Thursday, July 26, 2012

Seeking Out Encouraging People

I continued looking at the painting I've been working on for my niece.  I had such mixed feelings about whether or not to add more to "ground" the castle, so I sought out an artist friend to ask her opinion.

She is SO busy and the timing was good...I went over to her house for about an hour today.  I told her all about Brave Girls Camp and shared some of the things I created in Idaho.  We also looked at Arianna's painting and she said she loved it!

She said she thought it looked "dreamy" and she wouldn't do anything to make it look more grounded.  We talked about adding a bit more white to soften the lower edges of the castle to enhance the dreaminess of the piece which I think I will do.

Then she said something that about made me fall out of my chair.  She said, "Lynn, you have a lot of talent."  I know I smiled from ear to ear.  It is one thing to have my husband or my mom like the things I paint. 

To have someone like Sue who is a close friend and an artist herself; well her opinion means the world to me.  I value and trust her thoughts and perspective in a lot of areas.

It also means a lot to have other Brave Girls stopping by and commenting.  I have started posting some of my work on Red Bubble Artist Site again.  I haven't uploaded any artwork there for over a year.  It helps so much to have other artists commenting and encouraging me in my work.

Why am I focusing so much on the positive things people are saying to me?  Because I need encouragement from like-minded people.  Will I die without it?  No.  Will their opinions make me or break me?  No.

It is easier, however, to keep pressing forward and following my dreams when I feel encouraged.  In my deepest depressions is when I am tempted to isolate the most.  It is good for me to seek people out socially and artistically.

One of the things I learned at Brave Girls Camp is it is fun and encouraging to create in a group.  So I am trying to continue that here at home.  I have this kernel of hope that I can find a group of women here in Iowa who want to get together and paint.

Girls Painting at Brave Girls Camp

More Brave Girls

How about you?  Is this something you could do where you live?  Maybe it isn't an artist group; perhaps a writing group, reading group, or support group.  I need support and I need to paint to stay on top of the depression.  What do you need?

Be encouraged and when depressed apply wet paint! 


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

A Painting in Process ~ Just Like Me I Guess

The last few days I have been working on a few paintings; two for my mom and one for my 8 year old niece.  Last month I visited my younger brother and his family in California.  I had so much fun with my niece Arianna.  Here she is in a shirt I sent her several months ago.     

Her shirt says, "Kindness is My Beauty Secret."

I also sent her a shirt that says, "Every girl is a princess."  She loves that one too.  I decided before I even left Sacramento I wanted to do a princess painting for her.  Here are a few photos of the process of this painting.

I painted the canvas white (over something else in process I didn't like); then added some scrap book paper and a couple of flowers using gesso.  I also used a stencil to add the cute purses.  I then used a knife to add more gesso to tone down some of the color and add more texture.

First several layers

I played with a lot of different ideas and papers in making the castle.  I looked online for some images and ultimately ended up combining the look of several into the one I created.  I thought I wanted a collage look to it; but the more papers I tried the more I realized I wanted the castle to be painted on the canvas.

Some collage paper I ultimately did not use but shows my thought process

I was concerned about being able to draw what I wanted on the canvas, so I used the collage pieces I had created to make a stencil template.  Then I used that to paint the castle onto the piece.  Here it is with a couple of layers of paint.

This is the stencil I created

This piece has been a huge challenge for me.  It has brought out the perfectionist in me and it has layer upon layer upon layer!  Which I LOVE though.  It has truly been a work of heART!

I washed some white over the castle to mute the color; then started adding more details like the castle flags.  I used acrylic glitter paint for the flags.  I also did more acrylic white and pink washing at different points over the whole canvas.

Castle flag blowing

Here are a few more details...

Wish Upon a Star!

Dream Big Dreams Arianna!

Best part about the heart and pearl pin is it belongs to Arianna's Great Grandmother Evelyn

So below is what I thought was the finished piece. As I look at it here though, the castle doesn't look grounded.  So I will look at it some more and decide what to do.  Any thoughts?  I guess you can expect another photo of the actual "finished piece" on another day! 

So I will keep painting and I hope you will too!  Let's continue to feel better and turn painting when depressed into painting because I feel great!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Depression Returns...sounds like a bad movie title

One of the things about an experience like Brave Girls Camp is how do I take what I learned home with me and not leave it all on the "mountain top."  We've all had them; those mountain top experiences when we come home and go back to our old way of being and doing.  I did not want that to happen!

I had been home about 2 weeks and the depression started to slowly creep back in.  I still had my smile (both inside and outside) but every now and then those old thoughts and behaviors would surface.

