Doodly Saturday

©Angela Porter 2019

It’s been a weird kind of day today for me. I’m quite open about my mental health, and today has been one where it’s not been completely tickettyboo. I’m out of sorts. Unsettled. Nothing I’ve done seems good enough to me. I’m quite teary and that really set in during a loving kindness meditation this morning.

Loving kindness meditations are always difficult for me. It’s easy for me to send out love and good wishes to all people. It’s not easy for me to accept the same for myself. Today, it was more difficult than usual, including some physical pain along with it. Traumas from my past kept rising up. Things I didn’t think were traumas, just stupid decisions made by myself. Seems I have work to do on those too in EMDR therapy.

I did colour some mixed media paper with distress inks and quite small pieces at that. I drew on two of them, as above. I’m really not happy with either of them. I really don’t know why I put the words on the left hand one. Growth is a funny word there.

I’ll just put it all down to me being out of sorts. Perhaps tomorrow will be a better day for me to focus on art.

This is odd for me as drawing or creating usually helps me to feel better. Today it hasn’t.

I received a book in the post today – “The Wild Remedy’ by Emma Mitchell. It’s a diary she’s written over a year of how she finds being in nature and drawing and painting helps her with her low moods. She’s subtitled the book ‘How Nature Mends Us – A Diary’. I’ve read the introduction and the first month in the diary, which is October. Both interesting reads.

I almost was inspired to go out for a walk, but I just couldn’t pull myself together to do this during the daylight hours. The Sun has just set here in South Wales in the UK. Perhaps tomorrow I’ll manage to get out for a walk at some point.

I know my moods don’t linger for long. I do have low days which can linger for a couple or few days. Nowhere near as bad as they used to be, but enough to result in me being unsettled and out of sorts and hypercritical of myself and anything I do. I’ve become aware enough that it’s best to do other things that draw for publishers on days like today as I’ll just get more and more frustrated with myself and my efforts.

On other days, whatever I draw I may consider good enough. But on days like today …

Still, the sun will rise again in the morning and it’ll be a new day. My mood may be better then and I’ll accomplish work I consider to be good enough. Now all I need to do is try to find something that I can settle down to do today. I’ve been back and forth all day between drawing, reading, knitting, fussing around. The only creative thing I’ve enjoyed today has been colouring paper with distress inks. Not sure I want to spend the evening doing that though.

Maybe I need to go out for a drive. Sometimes driving with upbeat music on can shift my mood, especially when I feel anxious and restless as I do now, for no reason either.

Hand Lettering – WIP Wednesday

©Angela Porter 2018

I woke this morning with a dreadful migraine. Two emotionally draining days – therapy on Monday, an anti-stigma talk for Time to Change Wales yesterday – can cause such a reaction in me. It’s my body’s way of saying ‘Woah there Angela! Enough! Time out is needed! Self-care! Nothing else stressful for today at least, please!’.

So I’m heeding my body’s message. I was due to take all my accounts stuff to my accountant, but my vision and concentration is impaired enough that for now I don’t feel safe to drive. I know that with a quiet day and a nap later on I’ll recover. 

Even though my eyesight is affected a bit, doing art actually seems to help with the headache. I think it’s a mindful activity that lets my mind and emotions relax.

So, I wanted to complete my days of the week in a Lombardic style script, and here’s my work in progress. You can see my pencil lines, both as a guide for letter heights and for the shape and spacing of letters. By drawing the outlines in pencil first it means I can easily make adjustments as I ink them in.

Next steps, when my head has cleared a fair bit more, will be to add the patterns in the letters. This really does help to define the letter shapes I think.

I definitely want to try some of these letters with dangles on them. Perhaps that’s what I’ll do while I’m waiting for this migraine headache to shift somewhat.

A Dangle A Day’ is due for release on 8 Jan 2019

Hand lettering practice

©Angela Porter 2018

Today has been a bit of a busy day. I woke still drained from yesterday’s EMDR therapy session. No EMDR though as I was just too emotional and ‘raw’ to go through it, so it was a lot of talking around how one trigger event had caused several trauma ‘streams’ to rise and flood and confluence. I was stuck at that confluence where white water rapids had formed and I was being buffeted about in the eddies and currents and waves.

So, it was self-care last night when I got home, which involved a bag of chips from a local chippy, with curry sauce, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and starting to crochet an amigurumi ‘dumpling cat’ from a new book that was delivered yesterday. Then, there was the journal writing before I went to bed.

