An Awakening

Sleep has been a constant goal for me since I put down drugs and copious amounts of alcohol. Yet it has been the most evasive and endangered of species, teasing me with scattered glimpses of it’s eternal beauty. Oh, how I have longed for it’s soothing embrace, and so have everyone I have contact with; they also wish sleep would embrace me!

.   The constant effect of losing this cherished companion is my surliness, my impatience, my wind-like changeability and undependability. Punctuality is no longer a quality I can claim, and it frustrates me greatly. Falling asleep in my oatmeal is also quite frustrating, as is stabbing myself in the eye with my mascara brush. Nodding off at redlights and nearly colliding with oncoming traffic are less than desirable effects of losing my Lovely Sleep’s company, also.cropped-fede7588-4d83-493f-9367-3fbffead6a841.jpg

Bipolar Disorder, my particular breed of it, thrives on insomnia. The Manic high’s leave me strung out like guitar strings tightened to the breaking point, you can virtually hear my mind humming at high frequency when I walk into a room. The flying mouse-wheel of thoughts is now turbocharged , ready to escape it’s moorings and fly an oblivion my mind may never recover from. The longer she evades me with her unfaithfulness, the more my living quarters look like a battlefield, reflecting her absence in my life. WIN_20191220_02_55_24_Pro (6)_LI

.  It truly is a war. The other end of the spectrum in this battle is THE DARK. Each day of the mania leads me closer to the brink of devastation. At times THE DARK and the mouse-wheel cohabit my being, bouncing my sanity as if a Rubber ball has been thrown full tilt into a narrow alley.

. Then the fateful day arrives when my loss of Lover Sleep leads me to the pit, the abyss of THE DARK. It throws me in and pulls up the rope ladder in one fell swoop. Leaving me to stand waist deep in the most desolate places of memory. Abuse, Pain, Rejection, Rape, Loneliness, Fear, thoughts of Harm, Deep All encompassing Grief… They are all here, all come out from the darkness edges of this well of depression to shove and kick me about as I stand in the tiny spot of light that trickles down from the far above opening of this shaft of hell. WIN_20200105_13_55_45_Pro (3)

The level of Muck rises as each long day passes, and unless I can find the toolbox my years of mental health therapy has given me, or if I can find that lifeline of contact with my support network, or best yet, if I can find a way to kneel and call out over and over to my Creator, begging for the strength to claw my way out, all may be lost. Anyone who has fallen down this DARK, knows how close it gets to oblivion at times…  

.   Days can pass, this last round a month passed, as you can see by my lack of sharing here. The pen weighs a thousand pounds, the telephone a ton. At times my paintbrush is lost in the sediment, more often than not it is divine release. I let the Dark flow out of me and away, down from my battered heart and mind , then finally draining from my fingertips on to canvas, paper, cement block or found object. The level of sadness ebbs, I have the strength to climb and paint my way up the walls wet with my tears.

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.  As the light gets brighter, the colors on my canvas turn from Greys and browns to lilac and magenta, then colors of light and freedom. A few minutes of rest in Dear Sleep’s embrace , a gift from above then the final push into the light. The glorious light of freedom of peace, bathing my psyche in cooling water, releasing the bondage of all those fears, flashbacks mental anguish.

.  My Creator saw fit to give me another glorious day, and finally the strength to reach for help from my doctors, my therapist, and my lifeline of freeflowing art, color, shape and movement.

.  Finally, my quest is completed, my medicine adjusted, which I take gratefully. Now with this elixer (and a new bipap machine) , some calming music and grateful meditation on all my blessings I fall gently into Sleep’s waiting arms. I lay my head on her motherly bosom, which happens to be my favorite squish pillow, and off I drift down the gentle stream of happy dreams…looking forward to a joyful, rested Awakening.

