THE ART OF HUMILITY: THE PORTRAIT OF DORIAN GRAY BY OSCAR WILDE

Disclaimer: this is a post with a political opinion that is my own. Please do not continue if you agree with President Trump’s recent comments on Charlottesville. I accept everyone’s right to their beliefs.

My blog is an artist blog and after the events of Charlottesville last weekend I saw the President in an Oscar Wilde novel called “The Portrait of Dorian Gray”. It’s a classic story of a corrupt narcissistic young man who barters a deal with the devil to remain youthful and handsome forever. It’s a story of “it’s better to look good than feel good “. Dorian Gray has no humility. A wealthy society man who cares only about himself he commissions a portrait of himself. He fantasizes about how great it would be if he could remain youthful while the painting would age as each year passes.

I recommend the 1945 film with George Sanders and Hurd Hatfield as Dorian Gray.

Dorian and Trump are no different and I am watching the President deteriorate as each day passes. Dorian becomes more self centered and corrupt. He is engaged to a society woman but she is too proper to deflower before marriage. He engages a lower class show girl to satisfy his sexual needs lying about his intention to marry her. When she becomes pregnant he murders her. His portrait meanwhile gets more grotesque as he becomes more evil. He hides the painting in the attic to avoid seeing the truth of who he is.

I see this happening to Trump. The murder of Heather Heyer is the blood on his hands because he has dog whistled the neo nazis, the white supremacists and the Ku Klux Klan to become bolder. And how narcissistic of Trump to not acknowledge her death. To not go to Charlottesville to speak to her parents. He said more good things about the extremists and not one word about Heather. SHAME ON YOU NARCISSISTIC TRUMP. YOUR PORTRAIT IS SHOWING YOUR SINS.

MIND OF AN ARTIST: STUDY A BLADE OF GRASS

My mind is a monkey mind.

I know it's my ADHD. There is a quality of my life that resembles a circus. I'm always trying to train those monkeys to perform the right way. Okay you guys get yourselves in order.

I actually become the lion tamer trying to force my creativity to perform. Not only to perform but to kick ass perform.

Here's where pressure to be a creative genius sets in. In other words here comes the artist block! I HAVE TO DO THE BEST PAINTING OR DO NOTHING! So I do nothing.

The monkeys are doing nothing so out of boredom they start to act out. Avoidance creates havoc and chaos. I end up hating myself for being unproductive. It's a great big circus ring ready to explode.

My thinking is creativity needs to be a high experience with lots of bells and whistles going off. There's no sanity. There's no peace. Every work of art has to be created from a psychedelic experience. Don't forget I come from the original hippie lifestyle. The Magical Mystery tour. But it's becoming clear that flying by the seat of exploding pants is not working.

So that is why I am choosing to study a blade of grass. Slow down get off the merry go round. Be a quiet painter. I cannot be a superhuman artist. Study a blade of grass.

Here are plein air paintings done with the mindset of "study a blade of grass ".

START WITH A DOODLE:  WATERCOLOR PAINTING 

So again I have been in a creative block.  I was reminded of the quote by artist Chuck Close regarding artistic inspiration.  

“AMATEURS LOOK FOR INSPIRATION, THE REST OF US JUST GET UP AND GO TO WORK “

Can’t argue with that!!!   So I called upon my formula for breaking paralysis… START WITH A DOODLE!

I have a wonderful portable watercolor kit created to take anywhere.  A pouch filled with portable brushes and an assortment of wonderful pots of special paints.  An inexpensive set of watercolors.  Tiny tubes of gouache. Paper towels. And a 9″ x 12″ pad of cold pressed watercolor paper. Easy travel and easy clean up.  


Here is the doodle and I really got into working and playing the colors and the liquid flow of the medium.   And from the doodle two exciting and free expressive paintings. 



 

The MIND OF AN ARTIST:  THE RETURN OF THE JEDI

In another galaxy away from my blog for many months, I have been reclaiming my true self mentally.  I had to withdraw from the world in order to get off a very powerful and destructive antidepressant I had been on for 16 years.  

DISCLAIMER:  This is my story and I am not endorsing that antidepressants are bad and everyone has to stop talking them. Please follow your doctor’s advice.  Never stop cold turkey.  It’s extremely dangerous. 

Okay so I have been on psychiatric medication since the 1960s off and on.  The reason was I had childhood trauma.  They have been helpful for many of those years. However, I’m 65 now and many things physically are different.  The last 16 years on the last medication was actually too long and I was becoming less productive in the last year.  I started to experience more fear and anxiety.  Less creativity.  Withdrawal from people.   More drugs were added and I got worse. I was under the drug spell.  Believing that the drug was better than no drug.  Until I went to pick up the latest drug and the pharmacist said the co-pay was $283!!!! For one month!!!!  Faced with maintaining the suppression of depression or paying rent and eating I pushed the drugs back to the pharmacist and said “I don’t need these thank you “.   Called my psychiatrist and said I’m over all these chemicals that are making me feel numb.  I m over being dependent on meds that have me spellbound.  So she didn’t try to change my mind and she agreed to wean me off.

It took 5 months of being dizzy, having brain zapping, leg pain, insomnia, anxiety, days when I couldn’t leave my house because I was not able to feel grounded.  But today it’s 46 days clean!!!

