I think I’m still on edge. It does take a good while for the stress hormones to leave my system so that I return to a less aroused emotional state.

Hmm, thinking about that, I do have this sense of anxiety today. There’s nothing I’m stressing about, nothing that is worrying me, so it’s just those hormones flooding my system still.

I think I deserve some gold stars for noticing that! Becoming self-aware, aware of my emotions and thoughts, is part of the healing process. It still amazes me when I see something that in the past that I would either ignore or bury deep inside me and put a happy smiley face on and carry on as if nothing was wrong.

Mostly gone are those days. I say mostly; there are times when I still return to the default setting of ignoring my emotions and needs to make sure whoever I am with is happy, even if it causes me great pain or a feeling of vulnerability and feeling unsafe.

I still find it very difficult to voice my own needs if I think someone is going to dismiss them or ignore them. Admitting I have needs make me feel even more vulnerable.

I am aware of this now, so that is a step forward. Progress is made through a series of small, manageable steps. In therapy, the first steps to change are recognising something that needs to change for healing and a healthier relationship with myself to occur.