I was determined when I got home to get my art room organized (notice I don't call it art studio ~ still don't feel justified calling myself an artist so how can I have a studio).  I worked hard on it for a couple of days but the task was overwhelming and seemed unending.

I made the mistake of committing I would not create until I was organized; hoping it would motivate me to get more accomplished.  All it really did was give the old thinking patterns more time to simmer and heat up.  Fortunately I did not allow them to come to a full boil.

God's timing for this workshop I had been wanting to take also helped.  It got me out of the house and painting with another person again.  Renee and I also shared about our lives and our love for art so it was kind of a mini-Brave Girls Camp.

The art class was on mixed media and the result is the painting below.  This piece has particular meaning to me for two reasons:

1) I was feeling down when I went and I knew I would feel better when I started creating.  I used watercolor crayons on the canvas and wrote all the yukky things I was thinking and feeling.  The goal was to then cover it all up with acrylic paint and bring something beautiful from the yuk.

2) I met Renee and we are kindred spirits in so many ways.  We have similar backgrounds and beliefs; and like-minded dreams.  Regardless of where our individual paths will lead, I was so lifted up painting in her studio, under her tutelage and brightness.  Renee truly shines like a star both in her person hood and in her art!

If you want to meet Renee and see some of her beautiful work, here is Renee Mak on Facebook and her blog My Fussed Up Life   

So after the first day working on this piece I was exhausted and took it home to look at it.  This was with all those words written first on the canvas with watercolor crayons, then a wash of an acrylic yellow, some papers added, a bit of splattering with a brush and then stamping with some stamps Renee taught me how to make myself.  Oh and then some acrylic paint around the edges to frame it in.  Whew!

What you don't have is an idea of what it is supposed to look like.  Basically it is supposed to be large flowers on this size canvas with a horizontal line to represent the ground and separate it from the sky.  The goal is abstract, loose and fun.

So I knew I needed that ground line across the painting but I had no idea how to get it there or what colors to use to differentiate ground from sky.  Late that night I got out a bunch of different colored tissue paper and laid it across the painting to get an idea of what colors I liked for the lower part.  I ended up LOVING the lime green.

I thought I would paint that color on the canvas but when I took the paper to the class 2 days later, I told Renee I really liked the paper and she did too.  I ended up adhering the green tissue paper to the canvas and that made a huge difference!  I felt like I was making progress again.  Here it is with just the green added.


Then with Renee's help I made the decision to try washing some blues from the top down to where it met the green tissue paper.  I consciously left the bright yellow in the right hand corner to represent sunshine and light. 

Renee and I talked about the placement of the paper I would use for the flowers and I went home again exhausted.  It was time to fly on my own and finish it at home.  Yikes!

Here is a photo of the flowers added along with some bubble wrap stamping around the edges.

And here is the final result...for now : )

Flowers in Sun and Wind

Mixed media and maybe any painting, I don't know, is kind of like life.  The process or the journey isn't always pretty.  There are a couple of guidelines like enjoy the journey and finish what you start.  I tried to do both with this piece.

I did enjoy the process, though I definitely questioned where it was going and certainly feared where it would end up.  You're not supposed to be afraid when you paint but I don't have that mastered yet.  I have a ways to go on that one.

I did finish what I started and I feel good about that.  I have mixed feelings about the end result.  I love all the meaning behind it which I talked about above.  I love the bright colors, the risk taking and the learning that occurred.

There are things about it that I love and some things I wish I would have done different...hmmm...that sounds like life too.

And of course the lesson I keep learning over and over and over is when I start to get down I need to create.  And for depression prevention I need to paint consistently, if not daily.  Right now I am shooting for daily because it helps me.

So I will keep keep bringing down from the mountain the truths I learned there...when depressed apply wet paint and paint daily if possible.  Thanks Renee for helping me continue what I learned at Brave Girls Camp!!!     

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

I'm a Brave Birl Now!

So I'm in Star, Idaho at Brave Girls Camp and got through the first night.  I survived telling my story and explaining why I came and what I wanted to get out of being there.  I had been suffering from a deep depression for a couple of years; if not longer.

If you have read past posts then you know my depression was in part due to my dad's suicide in 2004.  Sitting in Melody's living room surrounded by all these loving people, here was the only thing I knew for sure ~ I DIDN'T WANT TO BE DEPRESSED ANYMORE!  I was as deeply sick of it as I was deeply depressed.  I just didn't know how to get out of it.

