To thine own self be true! Hallowed words.
Am I chasing validation or am I truly creating?
Am I pleasing you or am I pleasing my inner soul…my creative vision?
“Do you like it?” A phrase I must never utter or think. I will never be free to create living in that mindset.
My newest paintings are abstract. Not what I usually paint. The comments can be harsh. “What does that mean?” “I like your other work better “.
But I can’t worry about what others think. After all I am an artist!
You can’t make this stuff up! Artists who created paintings from the spirit world!
It was called the “Second Great Awakening “. The American Spiritualism Movement originated in Lily Dale and Rochester New York in the early 19th century teaching communion with the dead. Reflecting on “Romanticism ” it was based on enthusiasm, emotion and an appeal to the “Supernatural “. The clergy were mediums – lay folk who believed they had the ability to speak for loved ones who had passed.
I have known about seances, table-rapping, ghost photos,etc. However, I just learned there were mediums capable of creating paintings through the spirits of the dead. This group of artists deserve to have their stories told. I will be posting a series on these artists. Today the Campbell brothers.
CAMPBELL BROTHERS – 1898 – 1926
In the spiritualist community of Lily Dale, New York the Campbell brothers Allan and Charles found their calling as mediums. Not truly brothers, Charles was born Charles Shourds, it was believed by many they were a gay couple. But the Spiritualist Movement of Enlightenment accepted all especially the psychically gifted.
The brothers talents included spirit portraits created in pastel or oils. Allan acquired a spiritual guide called Azur. In 1898 during a session Allan channeled Azur’s spirit on a 40″ x 60″ oil painting. He never touched the canvas. The room was dark with a minimum light enough for those present to witness the portrait emerging. To ensure there was no fraud each guest was encouraged to place personal marks on the back of the canvas. Allan, in a trance, commanded Azur’s portrait and during this time it gradually developed as the guests watched in awe. I have to say Allan/Azur were fast. The portrait appeared in great detail in 90 minutes! I thought I was fast working in 2 hours. Here is the portrait.
The Campbells were never arrested for fraud as some other mediums were. The paintings are in the Lily Dale museum. Was it a hoax??? I kind of like believing it is not. Oh well.
Can I conjure up a spirit painting???
The book “Precipitated Spirit Paintings ” by Ron Nagy goes in depth on spiritual painters. Check it out on Amazon. https://www.amazon.com/Precipitated-Spirit-Paintings-Ron-Nagy/dp/1931942277/ref=pd_sim_14_3?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=417YDJAY66BXTZ5M9V6K
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.
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
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
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
My mission to engage people in creativity is finally happening! My painting classes at the Riverdale Senior Center have now begun their 3rd session!! This post is to show the incredible art from people who never painted before.
And a new student who is in the early stages of Alzheimer’s has joined. Robert is a professional artist who studied at the Art Students League. He has a studio upstate New York. However, since his mental decline he has not done art for a long time. I told him the first day that he is still an artist and he can create just like Monet when his eyesight went bad.
My painting classes are not about skill. I do not teach technique. There is a very spiritual connection to art and one student, Margery, has exceptional talent.
So here’s to Riverdale’s emerging artists. And please do not refer to them as seniors dabbling in art. Their work is fearless and vibrant. Totally alive and ageless!
The following are by Robert who has Alzheimer’s:
STAY TUNED FOR PART TWO
I have learned that waiting to be inspired to create art can be a very long wait. Days. Weeks. Years. Decades.
I don’t wait for inspiration I start it. With a DOODLE.
The following art began with a squiggly line and the path it took.
I kill a lot of paintings because I don’t know when to STOP.
A new exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art is exploring this artistic dilemma. It is called “Unfinished: Thoughts Left Visible ” . I t will run till September 4th.
Exhibition at Met
I’m inspired now to show my unfinished art without shame but to celebrate their presence. I am taking them out of hiding.
Will I ever finish them? Maybe. Maybe not. But they are just as important as finished art.
WHAT UNFINISHED ART ARE YOU HIDING?
EVERYONE POST YOUR UNFINISHED ART AND WE WILL ALL CELEBRATE!!
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