Tag Archives: mixed media

Me at 20 (assignment for a self – discovery workshop) 

The assignment was to find a metaphorical image of ourselves at a selected age. I had originally picked the number 27 because she first had us just pick a number, without telling us what the number was for.

At 27, I was internally severely depressed, suicidal, and a general mess, but presented as very together to the outside world. I worked almost 80 hours a week. I was a manager at a group home. I had my external shit together… I would land in the hospital for a week, get discharged, and head back to work the day of discharge, or the following day. I worked full-time while attending intensive outpatient treatment around my work schedule… I can’t count anymore how many times I was asked how I could manage that so seemingly easily…

The perfect picture for that would be an ad for the exorcism movie (a b&w photo with a girl sitting in a room alone, her head facing the wrong direction, and the words “there’s a fate worse than death”… I kinda regret not bringing it now…

So yeah, that felt like a bit heavy, and a bit much to bring to this workshop.

The second age I picked was 20 simply because L picked that one. The image for it is an ad for The Good Place…

It’s perfect for me at 20. There were a few bumps, but I was generally unaware. My internal systems did a good job of convincing me everything was fine. I was oblivious except for a few things not going great (hugely depressed, but no real clue why. Trying to work on it in therapy and constantly getting the question “was there anything else?” Because the interventions that should have worked just didn’t…). So yeah, that works well for 20.


Stocking swap progress

Sorry I haven’t been around much lately. It’s been a combination of stuff, mostly stress and moderate depression symptoms. I stopped the lexapro after a week due to side effects. I’d triggered myself with some doctor’s appointments, and just my general malaise around holidays. It’s finally getting a bit easier to do things again. 

In an effort to have some fun with the holidays this year, I joined a holiday stocking swap. I was really excited about the concept of painting a custom stocking based on the likes and dislikes of my random partner. 

I went through a bunch of initial concept ideas, but crossed them off for various reasons (mostly because I couldn’t execute them properly). I originally wanted to turn the stocking upside down and make it into a unicorn. I was going to add a horn, ears, and mane to the stocking while opening either the back of the neck or the head to keep the concept of a stocking. That involved too much sewing though, so I scrapped it. I eventually settled on simply painting a design on the stocking. I think it came out cute. It still needs a few finishing touches, but I like it so far… the stars, moon, and bulbs all glow in the dark. The ice also has a coat of blue interference paint to give it an icy shimmer. 

It needs to be sent out by the end of the week. I will be looking for a couple of other things to add to the package, then off it goes. I hope the recipient likes it… if nothing else, L really likes the stocking and wants another one for herself. Guess I’m off to buy more paintable stockings. 


Art journaling again, finally

It’s been a while, huh? 

The weekend went ok after fixing the art piece, though we didn’t really do much more with it. We were going to, but something else sidetracked us (though in the moment, I can’t really remember what it was). 

I’ve been really stuck in my art. I’ve completed a whole bunch of backgrounds, but nothing really finished. There were also a few doodles, but again, all unfinished and directionless. 

I think I managed to get through a piece tonight. I got further than any other piece in the past several weeks… I was trying for a Halloween theme (because, well, it’s the only holiday I really like, and it usually inspires me). I started it earlier this week but got sidetracked (themes much?). I grabbed some supplies I thought would work with the existing background. I started laying down washi tape. It wasn’t really a pattern with any real direction though, and I got stuck again. 

I began flicking through the screenshots on my phone (inspiration images, things I find interesting, quotes that stick out to me…). I landed on a quote that seemed appropriate; “it takes a huge effort to free yourself from memory” – Paulo Coelho. 

It fit the background and the washi tape pretty well. It also gave me more direction for the page. 

I used crackle paste to form the silhouette of a brain. Appropriate, since lately my brain feels cracked and broken. I feel cracked and broken… I know sometimes I feel these really horrible things, but other times I have no connection to any of it. I have these huge walls that I feel almost no control over. They slam into place with little warning, and they have very little seepage. 

Anyway… yeah. Here’s the page:


I don’t have a good working title for this piece

This whole “reorganization” of how I handle stress; the shift from instant dissociation of emotions in order to deal with the situation at hand, to an overwhelm of emotions and feel incompetent, has my little world in a sort of chaos…

Flipping through some junk mail, I found the perfect image: a long-exposure picture of a barn and night sky. The long exposure made the stars look like circular steaks in the sky, and the angle of the image gave the barn a “funhouse mirror” effect of stretching and angling it to look ominous and looming.

I did an image transfer onto a page in a journal that already had some paint and ink on it (one of those “hey, let’s not waste this extra stuff” pages with stencil “stamping” and other random effects). The stuff that was already there can be seen through the image transfer. It gives some added depth, but also goes with the feeling in trying to convey (they were Halloween-themed stencils I had been testing out)… the transfer came out grungy; again, it fits the feel of the page. Sadly, much of the detail of the streaking stars was lost. It just looked like a glowing barn next to a large black area. I accented the streaks with my white pen. Sometimes I’m glad that my supplies don’t work “perfectly” because the intermittent lines made by the pen mimicked the steaks in the original image. It was frustrating when I tried to use the same pen to write lyrics from a Tori Amos song on the page, but it worked perfectly for the stars…

The page has a few different sets of lyrics on it. I don’t normally mix lyrics on pages, but the the two tori songs are connected in my head… and the telepop music inspired words are a reminder to balance the chaos (“just breathe. just be”… I was limited to the words printed on the washi tape, so not totally accurate to the song).