Melody said she had been to the depths and found her way back...and she wanted to share the way out with us.  I was all ears, heart and soul.

One of the things Melody shared was about "messy endings."  This idea caught my attention because I have certainly had my share of messy endings.  Things that ended badly; and my dad's suicide was one of them.

When we have these messy endings then bad feelings result and often lies follow that take root in our hearts, souls and minds.  I had a lot of lies that had stubbornly rooted themselves in my heart and soul and I needed to let my Master Gardener pull those out.

This weed and lie pulling process was what I believe resulted in my extreme healing in Idaho.  God spent the next few days through art, sharing and lots of love extracting those lies from my heart.  By the last night of camp I was more than ready to give them up and leave them in Idaho.

We wrote out the lies we'd believed, even wrote a letter to our old selves we were leaving behind.  I can't tell you how free I felt when I buried the torn pieces of the letter I had written to my old self and when I burned up the lies I had written out.  It truly was a freedom and joy I can't ever remember feeling.

There is so much more I could share but I think this was the most life changing part.  Even writing this now I feel the power of letting go of the lies I was believing.  And anytime those same lies knock on the door on my mind, I quickly slam the door and remind myself those lies are just that...lies.  And they are gone, I have let them go, they are burned up by the consuming fire of God.

Here are a few more photos of my experience at Brave Girls Camp...

Art Table Buddies (me in center)


On One of the Turquoise Art Barn Walls

Brave Girls Painting!

Me Believing Truth

I'm Working on It!

Here are a couple more hints at the details of a painting I've been working on this week.  Hope you enjoy them.  Next post you will see the finished painting!

By the way, I did most of this painting at a workshop with Renee Mak.  She is an amazing artist in West Des Moines, Iowa and I so enjoyed painting with her and getting to know her.  She is a great instructor and so patient.

She helped me keep painting when I became fearful and didn't know what to do next.  She just kept saying, "When you don't know what to do next, just do something."  So I did.  I finished the painting today.

Some people will tell you to have a great day...I'll just keep saying, "When depressed apply wet paint!"  And even if you're not!!


Monday, July 16, 2012

Finally I Get to Tell You About Brave Girls Camp!

I have done more traveling the last 2 months than I have done in the last few years total!  It is so good to be home and not have to think about the next trip.  I can't wait to share about my experience at Brave Girls Camp and some photos too.

Kathy Wilkins' husband (Kurt) and Melody Ross' son picked us up at the hotel in the Brave Girls bus on Tuesday afternoon of June 26th.  There were 17 other women who attended camp with me and we were so excited to finally be on the bus headed for Star, Idaho and the home of Melody and the Brave Girls Art Barn!

I in fact was still in a bit of shock.  Since I took a last minute opening I did not have the wait that a lot of the women did.  I found out some had been on a waiting list for as much as 2 years!  I felt so grateful to be there.

Kathy and Melody met us as we stepped off the bus and we took our first walk along the Snake River.  Melody and her husband's property is right next to the public Snake River walking path.

Before we reached the spot where we entered their property, Melody stopped and asked us not to talk for the rest of the walk.  She also asked us to listen as we walked...to the birds who had been "practicing their singing for us" and to our inner selves.

We began to walk silently as she requested and almost immediately my tears started to flow.  Up ahead there were two large trees and one was leaning on the other.  My inner voice said, "Lynn, its okay for you to lean on others."  God was whispering to me and I wanted to listen.

Oh my, then the tears really started flowing.  By the time we reached their property I was a mess.  Melody came over, put her arm around me and whispered, "That (the silent walk) was for you."  I knew in the first twenty minutes of my departure off that bus; this was going to be a powerful and healing experience.

My tears were I believe, all the ones I couldn't cry when I needed to before.  Somehow deep inside I knew that even with this group of women I had just met, it was a safe place to feel.  My heart and soul knew what my head didn't.  My heart just let go of years of pain, loss, sadness, apathy, numbness, hurt and more than I can even put words to I'm sure. 

So I let myself cry and I cried off and on pretty much through that first evening.  Cleansing, exhausted, frustrated and depressed tears.  Thank goodness!!!    

Here are a couple of photos from that amazing path once we forked off onto the Brave Girl property...





I'm going to stop right there.  For my sake I am going to take the time to feel and remember what it was like to feel safe, to slow down, to feel so very loved and beautiful there.  And honestly there is just too much to share in one blog post so stay tuned.  I have much more to tell you.

Oh...and needless to say...I was depressed when I got there, I did apply wet paint; and  I was not depressed when I left.  I'll tell you more about that too, as well as what has happened in the time since I have been home. 

