Sunday tangling

Sunday Tangling ©Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

This morning, I was in the mood to do a bit of tangling/zentangling. I used a random tangle pattern generator to choose the main pattern for my design and it threw ‘Purk’ at me.

Yesterday, I spent some time creating some backgrounds digitally. So, I decided to use one of those and to tangle digitally too. This is the result.

It took me a lot longer to finish than if I’d drawn with pen on paper. Mainly because I spent time adding shading and highlights to the image. That let me play around with different kinds of layers and brush effects yet again. Bit by bit I’m learning how I can make them work for me.

I need a break from this for a while. But I can see how I need to add more shadow/depth to the background patterns.

So, Angela, how’re you doing today?

I’ve suddenly come over all tired. My sleep is all over the place. Despite me feeling content, there’s still a deep seated anxiety about the pandemic and how life is at the moment. That anxiety is draining me emotionally. I feel emotionally out of sorts today, even though I can still feel that contented touchstone inside me.

I’m surprised I settled to do some drawing this morning. Yesterday, I had trouble settling to anything to the point I was going to throw out my yarn stash. Whatever I’ve tried in terms of knitting or crochet has just frustrated the heck out of me rather than settled me down.

I found myself swearing at my phone yesterday as it pinged with alerts. I’ve now put my phone on silent. I will check in on messages etc in a short while, but they are going to be silenced until I am no longer getting so angry I’m swearing and shouting at the phone. I’ve never done that before and it’s a sign of how much on edge I am, even though I feel content.

Yesterday and today I’ve not known what to do with myself. I’ve not felt that way for a long while for such an extended period of time. There was a time when I’d be like this for days or months. I’ve not often felt this way in the past year or two as my healing from cPTSD has really kicked in.

Still, I will be kind to myself about this as these are unusual times; unfamiliar with increased fear, anxiety and uncertainty. The last day or two my usual coping strategies haven’t helped me to distance myself from the overwhelming pervasiveness of constant news and articles, posts and memes about the Covid-19 pandemic.

It’s not just a break from my phone I need; it’s a break from the news and views too. A retreat from the world and everything is needed. For a while at least.

Coloring Template 24 Mar 20

©Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

About the art.

Yesterday, I spent some time drawing with a Tombow Fudenosuke pen on ClaireFontaine mixed media paper. The result was this coloring template for the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group.

Last week, I said I’d do a template a week during the Covid-19 crisis to help people take some time out of worrying and fretting to relax with coloring.

If you’d like to grab the template, just pop along to the group, join, and it’s completely free! All I ask is you follow the terms and conditions of use.

The Fudenosuke pen has a flexible brush nib so I can produce lines of varying thickness. This isn’t something I do often for coloring templates. However, I do like the effect that I get. It’s so easy to give an illusion of depth and dimension.

Of course the template has a white background, but the version I’m sharing has a blueish-grey background which helps the colours to glow against it.

The design is typically my ‘entangled’ style. Abstract but with stylised motifs from nature and architecture and more.

So, how are you doing Angela?

I’m OK. The sun is shining. I have windows open to let some fresh air into the home, but they’re upstairs windows so no one can get within six feet of them! I also live in a very quiet, small, dead-end street (cul-de-sac if you want to be posh) so there’s very little foot fall here.

Reports are that people aren’t heeding the instructions to stay home here in the UK. That makes me fearful that the NHS will soon be overwhelmed by their selfishness and thoughtlessness.

The situation is surreal and feels unreal to people who’ve not had Covid-19 touch them personally – someone developing the disease, being hospitalised, or, sadly, dying. I hope that’s the reason that they’re playing russian roulette with everyone else’s health and well-being. I hope they don’t think that it’s a hoax, or that they’re invulnerable because of whatever reason they think they are.

Sadly, these people are helping to spread the virus. There’s sound reasons to follow the advice, instructions, orders to stay home.

Anyway… I’ve not yet had a text, email or snail-mail to tell me I’m counted as ‘vulnerable’ and will need to ‘shield’ for at least twelve weeks. I don’t know if I shall get one, but it will be in the next day or two if I do. Even if I don’t get one, I’m staying at home, as frustrating as it is on gloriously sunny spring days like this one here in the Welsh Valleys.

Please, all of you stay home and stay safe.

Monday Mindfulness

It’s such a beautifully, sunshiny, glorious spring day here in the Valleys of South Wales. The sunshine, especially when I’m at home for the foreseeable future, is most welcome and lifts my spirits greatly.

It also frustrates me a little that I want to be out and about, sun on my face and wind in my hair. However, I do understand and accept the need to be at home. Understanding doesn’t remove the frustration.

I was also at a loss at how to be arty this morning. I decided to use one of the ’tiles’ I’d coloured with Distress Inks on Saturday. I also stumbled across a zentangle pattern randomiser and gave it a click.

The pattern that popped up was ‘Ravel’, and so I filled the tile with it. I used 05 and 02 Unpin pens from Uniball. When I was done, I decided I needed a bit of shimmer and shine, so I added some metallic gold dots.

