A Power Play Please

Do something! Say something! Move a muscle, change a thought!

All seems to be running smoothly-till it’s not, and it’s not; right now.

How? Every thing seemed peachy-‘seemed’ being the operative word here. I seem like I’m young and beautiful-but is it truly the case? It ‘seems’ nice and comfortable outside-until you open the door and the 100°, 90% humidity slaps you around. Then it ‘seems’ like you are dying of heat stroke(which you may actually be if you don’t wise up and dash back inside).

I have been on this couch for hours. Hours! I wake up, try to get up. Ponder it for a few dazed minutes. Then, with a sigh, I melt back into the blanket, squishing my head into the pillow, praying for alertness to magically reach in and yank me into an energized reality. It has yet to. Although, I must admit I did rise long enough to walk Kleo, feed the cats, her, and me. Then, drawn into the couch’s magnetic field I succumbed again.

Someone may say, oh, you must need the sleep. Your body knows what it needs. No, I humbly disagree. My body knows how to seek a place to hibernate, sinking into the very fibers if this sofa till only my hands and feet will be left on the surface. Mute witnesses to the me that once was.

I must fight this lesser nature, fill my mind with the memories of zestful living, long for that movement, yearn for that freedom, strain to break free!!

When will living feel like less of an epic battle? Probably never. Does that mean I should give in, give up, throw in the proverbial towel? No! The opposite: FIGHT, SISTER!! THROW OFF THAT STRANGLING BLANKET! RISE UP AND FIGHT FOR ANOTHER DAY!

Whew!! Ok! Ok, I will, I AM! I am motivated, I am engaged, I am leaping back into life!

In…just…a…minute. Right now…yawn!…I think I’ll just stretch out for one second…just…one…sec…

IN the DOGHOUSE

…there is a niggling worry, about the big C…CO I mean…VID…

BLOCKY the ROCK HOUND, work in progress, Concrete Block and Rocks©STM

Sigh… I’ve been feeling crappy… Really Awful… SICK. It has caused a pause in my production of work. There is this niggling worry, of course, about the big C, CO I mean…VID. I don’t believe this is it, am hoping very strongly that this is not it. The headache is from a sinus infection that seems to always correspond to this changing season. So, I have been fighting, on this front, for about a week.

I rely so much on my little Kleo as a huggable, furry sounding board , having recently experienced the grief of losing her uncle Kiko last month. She became violently ill yesterday, and had to be rushed to the astronomically expensive emergency vet. Five hundred plus dollars and a day later she is stabilized, but I’m not sure I am. The running total on all my credit cards is the highest I’ve ever had, and the gallery I use has been virtual for months. Sales are nil for now, so I feel pressured to create a masterpiece . But I keep falling asleep with my paintbrush for my hand, and abstract ain’t my bag at the moment. Perhaps it should be. I could, in my stupor, lay a blank canvas on the floor by my couch and hold an open paint jar over it while I doze. Perhaps some nice swirly “pour”will result…( This is a JOKE. )

The day before my illness I painted a new canvas, and I feel very pleased with it, even though my freehand jug is rather “interesting”. I do have more works in progress , soon to come to fruition as Kleo Pup and I mend. Yay. I mean, “YAY!!”

Water Flowing thru My Art Life

Water…It gives life, it takes life. It’s waves hold the secrets of a million years…

image15 jpg healing waters

"Fish of a Different Feather" by Susan T. Martin
one fish two fish red fish blue fish

WIN_20170922_00_15_52_Pro (5)
Fish of a Different Feather

WIN_20170815_11_19_02_Pro
Reaching Out, acrylic on canvas, Work in Progress, Susan T. Martin 2017

WIN_20170216_01_37_00_Pro (2)
The Passage

75615496-C226-47C0-BB43-7CC0868DC469
Reaching Out, Acrylic on Canvas, Beginning Stages, Susan T. Martin 2017

KODAK Digital Still Camera
River in Red

KODAK Digital Still Camera
Portals to Peace ( The Legacy of Lunacy ) by Susan T. Martin2016

Water…Healing. Soothing. Cleansing. Renewing. Refreshing. Constant. Relaxing

Tempestuous. Raging. Running. Crashing. Tumultuous. Freeing.

