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.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Pensive Dog

I love animals, so I decided to begin doing some animal portraits. This is my first attempt at drawing and then painting a dog. I've set up an online gallery space at Artid just for animals. I'm hoping that I can earn some income painting children and pet portraits because I have an affinity for them, but I need more practice.

I've actually gone out two days in a row, which is unusual for me. Yesterday I saw my therapist. I can't afford to see her every week, so I see her every other week. I brought in the paintings I've done recently for her to look at and she really liked them. She said, though I might not be able to practice music all the time, I should definitely continue with the painting. It has been a real pleasure painting nearly every day for the past week. I hope I can keep it up. I tried looking for photographs of landscapes to paint, but didn't find any that suited me though I looked for a couple of hours. It's very tiring looking through so many photographs, but choosing very carefully is important. I think what I choose to paint says a lot about me as an artist. When I look at a photograph I reflect on whether I could transform it into a good painting. Some photographs are very beautiful or well conceived, but would not make good paintings and some are too sophisticated for me to paint. For instance, water is hard to paint but very compelling to look at. At some point I will tackle that problem. Right now, I'm looking for images that I have the skill to paint. It will give me confidence in the long run to paint more challenging paintings.

Today I took my brother out to lunch. While we were eating a woman came in with her two children. I couldn't help but admire them and want to paint them. I thought, if only I had the courage to give the mother my business card, but I'm just not at that stage yet where I can promote myself locally. I'm hoping that will change within the next 6 months, maybe sooner, after I've gotten a lot of practice in. I might try doing an arts and crafts show in the fall. That would be a good opportunity to hand out my business cards, even if I don't sell any paintings. It's easier to sell online, but frankly, I haven't been getting buyers, though I'm hoping to get into designing through Zazzle. One thing I need to do is to price how much it would cost to start having my paintings matted. Matting my work would be a sign that I'm finally taking myself seriously as an artist.
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