I could add water to ‘bleach’ out high spots on the design. Maybe I’ll do that later.

Drawing a repeating pattern as well as drawing intuitively and deliberately is a very mindful activity for me. It helps calm my mind and emotions. It brings meditative peace and contentment to me. All art does that, but there’s something particularly satisfying about a small project that can be completed in a sensible amount of time; a project with the goals of calm and relaxation.

Warm sunshine pouring in the window beside me as I mindfully zentangle has helped me find contentment. That gentle inner smile that has been hiding behind the clouds of worry and fear has returned.

During this pandemic, this global health and societal crisis, it’s more important to find the contentment, peace and inner smile.

Mindfulness helps with acceptance of a situation as it is. Not fretting about what has been done already. Not worrying about the what ifs. It’s about being present in the here and now. It’s learning to accept that there are circumstances that are beyond our control, and working with the things we can control – our reactions to them and the way we think and feel. To not become the slave to fear, panic, alarm, to recognise they are rational emotions to feel. Still, it’s how we act upon them that’s important. 

It’s also important to recognise that the pandemic will come to an end at some point in time in the future. This will have changed us all, probably society too, hopefully for the better.

So, what can we do in the meantime?

Well, we’re not in a dystopian, post-apocalyptic world yet, nor are we likely to be. Farmers will continue to farm. Food and essentials will still be produced. Delivery drivers will deliver. Food shops will be open.

There will be a lag in stocks of some things being restocked as it takes time for the producers to produce more to fill the gaps created by the panic buyers and hoarders. And of course, once the panic has subsided and people stop panicking, those gaps will be filled a lot quicker.

There will be plenty for all, so long as people stop panic buying and hoarding, particularly here in the UK.

Even if society is put into a lock-down, which seems likely here in the UK, then we’ll still be allowed to go out and shop for essentials.

Mind you, for the more vulnerable members of society that means that we’ll have to shop online and have our groceries delivered, or have volunteers, friends, family to help out. I’m expecting a letter soon to tell me that the advice is I stay indoors for twelve weeks – not leaving home to even get some shopping.

So, practice social isolation. It really does make a difference, even if you don’t think it does.

Social distancing and isolation really will slow down the spread of the virus. Then the NHS can cope with the number of people who need hospital care. This way, people won’t needlessly die because the medical care they need just isn’t available as the system is totally overwhelmed.

For each of us that stays home, avoids social contact, we put a break in the chain of how the disease is transmitted. The more gaps in the chain, the slower the virus can spread through society.

Be brave, be a break in the chain. Help to slow down the spread of the virus. 

Help to spread the cases out over time so that the NHS can cope so that all who contract the disease have the best chance of survival.

In this way, each and every one of us can be a hero to help protect those that need protecting.

Each and every one of us.

Zentangle tile

Zentangle tile ©Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

I really needed to do something creative today to sooth my mind, emotions and soul.

I tried digital art and I just couldn’t settle to it, so I thought a spot of traditional pen and paper drawing in an entangled or zentangle style might just fit the bill.

So, I cut some Claire Fontaine mixed media paper into 4″ x 4″ ’tiles’ and used some Uniball Unipin and Sakura Pigma Micron pens to draw the lineart.

I worked intuitively, not really thinking about what I was doing, just trying to lose myself in the flow so I could find my inner contentment and some peace.

I did scan my drawing in and digitally added a background and shading to the drawing, which really helps to lift it and bring it to life. If you’d like to see the black and white version, then pay a visit to my Instagram account – @angela_porter_illustrator.

Instagram is really irking me at the moment. I can no longer upload images or videos from my PC, only from my phone. I really loathe using the silly little keyboard on a phone to add the blurb that needs to go with the image. I may either reduce my posting to Instagram, or give up on Instagram completely.

Anyway, drawing in this style is something I’ve done for a long time. The familiarity of the process, patterns and motifs is a comfort to my troubled emotions and mind. It has helped to settle me down somewhat, though I’m still exhausted after a poor night’s sleep.

Butterfly WIP

Butterfly WIP 11 March 2020 ©Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

A little more work done on this design this morning. I’ve been working at it for around three hours, making it a total of around eight hours so far.

I like the shapes of the details added around the body, not so sure about the colour choice, yet. I can always change the colour once I’m happy with the shapes. I prefer them to the glowing zentangle type patterns yesterday. They’re taking the butterfly from something that is earthly to something else – alien, magical, partly mechanical perhaps.

I’m feeling a bit better today. My tummy had a major upset yesterday afternoon and that left me wiped out. This morning, I managed some porridge for breakfast and it’s not made me feel ill. I’m still tired though, but slowly on the mend.

I’ve reached my limit of focusing on art, for now. So I’m going to take a break. I finished the cross stitch design I was working on yesterday and gave it a quick iron while my porridge was cooking.

In the evening, I started a crochet wrap, using some Sirdar Jewelspun in the setting sun colour way. Gorgeously warm, autumnal colours make up this yarn. It’s soft and a pleasure to work with, especially on a 5.5mm hook as this is giving a flexible fabric. I’m following a gentle and slightly lacy chevron pattern which has a one row repeat – my favourite kind of pattern when it’s hard for me to focus!

