You Matter – a poem by Nikita Gill

You Matter by Nikita Gill; Artwork by Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com
You Matter by Nikita Gill; Artwork by Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

The poem.

I was reading ‘Your Soul is a River’ by Nikita Gill this morning and this particular poem struck a chord with me. I thought it would be nice to use it to create some art to frame it.

It’s taken me a few attempts to get this far today; and I’m not entirely happy with what I’ve produced. However, I shall persevere later today; first I need to go out to do some provisions shopping and to have a very late breakfast. Actually it’s more like a very late lunch!

I produced the words with the border in Publisher. I’m using Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, a Microsoft Surface Pen and a Microsoft Surface Studio to do the artwork.

So, Angela, how are you today?

The poem reflects rather well how I’m feeling about myself in the moments when my emotions overwhelm me. I am rather emotionally fragile and vulnerable at the moment.

I am exhausted – emotionally and mentally. I’ve had a heck of an emotional week and yesterday was perhaps the most emotional day of all. No EMDR was done in therapy, but lots of tears were shed as I tried to work my way through what has caused the upsets.

Some of it is very obvious. But some of the triggering events have no apparent link to the past.

No apparent link; there’s something there which I can’t bring up or face at the moment. I’m fearful of it because it is something either unknown or something I have to face the truth of. It’s a difficult truth as I’ve told myself a story to deal with the painful experiences I’ve had throughout my life. Discovering I’ve been lying to myself is not easy, even though it has been a coping strategy, trying to make things more pleasant than they really are.

It’s a common coping strategy amongst survivors of trauma.

It’s a necessary process, for how else can I heal from the past?

It’s another one of those processes that is like surgery, but instead of removing or fixing a physical part of oneself that is damaged or broken it’s all about the mental and emotional processes that are damaged by trauma in the past.

No surgery is without some kind of pain, but the pain is endured as the result will be a better life with less pain.

Therapy is surgery for my damaged emotions and beliefs about myself; this surgery is necessary for me to heal from CPTSD.

My touchstone.

Yesterday, I talked about a lot of things with my therapist. One of those things was the recognition that I now have a mental and emotional state that I know I can return to. It’s that state where I feel content and optimisitic, a state of mind and emotions that I’ve not really experienced much in my life.

I know how that feels; even though my emotions are all higgledy-piggledy at the moment I can still sense that inner contentedness and hints of that optimism.

Where do I go from here?

Self-care and self-soothing is the order of the day today. I do need to sleep, but I don’t know if a nap will help or just throw my sleep out tonight.

I know this will pass; it has before, it will again.

It’s all just a bump in the road I’m travelling in my journey to recovery from CPTSD. This is NOT my destination; it’s just the wrong leaves on the tracks.

Monday Mandala

Or, mandala Monday?

Monday Mandala 19 August 2019 ©Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

I’ve spent a little time this morning working on this rather sunshiny mandala. It’s not finished yet and I’ll think I’ll keep the sunrise (or sunset) colour theme for the rest of it.

Digital art using Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, Microsoft Surface Pen and Microsoft Surface Studio.

So, Angela, how are you feeling today?

I am feeling tired today. I woke with a headache and tried to sleep it off and woke again with it still there. I’ve taken some Anadin extra, but it’s still faintly there.

I’m feeling tired emotionally too. I’ve had a couple of things happen this past week that have caused some quite visceral emotional reactions. Some of these events I’ve mentioned in previous blogs, others I’m not at all comfortable to share, not even with my therapist, not yet that is.

I constantly feel on the point of tears, and I know what has been the trigger for that. I also thought I’d got past it, but obviously not. That disheartens me a little. It may be there are different facets to this particular collection of relatively recent events.

Oh, the joys of living with CPTSD. It’s not described as complex for no reason at all.

Despite the tearfulness and some fearful anxiety, I can still touch that inner contentedness that I have cultivated. The contentedness is the ocean; the tears, anxiety, fear, the stupidity I feel, as well as other emotions I can’t label yet, are the waves on the surface.

Waves come and go. Sometimes the ocean surface is as calm as a millpond on a still day. Sometimes it’s as turbulent as tsunami rising onto a beach.

The surface of my ocean of contentedness is somewhat choppy, perhaps verging on stormy, but far away from being at the level of a tsunami.

I do have EMDR therapy soon; there’s a very good chance it’s going to be a rather emotional session. I just hope it doesn’t add energy to the waves that are currently forming upon my inner ocean. Given how emotionally fragile and vulnerable I feel at this time, I won’t hold my breath!

