Panic Attacks and Finger Painting

field of crazy

The other night I woke up at 3AM having a panic attack for no apparent reason. All day I had been feeling stressed and upset, though I can’t really say why, but I knew it was coming. My particular brand of panic attack includes pain shooting down my left arm, which if I can’t manage to relax results in twitching to severe muscle spasms. It’s painful, but more so it’s embarrassing for me, because there’s no hiding a twitching arm. Once it starts even after I’m completely calm I can’t get it to stop. Because of how much it sucks, once I have the slightest symptom I can stress out so bad about it possibly happening I can cause it to happen. However, it’s been years since I’ve had a full blown attack. Though I have had mild freak outs, that I’ve managed to either distracting myself in some way or by the absolute sweet and understanding nature of my husband managing to talk me down.

Last night though he was asleep and knowing he has to get up insanely early to do a rather physically demanding job, I hated the notion of waking him up, and my arm is twitching and I’m crying and freaking out. I did manage to calm down enough to think I should do something that I enjoy. I went to my art room, and usually when feeling like this I turn to the palette knife, I don’t know why but it just feels right during then, though the paintings are never that great in the end. However, right then even the knife wouldn’t do, I just splashed paint everywhere and dived in with a childlike enthusiasm of getting messy and feeling the squishy paint between my fingers. I call it Field of Crazy, and it was a lot of fun. Yet afterwards I broke down crying. The panic attack was gone, but the truth is I realized I couldn’t manage on my own. Sure I might go years between full blown attacks, but in between isn’t that great, and the constant fear I could freak out at any moment for really no reason at all is no way to live.

It’s ridiculous how much at times we can balk at the idea of needing to take medication for mental health issues. Always seems like we should be able to manage it on our own, especially when you do have a great life that you should be perfectly happy in. But that’s stupid, because any other health problem we take the meds without a second thought. I take fish oil every night for my cholesterol, and Nexium every morning for heart burn. And if I can’t manage to eat well enough to possibly lower my cholesterol or get rid of heart burn, which there’s a likely chance I could actually manage on my own, then how can I expect myself to somehow manage the chemicals in my brain that cause these issues? The fact is I can’t, I don’t believe anyone can, and so I shouldn’t feel ashamed of taking medication. It’s not a failing on my part, it’s a medical condition that I just got stuck with, and I should be happy that there are meds that make it better.

A Finished Painting

So in Painting Gone Wrong I showed how messed up my painting was, and how trying to fix over it just made it worse and worse. So I finally gessoed over it, if you want to know what I did exactly check out this youtube video. He was the only one I could find that didn’t put it on overly thick with a weird texture. I was actually surprised by how much of the original texture of the canvas still came through so you have those ridges that hold on to the paint. Although I didn’t get it all painted straight across like you’re meant too, and you can see some of the imperfections if you get really close to the canvas, but hopefully no one plans to get that close to my canvas.

red treeIf you go back to the previous post you’ll notice that this is obviously going in a different direction. Decided that since that style was so vastly different than my normal sort I should probably try such on a smaller scale first. But then I was feeling red and wanted to well paint a canvas red, and so that’s what started this. The sunset-ish part is just a blending of red, yellow, and white. The basic colors, and I just blended till I liked what I saw, though I ended up having to make it bigger than that because once the leaves were added it just seemed like a lot of it was hidden and there was too much empty space around. So go big. I also added a little more splashes of yellow on the bottom as well. Not much more but it went mainly where I planned to add more scattered leaves. Though you can’t really see it much in the picture below, it did help lighten those areas to really help make it all pop a little more. Worth the effort either way. And the tree was there so I knew how I was going to get the leaves, plus, some of the limbs ultimately shined through.

finish pinkAnd this is the finished product. For the the tree leaves I used a rounded tip brush gave it a fluffiness I liked. A pretty blend of pink and white, it’s kind of supposed to look like a cherry blossom tree. Sort of. The scattered, I guess they would be more petals than leaves, I did with a smaller square tip brush doing random upward strokes. Felt like it implied chaos and movement of petals being blown around. Either way, I loved how it turned out in the end. Not at all how this canvas originally began, but it ended on something I’m happy with and that’s all that matters.

Painting Gone Wrong

first brushOkay so Google “rainy painting” and look at the images and that is what I was wanting to go for… I liked the look of the lights and the reflections off water… and rainy days are just my favorite anyway… plus usually you would think such a painting would be dark but they’re usually so full of color and the style adds a sense of movement that I just love… and so I began with this… and that was my first mistake…

First off for such a painting to have basically what’s going to be on top down first made it difficult trying to get the back ground around it… and was constantly getting covered and so was really a waste of effort… plus as I was to discover later… my proportions were all off… original paint

As you can see when I started to fill things in that the sizes weren’t right… honestly this is the first time I’ve ever tried to do a painting with a vanishing point and I didn’t realize how difficult it really is…

