The Duality of My Artistic Self

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

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Self Portrait 4AM(detail)
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Flashback 937(detail)
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“Peckish”(detail)
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“Mania Illuminata” sold
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“Mania illuminata” sold
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“Growth”(detail)
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“100 Must-Have Looks”(detail)
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“A Big Beak”(detail)
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“yearning”(detail)
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“Visionaria”sold

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…

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

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

$150.00

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

Isolationism

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What Kind of I am I, Digital Art Print by Susan T. Martin 2016

At times the Artist feels so exposed…so unlike the rest…so isolated from the rest of humankind… She express this as ,”Feeling like I am painted Green”.

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Isolationism, by Susan T. Martin Watercolor and Ink on Paper, 11″ x 14″ $150.00

A Saint Petersburg Artist Resident

It has been an enormously trying year and one half, year and 8 months , actually. I have grown SO much since I have lived here in St. Petersburg, I have learned to believe in myself, and in my ability to survive.

As An ARTIST.  In my own right, I have put in the footwork, stretched my boundaries, made the connections, painted the dreams, and PUT MYSELF OUT THERE! 

Wow!!!  I mean , WOW!

 

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After  All the Fear, Loneliness, Grief, Doubt, All chaining me down and holding me back… I did the impossible. I used my art and with God’s unfailing love, have set myself free! Yes, He saved me from the pit, and put my feet upon a crag, and then I, Susie, Sue, Susan Todd!cropped-c4c4baeb-e0d8-4b76-89a0-c5fbe582a12c.jpg

 

picked up the tools I gathered over the past 40 + years, and put them to Use! Hacking off the dead pieces, digging down to fresh clean soil to build this life on. This BEAUTIFUL LIFE, This Sensitive Life, This life of Love.

A life of true purpose and meaning… I am SO grateful, and full…I may just burst into a ball of colorful confetti!

I know it was not all me, but you know what?

I COULDN’T HAVE DONE IT WITHOUT ME!74AE89DF-B621-4273-B7EB-7D51034CBCF2

So here is my tooting of my own horn, soaking up the satisfaction of a job well done and a future of hope and joy!

I am very proud to share that The Morean Arts Center in Downtown Saint Petersburg, Florida, has granted me the honor of a little pop up show in their beautiful facility! A show that features my art, my way, my innermost feelings, fears and flashbacks all on canvas, and OUT of me. So that I can help someone else see that you CAN have a life after violent sexual assault. After  molestation, after rape, after domestic violence, after ALL the trauma … you can still find your own voice under all the rubble, and you can stand up, on your own again!

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I want you to know that you can recover, but you must work at it and be steadfast in your desire to rise from the ashes of whatever you have experienced. I was surrounded by a family who never wanted to discuss what happened to me, and who treated me like I was touched by some uncleanliness. As if the person I was inside was somehow changed. Soiled. Ruined.

I stand up today, that same child, that same teenager, that same woman and I shout from the treetops that I am clean, and loved, and strong, and Beautiful! I am NOT what happened to me. I am a whole, healed  woman. And I am an ARTIST.cropped-artwork-and-pictures-056.jpgcropped-win_20161110_20_51_35_pro-5.jpg80B2AA6A-B993-41D9-AC94-BE325A4F596C

We’re All Innocent by Susan T. Martin

This painting is Mixed Media on Canvas, 24″x 36″ signed and unframed.

It is the culmination of months of work and thought, and is now, finally, at a stage I can call finished. I think we have spoken to one another long enough, now I will let it speak to you. There are many ways one can interpret a work of art, and I am not going to dictate how you interpret mine. Let it speak to you in the language you understand. My work here is done.

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We’re All Innocent, mixed media on 36″ x 24″canvas, by Susan T. Martin $400.00
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Detail of We’re All Innocent, by Susan T. Martin
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Detail, We’re All Innocent by Susan T. Martin2018

Another Facet

 

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Morning Moon
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The New Way Home by S. T. Martin
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Dawn Moon by S.T. Martin
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Blue Memory by Susan T. Martin
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Dog Walk Moon in Green by S.T. Martin
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Dance of the Banyan by Susan T. Martin
KODAK Digital Still Camera
Whose Side Moon ? Susan T. Martin

“YEARNING” by SUSAN T. MARTIN

waiting. longing. for relief to come.

Mixed Media on Canvas 20″x 16″ by Susan T. Martin

opening image is photographed with a light source behind the painting.

WIN_20180609_04_57_20_Pro (2)This image is under regular light, the source overhead. I enjoy adding a little hidden dialogue to the painting, that the viewer has to work for, and think about. For instance, rather than wishing on a star, our little lady on the far right edge of the painting is puking on one…Oh, and is that star on the forehead of a fallen statue that we are all so familiar with?  (Let the viewer use discernment).

I wont give you anything else… Just look, and wonder…WIN_20180609_04_57_20_Pro (4)This is a fun little painting. I am showing you a detail here of the upper left quadrant of the piece. So much to see, so little time! and now , without further adieu, I give you this :

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A detailed look at , “Yearning” , a close-up of the center of the piece, illuminated from behind the canvas.