Mandala – 18 Aug 2019

Mandala ©Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

I enjoyed creating this simple, for me, mandala; I am pleased with the result.

It’s not been without the need for editing along the way and changing some of the design elements. That’s the beauty of working digitally; being able to change the design when I realise that some parts just aren’t working.

Of course, it helps if my mood is in the right place too. Last night and today I’ve found my balance once again and the oompf to create. This mandala is a reflection of that.

I also reset the colour palette I’d been using in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro and created one with a limited palette.

Even though I’d limited my colour choices to twelve colours plus greyscale, I think that may still have been too many. So, the next mandala I create will have a smaller palette.

I particularly like how I’ve created texture and dimension in the ‘rings’ and also the central circle. It’s subtle but effective, I think.

One thing I would, perhaps, change if I was super-critical, are the leaves and the background to them. These seem brighter than the rest of the design. However, part of me likes that contrast.

I’m pleased with myself for persevering with this and changing colours that didn’t work as the design unfolded. I think I’m achieving a more coherent design as a result of using a limited palette.

Every time I create digital art, I learn new things and develop accordingly. Today, I have found it a satisfying experience. Even swapping colours hasn’t been the frustrating experience it often is.

So, onwards I travel on my journey of discovery and development as an artist working with digital media. If I look back, I can see how far I have come in the past three years since I bought my Surface Book. Acquiring a Surface Studio and its large screen has allowed me to explore and develop my art even more.

Mandala 15 August 2019

Mandala © Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com
Mandala © Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

This is definitely a ‘not sure about it’ verging on the ‘I hate it’ work.

It was doing great until I added that grey area, and it all went to pot I think. I do struggle with colours at times that’s for sure, and it’s gone downhill from there.

I’m kicking myself for combining all the layers at that point. I’m working digitally, as is my preference for mandalas. I could leave the various ‘rings’ as separate layers until I’m finished. Or I could just save versions of the work as I go along. However, I didn’t. Maybe I’ll remember to do this in the future. Mind you, I won’t be holding my breath on that one.

I don’t want to go and change the grey areas; I really don’t have the motivation to do so. Also, to edit that digitally would be really fiddly and awkward and I know I’ll just get myself into a bit of a state. I’m frustrated with myself for being a twit and not saving the mandala in layers.

On reflection, I now know that my emotional state last night affected my work.

The bright purple, pink, yellow and green central section really reflected my contented, optimistic mood rather well. Then, I went out to visit friends in the evening, and something happened that triggered me into full flight mode. I almost ran (and I don’t do running, ever), straight to the safety of my car and I drove away.

One of them phoned me as I was driving home and persuaded me to return. I had to sit in my car for a long while, just crying until I was ready to return. When I did return to them, floods of tears happened again.

I’m self-aware enough that I now understand what my flight was all about. Also, I’ve gained an insight into what I’m processing in EMDR, which is going to be of value in next week’s session.

I can’t believe how suddenly I flew away. I had no chance to ground, breathe, think through things logically. It was a very visceral reaction.

An hour or so later and I was laughing and smiling once more. However, I can see from this mandala that my mood was severely affected as I worked on those grey areas last night before bed.

I don’t think I can save this mandala now.

Whatever I have added to it just doesn’t work. I’ve tried changing the background colour and darkness/lightness with no luck as well. So, it’ll be one of my rare pieces of art that won’t be finished.

Working on the mandala did help to soothe my emotions before I retired to bed, so it’s not all negative. I think that’s why I can now leave this as it is. It’s served its purpose for me.

Actually, thinking about it I have quite a few pieces that I’ve not finished and am now not likely to do so for various reasons. This particular mandala, however, is one that shows me just how much my art can reflect my emotional state.

That is something new for me; it’s not often, if ever, my emotional state is reflected in my art. Looks like that’s changed! Or, at the very least, I’m just aware of it now.

So, I’ll start with a clean state, metaphorically speaking. I also think I’ll create a limited palette to use with the next mandala. That may help me with my colour issue at the moment.

Also, I’m awaiting delivery of my Chameleon Fineliner pens in a couple of hours. So, I know I’ll want to ‘play’ with them. I suspect some art with pen and paper will be appearing on the blog tomorrow, even if it’s just a sheet of experiments with the fine-liners both in drawing and hand-lettering and handwriting. Maybe there’ll be a dangle design too. At the moment I don’t really know myself.