More so… I realized with only 2 lights it wouldn’t be nearly as bright as I wanted it to be when I started marking off what areas would be lightest and what would be darkest… and it was turning more dark than not… and even where I was showing as light wasn’t really likely… and while my paintings aren’t exactly realistic… I try for a bit of believability… and so…

whiteoutI whited out the painting in an attempt to undo what I had done… but if you can see through it well enough you’ll notice I tried to fix it before hand but that just got too confusing with what was supposed to be there and what wasn’t… and then after trying to do the background again… I realized it was more than that that was the problem…

alcohol rub

As you can see I tried to put down a basic sky and ground… eventually I realized this wasn’t working for me either but worst there was getting too many layers of paint on my canvas… and that’s when I learned that rubbing alcohol can remove acrylic from canvas… as you can see it doesn’t clean it up perfectly… and everything I read said it would leave it a bit discolored… I had so many layers on there I’m happy with what it did remove… mainly making sure there were no more slick spots on my canvas…

I also got white Gesso for acrylic… and have yet to apply this but I’m hoping it’ll help with starting over… though with the different techniques of applying I’m not sure how it’ll turn out… so if nothing else I learned a lot about how to fix a painting when you mess up…

More than that though I realized the problem was that while I liked those paintings I had been looking at… they weren’t my style… and I wasn’t trying to recreate any of those pictures because I had my own thoughts in mind… but in trying to create a painting differently than how I was used to without a clear picture in mind it was always going to fail… with high hopes I will continue to work to make the image I wanted come to life…

Painting in Progress

I have been painting for years… all sorts of random stuff… and over the years I’ve been trying to, of course, improvepencil death and try new and different things… like layering the colors to make it have depth and definition… but the latest painting really should’ve been pretty easy… it was meant to be straight and simple… though when it came to just sketching it there was already some problems… apparently there aren’t too many models to look at for someone kneeling from behind… which just sounds weird when you spell it out like that… but still… after finally getting it all proportioned right and my husband apparently liking it so much I decided to do it as the painting to go above his desk… the only thing is that the sketch is made for a much smaller sort of canvas… unlike the 2ft x 3ft canvas I had picked out…

DSCF1286And so I painted it all pretty… and it was awesome… for all of about 5 seconds… and then something was nagging at me and nagging at me… in fact it nagged the rest of the day and through the night until I woke up the next morning realizing what was wrong… the head was too high and straight up when she’s supposed to be leaning forward and looking down slightly… and so I’m quick to fix it and send it off as good again… and then it’s like no… something is still wrong… and I’m staring and staring… and moving it through the house for some reason… and then I realized the problem was that there was no depth to the picture… and while it’s supposed to be unrealistic… and I wasn’t wanting to add shadows… I knew it needed more and so I added a tree into the distance to give the illusion of distance… and still it needed more… and so I reworked the lines… which by the way are supposed to be cracks in the ground filling with blood… happy I know… and so I began to make them thicker the closer they get to the edge… and finally after working on it for 3 days… even though it should’ve taken only a few hours really… it is done… and while it does have a very simple look to it… yet it’s been one of the hardest paintings I’ve ever done in trying to figure out what it needed to finally look right… but in the end I’m finally happy with it… WOOT!!! so here is Oh, Death:

Scythe Painting 2

Some Very Convenient Hair

hair Finally finished this painting… which I have dubbed Some Very Convenient Hair… I was in a fairy tale class where we read several stories about Rapunzel… but while reading one it made me think of a Raymond Chandler novel, The Big Sleep… I’ve always loved the 2nd paragraph to that which paints such a detailed picture of the scene in a very Philip Marlowe kind of way…

The main hallway of the Sternwood place was two stories high. Over the entrance doors, which would have let in a troop of Indian elephants, there was a broad stained-glass panel showing a knight in dark armor rescuing a lady who was tied to a tree and didn’t have any clothes on but some very long and convenient hair. The knight had pushed the vizor of his helment back to be sociable, and he was fiddling with the knots on the ropes that tied the lady to the tree and not getting anywhere. I stood there and thought that if I lived in the house, I would sooner or later have to climb up there and help him. He didn’t seem to be really trying.

So it’s not the picture he described or even an exact quote… but the moment I was reading that Rapunzel story that was what popped into my head and I knew I had to paint something and this is what came out… and honestly my best painting ever… I know there are plenty of people out there that can do a whole heck of a lot better than me… but I’m still proud of it… finally learning more of layering the paint to give it dimension… and in case you’re wondering that’s Wisteria in her hair… I love Wisteria… it may be a weed but it’s so pretty… any way… had to share…

Oops…

I was thinking about redoing the cover of my book again and then of course I was like what should I do for my second book… and epiphany… a pen and ink drawing would be perfect… I was so excited I started working on it right away… and I got done with outlining everything until I realized I’d made a mistake…

DSCF0348I put the wrong title on there… and though I think I did pretty awesome with the lettering I was so mad at myself for making the mistake… oh well… guess it was good practice…

Sketching Some Dr. Seuss

DSCF0283I wanted to get back to some drawing… though pencil art isn’t exactly my thing… it’s never good to get rusty and so I had to start with something both easy and hard… and of course that’s Dr. Seuss… with his wiggly lines and not really sensible shading… it’s always fun to recreate his adorable creations… now that would’ve been someone worth meeting… the imagination he had to have to make up all these creatures… and to get across such interesting concepts… it has to take a great philosopher to be able to put the truth about life into terms even a child could understand… and I’m talking about his book Oh the Places You’ll Go!… still one of my favorite books and earns a place of honor on my shelf… anyway… here’s some more of my sketching attempts…

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