Color Me Calm, Color Me Happy and blowing my own trumpet!

I’m not good at blowing my own trumpet, but as the cat is out of the bag it’s time for me to say how chuffed I am to have been approached by Jeannine Dillon, editor for Race Point publishers, to do the artwork/illustrations for two books full of colouring templates with text written by Lacy Mucklow and the design put together by Jacqui Carlton.

The first book, Color Me Calm, is due for release in October this year.

Color Me Calm

 The second book is titled Color Me Happy and is also due for release around the same time. 

Color Me Happy

The titles say it all!

 

I’ve also been working with Bev Robinson of Love Thy Thread and she’s converted some of my artwork into cross-stitch charts available exclusively from this website, just follow the link to me, Angela Porter.

Another piece of news is that I’ll have a third book of artwork coming out early next year with Dover Publishing, Jason Schneider is the editor there.  More news as things get done there.

And with that, I must get back to doing the coloured illustrations for Color Me Calm.  Such good therapy for me while I’m recovering from a long-term illness of my own.

It’s been a while…

Untitled 8 March 2014 by Angela Porter

 

It has been a while since I last made a post to my blog.

I have been struggling with vagueness and lack of focus with the medication I’m taking, and this one I’m on now doesn’t suit either. As well as the vagueness, I’m constantly on edge and fidgety, and the medication is supposed to treat that not cause it.  Have to give it a couple more weeks before it’ll be changed though.  I’m still away from work as a result.

In spite of all of this I’ve still been busy with art, though the focus for the projects I’m involved in has been lacking at times, but just ‘doodling’ with no constraints or requirements does help me settle a little and also is something I can do that doesn’t need that focus.

In the summer I signed contracts to do the artwork for two books linked to art therapy.  In the last week I was approached by another company to do one book for them in the first instance, and if it goes well then there could be a whole series of them.   My hope is that I’ll have enough contracts and work lined up that I can go kind of part time at work.  That won’t be for a while and I need to get myself better first, but the part time may be a way of helping me remain ‘better’ in the future.  Time will tell.

Two more leafy, tree-y and flower mandalas

I finished these in the last day or so.  Pen and coloured pencils.

Woodland mandala © Angela Porter 2014

 

ImageAnother Woodland mandala © Angela Porter 2014

Arty times

Woodland Mandala © Angela Porter 2014

I’ve been busy with art.  This is just one thing finished recently.  It’s a little less than A4 in diameter.

Another new calendar!

Mandala Trees © Angela Porter 2013

 

Another new calendar year, along with the hopeful wishes that go along with it.

For you, I wish peace, love, joy, good health and all that you need for a happy life, not just today, but every single moment of your existence.  I wish the same for all on Earth, which will only come about when humanity as a whole cares more about the living things that we share this planet with than money or power or material things.

For myself, I wish for a way out of the dark and difficult places I find myself in.  I would also like to feel I ‘belong’ somewhere, and with that goes human friendship and companionship. A more peaceful, harmonious and less confrontational and stressful workplace, when I return, would also be a huge bonus.

 

Winter Solstice 2013

Winter Solstice 2013 © Angela Porter 2013

 

Another astronomical cycle completed as the Earth returns to the point of solstice once again.  The first day of Winter.  A time to reflect on the year behind, successes and otherwise.  A time to be willing to let go of all that has run it’s course, either by being completed or no longer needed, to make space for new growth as the Sun grows in power once again, increasing the amount of light flooding the Earth (well the Northern Hemisphere).

For whatever reason, it seems more natural to me to follow markers in time and the symbolism of the waxing and waning cycles of the Sun and how that relates to the patterns that we see reflected in our lives than does anything else. All a bit odd coming from a scientist, perhaps.

This year I will be looking on it as a continuation of a new start in my life.  I have been off work since the middle of November and it really is time to let go of the old patterns of negative thinking about myself that have so blighted my life and experiences.  It’s not going to be easy; fifty years of them whispering and disempowering and controlling me is a very long time.  It can be done and I have to see it as a long term process, with the help of my doctor.  It’s not been easy to admit I need help with all of this, or to acknowledge, truthfully to myself, the impact it has all had on myself.

However long it has taken me, I’m at that point where little steps are needed, and I do have to understand it is little steps, that this can’t be sorted instantly or overnight.

There’s been a complex set of circumstances that led me to this point of requesting help, not least of which was the nagging of a dear friend to get the help needed; it took them over a year to get through to me, that’s how much in denial I have been. However, we did get there.

I’m not prepared to air the circumstances here, where anyone and everyone can see them.  Those who know me will know what they are, maybe.  Those who don’t can infer for themselves what this may be about.

All I know is that I’m quietly on the mend now, slowly but surely, and that is all that matters.

My love and thanks go out to that dear friend who nagged me.  My love and thanks to my little sister who has made sure that I don’t totally lock myself away all the time.  My love and thanks to those I’ve seen and spoken to in the past few weeks, and before that, who have helped and supported me.

