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!!!     


  1. I love the message you are sharing. Love the artwork, too!

  2. Thanks so much Deanna! Miss you a lot! Thanks for visiting.

  3. You are so wise. Have you ever read Pema Chodron's 'Comfortable With Uncertainty'? Just more life lessons. Love you, my Brave Sister.

    1. I haven't read that Janet. I'll look for it. Thanks and love you too : )