Monday, November 21, 2011

Happy Lion

This is a drawing titled "Happy Lion". It measures 12"x16" and was done with oil pastels.

I'm just trying to gain proficiency with this medium. Ten years ago I was really good at using oil pastels, it takes some time to re-learn all the tricks.

At first I wasn't happy with the drawing. I had one idea, then really had to rework it again before it was ready to add color. I'm using too much fixative, which caused the top layers of oil pastel not to stick well.

My husband says he likes this one better than the last I did, so maybe some improvement. My husband also says that he can imagine himself as the lion, so maybe his opinion is just subjective.

My husband says that if you are to improve you have to listen to the advice of others. My gut reaction is that if you are talking to an artist, who does art every day, their opinions can be helpful, but currently the advice my husband is giving me isn't very helpful. He says that I've got to tell a story, and that I've got to dig deep down inside of me and try to summon up some of my emotions and deal with those emotions in the artwork. If I can do that, he promises, I'll have a superior piece of art. What are your fears, he asks me. What do you dream about at night, have any nightmares that you can draw? If your artwork has a personal story attached, he promises, then it will be better.

When my husband tells me how to make art my first reaction isn't very happy. I want to flush his head in the toilet.

I'm afraid there is no story attached to "Happy Lion". What's that in the distance next to the figure of the lion? Those are two beasts making love. The plants are obvious, the building is obvious, the sex of the lion is obvious, its just a pretty picture.

I'm happy at the dose of medication I'm at, life runs pretty smoothly. But I can't help thinking that at a lower dose I'd be more creative. This runs contrary to another passing thought I sometimes have, which is that on a different medication, say Zyprexa or Seroquel, I'd make better art because my head would work better. So what do I want, suppression of the schizophrenia or let it come out as much as I can bear? Its like a writer who says that they write their best stuff after a few drinks. I am trying hard to separate my creative life from my prescription drug use life. I don't know yet what level of antipsychotic I'm going to settle at. But the key is to stay in the now. What I create now is simply the best that I can do, and my best has to be good enough.

I was always the kid who wished she'd been born with more brains. Now I'm the lady who wishes she was born with more creativity, and I've got to stop thinking that.

Since I've decided to become a recluse and focus on making art I haven't had any problems with depression. Oh, there's the occasional foul mood, that can sometimes last up to a day, but all in all I'm focused on the art, and I love what I do. I showed my last two drawings to my therapist and he said I looked like an outsider artist. I think that more and more I'm detaching from civilization and just trying to be a better me. This means practice and hard work. For instance, I'll pass on going to see a movie with a friend because the next morning I want to work on art, and I don't want any post effects from having exhausted myself socially. I've given up church, women's spirit group, and am not attending nor plan on attending any writing or art workshops. Sometimes, its a little lonely being me, but for the most part I have my husband and my dog to keep me company. I expect the more I detach from society, the more my art will resemble outsider art. It did in the beginning. I think "Happy Lion" looks pretty much like Outsider Art.

1 comment:

  1. Dear Karen,

    I like "Happy Lion". It's trippy and almost musical. And I think you are quite skilled with the oil pastels. It would be an excellent experience to be in a room that was properly lit with your paintings and drawings on the walls. A room full of imagination and skill, bursting with color.

    Your husband says you should listen to the advice of others in order to improve; I think that is partially true, but ultimately you are in the God role. It is your creation and you must decide, commit. If you kept following different people's advice then the result would probably be a mess. That doesn't mean that others can't shed insight into your work, in which case you must work with that.

    As you know, I've started working on a few beginnings of fiction pieces and you and others are giving me good feedback, feedback that keeps me grounded, for which I am very grateful (thank you thank you thank you). Your view in particular I value because you are also a writer and have seriously written fiction. Already I'm getting insight into what I'm doing right and what I'm doing wrong, thanks to other people. But I know that I am in the driver's seat. Ultimately, I have to deeply enjoy the process, be willing to make mistakes, to even fail completely. And if it really stops being fun, all work and struggle and no play and experiment, then I should stop and do something else.

    So keep drawing, keep painting Karen. Listen to people but only take what you need. I think you're doing great. Keep the faith that you're going in a good direction with your work.

    And, once again, thank you so much for commenting on my blog. You inspire me to continue with writing and I value you greatly!

    Happy, happy Thanksgiving!

    Love, Kate : )


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