It Gives Life, It Takes Life. It’s Waves Hold the Secrets of a Million Years.

Voyages Undertaken, Trips Made, Sailing into the Unknown, New Lives Across

Rolling Seas.

Ever Present, Ever Changing the Landscapes of Our Lives.

Flowing Over the Ragged Edges So We Can Make Land Safely.

Crashing Over Our Bow to Sink Us on Reefs of Folly.

Water.

Water.

Everywhere.

S. T. M. 2020

“INSIDE VOICE” a New Series of Works

“…look into this inner world and I promise I will use my “INSIDE VOICE”.

Hello again, and welcome to the big show! I have begun what will become a Major Series of New Works entitled , “INSIDE VOICE” a series of works that speak to my inner battle with Bipolar Disorder’s lows and maniac highs, my way to shout out how the battle rages on inside even when silence prevails outside.

Many people who meet me may be uncomfortable being near a person diagnosed with mental illness, such as Bipolar Disorder. However, they are often surprised at how “normal” I seem. It has been my experience both with my current diagnosis, and with my original diagnosis of Chronic Depression, that friends and family are amazed that I don’t run around slathering at the mouth, or beating my head against the wall. They often try denial on, “No…not you…” or, ” You seem so happy, normal, well adjusted, calm, smart …”

Dysfunction Junction
Dysfunction Junction ©Susan T. Martin, 2015 Best of the Best Juried Show entry, Sold.

Some have even gone so far as to comment on my family tree, as in, ” Well your Grandpa was a little odd.” Or the opposite, “Nothing like this has ever been on my side of the family…” In my family, on my Mom’s side, my Grandpa and his Brothers had come to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania from Woodbury, Tennessee because there were good jobs to be had at the State Hospital, which was what insane asylums were called in the early 20th Century in the U.S. The treatment of mental illness was a whole different ballgame back then, my relatives saw many terrible and terrifying things, indeed.

Their positions within these huge hospitals required them to live on the Hospital Grounds in Dormitories, where they could hear the “lunatics” screaming and carrying on all day and night. It’s no wonder they were aghast at the idea that their kin were somehow linked  to those poor souls in the “Looney Bin”. I am so glad to live in this century, and I am very grateful to all the poor souls who were the subject of many ghastly experiments and treatments, who helped behavioral science and the Mental Health Community to become what it is today. As a “50 Something” woman who was not properly diagnosed till the age of 32, my life now is a dream compared to the suicide attempts, the self medicating, the self debasing promiscuity, the manic spending, the jail time, the fate-tempting, death-defying thrill-seeking, mayhem-causing pain I lived thru before. The sheer energy it would take to put up a happy, smiling front…man, I needed a eight ball just to keep it up for a weekend.

But it would all unravel in the end. I was not OK. I was really, really not OK. Inside my head I was screaming, and my thoughts were rolling at warp speed. I was that cat on the electric floor in that Steven King movie, running up the walls. I would try to hold down a job, and this is after a year of sobriety, after a few hours I would go to the loo and hide, shaking like a leaf. After about a year and a half clean and sober, I got my hands on my first credit card and inheritance at the same time and bought 5 acres in the wilderness, had it cleared and levelled, had a well dug, fenced it and then went to the mall and purchased a bunch of tanzanite and diamond jewelry, winding up spending  over 20 grand in 2 weeks(and ultimately filing a chapter 13 bankruptcy).

cropped-1003-2.jpg
Mania Illuminata, sold

Interspersed between those bouts of mania, where I seemed so “normal”, I would cry. And cry. And Finally I just couldn’t take the pain anymore, so a dear friend said I should go to a local Mental Health Facility, called New Horizons. I was given this ancient psychiatrist who looked wizened, emaciated and nearly blind. But, bless her heart, she had me pegged. With her help, with my determination to stick with my med trials, with a great therapist and social worker, I have been able to stay alive there past 23 years, now clean and sober for 21 of them, come September.

