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.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Three Self Portraits Done At Age 16

I thought it would be interesting for you to look at these self-portraits I did in high school many years ago. The first two are expressionistic while the third sort of looks like me then, but is still moody (I look like I have a black eye). The one I've always been drawn to is the second portrait, I'm not sure why. Perhaps it foreshadowed my descent into madness. It's intense and strange. The technique was to take a piece of paper, lay down a wash of neutral color and maybe add another color, then take ink to outline the portrait and then, if you want, use pastels to further define the portrait. I should try to do that again. A teacher of mine in the late 1980s, Mary Beth McKenzie, used a similar technique using gouache first to make the general composition and then working over it with a variety of subtle pastel colors.

I'm very happy to have found About.Com-Painting because it keeps me in touch with other artists through the message boards, gives me instruction in various articles and allows me the chance to give feedback and get feedback on artwork. I especially like going to other artists' websites. It's a good learning tool. I found one website by an artist who paints animal portraits, which is something I've thought of doing too. I printed out his order form to get some ideas about how I should approach the business side of painting portraits of/for people.

I included a link to my website on two posts last night and the more I post, the more I will be promoting my work to others if they click the link. I would also like to promote Artid to the people there because I think it's an excellent and inexpensive way to share one's artwork and possibly make a sale. It's also an art community which I think is a plus and makes the experience more satisfying through the use of art blogs and commenting in guestbooks. A lot of artists have good websites, but they are out there in isolation. I prefer a group setting, which is ironic considering in my offline life I am quite a recluse. But, in truth, when it comes to making art, I wouldn't mind going to a regular class and being around others, I just don't have access to that right now.

Self promotion is hard and I've done practically none of it since last spring when I joined Artid. I should be posting my business cards locally, but I feel shy about it. Maybe, if I get more positive feedback online about my art and I get used to promoting myself, I will become ready to venture into my own community.
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