Watery mandala and other stuff…

Watery Mandala

Image

This is small, maybe 12cm in diameter.

Unipin pens.  Inktense pencils used like watercolours (colours laid down thick in spots on scrap paper and then applied with a wet brush).  Acid free white cartridge paper.
Other Stuff…
I was off work last week for the last two days with some kind of horrible tummy bug that presented like a dreadful migraine with sickness/diarrhoea.  Still wasn’t quite right on Monday. 
I struggled through two days at work, and then had to come home yesterday partway through the day as my voice was really poor.  Not just quiet, but it was really hard work to talk – vocal chords are stressed out because I am, and that’s one way stress presents itself physically with me.
So, one of my strategies to de-stress, or try to, is to be creative, so some art has been done, and more will be done presently.

One Enchanted Samhain by Louise Heydon

Chills in the night air are tingling skin

The veil between worlds is now growing thin
Bright spirits gather, the dead return
Drawn to the flickers where candles burn

The past remembered, changes made
Ancestors honoured, tributes paid
Darkness gathers, the full moon is clear
Shining down on this Celtic New Year

Pumpkins glow and ghouls how they scare
Dressed in costumes with bright green hair
Witches and skeletons, goblins and ghosts
Trick or treat children with sweets from their hosts

Old Jack O’Lantern with his creepy grin
Fires for folk with ghost tales to begin
But what do you know of the true Halloween?
For once it was more than just parlour frights seen

Spirits would wander and rather than grieve
Folk honoured the dead on each Samhain eve
Summer had faded, as winter approached
Futures now plotted as Jack Frost encroached

The harvest was ending as the cold times unfurled
But summer just beginning in the dark Underworld
As above, so below, is a wisdom we all learn
And so the cycle of seasons shall forever turn

A time for looking inward, reflection and change
Honouring those spirits, making sense of the strange
So open your mind, part the veil if you dare
Welcome the new, for there’s magic in the air!

Half-term at last…pheweee!

It’s been a long half-term at school; eight weeks to be precise.  In that time there’s been two training days, a twilight training session. a memorial walk to raise money for school funds and the Senghenydd Mining Disaster Memorial, almost daily incidents of poor behaviour/attitude to deal with, lessons observations, book reviews (as in how well and regularly work is being marked), a consultation with my union representative, a stress-meltdown and hopefully the end of three year period of what feels like persecution/bullying in a particular situation at work (culminating in the union consultation and the stress meltdown).

I still have a pupil to be dealt with who has been making threats to physically attack me because I apparently ‘start on him’ by asking him to do his work.  How shocking is that, that I should request he stop shouting around the class, distracting others and to do his work?

Oh the joys of being a teacher.

Having said that, there are joys.  The shared smiles and laughter with pupils enjoying the lessons.  The ones whose faces light up when they see me and who never exhibit poor behaviour in my class, even though they may do in other lessons), the shared laughter with colleagues, morning breakfast with ‘the girls’, the helpfulness of the lab tech, the enthusiasm and questioning of pupils because they are interested in something, their kindness and thoughtfulness.  And so much more that it’s a shame it can become dominated by the negative things that occur and dominate my ruminating, over-analysing, over-thinking brain.

It’s been really busy for me with having to prepare work for a new course I’m running with my special needs classes, as well as teaching mainstream classes that I’ve not done for years.  It’s meant late nights at work and even bringing work home – something I avoid doing as I do not want to go down the route of being a workaholic as I was in the first decade or so of my teaching career.

This busy-ness has really eaten into my creative time.  Little art has been done, and I’m am doing my best to settle back into it in this half-term, especially as I have two contracts to create artwork for two books, though I have been waiting for direction for what the artwork is to be for a long while now.

I’ve barely stopped in the first four day so of the half-term.  I seem to be running away from time with myself.  I can struggle with being alone, feeling lonely and end up keeping moving, moving, moving to avoid it.  Today I am remaining at home and trying to get things out of the way so that I will settle to some arty pursuits, or de-stressing after the last half-term.

I do seem to be a lot more resilient than I was a year ago.  Though things can get to me (such as loneliness, lack of a sense of belonging, the constant worry I’m doing things wrong that have precipitated the situation at work that led to a stress-meltdown), I often find there’s a content ‘centre’ in me that I can access when I do things of a creative nature or things that focus my mind away from it’s rumination and negative thinking.  It’s a little easier to spot when this is happening, though I don’t always catch it in time to stop the tears, the self-loathing and the comfort eating.

I rejoined a choir I’ve been a member of since I was in school myself.  Sadly, I had to leave again once the stress levels rose as my voice was, and still is, affected by the stress.

Out of all of this, and at odd times during the last couple of months, I have managed to do some arty things.  Here’s two mandalas of mine.

Calmly Does It © Angela Porter 2013

Autumn Splendour ©Angela Porter 2013d

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