After a day of drawing templates for the book I’m working on, I thought I’d spend a little time relaxing by drawing a mandala, and this one is the result.
I’m gutted though; I managed to make a mistake on saving the full sized, layered file, so I’ve lost my high res version. Ho hum. I could always redraw if necessary I suppose. This one wouldn’t print out at all well – way too pixelly.
That’s not the only thing that went wrong today. My combination microwave-fan-grill oven also broke. So, I’ve ordered a new one for delivery this evening.
Add to that and my wrists, fingers, hands are still aching … and I’m going to go and give them a rest as soon as I’ve finished posting this around and about the interwebs.
I do have a busy week coming up with anti-stigma talks for Time to Change Wales, various appointments and other stuff. I have to use the time available t me to prioritise drawing templates for the book (they all have to be finished by the end of this month). So, if my posts are more sporadic than usual, that’s the reason.
Despite the problems in not saving the file correctly and the oven breaking down, I haven’t had any kind of tearful or angry meltdown. It’s not all that long ago where things like that would absolutely floor me. Today, I weathered them quite well, though there was a bit of a flap and panic around buying a new oven and trying to remember what brand I’ve had that has been the most reliable and long lasting. I’m still thinking did I really need to order one and have it delivered today? Well, given my busy diary this week the answer is yes!
I worked on this mandala over a couple of days. it has a whole range of new motifs in it and is rather organic in nature, with plenty of pods and seeds included. I’m quite happy with it. I think there’s a kind of flow of design and the colours are vibrant enough to please me.
I really wasn’t at all sure about my colour choices as I added colour to the mandala. The beauty of digital art is that it’s much easier to change the colour, which I did do in just a couple of sections. The colour changes means I’m a lot happier with it.
It has no name as I’m not very good at thinking up names for my artwork. Perhaps I should just find some kind of quirky way of lettering or numbering the designs in future.
Drawn and coloured using Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, Microsoft Surface Pen and Microsoft Surface Studio.
Today I’m feeling really tired and I don’t feel I have many words at the moment – despite what my blog may suggest.
My fingers, hands and wrists are also rather achy which is making typing or drawing (either digitally or traditionally) rather painful. I don’t know what’s caused that. Yesterday I did do a lot of drawing with pencil on paper – sketches for my new book – and a lot of digital art too. No more than I often do though.
I suspect a bit of self-care is needed. I am feeling a bit low. Tiredness doesn’t help, but I’ve slept really well the last couple of days.
Maybe it’s the grey, wet, windy day.
Maybe it’s just emotional weather with no real cause.
Maybe it’s the start of the buildup to EMDR on Monday.
I just know that like the weather my mood will change and brighten.
I have just two images up there at the moment – the recent Daffodil Mandala and the Dragon with Daffodils. Both are available on a range of quality products including wall art and stationery.
My Journey to cPTSD Recovery
Today, I’m feeling more content and settled than I have for a number of weeks. Even though EMDR floored me on Monday, I seem to have been able to find my balance faster than previously. This is a good thing as I do have a contract to fulfil by the end of the month.
I am writing in a journal most days, particularly any insights I have through the day. They seem to be coming more quickly now I’m working on seeing where I’ve told myself a story to avoid any emotional or mental pain. I know this is a coping strategy that people with CPTSD use to protect themselves. However realising this, that I may have avoided the truth of a difficult, traumatic experience or situation makes me feel really stupid. Realising that this is a coping strategy I learned at a very, very young age doesn’t help stop me feeling stupid. There’s also a lot of guilt too as I’m stuck between the story I want to believe, the one that is nice and pleasant, and the truth of the emotional and mental distress I was experiencing and denying I was experiencing. It’s not an easy place to be in. It also makes me quite sad and teary that I’ve done this all my life.
Realising these kinds of things, no matter how painful they are, is part of my journey to recovery from CPTSD. I won’t stop though. To do so would mean I would have to live with the pain the realisation has caused me without any way of dealing with that pain. So the only way is to face up to these things, process them in EMDR and find a way to a healthier relationship with myself, to find a way to become a friend to myself.
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.