.  So, anyway…(whew, that was quite a tirade!)…I am painting this series to let you look inside a person with this illness, look into this inner world and I promise I will use my “INSIDE VOICE”.

.                                              Susan T. Martin, August 1, 2020

INSIDE VOICE #1
“INSIDE VOICE #1″©Susan T. Martin/12″x12″Acrylic on Canvas

The Journey, a Debut Art Video

 

.  This project was a couple years in the making for me, and was born from the bottomless grief I was dealing with then. As caregiver to both of my parents after a 23 year-long active addiction, and after a devestating breakup of my marriage when my ex went to Federal Prison, I was an emotional train wreck. I had not been creating visual art except for private sketches and some mural work, but I made a smart move during those early years back home with my parents by purchasing a Surface Pro in 2006 with all the bells and whistles. As a result, I did have a creative outlet in the new digital editing and photographic capabilities of this amazing device.

.  During the  long illness of my Mom, who was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer in 2007 (after years of passing blood but afraid to get a colonoscopy!!!!), I had much pent up emotion to release. Any moment of freedom I had was spent exploring the new medium I now possessed. I think I was at an advantage due to the fact that I knew no rules about photography, so I was very free to experiment and play. As a computer illiterate during my long years away from civilization, this was both hell and Utopia as I navigated thru the most basic techie stuff. But I was enthralled. I could take a photo and make it a work of art!

.  Alas, my next 9 years were so pain-filled, as Mom’s cancer progressed she and I had to navigate colostomy’s and ileostomy’s and her suffering was so acutely mine that I wanted to die with her. And a huge part of me did, on the first day of spring in 2010, her birthday and day of death. I wrote endless prose and poetry, keeping her alive in words and rivers of tears.

.   That seemed like a joy ride compared to nursing my father until his death. Dad developed dementia even before Mom died, and it became full blown Alzheimer’s afterwards. He also had prostate cancer which had been diagnosed 20years before but had never been treated. Years of violent outbursts and vile language and hate filled conversation poured out of my Father for the better part of Six years, and out of my warped sense of love for my mean Dad I determined in my heart to never let him go to a nursing home.

During those years I had a catastrophic fall which injured my brain, neck, back, shoulder, hip and knee, causing me to undergo a 12 hour double neck and back operation so that I would only have one recovery and could be up and about within weeks to caregive again. Wow. Five levels in my neck were fused and a previous 3 level lumbar fusion was repaired and taken up another level. I had torn major cartilage in my hip, needed arthroscopic surgery there and in my shoulder, and also was left with a type if vertigo that still effects me on a regular basis 7years later! Oh, my. Need I mention my mental illness battles with rapid cycling Bipolar Disorder and  PTSD from a history full of childhood sexual abuse, violent sexual assault and rape as an adolescent and severe emotional and physical abuse due to 7plus years of Domestic Violence? No, I really had given myself a heavy, heavy load to carry with Daddy. But somehow I did it.

62CE659F-0442-4C6E-94DD-F677F1D335D3
For Our Lost Ones, “Cry Me a River” detail of larger work©susant

.   I cannot describe the last weeks of his life, as there was a lawsuit and a non disclosure agreement with the establishment that hastened his death. But his last night was spent in a hospital bed at home, alone with me, while he screamed and pleaded with God and me to help him. For hours. And hours. The morphine did absolutely nothing so I covered my ears with my fists and screamed with him.

