#seemetoseeyourself online while in lockdown

See me to see yourself end of March

Quick note from the studio again, so blessed and honoured to be creating more for the #seemetoseeyourself ongoing project portraits.

See, I draw and paint women in #recovery, helping them see themselves for who they truly are…on the road, journeying, full of potential, full of light despite what they had been through or had put themselves through in the past.

The process is quite simple, yet intuitive:

I sit with the sitter, I hold the space…

Whatever comes up comes up

We meet. Each other. Each oneself.

I hold the space.

The sitter shows up, as in puts down the protective masks and shows up in their heart self.

I take up my pencils and paints and capture that.

I hold the space.

The sitter is witnessed for who they truly are. I bear witness to that.

They connect to it, themselves, the resulting piece a reminder of that meeting.

Simple. Not always that easy perhaps, for we are making it difficult for ourselves most of the time.

But finding that recently sitters have been more open with themselves, opening their hearts more readily…perhaps because I have done so too? Mirror mirror on the wall…

Funnily enough, it works online too…despite the distance and technical disembodiment of the experience.

If you feel like it, being part of the ongoing project, let me know #seemetoseeyourself.

At the moment, especially with what is going on with corona, I would like to serve as many women in recovery as possible, so the sitting is on a donation basis, covering the materials and p&p. Get in touch.

 

 

First and Next Show, find ten differences, and an Invitation to Arting in the times of Corona 101

 

It will have been fourteen years since I first showed my art publicly (when I don’t count the picture of a sun when I was four that got hung up in the kindergarten, up on the noticeboard for all the parents to see…since then I don’t think my pieces ever made it up on the noticeboard again, see I was never very good at drawing inside the lines, and that is what mostly counted as I grew up in the communist and later transitioning Czechoslovakia, now Czech Republic).

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Here it is miraculously, surviving all the moves and transitions since. The four year old me’s reminder to grin at it and shine. All the time. I owe her a lot.

My first show was a group one, and it was of works by clients of a psychiatric clinic I ended up at when twenty five. It was called, Art is a State of the Soul…could not agree more…however reflecting upon the exhibited works, my soul or psyche had not been in such a great shape then despite, or perhaps because of?, the care I had just received…it looked a bit like this, though this is a later work.

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To cut a long story shorter…I am here now…in London, preparing another solo show, for Goldsmiths gallery, which just had to be postponed, understandably due to the corona situation and lockdowns.

It is called #artofwithdrawal and maps the period of my prescription drug withdrawal, not always and easy process…but very nourishing and enlivening for the aforementioned soul/psyche. Hanging in there. Both with my soul and the show.

I am looking into ways how to take the project online at the moment and make it more participatory…earlier I had opened up my photographic series #everydaycourages to sharing and contributions by other artists and artingers. I might do something similar this time too.

Would you be up for it? Do you have some experience with #recovery from #psychofarmaceuticals? Is art/arting one of your coping and survival strategies? I would love to hear from you for an open conversation about the possibilities.

1_Everyday Courages

If you feel drawn and inspired by this…and not too put off by my unofficialness…it really at the moment is just me in my studio…and/but the Goldsmiths space too in the foreseeable future…let me know :-).

Let’s talk…abre el corazon…I have just opened my heart in Spanish, been tandemming and picking it up after years of non-usage, the same with German…what I love about this whole corona situation is the fact that people, when not destitute, and worried sick for their livelihoods were able to slow down and take the time to do things while in lockdowns that they normally would not have given themselves the time to, or simply would not been able to make it. Hope you are among them too, and/or getting support you need.

I have opened a free challenge #21DaysArting in the Arting Group  aimed at the first three weeks of lockdown over here in the UK. You can still join us, not too late. It is a creative first aid of sorts for artists and artingers. After day two, following the process, I have come up with yet another angle, another inspiration, I literally breathed it in…so invite you to do the same. Come over.

#artofwithdrawal bumps and growing pains

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.

NB: problems with uploading images. Please check my handle at Instagram www.instagram.com/arting.me

The Eye eye eyeys have it

This week, while in the second week of another minitaper round I have come up against another withdrawal symptom, at least I think that is what it is…and not my body signaling me something…unsure about this: whether it is detoxing only or my body woking for me, as it always does.

My eyes, started hurting, puffed up, it is painful to see, to watch, to look. Bit of a bummer for a visual art peep like me…or anyone really…methinketh…so I have been resting, tea bags on my eyes, loads of fluids, hoping it is just the CNS adjusting to another lowering of the prescription drug..and not the-my unconscious knocking on the door…who knows?

But painted a bit too

Sleep Come to Me

…but mostly stared into the green in the garden and been digging some of it for next year.

How has your week been?

