An Entangled Sunday

An Entangled Sunday ©Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

Yesterday evening, I took a combination of Tombow Fudenosuke, Sakura Pigma Micron and Faber-Castell Pitt Artist pens to a 6″ x 6″ piece of Strathmore vellum surface Bristol Board. I ended up with a black and white entangled drawing. This morning, I scanned the image in and added a kraft paper background and then some subtle shading and highlights in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro.

After Inktober and my focus on digital art, it was nice to draw traditionally for a change. My mood and energy levels were such that I needed to slip back into the familiar, comforting entangled style of art to soothe my emotions once again.

This drawing worked out OK. However, I don’t feel it flows at all well, though that does reflect yesterday’s mood and mindset.

The part I really like is the rectangle towards the bottom left. I’m also fond of the arcs to the right. Actually, I like all the design elements, I’m just not happy with how they’ve been lumped together. Maybe I’m just being overly self-critical here.

It’s a sunny Sunday morning in the Valleys of South Wales. I think it’s going to be a quietly artsy day, with a trip out for some essential groceries in a short while I think.

Whimsical Autumn Dangle Designs and More.

Autumn dangle designs and more © Angela Porter

About the art.

It’s been a while since I did any whimsical dangle designs, so here’s an A4 sheet full of ideas!

There are six complete dangle designs on this sheet along with lots of ideas for motifs to use. I’ve also done some hand lettering, something I don’t do often enough these days.

I know there are likely to be things associated with autumn missing from the sheet, but it is a collection of some of my favourites. I had a lot of fun filling in some of the space around the dangle designs with the lettering and design elements.

I used Tombow Fudenosuke and Faber-Castell Pitt Artist pens to draw and hand letter on an A4 sheet of dot grid paper by Claire Fontaine.

After scanning in, I decided I’d like to add some colour digitally. I used a different kind of brush setting – natural blend with an airbrush. I’ve not quite worked out how it works, but I like the way it’s turned out here. The colour blends turn out quite soft and gentle, however this brush setting does need some more experimentation by me.

These are lovely, simple designs that would be perfect for using in bullet journals (BuJos), planners, diaries, scrapbooks and journals as well as for greeting cards, bookmarks and more.

My book “A Dangle A Day” is a great resource for dangle designs and design elements (called ‘charms’ in the book), even if I say so myself. It also has easy to follow step by step instructions for beginners to more confident creatives, as well as lots of inspiration – there’s nearly 200 dangle designs in the book!

So, Angela, how are you feeling today?

I’m feeling content, fairly upbeat and the exhaustion of the past few days seems to have mostly subsided. There’s still some tiredness there, but I feel more able to cope with the demands of daily life.

I do have to venture forth into the world; in my rather emotionally fragile state the thought of going grocery shopping filled me with, well not horror but trepidation. Fortunately, I keep a fairly well stocked fridge, freezer and cupboard, but now I do need to go get some fresh fruit and veg, which I will do in a short while I expect.

It is good to be back to having the contentedness the dominant feeling – it’s not as strong as it has been which tells me there’s still some emotional distress lingering. However, it is the prevalent emotion.

I’ve weathered another emotional storm. I do try to remind myself that I’ve come through plenty of hurricane force emotional and mental storms in the past and I can come through them again. Nowadays, I know what contentedness feels like and during emotional storms it acts a lighthouse to guide me back to emotionally calm waters.

Now, that’s a nice metaphor!

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.

Emotional Pain – A Quote

Emotional Pain - A quote. Artwork by Angela Porter of Artwyrd.com
Emotional Pain – A quote. Artwork by Angela Porter of Artwyrd.com

About the art

This Nicola Lyons quote is another that resonated with me and brought some tears to my eyes and echoes of pain to my heart too. I just had to make it pretty – Angela style of course.

I used a script font and printed the quote out in a square format. I added the illustration around it using a combination of Tombow Fudenosuke and Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Pens. I kept to a small number of repeating motifs in this design. I can now see that I may go back and add some texture and pattern to the leaves, berries and some flowers that are quite bare to help to bring them to add depth and dimension.

