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, November 2, 2008

Three Days Quit

Just about 3 days quit and I'm feeling okay so far. I stopped by Woofmang.com and offered some support to someone who just relapsed for a couple of days and congratulated another person who resisted a monster crave. I have to be sure to touch base there every day to tell people how I'm doing and to support others. I still have to follow through on the Freedom From Smoking program as well. I need to write down my reasons for quitting, make copies of the list and keep it close at hand.

I've been sleeping and eating too much, but I did paint today. I worked a little bit on three acrylic paintings including the portrait of Avery Rose. I'm afraid the portrait of Avery doesn't quite capture her likeness. I tried painting a watercolor version of the photo, but that didn't come out. In fact, I'm struggling with all my paintings for this project. I'm only really satisfied with the watercolor of Jack Michael. I'd like to do a good watercolor of Avery and one of Jack and Avery. I ordered some more Arches watercolor paper in a larger size which should arrive in a few days. I'm also getting some artist grade gouache to replace my student grade gouache.

About.com-painting has a monthly painting project. This month it's mixed media or more specifically mixing wet and dry media. I'm going to use gouache and pastel. I have a large wooden box filled with soft pastels. I got it over 20 years ago and never really used them. I'm going to follow the technique of a former teacher in an instructional book she wrote over 20 years ago (too). I think I might try doing a self-portrait. According to this teacher (Mary Beth McKenzie) you establish the composition first with gouache and then go over the gouache in part with the pastels. She literally draws lines of color and crosshatches them instead of rubbing the pastel into the picture. In doing this she keeps the colors vibrant. She also uses pastel fixative spray to preserve parts of her portraits and rework other areas. I'll be a neophyte at this, but that should be exciting.

I'm not happy that we lost an hour of light in the evenings today. It means to me that winter has officially begun even though it's still fall. Short days and long nights. The main thing is to get through this winter, stay busy and keep a positive attitude. Sometimes easier said than done. I told my therapist that there are days when my painting goes well and other days when it goes poorly and I get depressed and lose motivation. She said I need to have a plan for another activity during those times of poor painting. Writing or craftwork or even songwriting. It takes training to get myself to do something instead of sleeping. But I can do it if I set my mind to it.

The national election is coming up on Tuesday and I'm getting nervous about it. When I met Bev on Friday I had an Obama button on my purse. She told me she was voting for McCain. I felt dismayed, but kept my mouth shut. This is a free country, thank God, and people should vote with their hearts and minds in whatever direction that takes them. I still have been praying that Obama wins the election, but I'm fully aware that I'm full of personal bias. I guess we all are. The main thing is to work at being bipartisan. We have a lot of problems in this country, the economy is in deep trouble, we're at war in two countries, millions of people have no healthcare. We have to work together to get through the hard times and not spend our time pointing fingers and placing blame.
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