Arting greetings, to wherever you are-at. More later. AND HAPPY EQUINOX.

Those butterflies…of hope…again

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.

Butterflies of Hope

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.

Following my #becometheartistyouare process meantime.

If you want to join me virtually at least, head over to the link.

To stay in touch, subscribe to my Arting newsletter here.

In the meantime…butterflies…of hope.

 

 

 

From the studio…notes on creativity gone…out and about and back and forth and bigger better slower more

The withdrawal process is seemingly unpredictable and requires a good measure of “go with the flow”, do what you need to do RIGHT NOW, stay in the MOMENT.

I have been infamously rubbish at it. Learning. Bear with me.

I have been running away from the now, the feelings, the e-motions and physical sensations, allowing my mind either to roam the vast range of regrets in the past or indulge in the promises of the future.

Bugger that. HEEEERE and NOW, my body, mind and spirit require me, to be. Right here, right now, keeping calm, keeping on keeping on….and CHILLing.

Art, i.e. in my case what I call arting has been really helpful. It really is art, I am just still too selfconscious to call it Art with capital A, let alone myself an artist, after thirteen years and counting…when is it gonna finish??? or click?!…, AND/BUT more importantly I really enjoy the processuality of that word ARTING. Bit like playing, messing about, goofing with…whatever.

Anyway…my art…arting has proved a saving grace once again. Above a couple of snapshots from the studio as it is at the moment.

#seemetoseeyourself portraits #couloringbooksforbiggirlswhodontcry, mess on my picture board (how did Nicole Kidman and reinterpretation of Origine du Monde with a butterfly get on there???) and my nest, with the aforementioned affirmative chilling cushion.

What I am trying to say…when I chill, like proper…stop harassing myself for being in recovery, in withdrawal, not in a (proper) job (DOH!!!), being a fake and all the associated nonsense my negative mind churns up on a second to second basis…I can actually just enjoy the peace that is within. AND THAT…is SOMEHING ELSE…then I can create from a place of joy, as in “radost” in Czech, and as we know there is never enough joy…not enough joy in enjoy and “radosti neni snad nikdy dosti”. Only there is more and more…when I allow myself to notice it.

So…I wish you a merry rest of the holiday season, and check out #premrawat if you get a minute. It is SOOO worth it. I just keep forgetting…and need to be reminded…all the time. Honest.

Drawn to do more #seemetoseeyourself portrait sessions

/Self/ portraits have been an important part of my recovery process…monitoring, connecting and keeping in touch with myself…while staring into the mirror with a brush, felt tip or a pencil in my hand.

 

More recently I have been creating #seemetoseeyourself portraits for other women in transition or recovery too. Been drawn to them…and vice versa…pun intended.

The portrait sessions are a space to be seen and witnessed, to honour the healing process and our place in it. The resulting acrylic and mixed media artworks a witness to and a celebration of a turning point, or a particular stretch of the journey.

Feeling allowed….even…especially…onto the canvas. And the space in between.

If you feel drawn to this, or know of someone who might be,  or who is in need of this, please pass this post on and let them know I am ready to arrange a sitting, either online or in my SE London studio.

Please do share and spread the word…for more women aware of and proud of their /captured/ moments of healing.

 

Art Of Withdrawal Continues

This is a snapshot of a picture board from my studio…pretty eclectic at the moment, trying to piece it all together seeing where it all takes me, keeping on keeping on.

Nastenka

These days I am keeping myself to myself…mostly. It does me good. And I keep on tracing the process of withdrawal. Tracing small joys and pleasures. Like a cup of tea, dance to a favourite song or a blackberry from the overgrown garden.

Most of the time I enjoy this solitary confinement, this time self imposed, as I know I am getting better, stronger and readier for the world “out there”. Learning to enjoy, because I can, not just because I deserve it….that too, thinking about it now ❤ :-).

Learning to enjoy the moment called now. Not getting lost in the memories of the past and not planning for the future too much though I do have dreams…about a basement community art studio, failing that a studio in the garden…anyways…more on that to come…it might already be happening…in its own ways. Who knows?

It should take about another year of tapering safely and I have things I would like to do in the meantime. Like that book, or the arting box for children…or my arting heroines portrait series…having said that…I might need to just keep calm and chill for most of that time, my brain permitting. The main thing…is…to enjoy the ride. And the NOW. Still learning. Bear with me.

Keep Calm

 

Lighting up Traces of Touch and Memories

Recently I have been playing and arting with my #tracingmyself process some more. I have been capturing touches and then boxing them up or sewing them into transparent lit up objects that conjure up all sorts of things, memories of the night, memories of the touch…memories…of…

 

 

I wonder what these boxes and objects evoke in you?

Let me know. For more pieces see my instagram profile.