This morning I had to be up early to go give an anti-stigma talk to a group of police officers. That drained me emotionally once again. However, it was a good thing to do as they all found my talk really interesting and useful. My Time To Change Wales champions hat was polished up a little bit once again.

I came home and finally had some breakfast and ended up in bed to sleep. That’s one of my coping strategies when I’m so emotionally drained. I still feel dazed and dazzled by it all, but am on a bit of a more even keel now.

I didn’t want to let the day pass without doing something with pen and paper or screen. Hand lettering seems to be my thing at the moment so I thought I’d have a go at hand lettering some of the days of the week.

For reference I used the Lombardic Capitals set in ‘Decorated Lettering’ by Jan Pickett. 

They appeal to me partly because the space inside the letters lends itself so much to adding patterns, but because of their oldy-worldy nature. I love Anglo-Saxon, Celtic and Medieval illuminated manuscripts and this style of lettering, in a slightly more modern form, appeals to me.

I discovered it’s a lot easier to form the letters when you draw them big – hence why their size increased from Monday to Wednesday.

Dot grid paper is a godsend as it helps with the consistency of size of the letters, though I suspect that as I become more comfortable with my skills that I may experiment more with that.

A nice way to spend an hour or so this afternoon, and I have the rest of the days to look forward to doing, along with adding patterns to the open letters.

Mind you, the letters without patterns would look lovely just coloured with colour  gradients, and I’d love to add metallic highlights/accents too.

First, I need to get a bit more proficient at hand lettering and working on plain paper.

Of course, I can always scan my lettering in and remove the background and dotgrid so I can print it out on paper suitable for a colouring medium such as watercolours and metallic paints.

Cheating? No. I don’t think so. I would’ve already done the work in the first place. Printing and colouring is, to me, perfectly acceptable.

But that’s for another day. For now, I had to get myself sorted to pop out for the evening.

I’m also musing about adding some dangles to the letters – dangles with charms that are reminiscent of medieval ornament or jewellery, for example.

Abstract Entangled Art 14 November 2018

Angela Porter 14 Nov 2018small.jpg

Just a quick post today; I have a busy day with media training for Time to Change Wales at the Mind offices in Cardiff.

Feeling a bit panicked about parking somewhere I’m not familiar with and then walking to another place I’m not familiar with and doing something with people I don’t know.

It will be fine I’m sure.

Yesterday was very much a day of being kind to myself and taking care of myself. Therapy on Monday really caused some fall out and I was emotionally exhausted yesterday (and I think that is lingering today).

So, one way I take care of myself is to draw. This time, however, I lost myself in drawing detailed, abstract entangled art, like this one above. I do have another on the go which I’ll be hoping to complete tonight as part of my self-care after the training today.

I drew this using Sakura micron pens on dotgrid paper. After scanning into the ‘puter I used GiMP to remove the dot grid. Autodesk Sketchbook Pro was  used for the finals steps of adding the background and watermarks, as well as placing the artwork on a black square so the image fits nicely in Instagram posts.

Autumn mandala 6 November 2018

Angela Porter Mandala 4 Nov 2018

This has taken me a couple of days to complete, mainly because of appointments but also a big need for some self-care.

Autumn Mandala

I don’t get to create many mandalas at times. So, On Sunday, after creating the cute angel kitty dangle design, I put my creative energy into drawing and starting to colour a mandala.

I worked directly on my Surface Studio screen with the Surface pen using Autodesk Sketchbook Pro and it’s fab symmetry tool to outline the the design in black ink.

Next, I used a marker brush and a blender brush to colour the design.

It’s the colouring that takes a lot of time.

I wanted to keep the colour scheme fairly simple, so I chose some vibrant shades of blue, green, yellow, orange and red.

Finally, I added a beautiful blue background and texture to the finished artwork.

On the whole, I’m quite pleased with it. The bright colours have been needed today as it’s a rather grey and damp day here in the Valleys of South Wales. Someone has a bonfire burning on the hillside opposite my home and the smoke is floating down the valley. There’s a temperature inversion that’s trapping the smoke quite low.

Add to that all the smoke and particulates from the plethora of fireworks that have been set off in the past few days and the air is rather fuggy, hazy.

However, the golden hues of the autumn trees glow all the more brightly against the grey skies, especially with a dusting of rain on them.

