A Recovery Blog

This blog is about my continuing recovery from severe mental illness. I celebrate this recovery by continuing to write, by sharing my music and artwork and by exploring Buddhist ideas and concepts. I claim that the yin/yang symbol is representative of all of us because I have found that even in the midst of acute psychosis there is still sense, method and even a kind of balance. We are more resilient than we think. We can cross beyond the edge of the sane world and return to tell the tale. A deeper kind of balance takes hold when we get honest, when we reach out for help, when we tell our stories.

Monday, September 29, 2008

More New Work

I painted this watercolor this weekend and am calling it The Looking Glass. It's based on a black and white photograph by Jock Sturges which can be found in his book The Last Day Of Summer.

I had been struggling with a couple of small abstract acrylic paintings and then switched over to working in watercolors. I was getting some ideas from a book on Paul Klee. I concentrated on an abstract watercolor painting he did in 1922 called simply, Green, Violet against Orange. It's primarily a hand drawn geometric design skillfully filled in with colors from dark to light to subtle in between colors. It has an architectural feel to it and uses some of the shapes like magical windows. I thought, this might be a good work to loosely follow. I soon found out that I couldn't reproduce the colors or even the shapes very well. I did two paintings of it, one hand drawn and the other drawn with a ruler (except for the circular shapes). In the first painting I had little control, the colors splashed over the lines and I changed the colors to make it brighter and less subtle. I decided that I was painting to practice getting more control and not to paint a finished piece. So, in the second painting I was more careful, but this didn't necessarily make for a better painting, just a cleaner one. I then tried making up my own design in a couple of more paintings. On the whole it was just plain fun to work at this and I plan to do this as a practice to learn more about shapes, colors and values in watercolor.

Before I went to bed one night I picked up the Jock Stuges' book and the very first photograph captured my attention. I thought that it would make a good painting and so I sat down and drew it on watercolor paper. Then I tried to get some sleep, but couldn't, so I got up and started painting. I find that my process when I'm into something is often quick. I also find that I have to keep changing projects and mediums to stay interested in my work. But I've been very pleased that I have been consistently working for three weeks now. A good ending to an unproductive summer and a good beginning to the fall season.
May it continue.

I posted a blog on the Artid site about going through an artist's block this summer. One artist commented that this is not unusual for artists and that sometimes a "block" is necessary downtime. I thought that was interesting, that artists need to not work as part of the process to getting back to being creative again. Perhaps one's unconscious needs time to assimilate new experiences, or maybe it's a spiritual process as well. Having said that I still prefer to work than to not work because I am happier when I work, but I can now be more forgiving of the time away from work this summer.
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