I scanned the drawing in, cleaned it up digitally and then added a background to it rather than colour the elements in. I may return to colouring the design in, but I think I’ll use colours that are reminiscent of linocut artworks – flat colour and letting the lines add the shadow and texture, depth and dimension to the image.

So, Angela, how are you feeling today?

I’m tired. I got to sleep early enough but I woke around 3:30am and couldn’t get back to sleep until gone 5am. I’d set my alarm for 7:30am as I have to be in Llandridnod Wells before 11am to give an anti-stigma talk on behalf of Time to Change Wales.

I expect that I’ll be drained after the talk – I usually am. So self-care will be important later on in the day. I need lots of tea before I leave – I have less than an hour to sort myself out.

Warning – the following may contain triggers.

The quote above relates to me being a ‘people-pleaser’, which is one way that CPTSD presents in me.

From as early as I can remember, I tried to do and be what would make others around me like me or love me, even if it meant doing things that made me feel horrible. It’s a pattern of behaviour that carried on through my life.

It never worked though; other people would get what they wanted and in return I would not get what I was hoping for or was told I would get. I’ve been left believing that I am unlovable and unlikable and not good-enough. There’s a good helping of shame around all this too, along with a lot of grief for what never was and never could be.

Nowadays, I’m more aware of my emotional, physical and mental needs now, thanks to EMDR therapy. However, I can still default to this ‘people-pleaser’ setting when I’m anxious or emotionally vulnerable.

It took a lot of work in various forms of counselling, self-reflection and EMDR for me to recognise that I have been a people-pleaser. Once aware of this tendency I could start to change my behaviour. I don’t know how successful I’ve been. One coping strategy I have is that I don’t let people get close to me, yet I yearn for meaningful, deep connection with like-minded souls, kindred spirits.

It’s a conundrum and I’m not sure how I’m going to solve it other than by valuing myself in a healthy way, being able to put up healthy boundaries, and being able to say ‘no’ if I’m uncomfortable about something or it would cause me difficulties.

Heal

Heal - Artwork by Angela Porter at Artwyrd.com
Heal – Artwork by Angela Porter at Artwyrd.com

About the art.

I don’t know who said these words, but they resonated with me when I stumbled upon them. Not only did they resonate, but they also brought tears to my eyes and my heart too. I have words for one of my goals for recovery from cPTSD. This is why I had to do something with the quote in my own inimitable style.

So, I took the words and chose a pretty font for them, arranged them as I wished and then printed them out onto acid-free paper. I trimmed the paper to approx 21cm x 21cm and added some pencil guidelines for space around the quote and the edge of the paper.

Next, I used Tombow Fudenosuke and Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Pens to draw a design. I stuck to just a few motifs that I repeated to fill the space. I also let the design elements to spill over the pencil margins here and there to give a more organic feel to the artwork.

Finally, after erasing the pencil lines, I scanned the drawing in, increased the contrast a little to remove most of the remaining pencil marks. I then added a grungy, colourful, autumnal background.

I’m pleased with this one. I really like the way the Fudenosuke pens work for me now. I love the variation of line and the bolder line that I have used. I also think that using just a few design elements and repeating them to fill the space results in a more cohesive design.

I think I could have left a bit more space around the quote; however, it is good enough.

So, Angela, how are you feeling today?

And for me to say something is good enough is a sign that I am recovering from a bad day yesterday. I’m still somewhat emotionally fragile and vulnerable, but I’m able to see that my art is good enough.

Yesterday, nothing I did was good enough. I lost faith in my crochet, my digital art, my drawing. Nothing seemed to work out, and I really was doubting my abilities.

EMDR therapy for my cPTSD was rather distressing and left me exhausted. Mind you, I was exhausted to begin with. Monday I wore my protective mask as I had to go somewhere where I’d be with people I didn’t know, doing something I was really anxious about, and I didn’t know the place I was going to. I was exhausted after keeping my mask on for just four or so hours.

How on earth did I find the energy to keep the mask up for all those years? 

One good thing has come from this experience – I can see how exhausting it is to keep up a mask for even a short time. I wonder how on earth I managed it for most of my life!

Anyway, after EMDR, I was more exhausted and came home and slept. In the evening, I thought I needed to be creative. It all led to me being hard and overly critical of myself. Little comments made to me just made it worse, even though the comments weren’t negative, my emotionally vulnerable and exhausted state twisted them that way.