So don't forget to apply wet paint when depressed!

Just for a hint of something else to come; here is a detail of a painting I have been working on in the last week.  I'll tell and show you more about that too and the wonderful artist Renee Mak who has been my amazing art instructor.  Thought I would end this post with a boost of color.  Enjoy!

Friday, June 15, 2012

My Anti-Depression Adventures

Sometimes my husband takes me by the hand and leads me out of the house.  If he didn't I wouldn't get out as often as I do; which believe me it isn't very much.

He "informed" me about a month ago that on June 14th he had taken the day off so we could drive down to Eldon, Iowa.  I asked, "What is in Eldon, Iowa?"  Actually I may not have asked that, but it sounds good to say I did.

I do remember, however, that he said he was getting me up at 4 AM to begin our road trip and he would not give up until I was out of bed.  Oh dear!  About once a week he would remind me of this upcoming adventure and that I had to get out of bed. 

June 14th arrived and so did 4 AM.  Much to his surprise I was already awake.  In reality I had never gotten to sleep so I had no trouble getting up.  Insomnia.

I know you are not going to believe what was in Eldon, Iowa (other than the American Gothic House used in the famous painting by Grant Wood).  Okay here it is....drum roll please....

Tom Arnold and Rosanne Barr's mansion they started building then abandoned about 15 years ago when they divorced.  I guess Tom grew up in Ottumwa, Iowa and he wanted a home near there.  Two local radio personalities were broadcasting from the site and invited their listeners to visit.

Now...only my husband could get me down to the boonies to see Tom and Rosanne's house.  I honestly could care less; still don't as a matter fact.  But we did have fun.

Here are some pictures of the dilapidated mansion; and it would have been fabulous no doubt.  Photos do not do the house size justice.  It was HUGE!  And it sits on 1340 acres of land.  Fifteen years in the harsh Midwest elements, however, has taken its toll.  It looks more like its been sitting there 30 years instead of 15.

Dilapidated Mansion

The south side of the house was especially amazing because of all the gorgeous windows!  It would have been an incredible view out over their pond.  Oh, but the heating bill they would have had!

All the amazing windows!

The most hilarious part of the whole adventure was the "cab" service.  Only in Iowa would a bunch of people show up to look at a defunct Hollywood couple's almost home.  And only in Iowa would the taxi service be pick up trucks!  I said to my husband, "And we wonder why Hollywood depicts us in the movies as a bunch of hicks!"

Country cab service

The next stop was the American Gothic House.  As a new artist, I LOVE art!  American Gothic has never been a favorite of mine, however.  Patrick and I did get to see the original at the Des Moines Art Center several years ago.  It was part of a temporary exhibit.  We waited in line for over an hour and it was worth it to see a famous painting by an Iowa artist.

So here we are at the the American Gothic House!

Pitchfork and all!
I was exhausted from not sleeping and dozed in the back seat for an hour of the two hour drive home.  But we had a really fun day and depression was no where to be found! We made memories and that's so important.  I forget how important sometimes and was grateful to be reminded.

Just to update you on my most recent application of wet paint...here are a couple of pages from my art journal.  I love these!

I would really encourage you to take some Anti-Depression Adventures!  You don't even have to take a 2 hour road trip but find an adventure.  Its worth it.  It will help you feel a bit better and when you're depressed...every bit helps!  Wouldn't you say?

And don't forget ~ when depressed apply wet paint!       

Brave Girls Camp Here I Come!

Here are some words that describe Brave Girls Camp...
"Brave Girl Camp is five days of life-changing fun for women...a fabulous all-inclusive retreat nestled in the stunning mountains of Idaho, offering both beautiful cabin accommodations and meaningful art projects and instruction. 

The brainchild of sisters Melody Ross and Kathy Wilkins, Brave Girl Camp is an extension of their worldwide community, Brave Girls' Club, and is offered to women all over the world who are ready to meaningfully and artfully move forward on their individual paths. In fact, Brave Girl Camp is specifically designed to help women find their own individual path in a fun and lasting and deeply personal way."  

I was registered for the one in August but they had a last minute opening...so I'm going Tuesday.  And I can't wait!

You can learn more about it here if you would like Brave Girls Camp.

My hope and prayer is God will use this experience to breath life back into me.  I intend to continue to heal from this depression and to come out on the other side a new and different person.  There is not a doubt in my mind that Brave Girls Camp will be part of that transformation.  

It will be fun to blog and tell you about my experiences there.  

