Monday, May 23, 2011
New Monster Drawing
This is small, 8x10. I thought I'd color the monster dark, purples, blues and browns, and have the background yellow.
I sat with myself quietly today and yesterday before I did anything meaningful with my morning. I said the Lord's prayer, and tried to have a little conversation with God. It's about as close to meditation as I get. A while ago I had the practice good, time for prayer everyday, but then we got Cherry Blossom and my peace of mind was shattered. Now Cherry is 6 months old, we've had her for 4 months, and it is time to return to my former habit of centering myself emotionally in the morning.
Called my father yesterday to get his email address. He says his favorite paintings of mine are the monster paintings. So I wanted to send him an image of the finished Croc monster. We talked and he told me about a portrait convention he went to in some big city. He heard lectures and saw demonstrations. I sigh, because I live with so much isolation and I can't travel, can't summon the concentration to learn in a studio situation. I have no choice but to be self taught. My schizophrenia is so disabling, I have to live a closely scripted routine with brief jaunts away from the house. It is very much a "walk forth into the world" and then "scurry home and hide and recoup".
Part of my prayers are to accept me the way I am and not compare myself to others. I'm asking God for help in this. It simply hurts too much when I compare myself to persons without a mental illness. My Dad says he paints about 5 hours every day and that he heard this was an average for an artist. On an extraordinary day I'll paint three, but usually 2 hours is my limit.
Wondering how I would depict myself in a self portrait. Would take a photograph first, make a sketch, and then revise it by looking in a mirror. Rather funny, looking at yourself and then painting yourself. Tried it once in a drawing activity run by a painter at a clubhouse for the mentally ill. One eye turned out a bit larger and higher than the other, and as truth would have it, my eyes aren't level. But I don't just want to paint a likeness of my face, I want the portrait to have some inner psychological value. It is hard to say how me feels about me when I'm praying to God to accept myself as is.
I read a statistic that 60% of those with schizophrenia can't recognize their own illness, vs. only 25% of those with a schizoaffective disorder. My problem is that I'm too hyper aware of my illness. It doesn't work to simply orientate myself by calling myself an artist, because I'm hyper aware of being a mentally ill artist and I think I do crap work. It used to work when I was in my twenties, I called myself a student when I went to college and this helped me with coping with having a mental illness. It is death to the self to call yourself mentally ill and let that definition be the strongest thing about you - when I was in the hospital for two years the staff really tried to get me to accept that I was mentally ill. They thought that they were doing me a service by getting me compliant with taking medication for the illness. I knew that there was something terribly wrong with me, I couldn't read for instance, but I felt like I was a human being with the right to survive and exist.
I don't know why, at 43, I'm having such a difficult time owning my right to survive and exist. So I pray for guidance for a power that is greater than me, a power that my religion says is a source of love and acceptance and forgiveness. Am I having a mid-life crisis? Its about the right age for one.
This morning I woke early. I opened the bedroom door early. And Cherry Blossom kept trying to leap upon me, she was so excited that I was awake and out of bed. Her joy was infectious, and all the fuss she made was for the sake of loving me. What a way to start the day. With an animal that's crazy about you.
I think my life narrows down to my husband, my dog, and my art. A really simple life. I don't know how to engineer self-acceptance, but I think I can arrange for simple activities with times of rest inbetween.
I think that if you are aware that you have a simple life, living very much in the here and now, then you are likely to say to yourself, "what a blessing it is that I have a simple life." Thinking about the future, thinking about how other people live their life, thinking about what ifs and I wants is not living in the here and now.
The more fragile the person, the more important it is that they live in the here and now. Living in the present is a very rich place to live. Since I know that, in my gut, I've got something healthy in my outlook.