While I’m creating art, I’m safe.
Focused on the stroke of the brush and the point where the paint touches the canvas, my brain is fully immersed in process. Painting literally transforms my experience of the world, enabling my brain to hyperfocus and, ironically, relax. It is during these periods of flow that I can share my experience, describing through lines and textures the intolerable pain and unspeakable isolation that rule my inner life. Within the safe zone of flow I feel no triggers. I am free from the threat of my brain quickly translating even the most benign prompt into a message of imminent doom.
Long before my art told the story of living with chronic major depression and obsessive suicidal thoughts, my art served to relax my brain. It would be decades before I would make the connection, but most forms of writing, collage, painting and drawing could transport me into that sacred zone where my brain could take time off from negative obsessive thoughts. I would steal those moments wherever I could to soothe myself, but moments here and there were all I could afford. I always knew that art made me feel better. I just didn’t realize how significant its therapeutic impact could be until I arrived at a place where nothing worked as well or as reliably.
My current project, Living Broken, is quite personal: a mixed media exploration of those living with significant challenges. Stories of survival are incorporated into beautiful mixed media acrylic base paintings. The images are then digitally reproduced onto products so each story – and any related message or inspiration - may be shared and the proceeds may support a cause important to each subject.