Oh and while I'm gone...when depressed apply wet paint!  : )


Monday, June 11, 2012

Take Action In Spite Of

I am several weeks into the online class I am taking from Brave Girls Club.  It is called Soul Restoration 2.   Have you ever heard of it or taken any of the Brave Girls classes?  Let me tell you...their online classes are worth every penny.

I was so scared to start because I didn't know what to expect.  It is my first Brave Girls class.   

What if everything I try to create is ugly?  
What if I don't like the class?  
What if my worst fear comes true and I find out I really don't have a creative bone in my body?  And on and on and on...

Here's what I am finding out.  

Some things I am creating are indeed ugly in my opinion.  
I love the class.  
And I may have a few creative bones in my body.

The first couple weeks of the class focus on what you really love to do and feel passionate about.  I began the process of making a sketchbook into a creative place to explore what I love and many other things.  And I wrote a mission statement .

Now I've actually written a mission statement several times over the years; though not lately and not in this creative format.  Past explorations have been more cerebral versus creative. 

Once that was completed, I started on what they call a vision board.  Again, not something I haven't heard of before; though I had never done one of these.

Feelings Before Creating

Besides anxiety and excitement, the other feeling I experienced prior to starting was dread.  Fear's consistent companion I guess.  I was scared it would be too big a project and I wouldn't be able to finish it.  I was afraid I wouldn't have the desire, motivation and energy to follow it through to the end.

Now I know that is the depression talking.  "You don't have the energy for this Lynn.  You're an okay starter but you're not a good finisher.  Just skip this project, its not that important anyway."

There are times when I know it is the depression talking, and I still can't not listen to it.  Talk about a constant companion.  It is always whispering in my ear.  "You're too tired.  Just stay in bed a little longer.  You don't have the energy to meet Sherry for lunch today.  Just call and reschedule."  

It was time to start the vision board and these kinds of thoughts were tickling my ear.   It was so hard for me to ignore them!  But I want out of this depression SO BAD!

So I got out the magazines and started looking for words that caught my eye.  I cut out anything that spoke to me and inspired me.  I cut and cut and cut...with no particular path in mind.  The only goal was I AM GOING TO FINISH THIS PROJECT I STARTED!  Everything else was intuitive.

Here are a few photos of the cutting out process...

Here is the UGLY canvas with about 10 layers of paint on it.  I used this to create my vision board.  Thank goodness most of it is covered!  : )


And here is the final product...YES...I finished it!  The same evening.  I was not willing to stop until I had completed the project.  This was BIG for me!  

Feelings After Creating

I think it was about 2:00 AM when I finished but that is the key word...Finished!  I felt exhilarated, excited, empowered, happy, inspired and grateful.

The best part too is I did not feel depressed!  I had created my way out of all those negative, energy zapping and mind/body numbing emotions.

I also wrote a different ending to an otherwise typical story.  I was battling depressed and anxious thoughts; I couldn't not listen to them because they were there.  But I took action in spite of them and that is the key for me every time.

I keep re-learning over and over...I must take action in spite of how I feel and no matter what the depression is telling me.  I HATE that it boils down to something this simple; yet it is so not simple for me to DO!  

I don't know if this is true for you but it is often true for me.  So I will keep creating and will create my way out of this depression one brush stroke, one project, one moment, one day at a time.  Will you keep creating too?

When depressed apply wet paint...or brush mod podge over cut out magazine words.   

This post is part of a brave blogging challenge arranged by Liv Lane for the students of her e-course How To Build A Blog You Truly Love.


Saturday, June 9, 2012

There is an Art Class in My Near Future!

I am pushing myself artistically and socially.  This afternoon I signed up for a mixed media art class.  It is about 30 minutes from home and will be well worth my time and money I think. 

It is a four week class but for the same money the artist said she would teach me individually and we could do it all in a four hour afternoon.  Yay!!!

Since I work out of my home I am home a lot.  I don't get out as much as I could because of the depression and I am working on that.  The art class is one way for me to get myself out and about.

Just for fun...here is a photo I took of some of my yard art.  Bunnies in the sun.  Summer is definitely here! 

Is there a way you can push yourself that will help you take a step toward healing and away from depression?  Keep taking one step at a time.

And when depressed...apply wet paint!  Or take photos.

Friday, June 8, 2012

How Often Do You Laugh in Bed?

I didn't do a great job of getting to bed at a decent hour last night as I had planned.  Thus, getting up was a struggle as well.  There was one positive about not waking with the sun and that was the gift Kaylie my dog brought back to bed with her.  It SO made me giggle and laugh and smile.

