FRESH PAINT: New Horizons & A Foreboding Joy

I painted two pieces last week, and tried something new with both of them.

First, instead of reaching for the 16×20 bundle packs I normally grab (and can afford) I listened to a heart whisper and went BIG, purchasing sizes I had yet to explore: 24×48 and 36×48.

(How would I fill such large spaces? What was my inner creative longing to release that required more space to tell it’s message on?)

Second, instead of reaching for the brushes in my box, I found my hand landing on the rag I normally use to wipe my brushes on, and used it to distribute the paint across each canvas’ surface.

The results? Left me breathless to be honest. I look at both pieces now, in my living room and am in awe of what’s staring back at me. Maybe it’s vain to say I absolutely love these pieces and I think the messages they convey are important ones for me…but…it’s the truth-my truth anyway and it’s not often I find myself in love with something I’ve created on canvas.

Two of my words for this year are “explore,” and “pursue.” In regards to painting I told myself  that I would explore my new found passion for painting and experiment with various styles and techniques to find what “fits,” if that makes sense. Working with a rag and my hands instead of brush and with larger spaces exposed me to a freedom I hadn’t realized my inner creative had been longing for. I’m looking forward to doing more in this fashion, and I think I have a theme that can make the pieces in this style an actual collection….we’ll see.

Both pieces are up for sale in the shop along with other pieces from the last 7 months. Feel free to stop by for a look….

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“New Horizons” 24×48

This one was inspired by a lyric from the song “New Horizons,” by Flyleaf: “Bring your normalcy to the edge and watch it drown in new horizons…new horizons…” It speaks to the new horizons that have been stretching themselves across my life these past months: new decade (30′s!), new city & home (AUSTIN!), new marriage (details and photos in a forthcoming post) and…..one completely unexpected and unplanned that I will share in a post later this week :)

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“A Foreboding Joy” 36×48

This one took me by surprise-it started out very dark with just black and white paint blending together to create a very heavy, grayish-moody base. I didn’t really think about it much as I worked, adding layers of color and I moved quickly through it, finding myself a little winded at it’s end. As I sat back to wonder what the hell it was, my mind rested on a comment made by Dr. Brene Brown regarding joy: “If you ask me what’s the most terrifying, difficult emotion we feel as humans, I would say joy.” She had made the comment to Oprah, during a Super Soul Sunday discussion, and was speaking to how joy terrifies us so we never allow ourselves to experience it in it’s fullest. Watch her discuss it here: http://www.yidio.com/show/super-soul-sunday/season-0/episode-0/3088395102

I realized that as overwhelmed and happy I am about all of the newness in my life, every time I’ve felt joy trying to take over, I’ve immediately pushed it away…this piece represents that tension, that fear….

So…those are my latest pieces. Thoughts?

Painting: Don’t Think. Just Feel

Today I sat down, brush in hand, colors spread put around me, and just stared at the canvas in front of me. I wanted to paint but my thoughts were too scattered to focus on a concept or any kind of intentionality. I closed my eyes and just sat there. Alex came and sat in my lap, and proudly began naming the colors he recognized.

I dipped a brush in red, his favorite color at the moment, and handed it to him. Without saying a word, he snatched the brush from me and got to work covering the canvas in frenzied streaks of red. When he was finished, he said “RED!” did a little hop, dropped the brush and ran to his room with a smile on his face.

I know at some point I would like to work on developing intentionality, so that I’m better at communicating what I’m trying to say through my paintings. For now though, I’m realizing that I’m content to just pick up a brush and attack the canvas much like Alex did. I might have one thought I focus on or I might have nothing but emotions, and I like that. I think some of my best pieces have come from when I’ve turned down the volume on my reasoning and listened instead only to the emotions that were waiting to be acknowledged & allowed to speak. I can’t always articulate what they are in words but on canvas, they pour out of me with each stroke; their voices speaking through each color and layer I apply.

If you were to ask me why I painted what I did today, I’d simply shrug & say I don’t know. It’s just what came out. They were directed purely by emotion, with no direct thoughts or intended meanings. They’re simplistic & maybe look amateurish, but I’m okay with that. I’ll get better with more practice and exploration.

The first one is untitled for now. I have to study it & “hear” what it’s saying before I name it.

The second one? Well, I’m not sure, but when Bertski looked at it, he said it kind of reminded him of the early 80′s and the New Wave music era…I laughed because I was born in ’82…and I’ll be 30 on Saturday…so maybe it represents that? Not sure but I thought it was a fun interpretation, considering how much I love music and the bright fashions from that time period.

So here they are. OH-in honor of said 30th birthday, I’m having a sale in my Etsy shop-all unreserved listings are 30% off now through Saturday. Stop by & have a look :)

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America the Beautiful?

There's some ugliness mixed in there-can you see it?

