It is said that a picture speaks a thousand words…and sometimes a single colour choice does too. The above is a chromatic analysis of all my painting posts from 2021.
A mixture of different blues and browns. Perhaps a mixture of heaven and earth…or sky and pretty shitty (sometimes) grounded reality. That has been my year this year. I am glad I have had it.
2021 has been my year of recovery, of painting myself out of pain in the pandemics, of isolation mainly, of cherished online meetups with the Artist’s Way and later Arting Saloon online friends. Of learning to be with myself, of learning to be myself anew.
What has really helped me in this, for majority of people, not a very easy time, has been what I had learned about inner peace from Prem Rawat. Often forgotten, often remembered…just sitting with it, and being with myself.
Hence I intend 2022 to be my year of peace, wonder and optimism. We need all.
What are your sky high blue dreams and visions or down to earth plans and goals for the coming year?
May they all come true and we learn so much through just being.
Over the past three weeks I have been sharing my yearly arting in the #artingadvent calendar of sorts with friends and fans on my instagram account.
This need to write about my own work was somewhat uncomfortable…I am quite good at tuning in to other people’s art and having meaningful conversations about it and its inspirations and what it brings up in and for them…it was part of my job in the National Gallery in Prague, after all…yet when it comes to my own work…oftentimes I am left at a loss.
So I am choosing to write about the process and my thought and feel process during creating the work. What else is here to do, after all?
Following a slight dip in health, I have been employing the collaging tactics to surface the deeper stuff. Austin Kleon claims we should “steal like an artist” but I think we should surface like an artist :-).
Surfacing is a process of intuitive mark making, painting, drawing and collaging to see what is emerging. For me what I thought was Peppa the pig did, who turned out to be a Clanger (needed to visit youtube for this cultural reference). And a girl watching everything with a slightly bebangled look. Especially the creative papercutting. All on the background of Anna Zemankova-like drawing that came from an old Craft magazine…actually most of the images did, I think.
It all ended up with me pouring some tulsi tea and pondering the deeper truths…about the relationship between fiction and fact…and more importantly truth.
Also, spending my Saturday afternoon reading the last eight weeks of morning pages from the Walking in this world process. Interesting…healing, detachment, insights, learning…all in one place, tracked over the past two months.
I will keep you posted about what is coming out of this. Watch this space…or the instagram.
This week I tried to take part in a writing challenge online. I dropped out. Decided to leave the group…after many many people had cheered writing by a retired forensic psychiatrist relating the story of a former patient in no less sensational (detective story style way) manner than the headlines of the gutter press. In comments to her post on the writing challenge people mainly admired her bravery, she admitted that there is a backstory to most of the cases, and that she does dive into it in the upcoming book. I seriously hope so. I did leave a comment to that effect saying it is the stories that help understand why people may have behaved in certain ways. It does make sense, always. I was seriously disappointed with that shared paragraph of an upcoming book with a publisher and people’s general reactions, though there was one brave woman who commented on the lack of depth of it. I do hope she edits it, or her approach, I really wish I just read too much into it, but I am afraid I usually don’t. I only have an English lit degree, and translation experience, studied pragmatics, art therapy and have a lived psychiatric inpatient experience.
Anyhow, now onto something completely different, kinda. I am sharing a blog of a fellow traveler in arms…Katerina Paskova, she bravely shares her story of a Psychmeds Refuser and Withdrawer, in Czech. I seriously pray for her and cheer her on her way. Go, Katka, go!
Having said that, I am hereby declaring I am also not far off from embarking on another stage of my recovery journey, as I will be tapering aripiprazole, the second time round. I had previously tapered off successfully sertraline, and hopefully healed by now. Long story short…psychiatry sucks, seriously. If anything, the moral of the story I was trying to write in that challenge mentioned above was Hugs not Drugs (killer title, right?)….and that kind of sums it up in a neat paperback form…for those who do not want to look no further or deeper…but now reconsidering: Psychiatry sucks, seriously. Sounds more like it. May the force be with us.
If you want to follow my journey in arting my withdrawal process…go to my instagram and click follow.
The photograph above is from Rychleby…in the Sudenteland frontier between Czech Silesia and Poland. Revisiting the places I used to love in my mind, trying to piece my life together like a novel, I am sharing a snippet of writing with you today. The other image is me, looking back.