 

WIN_20170724_08_18_38_Pro (2)

.  During this unimaginably daunting, heart-wrenching and overwhelming time in my life there was a story on the news that just planted itself in my brain, because it was so horrific. A group of 27 immigrants were being smuggled into this country from South America. My video is my interpretation of what they went thru, and also a cry for compassion towards all who suffer such indignities and trauma.

.                                                                                 Susan T. Martin

Am I a Brave Artist?

I must push myself to new heights. I want to. I am still th

thWIN_20200104_22_03_58_Pro (4)_LI  I used to think so. Especially in High School. My mind was ablaze with boundary pushing content, just under my skin and ready to burst out in neon glory. Most days it did, and if I had a dollar for every cool doodle I left in that building I would have at least 500 dollars . I was going to say a million, but….

.  No, seriously-why am I so stuck? So careful? Who really cares if I am different anymore? In the Arts it is desirable to be different! Many artists feel they need a gimmick or a persona to excite interest. That is not always the case, however it really helped me drop my self-consciousness.

74AE89DF-B621-4273-B7EB-7D51034CBCF2
The Party’s Over©Susan T. Martin 2018

NOTE TO SELF: Take pride in uniqueness, courage to explore, new and untried substrate and media. I must push myself to new heights. I want to. I am still that artist.

WIN_20200130_00_07_50_Pro (8)
Climbing Out (Detail of Larger Work) ©Susan T. Martin

It is beginning to pain me, keeping all my hair in a nice, neat ponytail. It is time to set the locks free, jump up and down, scream like a banshee!! Roll myself up in Saran-Wrap and hug the world! Paint my body, paint my face, paint! Paint!

.            PAINT!! PAINT!! PAINT, GIRL!!!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I applied for a new grant today, and I have some prize money coming soon from the 2nd place award I won in “The Art of Possiblities” Show and Sale. These are certainly lean times for all of us. I am heartened by all the offers for grants and loans that can be found for all artists online, with just a few minutes searching. My advice is to just “Apply, Apply, Apply!!!” Fill out applications till your pointy finger turns blue!

Also, I have committed to walking more, getting outside and seeing! I will also write down 3 things I am grateful for each night before bed, and draw them. We mustn’t let our mind’s stagnate!!!

.

win_20160613_19_20_05_pro
Brave?detail, self portrait©STMartin2014

20171011_200547
Flashback 937(detail)©STMartin2017

9E549B81-C0D0-426C-86B7-9568A779C64A
Susan Past ©STM2018

Sick, Sick, SICK OF IT…

…this post is winding itself around my consciousness like my fairy python-mother…

That’s a cheery title, eh? Yes, I’ve been wallowing again, in me muck. (as the Brits’ say.) I guess that’s what they would say, actually, because I have never heard Benedict  Cumberbatch say he was wallowing in his muck. Now that I think about it, I’m not sure I spelled that dashing young man’s name properly either… So now I can really wallow in it…me Muck, that is. (why this godawful computer wants to capitalize Muck is way beyond me, it also capitalizes Young. See?

WIN_20191030_20_16_17_Pro (3)_LI
“A Wee Bit Peckish”,detail

By now you have most likely discerned that this post is winding itself around my consciousness like my fairy python-mother, to the end of pinching my head off like you would a bug. Not me, I don’t pinch bugs’ heads off, no way. I freeze them. Especially grasshoppers which grow to monstrous  dimensions here in South Swampland. I do not freeze them out of malice, or hunger, just a matter of survival for my broad leaved tropicals and dahlias.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

.  In actuality I find grasshoppers rather endearing and one of my first works of art in 5th grade was of a lovely grasshopper. That was before I moved from the Allegheny Mountains just north of the Mason Dixon line to South Florida’s semi-tropical jungle of behemoth bugs. It really fakes you out down here, cause the hundred tiny-baby black and yellow-striped grasshoppers you see in your yard today are tomorrows’ five-inch long yellow-green monster’s that decimated your mango trees in ten minutes flat.