So. The election season from Dante’s 7th circle of hell is over. As hellish as it was, some good DID come out of it,  at least in my opinion. We have 19 women Senators in U.S. Congress. Elizabeth Warren? She’s … Continue reading

Painted: Layering

So I’ve spent the last two days painting. It’s been awhile so my creative vibes didn’t flow as much as I hoped they would. Maybe it’s the new med combo I’m on. Or maybe I’m just rusty. It maybe I just feel more inspired & creative when I’m hypomanic. Who knows?

Anyway, the first canvas I gave up on, but the second, I liked how it started taking shape, so I decided to try and take what I’ve seen other artists do on YouTube, and try my hand at layering.

I did the base colors and started some blending last night…

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and spent about an hour and a half tonight adding, blending & building upon what was there.

The result? This….

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Not sure how I feel about it. I do at the very least like the brushstroke work I utilized throughout the painting.

What do you think? And seriously be honest, criticism is welcomed as long as it’s constructive. Also keep in mind I’m a newbie who knows nothing about technique.

I Miss My Paints & Artists Who Inspire Me

I haven’t posted anything about painting in awhile, and I think it’s mostly because I haven’t painted in nearly two, almost three months.

I miss it…

I’m slightly worried that my passion for it and the creativity that drove me to paint in the first place has faded away…

I’ve been asking myself if it was all just a fleeting fancy-just some form of manic expression that isn’t really…me.

Not sure if that makes sense…I wish I could articulate what I mean a lot better, but I’ve had two glasses of wine so articulation is swimming in Lake Moscato at the moment.

Ahem…

What I’m trying to say is that I’m a creative person who hasn’t been able to create in a few months and I’m scared this particular form of creative expression has moved on and out of my life much like dancing has….which makes me incredibly sad.

I miss my paints, and having my colorful creations adorn my walls. I gave away & sold about 15 of them, but those I have left are still locked up in a storage unit back in PA….I miss the excitement that emanates all the way from my toes to my fingertips when I sit down in front of a blank canvas to paint. I miss the adrenaline rush of the creative process and how it leaves me pregnant with possibility.

Anyway, enough lamenting…I’ll save the rest of this for a time when I’m less tipsy and a little less apt to talk about being impregnated by creativity.

I’ll leave you with some videos of artists I found via YouTube who are helping me keep my love and passion for painting alive….trust me when I say they are worth taking the time to watch.

Enjoy!

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Christopher Mathie

Nicole Hoschke

Mel McCuddin

Then & Now

Over the weekend I started my new dose of Lamictal…another 50mgs to try and put the brakes on my latest (and longest) high.

Last week I was reeling from it…dizzy from the frenzy.

This week I feel my mind turning around & going in the opposite direction…everything is slowing down.

My thoughts are still all over the place, but instead of shouting & screaming to be heard they mumble as they mill about…whispering their requests & anxieties from dark, shadowy corners they’ve been banished to.

Somewhere between the ups & downs of this disorder, there lies a middle ground called stability…a place where medication keeps everything from getting out of control. A place where the highs don’t send me skyrocketing into the stratosphere and the lows don’t entrench & isolate me in the darkness of depression.

I know recovery ( i.e. stability) is not a myth, some city of gold that’s only been talked about but never actually seen or experienced. It’s real. I’ve talked to people who live there, who have managed to build a healthy & stable life within the valleys of mental illness.

I hope I’m closer to residing there than I was a year ago. Last July I walked into the VA hospital crying and begging the social worker & intake psych to help me as Alex slept in my arms. Last July I wanted to die and knew I would if I didn’t get help that day. I was willing to take anything, do anything, just to make the chaos stop for 10 seconds. That’s all I wanted. A 10 second reprieve from a mind that was too scary and confusing. I just wanted to be able to breathe without feeling like I was suffocating. This July I no longer want to die and I can breathe at least 10 seconds longer, taking in bigger gulps of air & of life in the process. A year later I still have highs and lows but they cycle at a much slower pace than they used to. I no longer wonder how I’m going to feel from hour to hour. My focus is now on managing how I feel from day to day.

I know I still have a ways to go before I get there, to stability. But where I had no hope of it a year ago, I feel it now. I know it now. I can see it on the horizon, off in the distance, welcoming me like an old friend…waiting for me to come and make myself at home.

There are upcoming changes & transitions I’m worried about that may threaten my progress…and lots of good, exciting new things I’m looking forward to….so that’s why I’m more concerned about this impending low than I’d like to admit. I hate putting pressure on myself but I can’t help but feel as though everything over the next 4 weeks depends on how well I ride out this about face in mood.

I’m not really sure of where this post is going, and I feel like I’ve spewed enough disjointed thoughts so I’ll end it here with this:

I painted today….something I wasn’t doing a year ago. Crazy how much you change in a year, eh?

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