Even though I was emotionally vulnerable and caught up in a storm of thoughts and feelings, I was still aware of this contentedness inside me, but I just couldn’t anchor myself fully to it. I was a little bit adrift in the turbulent waters of my emotions and thoughts.

I should know by now that I need to choose what activities I do carefully at times like this. Last night, I didn’t do that. However, I eventually got back to sleep, and I woke this morning feeling more content.

There’s not quite the sunshine within present today; there are still some emotional clouds covering it up. However, I know that they will not persist and will move along as I practice self-soothing and self-care and do creative activities that won’t push me too much and won’t engage the inner critics.

I’m still drained, physically, mentally and emotionally, but I am in a better place today. I think my drawing above shows that too.

Crochet Seed Pods

Crochet Seed pods by Angela Porter – Artwyrd.com

I really do wish I could take better photos! However, I think you get the idea of this pair of pods that I created last night and in the early hours on waking.

These ones I’m really pleased with; they’re the ones that look most like the seed pods I draw. I’ve also progressed to adding leaves to the stems and that funny star-shape.

I’m going to spend the evening doing some more crochet. I had EMDR therapy this morning, and it has totally drained me. I was tired and emotionally fragile, to begin with; I’m now emotionally exhausted and need to take self-care time.

I know that if I were to attempt digital or traditional art/drawing, then I would not feel satisfied with what I do. I’d get frustrated with myself, I’d become overly self-critical and would end up feeling worse than I do now. Although I am emotionally exhausted, I feel calm and fairly content. I need to keep activities that would drag me down to a minimum until I am more emotionally resilient.

So, self-care it really does have to be this evening, and maybe some or all of tomorrow.

Autumn Equinox 2019

Crochet Seed Pods by Artwyrd.com
Crochet seed pods by Artwyrd.com

It’s the first day of astronomical Autumn in the Northern Hemisphere – Spring for those of you in the Southern Hemisphere.

The signs of autumn are all around me. leaves are starting to don their fiery autumn hues. Shiny-red rowan and hawthorn berries festoon the branches. Shiny purple-black bramble-fruits mask the sharp thorns on their canes. Nuts of all kinds are changing from green to brown – a veritable feast for all kinds of critters. Bunches of sycamore helicopters and ash keys can be seen peeking out from the dark-green-tinged-with-brown leaves. Fluffy seed-heads of clematis coat the hedgerows like some kind of Hallowe’en web-like decoration.

It is my favourite season of the year. I love the colours. I am fascinated with how nature reveals it’s underlying architecture as the foliage falls, creating piles of colourful, crunch leaves that remind me of glowing embers.

Nature really does prepare for the long winter sleep by donning her party clothes for a final blaze of glory , a memory that will stay with us throughout the cold, dark Winter months to remind us that she merely slumbers and will reawaken in the Spring.

So, given my current fascination with freeform crochet, I have created some seed pods; at least that’s what I had in mind as I created these forms.

I do want to add some beads to them; I can’t resist adding some sparkle!

Of course, seed pods are quite apt for the season the world is entering; they are in abundance. I do love seed pods; they feature in my artwork quite a lot. So, it’s quite natural that I’d want to try to recreate some of my weirder ones in crochet.

This kind of crochet is turning out to be a bit easier to do than I thought it would. I do have a lot to explore and discover and a lot more confidence to gain, but I think I’m making a good start. I do need to learn some more textural stitches as well how to create spirals just to start.

To give you an idea of size, the largest seedpod is approx. 12″ in length. I used a 3.50mm hook with DK yarn. I will make some more pods in four-ply yarn with finer hooks. They should work out smaller.

I suspect that on my travels I may come across some interesting yarns with various textures and finishes that I can use to add some interest. However, for now I will just focus on how I can achieve the shapes and curves that I’d like to form seedpods.

Don’t tell me it’s all about maths – I’m absolutely a nightmare at maths. I have to figure it all out my way.

Now, if anyone should ever like to create seed pods or anything else I create, I will try to work out a written pattern. But just not yet. I’m still working this all out myself!