So, I’m going to get myself another mug of tea and ponder what I want to do artistically/creatively for the rest of the day. I also need to write about last night’s flight and process it as best as I can.

Oh, I used my favourite digital art tools for this – Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, Microsoft Surface Pen and Microsoft Surface Studio.

Reef WIP

Reef WIP ©Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

I’ve had a busy day today. It started with therapy late this morning. Then, I took myself off to the National Botanic Garden of Wales in Llanarthne for a walk and to look at, photo and draw some flora and foliage. I must admit I took more photos than I made sketches.

If you’d like to read more about my trip then please visit Curious Stops and Tea Shops, my other blog which is all about my trips out and about.

I have been working on this artwork where I’m working on a dark background with a soft pastel type effect upon it.

The colours are a lot brighter on my monitor than on wordpress. However, I’m sure you’ll get the idea. I like the floaty, fuzzy, ethereal feel the soft edged ‘pastels’ give the art. I also like the way I can get colours to glow against each other – very coral reef I think.

I’m still finding my way through this way of working. I’m not sure that it really is ‘me’; part of me thinks that it’s quite childish. I will persevere though and see where it leads me.

Sunday art experiments

Sunday art experiments © Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

Last night I had an idea to create a grid of little squares that I could try out some digital art techniques on. It’s ended up as a digital art sampler.

It has been another chance for me to experiment with some of the brushes and brush settings in Autodesk Sketchbook without worrying about messing up any art project I currently have on the go.

The more I play around with things, the more I understand them. I also find techniques or effects that I like-lots. There are quite a few squares in this sampler that I don’t like, but there are some I am pleased with, namely the two in the centre of the bottom row.

Some of the others have shown some interesting effects I could make use of in future artworks. Others I just look at and say to myself, ‘Angela, what on earth were you thinking?’. The answer is that I wasn’t thinking; I was trying different brushes, textures and settings to see what happened.

I certainly have a right mixed bunch of results in this sampler. Also, I have a bit more understanding of how different brush settings work. Having said that, I’m sure I still have an awful lot to experience and understand. Like everything else in life, this is always done one step at a time and when I am ready to explore, experiment and learn.

I also like to show experiments like this. Usually, you only get to see work in progress that I’m quite happy to share or finished artworks that I’m satisfied with. I think it’s important to show that I experiment, make mistakes, create art that is a bit of a mess.

Even when I make something that is a mess, there is always something to learn by reflecting on why I think it’s a mess, what could I do differently, is there anywhere I could make use of this technique where it would work out well for me? These are just a few questions I consider when I reflect and review my art.

I no longer keep a sketchbook/journal for my art as I mostly work digitally now. However, I just realised that I could create a digital version of a sketchbook journal using One Note. Now that’s a little task for me to do once I get rid of a horrible headache I had when I woke.

Abstract Reef WIP

Abstract reef WIP ©Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com
Abstract reef WIP ©Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

This morning I decided I’d like to use one of my recent reef drawings and re-work it in colour. You can see my progress so far above. The coloured background makes a world of difference to how the design looks as I work it. I also have quite a fondness for teals, turquoises and purples for the background to my artwork. I also favour a darker background that makes the bright colours I like to use in my art ‘pop’ even more.

As it’s digital art, I’m using my favourite trio of tools – Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, Microsoft Surface Studio and Microsoft Surface Pen.

I’ve decided not to go with black pen outlines on this one. I’ve still not fully worked out why I shy away from them when I’m doing digital art, yet I’m more than comfortable to use them in my traditional drawings.

So, Angela, how are you today?

I’m feeling quite upbeat today, if still a bit tired. This week has been a weirdly busy and draining one. Between horrible abdominal cramps and broken nights’ sleeps, being startled while out, and long conversations with various people about problems going on in their lives I am feeling a bit tired too, but surprisingly content and upbeat.

I’ve also had a chance to reflect on how far I’ve come in counselling. How much better my mental health in the form of thoughts and beliefs about myself are. I am closer to being ‘good enough’ or ‘more than good enough’ to live the life I’d like to than ever.

I still have work to be done. There are still some negative beliefs about myself that on the surface don’t seem much of a problem, yet during EMDR they turn out to be much more powerful and distressing than I realised.

I make progress, and that is all that matters. Each step forward is a step towards my goals for myself.