46 days and I am seeing that I am not a depressed person.  I stopped being depressed after I went back to doing my art.  I do experience down times which is life but I embrace them.  I am using exercise, diet, mindful practice, and walking in nature as my antidepressant.  Another thing I became aware of was the depression I experienced had a lot to do with the anxiety of my untreated ADHD.  So now I’m just treating my ADHD with less medication since I have stopped the antidepressant.  I’m a different person today. 

I did accomplish some wonderful things last month.  A successful art show and sale. Preparing a iPad art workshop for the National Association of Women Artists for June.  And this summer I am mentoring a 10 year old girl in art.   And I negotiated a workshop for young men leaving prison to learn to create art on their iPads. The organization is called Getting Out and Staying Out.  

I am the Jedi Artist who has returned!

                                      THE ART SHOW 

 

THE WITHDRAWAL PAINTINGS 




 

REVISITING ’60s IN A DRAWING 


In my teen years during the 1960’s, if you put a piece of paper in front of me it was instantly covered by some drawing from my imagination.  The 1960’s were turbulent times.  Race riots were explosive headline news daily across the country.  There was fear and hate I didn’t understand but was fed.  

It was the time of school busing and I was to be bused to a junior high school far away with a lot of black teens.  I heard about knives in the schools and being told to carry extra money to pay off bullies

I ended up being sent to a boarding school because I was a truant for a year and left back so my mom sent me away to have the nuns deal with me.  And I would have to go to school. 

Actually I ended up doing well with discipline and I had company with a lot of wealthy girls who were problems to their families. We were misfits trapped in a nunnery in Sag Habor Long Island.  But I have to say I did well in school.  I only tried to escape once!

Anyway, back to this post of the racial issues.  I ended up being accepted by the High School of Art & Design in NYC.  My major was fashion illustration.   And I always was doing a doodle or drawing every day.   My mom rescued boxes of my work and that was the tip of the iceberg. 
So one day I had my markers and paper and in my imagination I saw two young black girls and it started with a doodle and became this small drawing.  I called it “Sisters”.  It was in my mom’s apartment.

In 2005 I found it and showed it to my friends at work.  The paper was old but the drawing was strong.  One of the secretaries loved it and she offered me an excellent price for it. It spoke to her as a black woman.  It was how I related to African Americans in 1965 as a teenager who despised violence and hate.   I didn’t want to have fear and in a doodle I saw love. 

THE DR. SEUSS THEORY OF MY LIFE

I purchased Dr. Seuss’s “Oh the Places You’ll Go ” 15 years ago.  It’s my favorite inspirational book for what life is about.   So this morning my daily writing practice turned to the voice of Dr. Seuss.  

“OH THE PLACES YOU’LL GO…” 

Oh the people 

you’ll meet 

It’s a journey worth taking 

But it’s not a small feat 

Though you may want to quit 

Hide your head in the sand

If the fear takes over

You can hold someone’s hand

So be courageous and go towards the light 

Never use avoidance 

To deal with your plight 

This world isn’t pretty 

In fact it is sad

When you keep giving to others 

It negates some of the bad


As an artist standing at the turning point 

Not knowing how far

Keep being creative 

Be the artist you are

ART – FDA APPROVED STRESS RELIEVER 

People think art is not for them.  It is only for talented artists.  Art is mysterious.  It’s messy and too much trouble. The bottom line is art has become a unnecessary part of life.  And we have separated people into creatives and non-creatives. 

I’m determined to address this myth and encourage people to engage in art as a way to create a balanced mind. It can be visual art, music, dancing, singing or writing.  Creativity and imagination can improve the quality of life.  

Stop listening to the news and start doing ART!!!

I have created a very inspirational painting class in the Bronx. 


UNLEASHING CREATIVITY 

I created a painting class for the Riverdale Senior Center. I’m making them unblock the way they think of painting. This is not your ordinary art class!

HAVE YOU EVER STAYED AWAKE AT NIGHT THINKING ABOUT….?

YOUR BLOG IS NOT WORKING AND YOU NEVER SHOULD HAVE STARTED IT. 

I don’t know what other bloggers do or think but I am working with a ADHD mind that drifts a lot.  Also my ADHD mind started to change my theme and I finally got it back to a sane appearance. That being said I am ready to post today. 

I want to talk about how I told my story to the Executive Director of the National Association of Women Artists. This is a 127 year art organization for women artists who have always been shunned in the art world. 

I told the story of how art saved me as a child growing up with mentally ill caretakers.  I als was sexually abused for a year when I was 5 by a neighbor.  I never was taught how to live and I raised myself.  But I escaped into my room for hours drawing and playing Barbra Streisand records. When I say hours I mean 6-7 hours.  I also played hookey from school hiding in the attic drawing.  I was famous in my room.  I was interviewed by Johnny Carson in my room.  I designed beautiful clothes for myself.  I always knew my family was crazy and I would never be the nasty people they were.  My house was the Adams Family house.  Except the Adams family were a nice family. 

Susan, the director, listened and after telling my story she looked in my eyes and said, “I am going to do something for you that I have only done twice since I have been director here.  I am offering you a free membership to NAWA so I can help you and promote you. “

She finished by saying I was a good person and my story is powerful enough to help a lot of people. 

And I will be giving a workshop at NAWA May 10th showing how iPad art apps are a powerful artists tool. 

The following pictures are from the  days of 1966-1970 living in the house. 

1969 one of the many cats in my life

1966 Mod Look in doorway of house

1970 H.S. of Art & Design Yearbook