Growth is Morphing

My recent Work in Progress is really becoming something special! I have been experiencing much personal emotional growth, and really am expanding my horizons! The featured Image and this top one are my current work in progress, and the following three images are of my last year’s entry into the Insights II Bipolar Art Exhibition. I was proud to win a spot alongside the other  ” founding” artist members of The Ryan Licht Sang Bipolar Foundations’ permanent collection, and my piece, “Crossing the Delaware, Well Aware” garnered more than it’s fair share of attention!

This year I again have the honor to have one of my works displayed in “Insights III” at the Zolla/ Liebermann Gallery in Chicago, on October 24th, 2019. I am working like crazy to get there this year as well, I just refuse to miss this show!

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I am so pleased with this little beauty in progress, some wondered if I were a “one hit wonder” and this piece gives the resounding “NO! I have so much MORE yet to give!”

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This is My Signature Style and there is No mistaking it! “Growth” a work in progress, by Susan T. Martin

 

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Crossing the Delaware, Well Aware, acrylic on canvas, Susan T. Martin, 8/11/17
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Detail, George from Crossing the Delaware WellAware, acrylic on Canvas, Susan T. Martin, 2017
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Detail, Crossing…Well Aware…Susan T. Martin, 8/2017

What Does Artistic Success LOOK Like?

Wouldn’t we all like to know, right?

Yes! We all want to be a great “success” in our chosen field, and many artists have a clear idea of what they need to be successful. Speaking for myself, I thought success would mean the end of financial struggle, to a point. As a person with mental illness (Bipolar Disorder and PTSD for starters) and physical handicaps (use your imagination), I felt that my “happy day” would come when I could pay my bills and buy my art supplies, and eat what and where I wanted, with a few more bucks to put by.80B2AA6A-B993-41D9-AC94-BE325A4F596C

I’ve been working toward that end for over 50 years now, and while my life has been unusual (to put it mildly), I fancied that with all my obvious creative talent my art would be sought after. Notice that I did not say “highly” sought after. No, I tried to be realistic-it would take some time to get well known, etc… Well, that day I envisioned, that “happy” future success day has not come. Big sigh, and big pity party…

.  Wait. Just. One. Minute…

What am I talking about? All of my life I dreamed of a time when I could create my art whenever I wanted! I dreamed of pursuing My artistic vision! Did you, also? I have made that time for myself, I have chosen to pursue my artistic life no matter what my life circumstances. No time to paint? I get my paints out at 10 pm. some days. No where to paint? I live in a single wide mobile home, crammed to the gills with projects I’m working on! No money for canvas? I find things in the trash, at thrift stores, on ebay-cheap things that no one wants anymore- and I find ways to make them unique, colorful, extraordinary …

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Success! From a Broken Cement Block!
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Intergalactic Dragonfly made of Trash
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Gutters, Plastic Containers,Spaghetti Forks!
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An Old Patio Table!
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Recycled Everything!
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My Dream in Progress
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My Dreams Taking Flight!

.  At this very moment, right now, I have no bread in the house. No bread, about a half cup of milk and some ramen. (Not the “Cup o Lunch ” kind with the veggies either.) Not to get too personal, but 2-ply T-P. (Feel your little butt tighten up?) Am I crying the blues here? Making myself seem a martyr? An arter-martr? (sorry, I just had a silly moment…)

.  No, I am telling you that I AM a success. I AM AN ARTIST SUCCESS STORY.

.   Let that stew a moment: A  50-something improperly-art-educated-disabled-crazywoman-in-a-run-down-trailer-park-in-a-flood-zone-with-no-homeowners’ insurance-no-coffee-using-2-ply-TP is a SUCCESSFUL ARTIST?!?

Woop woop! Yup, that’s me!

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my idea of an artistic selfie!

.  I have no looming prospects of fame, of a sudden, amazing “breakout” work, or even of a teeny weeny inheritance, but I am as happy as a clam in mud, happy as an accountant with a pen that works, happy as a rotund, pink, rather hairless, animal who squeals in a pile of feces!

