A warm, sunshiny mandala.
Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, Surface Book and Surface Pen.
Today I’m feeling tickettyboo, a little tired, but definitely only a teeny tiny bit emotionally drained. I think that some lovely icecream on a toasted waffle after my talk yesterday, in the company of a lovely friend, seriously helped, as did time with other friends in the evening and a serious dose of meditation.
Of course, my morning drawing helps me, and today it’s a mandala.
The perfect kind of relaxation to do before I head out later to do my fourth anti-stigma talk of the week, this time at Companies House.
This morning it’s time for some self-care, and for learning how to create amigurumi critters. Crocheting is always a challenge for me, but I had an overwhelming desire to create a cuddly cuttlefish, all rainbow colours. However, I think I bit off more than I could chew by starting on something so big without practicing and figuring out how amigurumi works and how to avoid increasing the number of stitches when they’re supposed to remain the same number, and how to know when the next ‘row’ starts when you’re essentially working in a spiral, and and and …
So, I finished the body and ears of a simple bear yesterday and started on a little mouse. I’ve still not figured out fully how it works, but I may be getting there, and smaller projects are definitely the way to go to learn and understand the techniques needed.
This year, in my role as a champion for Time to Change Wales, I’m giving (at the moment!) four anti-stigma talks to various organisations this week.
The aim of the Time to Change Wales campaign is to help to bring about an end to the stigma and discrimination that surrounds mental health. In my anti-stigma talk, I talk about the campaign and tell my own story of my mental health issues.
It’s not a secret, I have complex post-traumatic stress disorder (cptsd) that has resulted from constant trauma from emotional neglect, emotional and mental abuse from a very young age and that persisted throughout my life until the past two or three years.
EMDR therapy with a fabulous therapist is really helping me and my mental health is so much better than it used to be.
If I help just one person through my talks, then it’s a worthwhile exercise.
For myself, it’s helping me to ‘own’ my own story and to not minimise the effect the traumas of my life have had on me, on the way I think about myself, about how I behave to avoid triggers or more trauma, and to begin to live a healthier more rewarding life.
Art is not only how I make a living now, but it is also my therapy, my way of helping myself when I’m anxious or depressed or stressed. It helps me to find my balance again, even if temporarily.
No quote, no lettering, just pure mandala. Drawn using my Microsoft Surface Pen on my Microsoft Surface Book with Autodesk Sketchbook Pro. The background was created using Rangers Tim Holtz’s Distress Inks on mixed media paper then scanned in.
Just a quick one to start the day. I have some editing to do for A Dangle A Day (available for preorder) before going out to a Lebanese/Moroccan restaurant called Mezza Luna with my sister. For the first time, she gets to drive!
My car is still poorly; the Mercedes garage seems to be having problems working out what has gone wrong with Smartwo Deetoo. I hope I get her back soon; if not, I’ll have to hire a car for a day or two for some appointments I have later in the week.
I’ve still not calmed down after the drama of last weekends car breakdown. I’m all of a dither, my mind all over the place, my digestive system is still upset, and I’m so tired all the time. How I ever managed to function as a teacher when I felt like this all the time is beyond me, but I did until my precarious mental health crashed in on me.
Over on the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group it’s #supplysaturday.
My #tuesdaytip is to do just this – create every day!
It doesn’t matter for how long – 5 minutes, 10 minutes, an hour, longer. Just take time to create.
You can create something new. You can work on practicing, say, your hand lettering. You could re-work or add to something you thought was finished. You could try a new skill or technique or medium. You could doodle aimlessly.
There’s just so many possibilities, so many ways to be creative – art, crafts, cooking, gardening, wood-turning, sculpting, decorating, sewing, colouring, are just a few of the possibilities.
Just create. Have fun. Play. Relax.
Take a break from the worries, stresses and strains of everyday life by focusing on being creative.
I use art to help me find my inner calm and stay there. My whole body exhales, calms and relaxes when I ‘art’. It’s a daily practice for me that has a similar effect as meditation and mindfulness does. Even if I don’t meditate every day, I ‘art’ every day, just for pleasure (as well as for my work).
When the days are very trying for me, as they have been lately due to a nightmare of a car breakdown and recovery that took 8 hours Saturday night into Sunday morning, I find creating collections of doodles and patterns for my BuJo or hand-writing quotes or words really soothing, especially if they are familiar to me. That’s what I needed at that time, something I could do automatically, that didn’t cause more stress for me. The rhythm and flow soothed. Just the process of repeating the drawings and drawing of letters involved practice and improvement of my favourite motifs, patterns, words; and when calm, I could move on to create something new.
Being creative isn’t just about making great works of art or craft, or any thing else. It’s also about feeding your heart, your soul, your being and finding calm and joy in what you do.
My #tuesdaytip is to experiment, and not be afraid to make a mess of things.
If things don’t turn out as you’d like, learn from them.
Question what you like and why you don’t like bits.
Ask yourself if there’s anything you can do to fix what you don’t like or work with what you don’t like.
Sometimes it helps to put what you’re not happy with to one side for a goodly while and come back to it with fresh eyes. Often, what you think is a mess up is actually a nice part, even if it doesn’t fit in with the whole and could be useful in a different project.
Think of these areas as creative opportunities, experiences you can learn and grow from.
If you’re not going to use your creation as a finished piece, write notes on it about what you like and why you like it, what you don’t like and why you don’t like it in this piece but consider how you could use it more successfully to your tastes in the future.
Never throw anything out, there is a lot more to learn from your mess ups than from you successes!