Saturday, May 14, 2011

Finished Painting

This is titled, "Croc Monster". It is small, 8x10 inches and done in oil on panel.

I'm pretty satisfied. The photograph looses subtle shades of color, but this is a colorful and busy painting. It is part of my monster series, a series where I get to free hand draw from my imagination and paint in a style that is freer from convention than what I'm used to, although, to my liking, not yet free enough. The challenge here was to paint as much detail of space and yet not intrude too much on the figures, to have them read as real. I wish I could do atmosphere, I wish I could do painterly, but I have to experiment if I'm to head in that direction. I fear that as much as I try, I can't get away from the self-taught primitivism of literalism. I'm like "oh, don't smear the paint!" and work with tiny brushes, making tiny shifts in color.

Originally the redish fox monster was a plant, but I thought "too boring" and painted over the plant. Unfortunately the lines of the underpainting are present, like wrinkles on the canvass, and it would have been nice to have planned the painting from its drawing conception with the extra monster being built up from smooth primer. I must remember - get the drawing right! And more monsters, the merrier!

Yesterday I painted for three hours straight. Wiped me out. Today I noticed difficulty in painting. At first the decisions were easy, but then I lost energy and it was hard to execute on the painting the idea I had in my mind. I could see what I wanted done, and yet, I didn't have the willpower handy to move the brush. I would listen a little to music, and then summon my guts, and do a little painting. It was stop, go, stop, go, and I believe this is because of the schizophrenia. Working is hard because I lack willpower, but luckily, my personality has determination. I was going to sit in front of the painting, even if I just stared at it, until I got the energy to finish it.

Last Monday I met with my medication nurse and she told me that she had read new literature on my main anti-psychotic Geodone that said it was safe to prescribe a higher dose. I wanted a higher dose so that I could get rid of my second anti-psychotic, Seroquil, which causes weight gain in me. For two days now I've been on maximum Geodone and my apatite is something I definitely can control. Happy am I when I leave the refrigerator alone, and don't open the kitchen cabinets, on a hunger driven quest for food! Should I grow unstable on the maximum dose of Geodone than I have to add the Seroquil again, but there is a bright side to this eventuality. Extra Geodone, pluse Seroquil, makes me into a very strong and capable person. For the few days that I was switching over and titrating the medication I was energetic and happy and busy. I just don't get the same symptoms of my schizophrenia with the extra Seroquil, mostly, a feeling of being brittle and emotionally fragile. I'm afraid that on Geodone I will always have times of feeling that the world is too much for me and that all I want to do is withdraw, the trick is, can I still function and not tip into depression, paranoia, and suicidality? How much sickness can I bear in order to fit into smaller sized clothing? Will the extra Geodone really replace the Seroquil in some small, but essential way? Have to wait, take the medication, and learn.

Without the Seroquil I'm also sleeping differently. Its nice to wake up in the morning not feeling medicated for two or three hours. I find that the transition from sleep into work is much quicker - I've got energy and can shake off the sleep quicker. Instead of starting to paint at 11 or 12 I'm ready to go at 9am. This means I can fit more activities into my day - as long as I'm emotionally up for more activity. Schizophrenia for me makes me wish to pull into myself like a snail pulling into its shell.

I'm going to buy another 8x10 gessoed panel and plan another oil painting monster. I think the next one the monsters should be interacting with one another. Not simply standing as though they are posing for a photograph.


  1. I totally agree..I like my alligators naked......

  2. Congratulations on finishing a painting. Despite the decapitated head, this is a pretty happy painting. It's as if the croc monster and the fox monster are quite pleased about taking their human prize. Again there's a sense in your work of a lot of humor which I appreciate. There's a pull between two different environments--the background blue makes it feel as if the scene takes place under water and yet the plants and flowers makes it seem as if the scene takes place on the ground above. The disorientation gives added interest. The primitive quality you write about in your work makes me think of illustrated children's stories and yet your work is definitely for adults. Tarot cards are like that. Maybe someday you will do an illustrated Tarot card filled with symbolism. Accessible to children, yet made for adults. Overtones of magic.

    Good luck with adjusting your medications. I'm glad that it is working out so far with the Geodon. I've never taken Geodon or Seroquel. Instead I've taken Zyprexa, Abilify and generic prozac. It's the Risperidone that stimulates my appetite, yet I need it in order to sleep. My medication regimen mostly works for me though it is not perfect and so I'm sticking with it for now. It amazes me how different we all are in terms of our response to medications and our body chemistry.

    Love, Kate : )


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