What I absolutely love to see are the dark trunks and branches becoming more visible as the leaves fall from the trees. The architectural contrast fascinates me; it’s being able to clearly see the skeleton that gives the tree form.

I didn’t have autumn in my mind when I was drawing or coloring this mandala, even though autumn is my favourite season. However, the jewel tones and the gradual predominance of the autumnal golds, oranges and reds on the outside of the mandala give it that kind of autumnal feel. The greens gradually change from blue-greens to more yellow-greens from the centre out, adding to that sense of a seasonal progression.

The coloured mandala also has a feeling of stained glass. I love stained glass windows and this one would make a very interesting ‘rose’ window! That I adhere to using black lines to delineate my design only reinforces the suggestion of stained glass.

What I haven’t done is add detailed patterns to the mandala. I don’t think this one needs it, though the leaves may need a bit of shadow and highlight to make them feel less ‘flat’.

On the whole, I’m quite pleased with this one. I think I’ve manged to get enough contrast from dark to light in each section to give that sense of dimension – something else I like to incorporate into my artwork.

The need for self-care

I’ve been rather emotional over the past few days. The post about remembrance and my Dad tapped into some grief, a door that had never opened before I had to say goodbye to my beautiful white cat Cuffs back in May.

I took time out of things to watch some Harry Potter films. I do get emotional when I watch them (or read the books) even though I know what’s going to happen. However, this weekend I was more emotional than I’ve been before.

Yesterday, was EMDR therapy day, and various memories had cropped up and one we worked with yesterday. That left me absolutely pole-axed, emotionally that is.

Part of my mental health – the CPTSD – is that I avoid emotions and when I get emotional I have shoved it aside and locked the emotions in a box, symbolically. I also shove the memories away, something referred to as dissociation.

I have very few memories of my childhood, adolescence or even adulthood. That’s because many of them are painful in some way or another and they have been locked away.

Locking them away means I have never worked through, processed, them and the trauma or emotions that go with them. The trauma is still there and is still hurting my emotional and mental health.

EMDR is helping to unlock memories, sometimes very painful memories I don’t want to believe happened or believe certain  things about people. I always want to see the best and believe the best in people, except when it comes to myself; then, it’s always the worst possible.

I’ve been experiencing some cognitive dissonance and some very uncomfortable times as I try to come to terms with various realisations.

Add into the mix a busy week or so with appointments and events and I’m emotionally tired. Oh, not to mention the constant jumpiness with all the fireworks going off.

So, self-care is important. I watch films. Knit. Drink lots of tea. Snuggle up under a cosy throw. Nap if I need to. Eat healthily, when I can. Create art that I want to create rather than any that I feel I have to to meet a contract or some deadline or other, either real or self-imposed. Have some alone time – being an introvert beneath the face I present to the world I need alone time to recharge.

I know I’m on a jolly tomorrow with my pal Liz, so it’s even more important I recharge before that day out.

So, that’s why I’ve needed some self-care time.

 

Inktober 2018 Day 28 ‘Gift’

Angela Porter Inktober 2018 Day 28 Gift small

Day 28 of the Inktober challenge and I’ve done another kitty dangle design, with a rather surprised looking kitty in a gift box with a party hat on.

How cute would this be as a greetings card for the human of a kitty?

I sketched the design in pencil on dot grid paper then scanned it into my Surface Studio. I then drew the design using a pen brush and the symmetry tool in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro. After drawing, I added colour and texture as well as a bit of a drop shadow.

This image makes me smile just a bit. It was a nice thing to do this morning. I’m tired today.

Yesterday, I was absolutely shattered after the Hallowe’en Coffee Morning and being in charge of the craft corner. The little monsters (read little darlings dressed up in their Hallowe’en finery) kept me nicely busy and they seemed to have a lot of fun making pumpkins on glow sticks and paper pumpkins and other things. I had a lot of fun too.

At the end of the morning, it was lovely to have some help to clear up; thankfully my plans on using glue dots and double sided sticky tape and paper fasteners and staples rather than glue sticks helped greatly with this. As did the washable marker pens and the like.

I came home and had some lunch and then slept. On waking I had time to have more tea, shower and get ready to pop out in the evening.

As lovely as my couple of hours out were, I was glad to get home. It was really chilly last night here in South Wales. The cold got into me even in my short journeys; I chilled right off in the morning too. So, today my hands and feet are a tad achy and stiff with arthritis.

