Merry and Bright

©Angela Porter 2018

A Christmas Greeting

Wishing everyone who visits this little space on the interwebs all the very best blessings and wishes of the season.

I also wish to thank you for visiting, for sharing my posts.

However you spend this day, whether with friends, family, at work, or by yourself, I wish you well and the best.

About this image

I woke early-ish this morning and had an idea that involved creating this mandala/wreath design, so I had to do it!

Unusually, I drew the motifs in colour! Yup. No black line, just colour.

They’re all very simple with simple colour gradations. The black lines were created by removing colour so the dark background would show through.

I think the outer ring of leaves could be a little lighter, but then it does give a sense of the outer ring bending away, with the hearts and mistletoe on the high point of the ‘wreath’.

Adding texture to the design helped to scuff up the perfection of the colours.

I really enjoyed doing this, as simple as it is.

I am really grateful that I used an insulated mug for my gingerbread mocha latte this morning – I forgot all about it for over 3 hours, so engrossed in my art as I was, and it’s now just the perfect temperature for drinking!

My tools were Microsoft Surface Pen, Microsoft Surface Studio and Autodesk Sketchbook Pro. Yes, this is a digital piece of art.

The rest of the day I intend to spend in arty/creative pursuits, including finishing off my knitted cuddly triceratops (yes, I know yesterday I incorrectly said it was a stegosaurus).

Winter Solstice 2018

©Angela Porter 2018

Winter begins! It’s the end of one astronomical cycle and the start of a new one. Winter Solstice is one of my favourite days of the year, along with All Hallow’s Eve. There’s always a feeling of excitement on this day that’s associated with ending and beginnings. Time to lay to rest that which is completed to make way for the new that replaces them as the Sun symbolically ‘dies’ on this day and will begin to ‘grow’ again in the days that follow until the Summer Solstice. It’s also a time to be grateful too.

I know there are many endings and beginnings; every moment in our lives is both an ending and a beginning. However, I feel that days like this, where we can focus on this never ending process in a bigger, more symbolic, more formal way, is important. Traditions are important as they bring a semblance of order to our rather chaotic lives.

I spent some time yesterday drawing this mandala to go with today. The dull gold represents the weakness of the Sun, relatively speaking. I’ve included mistletoe, holly and ivy as they’re traditionally associated with this day. I’ve also added berries as symbolic of the fruits of gratitude I carry for all the days since the last Winter Solstice. And, of course, there are plenty of sun-ray-like motifs and patterns. And stars. Plenty of stars, which from a distance look like snow drifting down.

Yes, I can say I’m rather pleased with this mandala. That’s not something I say often as I’m highly critical of myself and my work. But this one I really do like. I like the more graphic nature of the motifs. I like my hand lettering. I like the rhythm and flow of the design with the rings of designs radiating out.

So, I wish you all the very best that comes with the Winter Solstice, for today and all the days ahead of you and yours.

This was created using a Microsoft Surface Pen and Surface Studio along with Autodesk Sketchbook Pro and a gold texture purchased via Creative Market.

Yuletide dangle design

©Angela Porter 2018

Tomorrow is the Winter Solstice, or Yule. So, I wanted to create a dangle design for Yuletide, and wish you all the blessings of the season.

On the Winter Solstice here in the Northern Hemisphere, it is the shortest day and from here on in the amount of daylight begins to increase once again, albeit very slowly at first.

People gather at prehistoric monuments, such as Stonehenge, Newgrange and Avebury, to watch the sunrise on this day. These monuments have Winter Solstice alignments. That’s why I’ve got a pair of big stones framing the sun.

Of course I had to include holly, mistletoe and some evergreens in the design, along with stars, hears and a couple of cute robins.

It is a digital piece of art which started life as a pencil drawing on dot grid paper. The design was scanned in and re-drawn using a Microsoft Surface pen on the screen of my Microsoft Studio in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro. I did make use of the mirror symmetry tool to help me with the symmetrical nature of the design. I hand lettered the sentiment in the ribbon.

I did colour this quickly using gradient fills – yesterday I really wasn’t up to doing much. I am feeling a bit better today, though drained after a quick visit to my local town to run a couple of errands. I’m really easy to startle at the moment and me being jumpy at every noise and the number of people out and about was something I kind of expected but hoped I wouldn’t experience today.

I’m safely back home now and am starting to calm down a little, though I feel exhausted. So, the rest of the day will be spent quietly for sure.

I do have a Winter Solstice mandala to share tomorrow, and I’m rather pleased with this one. So, do pop back tomorrow.

‘A Dangle A Day’ is published on 8 Jan 2019.

Wednesday Work In Progress

©Angela Porter 2018

Wednesday is #wipwednesday around the interwebs and sometimes it manifests itself on this blog.

This is my current work in progress, well just a part of it. I drew the design using various pens on paper and then scanned it in. I’m part way through colouring the image. It’s going to take me many hours to finish it, but that won’t be today. I have appointments this afternoon.

I am coloring it digitally with the usual tools – Microsoft Surface Studio, Microsoft Surface Pen and Autodesk Sketchbook Pro. I’m trying to keep to a winter/yule/christmas kind of colour scheme. That means the purple coloured ‘berries’ may have to be changed, but that’s easy enough to alter when working digitally.

#createdonsurface #quartoknows #autodesksketchbook

How I spent the last three days…

I have to admit that I, like so very many others, spent the Christmas period alone (except for a couple of hours playing Trivial Pursuit at my little sisters on Christmas night).  It’s not the first Christmas that this has happened, but it’s one in a very long succession of solitary Christmases.