While laughing I had the thought that I need to find a way to capture this rare laughter when it happens.  I'm sure I'm not the only one who doesn't laugh enough when depressed.

Here is the result of me finding a way to capture my laughter.   Mr. Duckie is who Kaylie brought back to bed and this is what was left of Mr. Duckie when Kaylie was done with him.  It is now 8 hours later, and the memory and now this photo still make me smile.

Part of my creativity today was to take this photo and then edit it online.  It is now a sweet memory that will bring a smile to my face when I need it.  I edit my photos online at www.picmonkey.com by the way.  It is free with no registration and very easy to use.  And it is fun.


Here is Kaylie.  I took this photo a few days ago and did the editing today.  I enjoy adding text to some of my photos.  Its creative and allows me to express my sense of humor.  Isn't she a sweetie by the way?  All though I'm sure Mr. Duckie doesn't think so : )

Continued Sketchbook Play

I also continued playing in my sketchbook/journal today.  Here is one page I did.  I think I will add some text to it at some point...probably using a stencil or wording cut out of a magazine or something.  We'll see what I find to go with it.

This photo doesn't do the nice green color justice, but it gives you an idea.  I rubbed the page with oil pastel chalk first and then painted over it with Mod Podge.  Next I cut out the floral circles and leaves from fabric scraps I get from my neighbor who loves to make aprons.

I adhered the fabric flower and petals also with Mod Podge (you want to put Mod Podge on the paper and on the back of whatever you are adhering to the page).  Then I drew the flower stem with more oil pastel chalk.  And that's it.  Simple but I like it.

The other page I played on was this one...

I guess today was a play with fabric day, because the butterflies and flowers I cut out of fabric scraps also.  The page is painted with acrylic paint (I just poured some green and white paint on the page and the paint mixed while I was brushing it on).

I then used Mod Podge to affix the fabric butterflies; and finally drew the wording on with Oil Pastel Chalk.  I like the oil pastel chalk because it is not so...well...chalky as the regular pastel chalks.  You get less chalk dust is what I'm trying to say.

This page didn't turn out as whimsical looking as I had hoped.  I wanted the small lines to make it look like the butterflies were flitting about here and there, but I don't think I accomplished it.  Oh well....practice.  Maybe I'll add something else later to cover some of that, who knows?  I'll look at it for a few days and then decide.

Its Okay to Be in Process

I am learning a lot from playing in this sketchbook.  Here are a few things:

1.  It forces me to let go of perfectionism.  It is not easy to do something and not do it well "enough."  I want my pages to look like all these artist pages I see online and in the art books.  But I'm not there yet.  And I am trying to let that be okay.  Not to mention I'm showing my non-art to you! 

2.  It teaches me to play for a bit, walk away and come back to it.  Sometimes we think, "Well I can't do that because it would take too long and I don't have that much time."  The reality is each step of these pages only took me a few minutes each; because each step had to dry before I could move on.   So I have to move s-l-o-w-l-y.

3.  Since I have to move slowly I am also learning self-discipline.  Because of my depression I sometimes work/play only when I feel like it (except for the obvious things that HAVE to be done of course).  So when I start to do something, I force myself to keep doing it because I'm on a roll.  Who knows when I will FEEL like it again.  This can also result in exhaustion.

This kind of art play in my sketchbook invites me to go back to it time and again whether I feel like it or not.  That is a good practice for me.  It is a skill I forget when I am battling depression.

Keep Trying to be With People

I am going to keep reminding me and you to be with people even when we don't feel like it.  I am going over to my mom's tonight to hang out and watch some tennis.  We were a big tennis family and love watching the big tournaments like the French Open.  I believe the semi-finals are tonight.  So I am going.

And don't forget...when depressed apply wet paint; or fabric, or oil pastel chalk or.... oh, and capture your laughter when you can : )   You are not alone.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

A New Art Book! Oh Boy!

I don't know about you, but I LOVE NEW BOOKS!  I have a Kindle on my laptop that I use when I just cannot wait to read something; but an art book...no way!  I MUST have a copy in my hands.  

I honestly did not do much creating today and didn't get much else accomplished either unfortunately.  But when this book came in the mail my spirits were instantly lifted!  I love this book!

It is titled Artists Journals and Sketchbooks; Exploring and Creating Personal Pages by Lynne Perrella.

(All I could find was this Amazon photo so clicking won't get you inside the book)

Learn New Techniques

The great thing about this book and others like it is many of the techniques are SO SIMPLE!  Those of us who aren't "artists" can easily do the things the different artists share.  And it is a great way to learn more fun techniques you can use in anything you want to try.