From the #madbadsadsurvivedthrive novel in the making:
“I once visited the former IG Farben factory, they were showing us students proudly how to make a lithmus paper. It should have all been clear to me from that one instance.
Hindsight is a great thing. Twenty twenty vision. Like a pilot navigating a sky territory with a sun set long time ago. The shamanic teachings tell us that we can travel between the time instances, some other teachings tell us there is only now and to savor each moment, to truly be, present. To be our own true savior.
If I had been present on that tour of a pharma factory that used to be the infamous gas producing monster I would have laughed at the way they were presenting their production to us. But aged twenty-one, I was paying attention. And I would have stopped laughing if I knew I will soon reach for one of their pills and it will change my life forever, not for better.
And I would have gone on laughing with cries, not to be confused with crying with laughter, had I known it will take me roughly give or take twenty years to get out of it.
Now I am on year seventeen, and pronoing and asking the shamanic wisdom to be true, praying god to help me, and breathing, being present every moment.”
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Morning pages turned into paintings from this week with Walking in This World by Julia Cameron
As you may know I have been running/hosting a creative recovery circle with two of (who are becoming) my (dear) friends. We have been meeting up since the start of the year and following The Artist’s Way first and now the lockdowns and weather permitting a bit more, Walking in This World books.
It has been gentle, harrowing and mindblowing all at the same time, so it seems, thanks to the basic tools devised by Julia Cameron…the morning pages, the artist’s date and the weekly walk more recently.
This week, week four is all about adventure…and I had allowed myself a small creative adventure in turning my morning pages into paintings as soon as I write them. We have been talking about acting on our creative urges and intuitions, and this has been one of them…I log the pages on a large piece of paper….and see what emerges from them. It might be doing it “all wrong” as one is supposed to read those pages along the way a bit later, again, I presume…but this felt right, like something I had needed: the morning mind process transformed into painting…to transform it. They are not supposed to be art, just art as therapy/process of sorts….I log myself and look at it.
So I log the pages and then I paint through them, on them and out of them. This week has seen me go from a coffee cup, through a rugged purple and green self portrait to a waking dream about listening to my own soul.
Not sure what I am going to do when the time comes to read the logged pages…but hey ho…this is working for now. I believe enough will be left and readily readable, the important bits…and images.
What is your experience with morning pages or other journaling tools for discovery, reflection and deeper work? Let me know…I’d like to know.
You are coordially invited to a teeny weeny free ten day arting challenge taking part in my Arting FB group for twenty minutes a day…unlocking our creativity, connecting to ourselves and having fun and sharing.
All you need is a camera, on your phone for example, pencil and sketchbook to start with. The prompts are short and sweet but go deep. No prior arting experience necessary. Honestly.
Over the past four months I have undergone a withdrawal psychosis when tapering my medication. It can happen. It happens. It happened. It was not very pleasant. It was downright terrifying at times. It was very draining on my partner. We managed at home.
From about month three I have been able to take a pencil in my hand…and once again the everyday and mundane things have become a vehicle for recovery: the pots and cups.
Below are some of these recovery drawings and paintings. I always find they are very strong…even if technically wonky. Perhaps something from the process of anchoring myself in the reality through seeing, touching and perceiving comes through.
I keep calm and chilling. Despite #brexit. Despite #psychosis. What else is there to do after all. Keep yourselves well. And let me know what you feel when you see these.
They have made it back into my studio…first as affirmatory messages on my mirror, flutterring their tracing paper wings, then landing in my paintings and getting trapped there.
Butterflies, of hope.
Feeling lot better this week, having started another minitaper round: on 55% of my prescribed dosage now. After almost ten months. Another ten or so ahead. Midway point? Definitely if I count in the sertraline taper last year too: Slowly slowly catch a monkey…and the precision digital scales the #teddylost paintings have paid for have been of great help. Art of withdrawal indeed.
It is a strange and not always easy position to be in: I have always considered myself and been more of a community and participatory artist…working with people…now by the nature of the withdrawal process being pushed into a solitary confinement of the studio…being grounded…and grounding in the withdrawal process.