My hunting technique is to take a few (10) plastic grocery bags and race around my property swiping those suckers off my plants with ninja-like swiftness until I have about 20 to 30 per bag. Then, whoosh, seal it up real quick before they can turn those bottomless black orbs of eyes towards you to make your will turn to water. They plead in tiny high pitched squeaks: “noooooo” and “pleeeeze”. Don’t listen, whatever you do, because it’s all lies, if you looked like a plant they’d mascerate you like it was their aim in life.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

.  After the big seal of the bag, I dash into the kitchen and whisk them into the freezer and slam the door. Then I get another bag and do it all over again until grasshopperville is no more. It may seem cruel, but when I used to raise saltwater fish and animals, the really top fish guys said that is a humane way to euthanize a fish, so I just assumed it would work as well with my grasshopper friends.

.  The only downside is when you tell your auntie to help herself to a glass of iced tea and she reaches in your freezer for some ice cubes. When you hear her unearthly screams you know one of your critters has escaped his grocery bag tomb and decided to gasp his last in the ice cube bin. Sometimes you pull out the whole carcass, other times it’s just a random leg in the bottom of your glass.

.  Ok…any questions? That’s where I’m at, I hope y’all are keeping as tight a grip on your sanity as I am! On that note, Cheers and Bottoms Up!

more self portraits 026
my idea of an artistic selfie!

 

The Unveiling!

Shall I call it “UNBAGGING”? I told you that you would never guess my source photo, in the last post’s images. Well here it is:

WIN_20200409_19_42_18_Pro
Can you SEE now?

.  Here’s the deal: I was ready to take Kleo for her daily walk, mask on, prepared to face the outside world. I had just finished watching (another) horrible newscast about the indescribable suffering going on all around the world.  They had pinpointed the lack of PPE(initials we now know by heart that stand for Personal Protective Equipment), and the total disregard for life being shown by leaders who shall remain nameless,. The glaring situation that faces those on the frontlines who work to save the sick and dying was very much on my mind, so when Kleo and I stepped onto the street I was shocked by what I saw.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

.  Up and down my street, in front of every house, were little pink plastic bags, big enough to slip a hand into. And they held a single folded newsprint page with a small sheaf of advertisements tucked inside. I had been upset by these exo-system destroying little plastic bags before, being tossed all over the ground by secret eco terrorists each night under the cover of darkness. I mean- No ONE HAD ASKED FOR THESE! NO ONE HAD ORDERED THESE, OR REQUESTED THEY BE SCATTERED ALL OVER CREATION!!!!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Well , excuse me, there was SOMEONE…

Like I said, this had already bothered me, but now? NOW?!?

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

.  I had just viewed nurses in New York City going to work using “gloves” fashioned using sterilized newspaper bags, shopping bags ( using clean garbage bags for goodness sakes) to shield themselves, and their CHILDREN, AND PARENTS, AND STAFF, AND NEIGHBORS, AND YOU AND ME from the virus!!! So here I was, rushing up and down the street, very angry, very sad, and self-righteous over this waste. I wanted to SCREAM AT THE TOP OF MY LUNGS AT THE INJUSTICE OF IT ALL!!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I may actually have screamed something, or at least shouted into my frayed cloth mask, which successfully muffled my words…I marched home with Kleo falling behind, tilting her head curiously, as if to say, “Mommy, I didn’t poop yet!?!”.

WIN_20181220_16_56_56_Pro (2)
But why, Mom?

a-search-for-sue-013
coooooookkkie!!

I paid her no mind, but kept up my March all the way to my couch where I threw the offending bags on my couch, and made an angry video about the whole mess of emotions I was feeling!

.  Then I watched said video, and the old, grouchy Lady with the pink bandana (who was wielding pink plastic bags like a weapon) -well, she just looked pathetic. Very Ineffective.