When I come across fun things like this I will share them with you.  The more we can play with paint and other materials the better!  It will keep us interested and coming back to the canvas, paper, sketchbook, or whatever we are playing on.

Even Photo Editing is Creative

I guess I did get some creating done today.  I took photos yesterday of a sketchbook cover I decorated.  I painted and played on the cover a week or so ago.  I am using the sketchbook for a creative online class I am taking and one of the assignments was to decorate the cover.

So I downloaded the photos on the computer late last night...about 1:30 AM I believe.  Any one else have difficulty keeping normal wake/sleep cycles when you're depressed?  I do.  Often that is when I am most creative actually.

Anyway, I did some editing on the photos today and I'll show you the cover I did.  I really am trying to do something creative each day.  Even if its only working with photos I've taken.  It doesn't have to be painting; there are lots of ways to be creative.  It really does make me feel better and it gets me moving.

My Sketchbook

This is just acrylic paint, some stenciling, a few doo dads (is that a word) from Hobby Lobby I picked up and a fabric butterfly.  I used Mod Podge to adhere HOPE and the 3 butterflies and one heart.  I had a lot of fun doing it.

Create With Someone When You Can

What made it even more fun was that I was not creating alone that night.  My 15 year old niece Madeline came home with us.  We stopped at Hobby Lobby and picked her up a sketchbook and I let her pick out some fun doo dads to decorate her book with as well.

I haven't created with another person since the art class I took with Doris.  I forgot how much fun it was.  And Maddie chatted non-stop with her Aunt Lynn and I loved that! 

Its hard for me to force myself to be with people when I am struggling with depression so this was SO good for me.  I am trying to reconnect with the friends with whom I have been MIA.  It is not easy but I'm working on it.  What a horrible thing....to have friends right?

When depressed apply wet paint!  And get together with someone you haven't seen in a while.  Both will give you a lift.  And you'll make your friends day too!

Oh and I need to go to bed at a decent hour too.  How about you?

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Besides Painting I Got the Sheets on the Bed Changed Today!

How's it going?  Have you committed to applying wet paint yet when you're depressed?  I know it feels like a big job.

I care deeply about how you are doing and want you to heal along with me.  If you want.  It takes a bit of energy to get your materials but remember you can order almost anything through art stores on line.  Don't let lack of energy or motivation keep you from getting started.  Order online, let it all come to you and then just start.

Believe me I understand lack of energy and motivation.  I deal with it every day right now.  That's why I'm painting again.  I MUST paint and play and create or I will stay stuck where I am.

But before I get into how to mix your own liquid watercolor paint I want to tell you something about me and my depression.  Confessions of a depressed person ~

Besides painting and creating, here are the only things I got done today.  I changed the sheets on our bed; I emptied the garbage, I fed the pets, and I watered the plant that was drooping to the floor in sadness.  I did get a couple of phone calls in too, but those are forced upon me when someone calls so I don't really count those.  For me, to get even that little done when I'm struggling this much is practically a miracle!

How did I accomplish these few things?  I painted then changed the sheets; it was the hardest in my mind so I did it first.  I painted some more and then I emptied the garbage.  And so on and so on.

For those who don't battle depression this will sound crazy.  They may think to themselves, "Those things aren't hard, what is wrong with this woman?"  Well, for me, when I'm depressed, these things are hard.

Maybe they are hard for you too.  I support you.  I know what it is like.  I'm in it with you.  And I want to offer you a way out of the black hole.  Its not the only way out I'm sure....but it has worked for me and I believe it will work again.  I hope you will give it a try.  I think you'll be pleasantly surprised and inspired.  I'm in your corner.  You are not alone.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

When You Can Hardly Move Let the Paint Move for You

Yesterday I talked about how how damned up all my emotions were after my dad's suicide.  So much so that no coping skills I'd learned over the years helped.  Journaling was useless with no words to express what I was feeling and thinking.  The trauma virtually stunned and thus silenced me.

I also shared that I needed to paint, not draw because I needed the liquid flow of paint.  Words like movement, mixing, liquid, fresh, play, unrestrained, chaos come to mind.

After working with acrylic for a bit, even it seemed a bit too stiff.  This is all in hindsight of course.  Several of the ladies were painting with watercolor (all over the age of 60 by the way).  I was the kid in the crew.

No doubt what they were painting was pretty, but I just couldn't pick a photo of flowers and try to paint it.  Again, too restrained, predictable.  I wasn't really looking for pretty.  My life certainly wasn't pretty at that time.  I was grieving in a way I never had and it felt more like mud; not beautiful bright watercolor.