I feel the pressure from society and the media greatly at this time of the year; the pressure to be in a happy family, showered with gifts and food and company and loving intimacy.

The image we’re sold that we can’t possibly be happy unless we’re part of a big, loving, happy family and in a meaningful, happy, loving relationship is a trigger point for my mood, for unlocking the kennel of the black dog that can nip at my heels all too often.

This year, though, I’m happy to say that the black dog didn’t visit as often or as long as it has in the past many, many years.  Oh, I’ve had my moments, but I’ve survived better than I have for a very long time, most probably 20 years or so.

What helped is indulging myself in my coping strategies – creating art, making music, reading, cat cuddling and generally being creative (which currently means knitting baby blankets for my neice who is expecting twins in 3 to 4 months time).  Also, avoiding social media – facebook especially – has helped too.

Reminding myself that I’m not at the point in my healing journey from the cptsd (complex post traumatic stress disorder) that I experience that I feel able to have healthy relationships has also helped.  It’s a work in progress, the healing that is.

Another sign of my recovery from the trials and tribulations of the cptsd that I experience is that I made a little effort to add some ‘decorations’ for the Winter Solstice/Yule/Christmas season, which include a trio of small, knitted christmas trees, which kept me a little occupied in the days/weeks leading up to this time, as well as knitting and needle felting some bacteria and viruses for a pharmacist I met at an event I attended as a Time to Change Wales champion.

So, now the next event that can cause the black dog to find some strength is New Year’s Eve…

…which I can survive by using my super-power of being creative to help me cope.

The piece of art above has been done over the past 3 days.  The black outlines were drawn first, followed by a base layer of Ranger’s Distress Inks applied with Clarity Stencil brushes.

I then used the Distress Inks as watercolours to intensify the colours in various places as well as to add the colour to the berries/seeds/buds.

Next, I used Cosmic Shimmer’s Iridescent Watercolour paints to add some shimmer in large areas, before adding detailed patterns using coloured pencils (I chose to use my Mitsubishi Uni Pencils for this).

Finally, I added metallic and ‘glittery’ sparkle using Sakura’s Gold Gelly Roll Metallic pen and a Clear Star Gelly Roll pen.

I was rather restrained for me by leaving areas just coloured, not embellished to high heaven and back! The areas I have added texture/pattern to stand out more and it’s not quite so overwhelming.

This could mean my artistic skills are maturing a little.

The most important thing, however, is that I enjoyed the process of creating this large (for me) piece of art. The paper I used is A3 in size, and the drawing is approx 9.5″ x 14.5″.

When I finally figure out how to price my art (any one wishing to offer help/advice/suggestions on this, then it will be gratefully recieved) I may put it up for sale on Etsy.

Season’s Greetings 2016

winter_05_coloured1

Sending each and every one of you all the very best of the wishes of the season. May each of your days ahead be filled with love, joy and all things bright and good!

Thank you to all who have supported me and sent me such kind words too.

Drawn on my Surfacebook, coloured in via Autodesk Sketchbook Pro.

 

Winter Solstice 2011

Today is the Winter Solstice, well the astronomical solstice at least.  The Sun left Sagittarius and entered Capricorn at 05:31GMT this morning and that is the exact point of the solstice.

The Winter Solstice has long been marked as a special time for many millennia.  Our ancient forebears built stone monuments that tracked the passage of the Sun across the sky as the seasons changed; to them it was important to know when it would soon be time to plant the fields so that food would be plentiful once again.

The pattern of observing the Winter Solstice, and other festivals throughout the winter, and indeed throughout the rest of the year, is set in the fabric of our society, though the names of the celebrations, and the precise date of them, have changed over time, and what was once a religious celebration has become, for many in Britain, a secular celebration involving the exchange of gifts, the consumption of food and drink and time with loved ones (though this is not the case for all – let us not forget there are many who have no friends or family or home at this time of year).

There are plenty of places on the world-weird-web where you can find out about the origins of the various traditions that people observe at this time of year in the many cultures that have winter festival.

It has become my own tradition on this day that I spend time in the morning writing in my journal, reflecting on where I have come from and where I’d like to go in the coming months.  Well, that’s the plan, but that rarely happens as my pen gets hijacked by my unconscious mind and lots of things flow onto the paper, many insights and things to consider and ponder, much of which I won’t share with others as it is for me.

Part of my musings I will share concern the passing of time and the meaning we put on various events to help bring order to our lives, and some kind of certainty to the future amid all the seeming chaos and randomness of our lives.  I realised, that it’s important to me to understand why something is celebrated or why a particular traditional activity is done at any particular time of year.

I am finding that as I grow and develop as a person, as a spiritual being, that what I once did no longer makes sense to me; rather than beating myself up about abandoning something that once made sense, worrying that I was being too lazy or turning my back on things, I’ve realised that things do change as I change and understand more.  That is, for me, an important realisation.

Of course, I feel the pressures to conform and I make sure I respect others’ beliefs and traditions and do as they would wish at this time.  However, I have to feel comfortable in my own skin, in my own view of how the Universe seems to work from my point in it.

Another important realisation to come from this mornings musings is that it is most important to remain open  minded about all kinds of things; even though I may have my own views, ideas, theories, experiences, observations and so on at this time, that may change as I experience more and grow and develop.  Being blinkered to other possibilities, to there being no other ways may be what underlies so many of the world’s problems (and greed, never forget the power of greed …).

As I’ve said, there was much more and it made sense to me.  Maybe I’ll share more once I’ve worked through and processed it all.

What this leaves me with is to wish you all the very brightest blessings of the season, the most wonderful wishes for the next cycle of the seasons, no matter how you celebrate or why you celebrate!