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.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

More On Painting (And Smoking)

I painted the first image of Jack Michael, Avery Rose's brother, yesterday in watercolor. I think it came out well, except the photo is imperfect (too dark on the left hand side) due to my using a not great camera and not having the proper light set up for taking photos of artwork. The second image is not a duplicate. I had the artist who commissioned the work look at the painting in my Artid photo gallery and she said I had painted the face too wide, so I narrowed the face by painting more hair. I decided not to rework the colors of the face because I would have to create a whole new palette as the one I was using was all dried up. That's the advantage and drawback of using acrylic, it dries quickly. I think the second version does look more like Avery, but I feel as if I'm not quite capturing her essence. I decided today to try and paint a watercolor of the same photograph of Avery to see if I could get a better likeness, but no luck. I also worked on another watercolor of Jack, but that didn't come out either. And I started a new acrylic painting of Avery and Jack hugging each other. That one has some promise, but I have to be patient. I struggled to get an accurate skin tone today. Sometimes (too often) it is hard for me to identify what color I'm looking at when it comes to skin, so I don't know what colors to choose from my palette. The skin is made up of many subtly combined colors, the trick is to not either use just one color or use too many colors. Today I was using too many colors and left the painting unresolved. So, all in all, a frustrating day of painting compared to the success of the day before.

I smoked yesterday and drank too much coffee and stayed up all night painting. After I got up this afternoon, I returned to painting. I didn't smoke, but wanted to. I didn't take my own advice--I didn't read my addiction book or go online for support. Several people at Woofmang.com suggested that I quit now instead of waiting another week, but I didn't respond to them because I felt ashamed of choosing to smoke. I didn't continue with the Freedom From Smoking program today either. Instead I painted and felt frustrated with it and a little lonely. I did say out loud, "I can quit smoking." but my heart wasn't in it. When I smoke and don't do the prep work to quit I get pulled into the addiction and I start to worry that I won't be able to stop. But enough, I must be patient with myself and keep trying.
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