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.
These two paintings have come about as an answer to my process…I felt like following up the urge to step into the canvas…and paint with my hands.
The first one started off as gesture of resting (spočinutí) and when I followed the painterly process it turned out to be about something else. I call it Surfacing. It caught me by surprise. I thought this was behind me. Just a memory.
The second painting started as a series of gestures played out on tracing paper with using all the paint I put on my palms. From reaction of “throwing the past back” to dancing in the ellis (old word for bog), to drowning and being re-born and saved/embraced. They emerged in the interplay of the painting gestures and images occurring in front of me.
This piece came about when I stayed in the studio after declining an invitation to go and see the Koestler (?) Collection (art of currently incarcerated and sectioned people). I just felt it might bring up some stuff I’d rather not go into again. Why go back into pain? So this one came as an intuitive answer.
Writing this I can feel something coming off my chest…so that might be it :-). There you go. It is now off my chest. Even in a painterly way.
It is my own mix of art theapeutical experiential challenge and an art programme.
I am coaching others on the journey, yet the way my own is unfolding is magical. Well, I kind of knew it…would happen…still…had to do it first.
My intention for the month of May was to turn up and do the arting work, follow the #becometheartistyouare prompts that I had devised over the past couple of years (ten). Every time I do the process, it goes deeper, and I become fuller. Fully me.
From feeling split and unsure which way to go, reconnecting with my childhood self and giving it what it needs, to coming full circle and devoting myself to “total artist’s participation”, I ventured outside and discovered the tools to do the dirty work (call a spade a spade and wear wellies :-)). Celebrating with Confetti of Life. Every single bit, every single breath, the drizzle of life.
Not bad for a first week, right?
In the second week we had been exploring the Inspired By process. Learning from our currently favourite artwork, artwork we have been drawn to. Mine: Object by Meret Oppenheim from 1936.
The week two has taken me on a rollercoaster of exploration – different facets of the work and perspectives on it. I created a fluffy lump of sugar, a sketch for my paintings of a doe drinking from the cup, conceptual photograph inspired by Oppenheim’s quote that “Art in not about decoration, but spirit.” and dressed up my own cup of coffee in different ways. Wrote poems about it all as a way of integration.
What emerged from week three which explored the elements of visual language as we do our twenty minutes of arting practice, were these two paintings I am still digging, making a small film from them and seeing where week four with the guiding principles of visual language takes me.
And that was my own process only.
Other magics have been happening in other’s lives, as they did the work, too. Discovering the boldness, courage and fearlessness, and stepping stones of action and tools to take it. To name a few. The #becometheartistyouare challenge is on. It is not too late to join in. You can take it a day at a time and join us in the process in a safe and friendly environment of a closed forum. I am there: nudging, supporting and cheering you on, depending on what you need most. Join us on here.
In May I am running this unique mixture of visual art training and art therapy self-experiential challenge: #becometheartistyouare.
For a month, in twenty-minutes a day (minimum) you will unblock, find, explore and develop your own arting inspirations and learn more about your world, yourself and the things in between in the process.
This is how (a curtain pulled, syllabus revealed).
All you need is yourself, your phone camera, a pencil and a sketchbook. That will do to start with.
Week One is all about getting rid our our arting fears and finding and developing our own ways of seeing
Day 0 — Looking at where we are
Day 1 — Making a baad drawing
Day 2 — Drawing a Line
Day 3 — Looking and Seeing
Day 4 — Seeing some more
Day 5 — Write up your Seeing manifesto
Day 6 — Show and Tell
Day 7 — Arting Reflection
Week 2 is all about learning from your favourite artist’s work, which speaks to you the most currently. You learn authentically from them and about yourself.
Day 8 — Inspired By: Your choice
Day 9 — Inspired By: How was it made?
Day 10 — Inspired By: What does it mean?
Day 11 — Inspired By: What did they mean?
Day 12 — Inspired By: What does it mean to me?
Day 13 — Inspired By: Show and Tell — My Inspired Answer
Day 14 — Arting Reflection
Week 3 and Week 4 are devoted to developing the material you have created using elements and guiding principles of art and design…and looking at what it all means for yourself too.
Day 15 — Nothing/ness
Day 16 — Point and Line
Day 17 — Shape
Day 18 — Texture
Day 19 — Space
Day 20 — Time and/in Motion
Day 21 — Value
Day 22 — Color
Day 23 — Unity/Harmony
Day 24 — Balance
Day 25 — Scale/Proportion
Day 26 — Contrast/Emphasis
Day 27 — Rhythm
Week 5 is about preparing to Show and Tell, to share authentically what you have created. And…deciding how to move on.
Day 28 — Looking at it all and seeing what it means
Day 29 — Choices, Choices
Day 30 — Preparing to show/share
Day 31 — Show and Tell: #becometheartistyouare
Day 32 — Celebrate and Reflect
Day 33 — Where next?
Daily I am sending out the arting prompt direct to your inbox. When you put in the arting work, and follow/spend time on these arting prompts daily, you are guaranteed to get your arting juices back, develop a creating habit/discipline and take your arting to the next level. As well as discover things about yourself you did not know or did not acknowledge fully. You #becometheartistyouare. More of herself.
There is a friendly and safe community in place to share your ahas, questions and observations. Ready to join us? Go here.