The lyrics in white at the top of the page are from Upside Down, by Tori Amos;

“god, I love to turn my little blue world upside down…inside my head the noise chatter chatter chatter chatter chatters… you see I’m afraid I’ll always be upside down… but my head it says I’ve been shatter shatter shatter shatter shattered… you see I love to turn my little blue world upside down”

The black lyrics in the barn are from Silent all These Years (also by Tori Amos);

“Years go by/ will I still be waiting for somebody else to understand/ years go by if I’m stripped of my beauty and the orange clouds raining in my head… years go by will I choke on my tears till finally there is nothing left/ one more casualty you know we’re too easy easy easy… let’s hear what you think of me now but baby don’t look up/ the sky is falling/but what if I’m a mermaid in these jeans of his with her name still on it/ hey but I don’t care cause sometimes, I said sometimes I hear my voice/ and it’s been here/ silent all these years”

There’s more to be done on this page, but I’m not quite sure what. Going to let it lead me wherever it wants to go…

image


Art instead of other things

As much as I didn’t want to be in therapy on Monday, I was really looking forward to group on Thursday… only group got cancelled 😦

So, in an effort to keep on the right track with my coping skills, I did art all day…

I’m not sure if I posted about my experiment making my own canvas journal, but I worked on that and some ATC’s that will be going out on a swap (if I can ever decide which ones to actually send. I like them all for various reasons. Some have deeper meanings than they may appear to just by looking at them).

Anyway, here are pics of it all. Some are WIP pics, others of completed pages/cards… I used Inka Gold on the canvas. It doesn’t work well. The paint is cracking and chipping already. I need to come up with something as a hard cover for the journal to help protect it better. It works fine on solid objects, but it’s not meant to be pliable once dried.

I’m glad I had the distraction today. Between pms, the passing of one of L’s family members (and what it’s bringing up for me), increased body sensations, stress around one of the dogs having eaten a spoon a week ago and still not passed it, and the thought of a crazy day at work tomorrow, my thoughts have been hovering over the more negative coping skills. Similar to what I mentioned to Dr C on Monday, I just wanted to be drunk, high, and bleeding. Instead I played art and listened to the Ellie Goulding station on Pandora… yay for picking the more socially acceptable coping skills.


Journal page update

Worked on this page again today. Still trying to figure out what to do in the top left corner…

An artist friend suggested a nose, though at first I was thinking the lack of one is symbolic of how depression makes you feel like you can’t breathe. I dunno. It still needs something. The right side definitely needs work too, but that’s looking like a total overhaul. This side just needs *something*…

image

I have to admit though, I worked my butt off on those stupid strings sewing her mouth shut. I must have redone them at least 5 times. They look a bit better in the photograph than in real life, but I’m still pretty proud of them. I had originally planned to glue actual thread on there, but wanted a more 3-d look to her lips, so I painted them in… I’m sure they look amature to more experienced artists, but they’re the best I’ve done so far. I’m happy with how they turned out.


Another minor art dump

I didn’t really do much art for the past several days, until today. I worked on (stared at) 3 pieces this afternoon. It was nice to have my creativity back, even if it was severely stunted.

I started by working more on the piece I was asked to do for domestic violence awareness. For the past 2 or 3 weeks, it sat as a sketch with a plain black background. I had an idea of what was to come next, but I didn’t move to work on it.  Today I caved and colored in the sketch with marker. It’s not great, but it works ok for what it is. I still have a lot of practice to get in when it comes to art with markers… Anyway, I think it’s mostly finished. I will look at it again tomorrow before I put on the sealant spray as the final step. I thought about framing it, but I just don’t have the cash flow to make that happen right now.

image

I changed a few minor things since this picture; I removed the triangles from around the word “crash” and I took out the upside-down exclamation mark because it looked too much like the letter “i”. I would like to attempt to blend the bottom of her torso and the bg a bit better, but I’m not quite sure I can accomplish it the way I’m picturing. Anyway, like I said, it’s mostly done. I just have to contact the dv clinic and find out when and where to drop it off.

The two other pages I worked on were backgrounds that had been sitting idle for a while. They are far from finished, but they served the purpose of giving me another thing to multitask with while watching Netflix with L (I’m noticing more and more that I need the constant distraction again).

image

image

The face done in pen came about from the shapes I saw in the marbled background. It kinda reminds me of the Indonesian warrior masks, or the Japanese warrior faces from kabuki theater. I think I will go back and add more lines with a better pen before I call it finished (I’m still struggling to find a replacement for my favorite black scarlet lime pen. Nothing I’ve tried works as reliably or effectively on multimedia surfaces)…

Yesterday in therapy we talked about stressors that add to my depression. She pointed out something that should have been glaringly obvious to me, but something that I just hadn’t put together yet: I’m lonely. It’s difficult when everyone has wonky work schedules. Even at my work, I don’t really get to interact much with peers. Most of the time, I do customer service by myself. I chat a bit with the customers and in passing with the other associates, but for the most part, it’s just me by myself the whole shift. When I do finally get to spend more time with a few people, I inevitably end up doing or saying something horribly awkward :/ (I also still have a lot of trouble believing anyone would want to hang out with me of their own free will. Even visiting my brother and his wife this weekend, I didn’t feel like I belonged. It felt like everyone else had a right to be there, but I was just wasting oxygen and space. My rational mind knows that it is not true, but I still felt very awkward and out-of-place)…

Talking about all that was good though. Having L randomly needing to switch her schedule to be home most of today also helped. It’ll just be weird on Thursday when she has to work all day…

Oh, the latest self portrait I did was last Wednesday… it’s more stylized and emotive, but I like how the whole piece worked out:
image