9E549B81-C0D0-426C-86B7-9568A779C64A
Trying to look very old…

75531728-2A99-45B2-910B-9231C823004A
Great Grandma Alzira Angeline Alexander

Therefore  I did what artists do best:I made meaningful art, and in doing so I made a statement, a loud statement… A SHOUT FROM THE ROOFTOPS, A SCREAM AT THE TOP OF MY PHOTO EDITING VOICE!!! 

“HERE YOU MONSTERS! Here you UNTHINKING BOOBS!!!!”    “SEE WHAT I THINK OF YOU!!”

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

“THERE WILL BE A RECKONING” Because my friends, it’s not up to me with my little pictures… No, the GREATEST ARTIST, the One True God, says in the BIBLE

” …AND HE WILL BRING TO RUIN THOSE RUINING THE EARTH!”, Revelation 11:18B

.     Now with the situation reframed, and with me letting go of a job that my Higher Power is doing, way, WAY better than I ever could, I can be happy again. I can use the little pink bags for doo-doo bags for my Ragamuffin Dogs, and be eco-illiterate myself…or, I can make a collage with them and use the adverts also! Ooooo, this will keep me going till nightfall, anyway!!! Then I will have to search for a new, fresh bee to toss into my bonnet! Another vital quest for justice for little furry creatures!!!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

.  ONWARD, AND UPWARD MY FRIENDS!  Let us keep pushing on to better tomorrows!!!

I Don’t Feel Very Good.

 

yucky.jpg
Are We All Infected?

Can you dig it? I am sure most all of you can, gentle readers. You can probably deduce from my latest posts that my creative powers seem rather discombobulated. I would have to agree with you.  The “SITUATION” certainly has a dampening effect on my spirit; whereas I used to force myself to get around people and interact for my mental health, now I have more than enough reason to stay home. The guilt I feel for staying up all night still pokes me in the side in the morning (oh, wait a minute, that was my teddy bear), however, I just take a swig out of my water glass, roll over and bury my face in Kleo’s furry belly and drift happily back to dreamland.

Artwork and Pictures 020
Kleo and her Magic Belly

.  I did try to do better, by getting ready for bed before 3am , which is good for me. I hit a groove in my art practice, which does usually happen around 2-3, and was looking up images of pelicans for a study I’m going to do. I was VERY mature and turned off all my devices and went to bed. Then I laid there, in agony, on that horrible verge of wakefulness and sleep. This happens when my pain patch wears out and my muscle relaxer can’t keep me far enough under to rest. So I feel like a throbbing thumb you just smashed with a hammer that is now buried in hot quicksand… Everything in s-l-o-w-m-o-t-i-o-n…except the p-a-i-n…

WIN_20180609_20_15_17_Pro (7)
p-a-i-n

.  I have been letting myself go, and allowing my house to get (very) messy…Even though they talk on the news about food running out, I can’t get myself to go to the store…I will when the dogs need food, I guess. All I want to eat is chocolate and ice cream, maybe a few Doritos in between to cleanse my palate… I allowed myself to vent by creating this:

WIN_20200409_19_42_18_Pro (7)_LI
Play. House.

I also made these :

WIN_20200409_19_42_18_Pro (6)_LI
my living room …

WIN_20200409_19_42_18_Pro (6)
oooo, spooky(or is it?)

WIN_20200409_19_42_18_Pro (3)_LI
pelican dream

WIN_20200409_19_42_18_Pro (5)_LI
not too dreamy…

And you will never believe what I originally photographed to create these works! That will give YOU something to do for a few minutes!

An Awakening

Sleep has been a constant goal for me since I put down drugs and copious amounts of alcohol. Yet it has been the most evasive and endangered of species, teasing me with scattered glimpses of it’s eternal beauty. Oh, how I have longed for it’s soothing embrace, and so have everyone I have contact with; they also wish sleep would embrace me!

