Sketchbook Musings

Over the past week or so I’ve been gradually adding to this sketchbook page. It is entirely what a sketchbook should be, in my opinion. Pages full of ideas, sketches, unfinished drawings, practice of techniques, written notes… a visual zibladone for the creative soul!

It is a reflection of what is catching my attention in my world. That world encompasses the inner worlds of imagination and emotion, as well as the outer world of books, nature, architecture, photographs, and so on.

This page includes inspiration from Mayan glyphs/sculpture, rocks, nature, mushrooms, magic wands/staves/sceptres, pen textures and some inspiration from Hundertwasser.

Everything on the page is a bit wonky (not perpendicular), and I’m OK about that – it’s a sketchbook! But then wonky art, particularly colouring pages, seems to be part of my signature style. Perfectly straight lines just don’t look right to me, nor do sharp corners. Perhaps that’s why I like Hundertwasser so much.

The English gardener William Kent said, “Nature abhors a straight line”. Hundertwasser said, ” The straight line is godless and immoral.”

A sketchbook is always a work in progress (WIP), even when every page is full, it’s full of incomplete drawings and ideas, sketches and notes, jottings and doodlings. Nothing has to be perfect. Not a single thing.

A sketchbook is a place to try things out, experiment, just see what happens. With that comes an acceptance that not everything will work out, and where surprising things happen and discoveries are made that may otherwise never happen.

Sometimes the gems of ideas and colour combinations and ways of using media remain hidden until much later. A sketchbook is a place to practice and learn, to note down what is of interest at this time, what needs to be expressed, without any pressure to produce a finished, polished artwork.

That doesn’t mean, however, that a sketchbook can’t be something interesting to look at, even with it’s own kind of beauty. They are a reflection of the artist that creates them and so is a window into their arty heart and feelings. They are very personal things.

A sketchbook encourages me to use media that are gathering dust because I do so much art digitally. In a physical sketchbook, if I want any colour, then I have to use some of these media.

On this one page I’ve used Pilot Hi-Tec C4, Pilot Maica, Rotring Rapidograph and Uniball Unipin pens. To add colour, watercolours, Tombow Dual Brush pens, Derwent ColorSoft pencils, Derwent Procolour pencils, Derwent Inktense pencils have been used.

Entangled art, mental health quote.

©Angela Porter 2019

The Art…

Yesterday, I stumbled upon this quote before I headed off to my EMDR therapy session. I decided I wanted a fairly simple pattern around/behind it, and just simple colours, though I’ve played around a little with adding patterns to the sections.

I printed out the quote and the borders. I Used a Pentel Sign pen to draw the bold, black lines of the design. To colour the design, I used a Microsoft Surface Pen, a Microsoft Surface Studio and Autodesk Sketchbook Pro. Behind the design I added a paper texture which, with some wizardry of Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, I was able to add to the design to add some texture and imperfection.

Walks, EMDR and being brave…

I had a lovely drive to Neath for my EMDR therapy and I arrived with enough time to go seek out some yarn to buy for my knitting/crochet stash as well as have a walk around Victoria Park in the winter sunshine.

The first blooming daffodils were proudly holding their bright yellow heads up for all to see, and there were signs of plenty more to follow. Snowdrops, crocuses, pansies were all there to be seen too. Lichens on the bark of trees created a beautiful natural tapestry of colour and pattern. It really was lovely to see.

Without the leaves on the trees to muffle the songs of the birds it was quite raucous at times, but raucous in a beautiful way. The birds didn’t quite drown out the sound of traffic, people or the tinny sounding music coming from the speakers in the bandstand, but they were loud enough that I could listen to them and filter out the other sounds.

It was nice to be out in the fresh air after a few days of barely leaving my home as I recovered from the emotionally draining days of last week. It was nice to take a space to breathe before going in for therapy.

The quote above was a starting point for my session, during the usual reflection on how last weeks EMDR had affected me and how I’d been through the week. One of the weeks sticking points that cause me some discomfort was the many people telling me I’m brave for telling my story, for going to therapy and how good it is that I’m showing people that it is possible to recover from mental illness.

Brave? Me? Surely not! That goes against everything I was led to believe about myself from as young as I could remember.

“You’re fat, thick, stupid, ugly. No one loves you. No one will love you. No one will be your friend. You’re useless. You’re a failure. So and so is much better than you at everything. Don’t bother me. You’re making it up. You’re’ to blame for all of this. Why do you want to bother doing that?”

If I asked for help I was either made fun of, dismissed or ignored. Me and my feelings weren’t important.

No matter what I did to try to please or make people proud of me or to acknowledge how well I had done it was never good enough. There was always a put-you-down.

The only time my narcissistic mother ever expressed any pride in me wasn’t really pride in ME.

My daughter has graduated.” ” My daughter has a PhD.”

She has three daughters. I was never mentioned by name, not even if I was stood next to her. It was all about her. I was only useful for what could make her look better, for her to be the centre of attention.

