RSPB Newport – a mandala

Yesterday I took a short trip for a short visit to the RSPB reserve in Newport, Gwent.

With dark, leaden skies with golden sunshine pouring through gaps in the cloud cover the lighting was dramatic; it caused the winter colours to positively glow against the dark blue-grey of the sky.

This mandala is my response to those colours, along with some very stylised motifs from the things I saw – arching branches, dancing golden grasses, fungi and more.

I took photographs as I took a walk around part of the reserve. I also stopped to record my observations, my thoughts, in words in my journal.

I surprised myself…

It was all a bit of a spur of the moment decision to head to the wetlands reserve. I was still feeling headachy and emotionally drained after my Time to Change Wales talk to the police yesterday. I needed to do something to help shift this and to lift my mood and getting out and about is something I do struggle with, hugely. Anxiety about being around people kicks in and I can become almost paralysed with it. However, today I didn’t. Perhaps because the reserve is familiar to me; I have been there a few times before. However, I’ve never really taken much of a walk around it. That has always been a problem for me.

But not today. Today, I walked along some paths that were unfamiliar to me. I didn’t go all that far, though my walk took an hour. I did fear getting lost there, but I kept my eye on some fairly obvious landmarks such as wind turbines, the lighthouse at Nash and the huge powerstation. Being able to see these gave me some confidence that I knew what direction to head in to return to the visitors centre. If I strayed from where I could see at least one of them, I backtracked and took a different route.

Most of the people walking and visiting the reserve smiled and said hello, as did I, and that helped me feel at ease too. That, and the rhythm of walking, the sounds of nature – birdsong, rustling leaves in the breeze – and I took pleasure in moving my body, which is something that is new to me.

It’s also something I need to remember and try to get a walk into my schedule most days, somewhere where there’s nature but also where I feel safe to walk. In the wilds by myself is not a good idea, but somewhere like RSPB Newport, with it’s structured. signposted paths is a good idea. Or the beach…somewhere I’ve not been since July, yet it’s only a 40 minute drive away from me.

I forget all too easily how good it is for my mental health to take a walk where there’s nature, birdsong, and not too many people.

As I walked, I could feel the tension leach from me, down through my feet into the forgiving and loving earth. With each step and each breath I felt the anxiety ease little by little. The headache began to lift as well. By the time my walk was over I felt much better. There were still cobwebs left by the headache, but they were manageable.

When I returned to the visitors centre, I browsed in the shop and finally managed to find a raven pin badge! I also bought a small guide to trees. I also had a nice lunch and a very welcome mug of tea in the cafe there, where I continued to write and reflect in my journal until it was time to return home ahead of the rush hour traffic.

Back to art…

I love the stained glass feel of this design. I did try working with the colours in the style of my latest mandalas, but it just didn’t seem to work out for me. Perhaps I was trying to work a step, or several steps, too far for me to be comfortable with that change.

There’s also something about the black lines that gives a definite form to the mandala and this reminds me of how in winter I can can see the underlying form, the architecture that usually is hidden beneath leaves and flowers.

As is my way, I used my Microsoft Surface Pen, Microsoft Surface Studio and Autodesk Sketchbook Pro to draw and colour this mandala.

I used my photos of my visit to get the colour palette I used. And for me this is an unusual colour palette, but it reflects very much nature’s palette on the day and time that I visited.

There’s a bit more about my visit on my other blog – Curious Stops and Tea Shops.

Abstract and stylised flowers

Angela Porter Spring Flowers Watermarked SmallAngela Porter Bright Flowers Watermarked

I’ve had a couple of busy days, including a Time to Change Wales anti-stigma talk with the South Wales Police.  The talk wiped me out for a day or so, it always does as I get very anxious and emotional in telling my story.

So, I’ve been relatively quiet on the artsy front, but I did get these two abstract, stylised floral images done.

I rather like the bright colours, achieved using Kuretake’s Zig Clean Colour Real Brush Pens and a water pen.  I like both the white and black outlines, though I do prefer the black; they make the image look more like stained glass.

Both of these designs are available on products from both my Vida collection and my Zippi Portfolio.

A nice change of pace and way of creating from my more usual entangled drawings with tiny details done with fine pens and a whimsical quality.

 

Finished art

angela-porter-3-january-2017

This is now finished!  It’s taken a lot of time over the past few days, but I’m happy with it now.

It’s been completed on A3 mixed media paper using a variety of media.  Details have been added using coloured pencils and iridescent/metallic paints, hence the shimmery, shiny spot to the left.  These details are a nightmare to photograph, but hopefully you’ll get enough of an idea from what you can see in the image.

Adding the iridescent patterns was a bit like using ithildin; I had to have the light at the right angle so I could see what I was doing and that also involved me cricking my neck at awkward angles!

My only problem now is to put a price on my work to sell it; so any sensible help/advice would be greatly recieved!  Oh, I also need to find a name for it too…

Angel – Finished

12″ x 8″.  Sakura Glaze pen for outline (grey used), Inktense pencils and water wash for colours, Cosmic Shimmer gold and silver watercolour paints for various bits and bobs.

Just finished this experiment.  The photo isn’t really all that good (I’ve said before, often, photography isn’t one of my skills, and the painting/drawing is too big to fit in my scanner).  The outlines are glossy and so have reflected the flash too much, and there are places where the metallic highlights haven’t shown up well, but you’ll get the idea.

I’m actually fairly pleased with this, especially when it is shrunk in size as all the imperfections I perceive disappear.

 

Angel – Work in progress

Well, it’s another grey, damp day here; the kind of day that is best spent pottering around the home, lost in art or creativity of some kind or other methinks!

A friend gifted me a set of three books all about Romanesque, medieval and Gothic art.  Browsing through them reminded me of how much I love architecture, especially Romanesque.  It also reminded me of the wonderful angels to be seen at Malmesbury Abbey and Kilpeck Church, and I woke up this morning with an idea in my head to sketch and draw and create.  I want to do this work in a simple, stylised form – influenced by Romanesque and by Art Nouveau, and possibly stained glass.

Here is the work so far.

Around 12″ x 8″ in size, it has been outlined using a grey Sakura Glaze pen, which gives it that ‘stained glass’ feel.  I want to use jewel-bright colours to complete the work, the kinds of colours seen in medieval manuscripts.