.   The constant effect of losing this cherished companion is my surliness, my impatience, my wind-like changeability and undependability. Punctuality is no longer a quality I can claim, and it frustrates me greatly. Falling asleep in my oatmeal is also quite frustrating, as is stabbing myself in the eye with my mascara brush. Nodding off at redlights and nearly colliding with oncoming traffic are less than desirable effects of losing my Lovely Sleep’s company, also.cropped-fede7588-4d83-493f-9367-3fbffead6a841.jpg

Bipolar Disorder, my particular breed of it, thrives on insomnia. The Manic high’s leave me strung out like guitar strings tightened to the breaking point, you can virtually hear my mind humming at high frequency when I walk into a room. The flying mouse-wheel of thoughts is now turbocharged , ready to escape it’s moorings and fly an oblivion my mind may never recover from. The longer she evades me with her unfaithfulness, the more my living quarters look like a battlefield, reflecting her absence in my life. WIN_20191220_02_55_24_Pro (6)_LI

.  It truly is a war. The other end of the spectrum in this battle is THE DARK. Each day of the mania leads me closer to the brink of devastation. At times THE DARK and the mouse-wheel cohabit my being, bouncing my sanity as if a Rubber ball has been thrown full tilt into a narrow alley.

. Then the fateful day arrives when my loss of Lover Sleep leads me to the pit, the abyss of THE DARK. It throws me in and pulls up the rope ladder in one fell swoop. Leaving me to stand waist deep in the most desolate places of memory. Abuse, Pain, Rejection, Rape, Loneliness, Fear, thoughts of Harm, Deep All encompassing Grief… They are all here, all come out from the darkness edges of this well of depression to shove and kick me about as I stand in the tiny spot of light that trickles down from the far above opening of this shaft of hell. WIN_20200105_13_55_45_Pro (3)

The level of Muck rises as each long day passes, and unless I can find the toolbox my years of mental health therapy has given me, or if I can find that lifeline of contact with my support network, or best yet, if I can find a way to kneel and call out over and over to my Creator, begging for the strength to claw my way out, all may be lost. Anyone who has fallen down this DARK, knows how close it gets to oblivion at times…  

.   Days can pass, this last round a month passed, as you can see by my lack of sharing here. The pen weighs a thousand pounds, the telephone a ton. At times my paintbrush is lost in the sediment, more often than not it is divine release. I let the Dark flow out of me and away, down from my battered heart and mind , then finally draining from my fingertips on to canvas, paper, cement block or found object. The level of sadness ebbs, I have the strength to climb and paint my way up the walls wet with my tears.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

.  As the light gets brighter, the colors on my canvas turn from Greys and browns to lilac and magenta, then colors of light and freedom. A few minutes of rest in Dear Sleep’s embrace , a gift from above then the final push into the light. The glorious light of freedom of peace, bathing my psyche in cooling water, releasing the bondage of all those fears, flashbacks mental anguish.

.  My Creator saw fit to give me another glorious day, and finally the strength to reach for help from my doctors, my therapist, and my lifeline of freeflowing art, color, shape and movement.

.  Finally, my quest is completed, my medicine adjusted, which I take gratefully. Now with this elixer (and a new bipap machine) , some calming music and grateful meditation on all my blessings I fall gently into Sleep’s waiting arms. I lay my head on her motherly bosom, which happens to be my favorite squish pillow, and off I drift down the gentle stream of happy dreams…looking forward to a joyful, rested Awakening.

Feeling at War with Myself

WIN_20191220_02_55_24_Pro (6)_LI

I have been languishing here, letting myself fall off the edge of sanity for a while. Is it physical?emotional?spiritual? No, not spiritual, for I feel close to my Creator. I just feel diminished, somehow, like my life’s blood has been watered down. Perhaps when the rainy season ends I will blossom again. Till then, my friend, bear with me…

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The Duality of My Artistic Self

Depicting my own image has been a starting point my work from the beginning. As a child my drawings were always of female faces, although I never consciously realized these were reflections of me. Even then, in my earliest work, the duality of my nature is blatantly apparent.