These messages were taken up by other people around me. They became ingrained in me as the view I had of myself. I still speak to myself using these phrases when I’m in a fragile state mentally or emotionally.

I’ve known about the way I think about myself and where it has come from long while. However, the realisation that my feelings have never been important to anyone, not even to myself. I’ve pushed my feelings, my needs away so that other people don’t get upset or angry with me, so I make sure they’re always happy, even if inside I’m suffering in some way. This was something that came out of the very, very painful, emotional and frustrating EMDR session that followed.

Frustrating as I have very, very few memories of my past. I was made aware I was trying to hard to find a memory and reminded that part of cPTSD is hiding painful memories away, forgetting about them as a way of coping. I was told it’s ok not to have any memory. That I just need to let things be as they are in EMDR.

I think I’m trying so hard to ‘succeed’ at finding a memory, not to disappoint, the harder I try, the less likely it is for a memory to appear. The funny thing is, that once I accepted that through all the tears and anger and frustration with myself, the memories just appeared. There were so many that we just bundled them together as a ‘cluster’ and worked with them.

Then, through the tears and the pain in my throat and heart, a quiet, small voice told me that I had done nothing wrong and I did not deserve any of this. That I deserve better.

We tried working on me believing that through EMDR techniques. That caused me more tears and upset and emotional pain. So we called an end to the EMDR and talked a little about things.

Through EMDR I’m revealing more and more of my story. It causes me pain when new parts are discovered or insights are gained. But without that revealing taking place there is no hope of me healing. My aim is to tell my story without feeling any pain.

I was very tearful with weird memories cropping up as I drove home and through the evening. I had weird and disturbing dreams through the night. I woke with a blinding headache, which is still with me despite some painkillers. I feel so tired, weepy. However, I know there’s been a breakthrough, more than one actually, through yesterday’s therapy session.

The last words my therapist left me with were that she thinks I am very brave. Brave for telling my story. Brave for seeking out therapy to help me heal. Brave for persevering with EMDR when it can cause me a lot of distress and upset. Brave for showing people that recovery from mental health problems is possible. Brave for telling people that seeking therapy/counselling is a strong thing to do as we are helped to learn the skills we need to regain our mental and emotional wellbeing.

I don’t feel brave. I don’t understand how people think that I am. I do know I want to tell what I feel able to do so of my story to let others know they’re not alone. I do want to tell people about my journey to recovery so they can see that recovery is possible. I tell it to try to help others.

I don’t do it for attention. I don’t do it to have people feel sorry for me. That is my narcissistic mother, and others, still putting me down via the voice that is my inner critic.

December Dangle Design for BuJo

It’s Friday, so that means it’s #dangleday! As it’s the last day of November it seems appropriate that I design a dangle design that would look fantastic as the monthly title page for a BuJO, journal, planner or just a fun design to color and frame or, printed out smaller, used on a greetings card.

As usual these days, I sketched the design out on dot grid paper and then scanned it in. I used Autodesk Sketchbook Pro and a technical drawing pen ‘brush’ to ink the design, as well as make adjustments to the design.

The final steps were to add a background colour and watermark it for sharing on the internet.

Naturally, I used my Microsoft Surface Pen along with my Microsoft Surface Studio to do the digital drawing. I think I’m going to print this design out so it will fit in my BuJo and colour it with traditional media.

I’m going to make this available as a coloring template in the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group. So, if you’d like to download and print the template, pop along to the group and join in!

This is quite a complex dangle design to look at, but it’s not that complex to create. In my book ‘A Dangle A Day’, released on 8 January 2019, I take you step by step through the process with loads and loads of examples of monograms and dangle designs for all seasons and all occasions, along with ideas of how to use them. There’s also a fair number of tips and encouraging words within the book.

If you do download, print and colour this design, I’d love to see how you’ve coloured and used it! You can find me on twitter, Instagram and facebook.

Doodleworlds design 12 November 2018

Angela Porter 12 November 2018

After the emotions surrounding Remembrance Day and all the heart-tugging posts on social media concerning issues around veterans and families and so on, I needed to create something that was a little fun.

I drew the design yesterday and I’ve spent the past 4 hours colouring it using my set of Chameleon Color Tones and Color Tops.

Not digital art this time, just some fun doodleworlds style critters and monsters and objects, along with some geometric designs as well as my trademark arches and swirls and spirals.

I love how all my critters are different and yet close together getting along, even if some of them look a bit grumpy, fierce or angry. We all have emotions, a whole range of them from ecstatic, happy to sad, angry, miserable. It’s like a weird kind of family, friendship photo. Even the single kitty to the left of the tower is part of this group, even though it’s keeping its distance.

Sometimes I need that distance from people, even groups of people I care for. I get overwhelmed so easily. I then need some quiet alone time and space to rest, recoup and recharge. I enjoy time with people I care about; the trade off is feeling drained and tired and exhausted afterwards.