Oh, and I’ve continued my binge watching of Criminal Minds too.

Visual Dictionary

©Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

I’ve often mentioned my ‘visual dictionary’, so today I thought I’d show you a two-page spread from it.

I’ve kept a visual dictionary for a few years now. It’s where I keep a record of my favourite patterns, motifs, lettering styles and anything else of use to me when I need a little inspiration or to add something a little different to my art.

My original one is now just about full, and I thought it was time for a bit of a cull of patterns and motifs I wouldn’t use as I start a new dictionary. At the moment I’m working my way through zentangle patterns before I add my patterns and motifs. TanglePatterns.com is a fantastic online resource for zentangle patterns.

I’ve been drawing zentangle-style patterns since long before Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas developed Zentangle. I still like to dip into the resources for new ideas for patterns and motifs.

I’m using an A5 notebook with 5mm squared paper from WHSmith. It has quite a lot more pages in it than a Leuchtturm, Midori, or other A5 dot grid or squared notebooks, which is why I went with it. The paper seems to be pretty bleed-proof, and any ghosting is relatively minimal.

The past few days have had me needing some quiet time doing comforting, soothing art. I’ve had a very ‘people-y’ time of late, and it has left me quite drained. So, sifting through and drawing patterns and motifs and adding them to my new visual dictionary was just what my arty soul and overwrought emotions needed.

Doing this has the bonus of refreshing my creativity. Not only am I being reminded of patterns I like that I’ve not used for a very long time, but I’m also creating my own variations, either deliberately or as the result of some ‘happy accidents’.

Even though I’m trying to keep the pages neat and ordered and the patterns mistake-free, I find I’m not stressing if I make any mistakes. I find a way to either create a new pattern or to incorporate it into the design in some way. This is good for me as I tend to be hyper-perfectionistic if I’m not too careful.

World Introvert Day 2020

World Introvert Day 2020 | Artwork ©Angela Porter – Artwyrd.com

Introversion and me

Yes, we introverts have a world introvert day, every year, on 2 January. A quite appropriate date as it falls right after the hustle and bustle of a busy Christmas/New Year/Holiday season.

In a society that values extroversion, introverts are often misunderstood and their own set of personality traits overlooked. We’re judged as shy, anti-social, aloof, even arrogant, and just plain weird.

Introversion is not the same as shyness, social anxiety nor depression, though both introverts and extroverts can experience these conditions.

If you’d like to know more about introverts, here are links to two good articles:
IntrovertDear.com – What is an Introvert?
VeryWellMind.com – How you can tell you’re an introvert.

I was brought up in a family of rampant extroverts, where extrovert traits were very much valued. So, to try to fit in, I developed an extrovert mask. This mask still slips on when I’m in situations and circumstances that require me to interact with people I don’t know, or where I feel vulnerable emotionally. People often think I’m an extrovert because of this mask.

However, the real me, the vulnerable me, is quite introverted.

I like people, but in small numbers. I much prefer spending time with just one or two people where the conversation can be less social fluff and more meaningful.

Yes, I do tend to sit at the back or at the edge of meeting or gathering. I like to observe and listen and become comfortable before I engage (if I ever do). Even with regular meetings with people I become familiar with it can still take me a long time to interact. It can take me even longer to drop the extrovert mask so they can glimpse the real me.

After social interaction, especially with large groups of people, I can be completely drained of energy and need plenty of alone time to recharge my batteries.

Indeed, if I have a lot of social interaction in a short space of time I can end up with an ‘introvert hangover’ – deeply tired, headachy, emotionally drained. If that happens, I need an extended period of time to recover, which often includes copious naps and binge watching Star Wars, Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings/Hobbit! In serious cases a healthy dose of Ben and Jerry’s Karamel Sutra is required!

You see, interaction with my own inner life, my creativity, with books and music energises me. Social events, particularly noisy and crowded ones, will drain me of energy and become torture for me.

One-to-one interaction, or being with a small group of people in a calm environment can, however, be energising as well as tiring, especially when the conversation is about life, the universe and everything.

Us introverts do need, and value, people in our lives, just not all at once! Social interaction is just as important for us as for the extroverts, though our preferences for social interaction are different – less small chat, more meaningful conversations. And those of us who are self-aware recognise the need for the right balance between social interaction and alone time.

Extroversion-introversion is a continuum, a spectrum, and we all show aspects of each archetype. However, I know my introvert traits outweigh my extrovert traits fairly considerably.

Just as a fun-fact, it’s estimated that extroverts outweigh introverts by six or seven to one across the world.

About the artwork

Yesterday, I had a lovely time drawing entangled borders to use for quote projects, just like this one. Today, I kept the drawing in black and white and added a pretty background to the drawing and typography.

I used Uniball Unipin pens and ClaireFontaine dot grid paper to draw the designs. To put the artwork together I used Affinity Publisher to do the typography, and Autodesk Sketchbook Pro to put the artwork, typography and background together.