All the best of the blessings of the season to you one and all!
Today, the Sun passes into Capricorn, marking the astronomical start of winter. It’s one of the shortest days of the year as well, and so it seems right that as the days get longer, the intensity of sunlight that reaches the Earth in the Northern Hemisphere strengthens, that it is seen as the ending of one orbit around the Sun, and the start of a new one.
Of course, if you’re in the Southern Hemisphere, Happy Summer Solstice!
Another day, and the inner need to create a mandala. I’m not entirely sure about this one. Whether it’s the red colour I’ve chosen, or the dense texture of the widest ring, or something else.
It may not be the mandala itself, but how I’m feeling today and how the mandala is, perhaps, a reflection of that.
Perhaps I’m just trying to read too much into it.
Though I’m not too sure about the finished mandala, the process of creating it was pleasant, calming, satisfying in it’s own right. Maybe as the day goes on the mandala will reveal more about myself today.
Yesterday was very much a quiet, self-care day. Today, I’m feeling better in terms of energy and concentration.
This mandala was a product of yesterday’s quiet downtime doing art for arts sake. Though it was this morning I thought I’d like golden outlines to the design rather than the usual black. It took me a while to get my head around doing that!
I like the way I’ve repeated the simple spiral pattern in three layers. Keeping the colour palette simple has also worked nicely for me, even though the combination of colours is an unusual one for me. The colours remind me of cacti with flowers and a soft, golden sun.
I could mention that green is about achieving balance, the red is the energy I need to stoke up on, but a softer, more gentle kind of motivational energy. Golden sunshine is the healing I see. The way the spirals flow outwards and are unfurling suggests growth , springing forth from seeds long lain dormant in the ground of my soul. There’s hints of buds ready to bloom there too. Maybe the golden background and lines are suggesting that I am worth more than I think I am, that I do deserve better.
Oops, I have mentioned that! But somehow this mandala seems to show how I’m progressing in my recovery from cPTSD.
Now how’s that for an insightful piece of art?
No matter whether you agree with the interpretation of the mandala or not, it was definitely a calming and soothing experience, both the drawing and colouring.
It is a piece of digital art. I used my usual Microsoft Surface Pen, Microsoft Surface Studio and Autodesk Sketchbook Pro to create this mandala.
designed a template for Time To Talk day which is 7th Feb 2019 – a day where people are asked to start a conversation about mental health
designed and coloured a dangle design for the lunar new year
got my emotions, feelings, thoughts somewhat back into near balance after a brutal EMDR session yesterday for my cPTSD; as is often the case the session appears gentle, but it’s not till afterwards I feel the exhaustion, upset, and so on of the traumas being processed
get my Instagram account disabled for a breach of their rules, guidelines or something.
I’m not sure which is the most noteworthy or the biggest success!
I have no idea why Instagram have disabled my account. I’ve tried to contact them but the email address just bounces back, though the Messenger message has gone through. I suspect it may be to do with my rant about copyright infringement, but it was never directed at Instagram or anyone on instagram that I know … sheesh.
So, I guess if Instagram no longer want me there, then so be it. I shan’t be setting up another account with them that’s for sure if I don’t get some idea about what it is I’m supposed to have done!
Anyways, it’s Lunar New Year and the lucky colours for the year are red, green and purple, so that’s why that’s the colour scheme for the dangle. I thought a gold background would go with the opulence of the colours; I’m not so sure about that now!
It was a very quick drawing and colouring session for the dangle design.
Talking of dangle designs, my book A Dangle A Day is now published. In the book I show how to create dangle designs, one step at a time and there’s a whole host of different dangle designs you can use for various celebrations and events throughout the year.
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!
I woke early this morning, it was still dark. The night has now lifted to reveal a dull, grey, misty, damp morning here in the Valleys of South Wales.
I wanted to re-colour the holly mandala in a more traditional colour scheme of red, green and gold, and so I have done so.
The colours help to give an illusion of dimension to the concentric rings in the design. Of course, the colours are kind of my signature – bright and jewel-like. I chose to change the background colour from stark black to a very dark, inky night-sky blue. I did add some lighter texture to the background to break the colours up just a tad.
It’s worked out ok. I think I prefer it muchly to the green foil version. The foil images are fun to do, that’s for sure. And of course they’ve allowed me to work out another way of creating art digitally, which is essentially by removing black to reveal the design. This has resulted in me drawing my motifs in a slightly different way to how I’d usually do them. They definitely have more of that lino-cut feel to them with the simplification of designs and lines. I like that.
I also like how the holly berries in the outer ring seem to be floating above and below the leaves. That wasn’t intentional! It’s just how it’s all worked out.
Sprinkling stars everywhere is one of my favourite things to do it seems and they do add a little magic to this design for sure.
Which version do you prefer? This one or yesterday’s green foiled version?
Tools used – Microsoft Surface Pen and Surface Studio. Autodesk Sketchbook Pro.
Another astronomical cycle completed as the Earth returns to the point of solstice once again. The first day of Winter. A time to reflect on the year behind, successes and otherwise. A time to be willing to let go of all that has run it’s course, either by being completed or no longer needed, to make space for new growth as the Sun grows in power once again, increasing the amount of light flooding the Earth (well the Northern Hemisphere).
For whatever reason, it seems more natural to me to follow markers in time and the symbolism of the waxing and waning cycles of the Sun and how that relates to the patterns that we see reflected in our lives than does anything else. All a bit odd coming from a scientist, perhaps.
This year I will be looking on it as a continuation of a new start in my life. I have been off work since the middle of November and it really is time to let go of the old patterns of negative thinking about myself that have so blighted my life and experiences. It’s not going to be easy; fifty years of them whispering and disempowering and controlling me is a very long time. It can be done and I have to see it as a long term process, with the help of my doctor. It’s not been easy to admit I need help with all of this, or to acknowledge, truthfully to myself, the impact it has all had on myself.
However long it has taken me, I’m at that point where little steps are needed, and I do have to understand it is little steps, that this can’t be sorted instantly or overnight.
There’s been a complex set of circumstances that led me to this point of requesting help, not least of which was the nagging of a dear friend to get the help needed; it took them over a year to get through to me, that’s how much in denial I have been. However, we did get there.
I’m not prepared to air the circumstances here, where anyone and everyone can see them. Those who know me will know what they are, maybe. Those who don’t can infer for themselves what this may be about.
All I know is that I’m quietly on the mend now, slowly but surely, and that is all that matters.
My love and thanks go out to that dear friend who nagged me. My love and thanks to my little sister who has made sure that I don’t totally lock myself away all the time. My love and thanks to those I’ve seen and spoken to in the past few weeks, and before that, who have helped and supported me.