It’s the same with overly emotional days. When I need to rest, recoup and recharge sometimes drawing overly whimsical, cute, simple designs with cheesily cute critters and monsters helps to soothe what’s going on inside me.

I really need a bit of that before I head out for EMDR therapy later on today.

Arty goings on…

Non-dotty Flowers 15Aug12 © Angela Porter 2012

Non-dotty flowers – a reworking of the dotty flowers below.  3″ x 5″ approx.

Busy, busy, busy…

I’ve been kind of busy, but not busy-busy, since my last entry, busy with art.  Being engrossed in arty pursuits has kept me up until the wee-small hours as the dark outside has given me no idea about the passage of time.  Good thing I’m still on the long summer break from teaching.

I must admit that I’m not looking forward to going back to work.  I think I’ve said before I need a different environment to flourish in.  My only problems in changing career are that I need a certain income and I have no particular idea what I’d like to do instead of.  I’d love to do more things that are creative – arty/crafty would be good.  I’d also like to work in an environment where people actually get along, without the constant rumble of poor attitudes, disrespect for self and others and an unwillingness by the majority to want to learn or to see the point of having a good education and doing their best.

Anyway, before I drag myself down into a gloom, I still have two and a half weeks or so away (apart from a need to go in for a few days towards the end of the break to mark work, prepare work, and sort out displays for the walls) and so will be making the most of the time to be creative and explore my artsy-craftsy nature.

Torc – statement necklace – bib necklace – collar necklace.

I managed to complete this torc.  It took over 30 hours of work.  It is available for purchase at Etsy at the time of this blog entry.

Torc © Angela Porter 2012

As always, spirals, circles and curves feathre in my work, along with some of my ‘custom made’ sequins.  I enjoyed the work in this, and realised how many of the ‘tricks’ I had forgotten from previous endeavours like this.  My earlier torcs can still be seen on Artwyrd at deviantART.

Experimental landscape number two.

I’ve also managed to complete another experimental landscape – this one from a photograph of a ‘real’ landscape in North Wales.

Landscape Experiment 2 © Angela Porter 2012

A dear friend of mine has made some interesting suggestions about how I can approach the ‘patterns’ for different land-uses. When I’m ready to do another landscape I will take his suggestions to heart.

There are glimmering, metallic, glittery highlights on the drawing/painting that don’t come out well when photographed/scanned.  I do think I’m beginning to find my ‘style’ when it comes to landscapes – and that style involves simplifying the shapes/lines of the land, trees and so on, and then working out how to fill those shapes in.  Spirals are, as always, a favourite motif of mine, along with circles and curves, influenced as I am by prehistoric rock art, early Celtic art, and anything with curves and curls in!  If I try to work with perfectly straight lines and sharp corners in my work, well it just doesn’t seem to work or scream out ‘Angela’ at me.

Abstract Floral.

This was an experiment in something a little different for me – pastel colours on a grey paper, with an open kind of design.  The usual spirals and swirls are there, but there’s a lot of ’empty space’ which also works.  The pastel colours are a definite change from me!

AbstractFloral1 10Aug12 © Angela Porter 2012

Flowers…

This started as a good idea and ended up a right ‘mare of an experience.  A dear friend of mine reckons it is lovely and very William Morris…

Flowers 14Aug12 © Angela Porter 2012

I realised the rising flowers were on the wrong side if I wanted to add words to it as I was inking it all in.

Then, as I blended the coloured pencils, the ink rubbed off to mix with the coloured pencils, so it all had to be inked in again, which is often the case with my kind of work, but the ink subdued the colours somewhat.

I then started to fill in the blank space to the left with tendrils, without putting pencil lines down first as a guide, and ended up making a right hash of it.  So, the shading under the leaves and so on was meant to disguise some of that, and cutting it all out and sticking it on blue paper … well it was a good idea, but not the blue!  I also rediscovered how useless I am with a pair of scissors or craft knife too.

However, some of the most important lessons we learn are when things go wrong…

Geometricity 1

So, after the pastel colours and the disaster, a return to bright colours, and flashes of metallic gold.

Geometricity1 14Aug2012 © Angela Porter 2012

A small piece of work – 7cm x 10.5cm, but jewel-bright watercolours used to fill in the pattern.  I’m pleased with the work (though not with the scanned image – photographing/scanning my work is a major problem with the shiny Sakura Glaze pens that I use and the highlights of metallic/iridescent/glitter paints/inks that I so love.  However, you get the idea.

I think that I’m going to play with geometric patterns and colour for a while, on a small scale, to see where it leads me.  Of course, I may just change my mind as time goes along!

More flowers…

I completed this one with Geometricity1, and there are too many ‘dots’ on the flowers – another lesson to learn!  I’ll be reworking this one in a little while.  It will keep me occupied during the torrential rain that is falling here in waves.  I love the sound of the rain…

Bright flowers 14 August 2012 © Angela Porter 2012