I love to paint old furniture. Old, unloved, forlorn furniture. Abandoned.
While my efforts are earnest, I don’t adhere to and “discipline”, such as Tole painting. I love the results of timeless beauty where this discipline is used. But there is something of a rebel in me, an impatient, free-wheeling force to be reckoned with.
. Does this make my recycled art furniture better than traditionally applied techniques? I personally think it is akin to comparing apples to oranges. My artwork is an act of love, no matter what my training or lack thereof…
(I had posted images of a recent table I finished. In retrospect I feel that because I tried using some stencils for the first time, that it does not fit the category on my original art. Yes, I did paint over and add many of my own details, nonetheless it does not sit well with my conscience to say it is all my work.)
Depicting my own image has been a starting point my work from the beginning. As a child my drawings were always of female faces, although I never consciously realized these were reflections of me. Even then, in my earliest work, the duality of my nature is blatantly apparent.
. The faces I drew were always divided, half usually in darkness, or different in other ways. I did not know I was Bipolar then, I just had a burning need to express myself artistically. I was not properly diagnosed until I got clean and sober at the age of 35 after a drugging career that lasted over twenty three years.
. I had always known I was different, I described the feeling of being “painted green”in a room full of “normal” folk. It was like having something tattooed on my forehead, a conspicuousness. When I dug into my diagnosis, learning all I could in the hopes of finally coming to grips with my self destructive life’s course, I could see all the familiar signs in the literature. It made SO much sense! Now, armed with my new sobriety and determined to stay the course on my psychiatric medication regimen, I set out to turn my life around-to leave the wasteland of my past far behind.
. There was a slight glitch in my plan, however. The new meds that I was taking had a very unwelcome effect. They dulled my creative impulses, they slowed my manic phases down to a crawl. Rather than my giddy highs and freewheeling episodes of excess that I had lived for, and that had been killing me, I was now just a level hum. No taught guitar string playing harmonics, I was now m e l l o w…Too mellow. Where were the bright colors, the whirling merry go rounds and my peals of crazy laughter? All of the sudden I was boring and frumpy, and immune to excitement. I actually slept…alot.
. This is the part of a healthy mental health regimen that causes so many Bipolar individuals to “go off” their meds…but I had lost that option when I decided to stay alive. I had to make this work, I had to stick this out, because the alternative was suicide. Whether thru a drug overdose or tragedy from high risk behavior, I knew that sticking this out meant my very survival. Would I have to be a zombie? Was my wildly creative side lost to me forever? What to do?
. Fortunately, I had a therapist (counselor ) who listened, and I had the determination to tell her my discomfort. It took the better part of two years, and many different drug combinations , much discomfort and many tears to find a plan that worked, but we did not give up. Finally, I felt comfortable in my own skin, most of the time.
I still have highs and lows, and I am still a rapid cycling Bipolar person with PTSD. I still suffer from chronic insomnia and flashbacks, severe depressive episodes and ideation at times. But I never, ever want to destroy this beautiful gift of life, or to disrespect my Creator. It’s a long road, but the view is great!
Now that all that is said and done, the point I was getting at was that at a point a few years ago, talking to my therapist about my art, and showing him my work I had an epiphany ! BI-polar, TWO-sided! All the faces I drew and painted had told the tale from childhood! As we continued to go through my portfolio, it came rushing home to me. I paint myself as I am, and thru my art I am able to understand and put together all my different facets! I am constantly learning, healing and growing as an artist, and I am
so grateful that I did not give up on myself!
. If anyone out there is fearful of a mental illness diagnosis, please give yourself a chance to get well. Don’t be afraid to seek help, because I’m here today as an example of the kind of life that is possible if one keeps pushing on! You can feel better!
Above are just a few recent examples of the many sides of my bipolar self I paint…
Progress is being made daily! 4 molds (maybe more) in various stages of done-ness, plus a life size ceramic duck. Oh, and 3 end tables, 4 chairs, and a round dining room table, all in various stages of done-ness.
. Um…oh yeah, 2 paintings and one mural of a life sized horse…and a new mural commission to be begun Pronto…
. You would think that the funds would be rolling in… But I make, and I create but I never hit the pavement with my wares and try to sell them….Sigh…
. Is that the mark of a true artist? Or just a bipolar one?
These feet have walked so far (uphill), This mind has needed rest (a pill), This heart needs romance (a thrill), and This body needs a doctor (a bill)….
. Anyway, I’m still standing… And grateful …
More works are being created as we speak… I will get them on here ASAP!
I have here an experimental video that focuses on many artists’ favorite subject: Themselves…
Egomania, I suppose….