Doris (my art teacher) had what she called "liquid watercolor" as opposed to what you get in tubes.  She gave me a couple of abstract art books to look at and some liquid watercolor to try and turned me loose.  Believe it or not this is my first attempt at the "pouring" technique. 

Don't worry if yours turns out different or not as "nice" in your mind.  The reality is even though I like the way it turned out; I see this as beginners luck.  Plus I had the teaching guidance from Doris.  She was hovering over me most of the time.

This is titled Falls of Love.  I had just finished Hannah Hurnard's book "Hinds Feet on High Places" for about the fourth time.  I'm going to invite you to go here How Falls of Love got its name for the whole story on why the title.  A little mystery : )

Anyway, this is what I did to create this painting:

  1. I took some watercolor paper and held it upright as best I could.  Then I held the bottle of liquid yellow watercolor at the top left of the paper and just poured.  I let it run where ever it wanted.        
  2. Then I did the same thing with green only moved over more toward the right when I poured.  I let it run down the paper on its merry way.  I was feeling a bit merry at that moment too!  I let each pour dry before I did the next one.                                                                                                                       
  3. Next, I went a few inches down from the top left and poured white.  I sprayed some water from a water bottle when I wanted the color to run more when I did all three colors.  The paint was a bit thick so this helped it make its way down the paper. 

By the way, don't wear clothes or shoes you care about while playing with this technique.  Water and paint are unpredictable!  Which is what I LOVE about it.

Final Step:

After everything was dry I put a bit of water on a small brush and spread the yellow and green paint a bit to ensure the whole paper was covered.  I LOVED it!

The Process:

Honestly, I loved the process as much as I loved the end product.  The liquid ~ unpredictable ~ unsafe ~ flowing ~ paint was just what I needed.  I played and I had fun.

And for these small periods of time I was oblivious to things like death, suicide, loss, grief, depression and pain.  I was free like the paint running mindlessly down the paper.  I still love it to this day.

Here is another one just to show you what is possible with liquid paints.  Let me clarify here though...this one I actually did by spraying watercolor paint instead of pouring.  This will make more sense as you keep reading and look for tomorrow's post for more detail about spraying watercolors.

This one is nothing special really except for the gorgeous color.  And the fun of it!  What will I do with it?  Who knows?  I'm not sure I even titled it.  Dripping Pink maybe?  Any ideas?

The goal for me is to have fun and be transformed and transported to another place within me where problems go away.  This is where the healing begins and continues over time.

Falls of Love was on a pretty firm and sturdy watercolor paper.  I'm not good at all the weights of paper and stuff.  I just buy what feels good to my hands and try it.

Dripping Pink is done on what is called Yupo paper.  You can go here if you would like more information on the paper itself.  You can follow this link to learn more about Yupo and to purchase http://www.dickblick.com/products/yupo-watercolor-paper/

As far as paint, for these paintings I used liquid watercolors from Robert Doak.  You can find his paint here http://www.robertdoakart.com/page/page/5236346.htm.  Be prepared....his paint is not cheap.  Just  a 4 oz. bottle is $25 so I would recommend starting with something cheaper.

But let me say this...there is nothing like Robert Doak paint to get the vibrant color.  I haven't found anything else better.  So you decide.

If you're just getting started you can even mix your own (though remember it probably won't be the vibrant color so lower your expectations).  You can go here to see how to mix your own.  http://www.redbubble.com/people/lynnsong/journal/3616074-watercolor-tip-and-technique-2-how-to-mix-your-own-liquid-watercolor-paint.  Other companies are coming out with more liquid watercolors too so just look around and you can find some within your price range if you don't want to do your own mixing.

Here is a sample of a painting I did where I mixed my own colors and sprayed watercolor paint.  Can you see the difference in the vibrancy of color when I mixed my own versus the Robert Doak?  Big difference!    

It was also the first painting I did at home BY MYSELF with no guidance from Doris.  It has some composition issues but it is still one of my favorites because it was my first flying solo!

And I'm going to keep reminding you...its okay to paint what you think is bad art.  I'm probably crazy for putting my first paintings on line for the world to see, but I want to give you permission to just play.  So no pressure, just wet paint : )

Whew!  I AM going to get to what I am doing now in future posts; but I wanted to give you a background on what I did before and the impact on my life.  I will say it and keep saying it....playing with paint saved my life!

So when depressed apply wet paint.  That's what I'm doing.  We'll paint together and heal together.