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 5, 2018

Art Process

This is an 8"x8" drawing that I did on clay board of a very dear friend's daughters.  My plan was to try out some Sennelier egg tempera paints to do this portrait.  It's been sitting on my drawing table against the wall for about a week.  I painted a self-portrait in egg tempera about twenty years ago.  Here it is:

This portrait was done just before I entered into psychosis in 1998.  I was in art school at the time and, though I wasn't psychotic yet, I was still struggling.  I liked working with the egg tempera that I concocted at home with dry pigments, water and egg yolk.  I think I mixed some watercolor into the yolk, but I'm not sure.  I gave the portrait to my parents.  I don't think my mother liked it too much, but I gave it anyway.  

So here I am about to try another portrait and I'm lacking in confidence.  Intellectually I know it is foolish to be afraid to begin painting a portrait.  And in my heart I know that what I respond to is the process.  I also like documenting the process and seeing the stages the work goes through.  So I know I want to do this portrait of my friend's daughters and I don't want to give up on it.  I just got some 140 lb hot pressed watercolor paper also in the 8"x8" size and I thought I could try to do another drawing of them and try out watercolor.  I'm not yet confident with the watercolors either, but the only way to get the confidence is through practice.  

I think fear is my greatest character defect.  Fear of failure, fear of success.  And this is why having a regular art practice might be a good direction for me because I have to begin again all the time.  I have to somehow face the fear and get past it.  

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