Using the Microsoft Surface Pen on the Surface Studio certainly helps my finger joints – so little pressure is needed. The pen is a tad weighty, but it’s rather well balanced so I can cope. On days like today I could do with a slightly thicker barrel, so I need to find some grippy things that I could slide on my pen for days like this.

I do want to work on my sketch of the viking kitty that I did for yesterdays’ Inktober prompt. I need a quiet day of self-care today. Not only was yesterday a busy one for me in terms of interacting with people it was also the end of British Summer Time and the clocks went back by an hour some time during the night. This means we got an extra hour of sleep, in theory. In practice I slept the same amount of time! The change in the clocks will cause confusion for a while I think.

I am an introvert, though people seem to assume I’m an extrovert. I learned at a young age that I had to be loud and seemingly outward going like my very loud brothers to have even a chance of being noticed or listened to (that didn’t happen often). I have a fairly extrovert mask I wear when out and about and with people, until I get to know them and then the introvert can relax and come out. I like people, but I also recognise that I need alone time to recharge my batteries. Being with people both lifts me and drains me. So, today is a day for some quiet time, before I have to head out this evening for a couple of hours to be with people again.

 

Inktober 2018 Day 20 ‘Breakable’ and Day 21 ‘Drain’

Angela Porter Inktober 2018 Day 20 Breakable and Day 21 Drain

Yesterday’s prompt ‘breakable’ got turned into ‘broken’ as that’s how I felt yesterday and still feel today in terms of creativity and inspiration.

Drain definitely became drained as that is how my brain feels at this time. I’ll be fine soon enough.

I don’t know what’s caused this, other than the icky-sickyness I’ve had for a day or two. Not as bad as Thursday night, but it seems to have left me shattered and more than a little bit ‘meh’. I seem to have slept well, but I still feel incredibly tired at the moment. Me being tired for no particular reason usually means something has overwhelmed or stressed me in someway that causes my mood to plummet which results in me feeling tired and usually tearful.

So, today I wanted to catch up on yesterday’s Inktober prompt and do a quick one for today.

And they were quick. Hand lettering practice. Making a list of things I can do for self-care when I feel this way. For me to recognise that I need some time out is a step forward in terms of me looking after myself and my mental and emotional health. Making a list  of things I can do for self-care is also a first I think.

For ‘drained’ it almost counts as a dangle design. I did draw some cute monsters and my white cat there with expressions that show I feel (even though I have a smile on my face and a bright and sunny disposition when engaging with people). I’m not sure the drunk looking skull applies to me – I just think he snuck in there just to lighten the mood a tad.

Sheesh, I really do need a lot of practice with hand lettering! However, these are just quick ‘sketches’. No colour. No fancy-schmancy designs or line patterns. Just the basics, including smudges, mistakes, pencil guide-lines that haven’t been fully erased…

Now, if I were to adapt/edit these to include in my Bullet Journal I would add colour, a few more dangles to the drained design…and perhaps a border full of intricate designs based on flowers and hearts.

It’s a big if though…maybe I will, when I feel up to it.

Today, though, I’m working through my directory of reference designs and patterns seeking out inspiration for the work on my latest Entangled book for Creative Haven. I’m also editing the collection and redrawing them so they can be housed in a new folder as the A5 filofax I was using is now full and I really want to put them on A4 sheets in a ring binder in poly pockets.

Doing familiar work like this is soothing to me. It also has the benefit of allowing me to practice my drawing skills. It lets me workout which patterns I really am likely to use and which can be left to one side in the A5 filofax. As I go through them, one by one, some jump out as being good ones to use in a template for the Entangled book, others for a different project. It also gives me a chance to try out different pens, or use pens I’d not use for any art/illustration/drawing project but I like to write with or use for things like this.

That nasty inner critic tells me I’m wasting my time. My kinder, gentler voice to do with self-care tells me I’m not as it’s helping stir up the cauldron of creativity inside me. As I re-visit and re-draw patterns/design elements they float to the surface and the potential for variety in my work is re-charged as a result.

The kind inner voice, self-talk, tells me if it soothes me when I need soothing, then that’s good.

The nasty inner critic says I’m procrastinating. Maybe that’s true, to a degree. But I’d rather take some time out to do something different, something that will stir up my creativity and recharge inspiration rather than plod on with unsatisfactory work for the book.

The kind inner version of self-talk is winning out, and that is a good thing for me! And a positive change.

What do you do when you need some time out to take care of your emotional and mental well being?