I have experienced something different about how I am painting. I never know what is going to appear on the canvas. I used to be very determined when I sat down to paint. The vision appeared in my mind instantly and I went to work in a fury finishing each painting in 2-3 hours.
I don’t know what happened to my brain but I actually am more cautious when I paint. I am in slo-mo mode. I have no vision. I am not inspired. But I have to work to keep up and improve my skills. So this painting began on Wednesday. Still working on it.
However, I noticed that the style is not my usual style. People always say my work looks like Van Gogh. This painting reminds me of Henri Rousseau! And I’m not a fan of Rousseau. Go figure. It’s still a work in progress. Who knows what will happen. Kind of fun.
Here’s me and Rousseau.
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
In the past few weeks my painting has morphed into an abstract landscape that is a new style from my impressionist one.
The truth is that in the last 4 months I’ve been withdrawing from a very powerful antidepressant after being on it for 16 years. Last year I realized how it was making me worse and I am not depressed anymore. So powerful is this drug that my brain has zapping which feels like electrical shocks are piercing the cells. I’m dizzy, have brain fog and my legs cramped so badly I couldn’t walk for 3 weeks. But now the real me is emerging. I can finally feel myself coming out.
So I actually did this painting in withdrawal. And I also did the previous painting in withdrawal. And the experience was a struggle to focus my vision (blurred vision was a part of withdrawal). But here it is. I believe the real me is finally emerging.
THIS IS THE FINISHED PAINTING!!!
I have taken a quiet time the last couple of months to restore my mind. As an artist and inspired individual where do I go from here. How do I use art to heal this broken world?
The world is broken because we don’t think creatively. Every person has this ability to be naturally creative. It’s suppressed and replaced with following formulas that don’t work for everything. Schools don’t engage students to think. They memorize to pass tests. The individual is lost.
Art has been tossed out of people’s lives. Not important. Today’s craze of adult coloring books is a farce. Again no creative thought is used. Just color in someone else’s creativity.
There is a fear of being creative. Being creative is not “keeping up with the Jones”. Not following the pack.
I am mentoring a young woman artist. A beautiful Latino woman who has given up her art. I looked into her eyes and I saw a spark of hope that she could do her life differently.
I’m going to get her to think like an artist.
PEACE TO THE WORLD
I was jolted out of sleep with this compelling phrase:
“STOP THE WORLD I WANT TO GET OFF”. The title of a 1962 Broadway show starring Anthony Newly.
Why did this phrase wake me up? I’ve never seen this show but that title is running through my brain cells lately. Of course now that I’m awake I Googled the synopsis of the play. It’s about a average guy called Littlechap who gets the daughter of a wealthy family pregnant. Doing the right thing, he marries her but doesn’t love her. They have a family and he becomes a upperclass man due to his wife’s family. And he never is involved with his wife or family. He realizes how he’s lived a empty deceitful life and comes to his senses. That is basically my synopsis.
Interesting, it’s always a story of reaching VIP status. The desire to enjoy the view from the top. In the end missing life’s true treasures of relationships.
As an artist I have been challenged supporting myself in my art. I was teaching painting but I only had a few dedicated students. There was no interest and the class was cancelled. But I realized that I teach a very special type of painting class. I’m a very professional artist and I have the ability to get people to explore their inner artist. They replaced my class with a coloring book class! The world is so broken
But today people want to wallow in their problems and they are watching news and getting sick from the politics of the presidential campaign. I have no TV and I don’t read newspapers. There’s nothing I need to know and my friends usually let me know. So the point of this is to keep trying to reach the suffering souls.
I a working on a group of paintings around the theme of escaping into landscapes. It is a new vision where I have now put people into my landscapes. We all need peace and quiet. Stop the chatter. Nature heals.
Experimenting with iPad to insert figures into orignal art
Experimenting with iPad to insert figures into orignal art
So that’s where I’m at for today.
Enjoy Anthony Newly singing “Once In a Lifetime” from Stop the World
August 12th I had carpel tunnel surgery on my right hand. It’s my dominant hand. So I took the time to relax and heal. However, it eventually took me down the mental rabbit hole. I ended up depressed, lonely and blocked creatively. It was like my mind was empty. A dust bin.
I couldn’t think and forget posting on my blog.
Weeks were passing and now I have feelings of failure. I want to write a blog post but I feel stupid. It’s been forever. I’m a terrible blogger with an artist block!!!!
And then I realized that my blog is about coming back from an artist block. Isn’t life always about the comebacks.
The artist comeback can be a Phoenix rising. A new path, a different story. And actually I have a new theme I started in my paintings. I have added figures to my landscapes. The figures are faceless children ( they are me or you) and they are escaping into landscapes. This is the first of a group that I will be working on.
Wave Hill has a Sunroom Project Space where guest artists display their work. I met artist Amie Cunat peeking through her exhibition “HIDEOUT “. Her work is created with cardboard and paper mache.
I love this colorful hanging and I think it would be an extraordinary room divider in my apartment.
And Amie’s special guest at the opening was dressed to match the art.
The Hudson River is alive with art. I attended the opening reception of The Glyndor Gallery show Nature Pops.
“A half-century after the emergence of Pop art as a revolutionary response to new norms of consumerism, Nature Pops!, Wave Hill’s summer 2016 exhibition, brings together work by artists who calibrate this movement in contemporary terms. Continuing to re-evaluate popular culture, particularly the increasing mediation of our experience by technology, artists question whether we can still have an authentic experience―even in the natural world. Interpreting nature and the environment through a populist lens, Nature Pops! includes recent work that is especially relevant in an age of digital overload and environmental crisis. Presenting the show at Wave Hill, a stunning garden and cultural center located in the Riverdale section of the Bronx, adds particular depth and dimension to the discussion.
Nature Pops! affirms the fascination that the aesthetics of pop culture—the culture of everyday—still has for artists, but offers nuanced perspectives, sometimes subversive, sometimes playful. Cartoons and comics were accessible media that Pop artists elevated to fine-art status in the 1960s and ’70s. ”
There is a tremendous amount of talent in the Bronx and the Hudson Valley. If you have not been to Wave Hill you are missing a world of nature and art. It is a hidden gem in the Bronx. My friend, Jamie Passevento, a fellow artist friend and I attended the opening of the above exhibition. It was exciting and colorful. It was a fun show expressing nature in the form of the Pop Art movement. Here’s the art and artists who participated in the show.
EMILIO PEREZ – his unique prints inspired by outer space.
KIRA NAM GREENE – amazing paintings in watercolor, gouache, and colored pencils. Kira weaves incredible patterns with food in Pop Art tradition ala Warhol.
AMY PRYOR – Amy uses collage, sculpture and painting to explore commerce and culture.
JOANNE CARSON – extremely colorful paintings of flora and landscapes.
GABRIEL DE GUZMAN – Curator