I have chosen to live my Artist’s dream, to get up each day and paint a stroke, glue a something together, write a poem. I am not too broke to go get a gallon of milk or decent toilet paper, neither am I well off enough to buy the best brushes, or even decent canvas.

But I am an ARTIST. That is who I am, and that is what I make a conscious choice to do. Every day of my successful life. Hey, it’s wonderful to be on top, isn’t it?cropped-win_20170422_17_22_37_pro-5_li.jpg

.  This is not just a litany of my own happiness with my art career, which I would define not really as a “career”, but as a life choice…No, I want to help YOU , dear reader, to see where your own happiness lies. What are you holding out as your carrot? What does your “success” look like? Are you, like so many, comparing where you are to what other artists are experiencing? Are you kicking yourself for not painting a still life, when that’s what Mr. Prize Winner painted in the last show? Were you let down when they announced the “winners” to the last member’s show you entered? (yeah, me too…) See what  I mean? Are we longing for some recognition, some prize or award, another feather in our cap, while we miss the sensual sensation of paint flowing onto canvas ? Or the startling moment when that perfect shade of turquoise comes to life on our palette? Or, here’s one: The moment when you jump up saying ” Yes! I got it!” because the line you laid down is exactly where you want it to be?

.  Yes, my artist friend, these are the true successes. I never want to be Michaelangelo wishing I was Davinci. Can you imagine? The creator of the “David” wishing he had painted the “Mona Lisa”? Thinking he was not a successful artist?

.  Let us remember this wonderful gift we have now, and revel in it, delight in it! Then all of our art will be successful.

 

 

An Introduction and Trigger Warning!

Prayer for Magdalia, Painting by Susan T. Martin

A Physical, Original Signed Artwork by Susan T. Martin 9″ x 11″ Mixed Media Painting on Board, Unframed…free shipping

$50.00

Boom. Just like that! I pushed a button, chose the business plan, and I’m up and running… Why don’t you come run with me for a while? You can see me falter, catch my breath, take a few more steps, laugh, get a stitch in my side, take another step or two…and then give it up and fall down in a heap of knees, elbows, sweat and laughter!

Cause, I have to tell you right now, I’m a funny duck! You are going to have quite a time as you get to know my quirks, my Bipolar moods, my PTSD and paranoia, my traumatic brain injury forgetfulness, and all the scarred psyche that my dysfunctional upbringing left me with.

“I am glad you are here. I want you to see me fall, see my imperfections, see my glaring “human-ness” in the unforgiving overhead light of reality… Because I am an artist, and ultimately, I am my art: An Ever-evolving, morphing, learning and growing, beautiful and fleeting image, A mark left on the page of this Tiny Giant Life!”

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“Plugged Into It” digital Painting,c. SusanTMartin

So, unless otherwise noted, all the Art, Words, Photos, Poems, Thoughts and Visual Musings you see and feel here are the sole creation and copyright property of me,

Susan T. Martin.

I make Out Of The Gutter Art.

Enjoy yourself, wander around a bit, have a drink if you like ( but don’t throw any plastic away, I recycle) Rest if you are tired, eat if you are hungry, but never the last Oreo…that baby is mine.

TRIGGER WARNING: While I  do not create pornography, my art is often adult in nature, and can be disturbing for some viewers as it often stems from my memories and flashbacks of emotional, physical and sexual abuse. I use artistic means as a coping mechanism, and therapy and find my art is a soothing release from the horrors of my past. It is my hope that by getting the pain and trauma out of me and onto canvas or other media, I can find peace and the ability to live in the present as a loving, caring, healthy and healing, whole person. Not a victim, but a survivor. And not just existing but thriving!

Of all the people who love me and have helped me on this journey, my utmost gratitude goes to God, who drew me to him from a life buried in the mire. He is the one who pulled me Out of the Gutter.

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Prayer for Magdallia, by Susan T. Martin 9 x 11 Marker on Board $150.00