.  The faces I drew were always divided, half usually in darkness, or different in other ways. I did not know I was Bipolar then, I just had a burning need to express myself artistically. I was not properly diagnosed until I got clean and sober at the age of 35 after a drugging career that lasted over twenty three years.

. I had always known I was different, I described the feeling of being “painted green”in a room full of “normal” folk. It was like having something tattooed on my forehead, a conspicuousness. When I dug into my diagnosis, learning all I could in the hopes of finally coming to grips with my self destructive life’s course, I could see all the familiar signs in the literature. It made SO much sense! Now, armed with my new sobriety and determined to stay the course on my psychiatric medication regimen, I set out to turn my life around-to leave the wasteland of my past far behind.

.  There was a slight glitch in my plan, however. The new meds that I was taking had a very unwelcome effect. They dulled my creative impulses, they slowed my manic phases down to a crawl. Rather than my giddy highs and freewheeling episodes of excess that I had lived for, and that had been killing me, I was now just a level hum. No taught guitar string playing harmonics, I was now m e l l o w…Too mellow. Where were the bright colors, the whirling merry go rounds and my peals of crazy laughter? All of the sudden I was boring and frumpy, and immune to excitement. I actually slept…alot.

.  This is the part of a healthy mental health regimen that causes so many Bipolar individuals to “go off” their meds…but I had lost that option when I decided to stay alive. I had to make this work, I had to stick this out, because the alternative was suicide. Whether thru a drug overdose or tragedy from high risk behavior, I knew that sticking this out meant my very survival. Would I have to be a zombie? Was my wildly creative side lost to me forever? What to do?

.  Fortunately, I had a therapist (counselor ) who listened, and I had the determination to tell her my discomfort. It took the better part of two years, and many different drug combinations , much discomfort and many tears to find a plan that worked, but we did not give up. Finally, I felt comfortable in my own skin, most of the time.

I still have highs and lows, and I am still a rapid cycling Bipolar person with PTSD. I still suffer from chronic insomnia and flashbacks, severe depressive episodes and ideation at times. But I never, ever want to destroy this beautiful gift of life, or to disrespect my Creator. It’s a long road, but the view is great!

Now that all that is said and done, the point I was getting at was that at a point a few years ago, talking to my therapist about my art, and showing him my work I had an epiphany ! BI-polar, TWO-sided! All the faces I drew and painted had told the tale from childhood! As we continued to go through my portfolio, it came rushing home to me. I paint myself as I am, and thru my art I am able to understand and put together all my different facets! I am constantly learning, healing and growing as an artist, and I am

WIN_20191113_03_40_06_Pro (2)
Self Portrait 4AM(detail)

20171011_200547
Flashback 937(detail)

WIN_20191030_20_16_34_Pro (3)_LI
“Peckish”(detail)

WIN_20190722_23_19_23_Pro_LI (3)
“Mania Illuminata” sold

WIN_20190626_20_42_12_Pro_LI (2)
“Mania illuminata” sold

4EEAF145-3ACD-4C86-AEE2-6C8E96475368
“Growth”(detail)

100 MUST HAVE LOOKS FOR SUMMER JPG 5
“100 Must-Have Looks”(detail)

EE642437-9F03-4284-8C76-DA7AC0C1EE7B
“A Big Beak”(detail)

WIN_20180609_04_56_35_Pro
“yearning”(detail)

WIN_20180106_02_39_14_Pro (2)
“Visionaria”sold

so grateful that I did not give up on myself!

.  If anyone out there is fearful of a mental illness diagnosis, please give yourself a chance to get well. Don’t be afraid to seek help, because I’m here today as an example of the kind of life that is possible if one keeps pushing on! You can feel better!

Above are just a few recent examples of the many sides of my bipolar self I paint…

%d bloggers like this: