Entries Tagged as: depression


December 14th, 2009, Comments (20)

I love how sparks come and tap you on the shoulder sometimes.

The days are getting darker and darker and colder and colder. I'm doing fine, but still, this time of year is more difficult and I feel more blah. But here and there are these glimmers, which is what inspired this painting tonight. The blue lines on either side of the figure were inspired by these little bare-branched tree vignettes that I saw on a walk through the woods this afternoon. Walks in the woods are glimmers. Feeling an idea come rushing in is another glimmer. A dash of hope and possibility is another. Sometimes glimmers are teeny-tiny, but just one can be brilliant.

So if you get blue this time of year and I know many of us do, hold onto those little glimmers, wherever they come from. The shortest day is right around the corner and then the days will begin to get longer and longer again soon.

I can't say this is connected to the recycle theme really, but that's ok. I'll have a fun recycling post up tomorrow! In the meantime, happy glimmering! 

Creating Your Dream Team

March 1st, 2009, Comments (3)

This week's chapter in The 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women, which I'm reading with Jamie's book group, talks about creative alliances and partnerships. I liked how A Feminist Wife called it her "dream team." It fits perfectly with the (totally optional) dream theme this month for the Creative Every Day Challenge.

I have used the idea of an imagined dream team before (people living and dead that I could consider personal allies), but it's been awhile since I thought about who I would put on my team. Among those I don't know, I'd love to have SARK as an ally as well as Martha Beck. Both of these women are intelligent, funny, creative, down-to-earth go-getters, and totally inspiring. I admire their honesty and integrity in the telling of their stories, their energy, and their wild success!

Fortunately, I'm lucky to have some wonderful creative alliances with people I already know. I have an awesome coach, a sort of Mastermind group that I meet with regularly, and I enjoy taking classes where I meet other like-minded, creative souls. One of my greatest alliances is with the hubster who is a wonderful champion for me and my bff has always been incredibly supportive.

I've made many creative alliances online (one of the wonderful things about blogging!) and I'm extremely grateful for that. It's been so helpful for a super introverted person like myself, as I can feel connected and respond in a way that feels good to me, without feeling the energy drain that happens for me in crowds of people.

I've been working on asking for help lately and it's definitely been interesting. The act of asking makes me feel a bit vulnerable, but it also gives others the opportunity to help (and people generally love to help others, particularly when it's something they're passionate about.)

Along those lines, I've approached some people I admire about doing interviews for Creative Every Day this year and the response has been wonderful. I'll be posting one of these interviews this week! In the meantime, check out this fabulous interview that Jamie Ridler did with the lovely Goddess Leonie.

Playing with Words in Art

February 3rd, 2009, Comments (13)

sketchbook swap blah I decided to play with words in art last night as I watched some of the Super Bowl with the hubster.

I used a moleskine that I'm drawing in as part of a sketchbook swap and drew in a few pages just to see what might come up if I drew. The first drawing was inspired by the slouchy pose my husband was making at one point in the evening. I imagined the buzz of thoughts running through his head, all leaking out and landing neatly in a nearby fishbowl.

I sometimes enjoy writing what I imagine the figures are thinking about in my art, like I did in my "Subway Stories" paintings, in which I collaged Subway maps and train schedules, painted a subway scene over that in acrylic and then within the figures I drew what I imagined they were thinking about. "Subway Stories: Green Line" is below. (The original is sold, but you can buy prints of it here.) I'm doing a commissioned Subway Stories painting for someone who met their soon to be husband on the train. So sweet. I usually think of art as a way to express what I can't say verbally. I suppose words in art are just another way to tell the story.

subway stories green line

Another page from my sketchbook swap moleskine. More words, this time just the action itself, "jump!" I seem to have a thing for striped tights at the moment.

sketchbook swap jump

Looking for more word inspiration? Well, I've got loads of it!

  • Ms. Dawn Doran from The Knitting Gnome blog emailed to let me know about this cool art and writing collaboration called Spark, art from writing: writing from art. Here are the details from organizer, Amy Souza: The next artistic/literary exchange starts on Feb 13th; ends Feb 22nd. Again, pick 2 days (48 hours) in which to work. They don’t have to be contiguous. You send your inspiration piece to your partner (and Amy) by the 13th; send me finished work by the 22nd/23rd. The theme this time is “hope.” Not sure how it’ll work out, but if you have an inspiration piece that says “hope” to you, send that to your partner. If not, just send her whatever you want. But I’m asking everyone to look at their partner’s work through the lens of “hope.” Again, it’s so vague, you can define it how you want, and if nothing comes to you through that lens then forget it and just let the piece inspire you. You need to let Amy know if you're interested in participating by this Friday, February 6th, by contacting her at or get more info on her site here.
  • Blogger, Writer, and Massage Therapist, Heidi Fischbach is offering A Month of Living Curiously, a month of inspiration and guidance via email sure to spark your creativity through the wonder of words. Check out all the details here!
  • I loved reading the written responses to my painting at Pictures, Poetry, and Prose yesterday! Laura mentioned this in the comments, but I wanted to be sure that everyone knows that she is always accepting submissions from artists. What a wonderful way to collaborate and join the creative energies of visual art and the written word!


November 10th, 2008, Comments (17)

Today, I decided to play on a piece of watercolor paper. I had cut out a few silhouettes of people from magazines that I thought I might use as stencils, but then the back of one figure had these neat green swirls (I think part of a landscape) on it, so I decided to glue it to the paper, back-side up. I put down some texture with gel medium, let it dry and then came back into it with some fluid acrylic paint and an image started to suggest itself. A bird-like shape was over the woman. The silhouette I had cut out was only a torso and head, so I added black and some gold-green to it to make a dress. I ended up trimming away part of the paper to make this long shape, which I'm liking. The image seemed to be a sort of transformation, as if the woman was becoming a bird. I also saw butterflies in some of the brush strokes, so I'm calling it, "Transform." It's about 6"x11.5" on watercolor paper.

For Soul Coaching today, the exercises involved some cleansing, so I cleaned some areas of my apartment. I especially loved the effect of wiping down our coffee table with some wood cleaner and a rag. Oddly satisfying. And then I took a shower, concentrating on washing away the negative and making room for the positive in my life. The next exercise was about choosing the meaning you give to difficult moments in your life. I feel like I've done a lot of that over the last 10 years, it's what's helped me most when it comes to living a happier life. Not that I don't ever complain or wish certain things hadn't happened in my life. But I understand now, that those difficulties, such as the experience of being molested or the trauma I experienced receiving medical testing for a disease I had as a child or the tendency towards depression, all these things made me who I am today. They brought me to where I am. They made me a stronger and better person. They've made me a kinder, gentler person with more compassion and understanding towards the difficulties others face. They've given me a certain depth of character and perhaps a certain depth to my artwork that other people can relate to. I used to think, "why me?" a lot. But now, not so much. I'm grateful for all the experiences which led me to where I am today and that includes the difficult ones.

Sometimes it seems easier to do this with the most difficult experiences and it's certainly easier with things that have long since passed. For me, it can be harder to do with the smaller things, like not taking someone's actions or words personally or in dealing with a rejection. I might obsess for a day over a harsh word or cool glance before I can let it go. But I do try and see all those little things as part of my path, and not turn them negative. And I try to remember that it's not about me all the time. :-)

And now, I'm off to relax a bit. Hope you're all having a wonderful start to the week!

Soul Coaching Day 3

November 4th, 2008, Comments (9)

Suddenly I'm a bundle of emotions. My neck hurts, my head hurts, and my eyes are teary. My day, up til this point was fabulous. I took a long walk to the polls, cast my vote, walked to the post office, and then ate my lunch outside. The weather was simply gorgeous. I picked up some leaves on my way home, I breathed in the air, and relished this lovely November day. I got home and did my homework for the Soul Coaching group which involved doing some de-cluttering. I de-cluttered the bathroom hung up a new shower curtain liner while I was at it. It felt good to this. It did seem to bring a certain clarity to both the physical and mental space I hold. I felt myself releasing some of that mental clutter into the trash as I carried my clutter out of my home. Sometimes sweeping away mental clutter also releases emotions that have been building too. And I made a big realization today, I said something out loud that surprised me a bit, but also felt absolutely true. I realized that I am letting go of the identity I've had of myself as being a "depressed person." I'm not saying that I haven't been depressed. I most certainly have. But someone said to me today that there's a difference between having the symptoms of depression and being a depressed person. Just like having a broken arm doesn't make you a broken arm. It's subtle (to me), but profound to grasp that difference. And I'm slowly getting that.

I'm also feeling quite emotional about the election. All this anticipation and building up. I read this post earlier and got all teary. I've held off from watching the news as it's too early to know anything, but I'll turn it on soon I'm sure. Got to remember to breathe. O.k. I'm off to rest for a bit before making some dinner. Art for the day will be posted later tonight. Toodaloo for now!


August 6th, 2008, Comments (9)

I've been experiencing so much synchronicity in the past few days, it's wild! One that made me laugh out loud and gave me goosebumps was when I saw the same image twice in a matter of hours. First, in the copies of the Calyx journal I received in the mail. I opened the journal to check out my art and the other art featured inside. One of the artist's I noticed was Fran Forman, whose name stood out partly because I read that she is a fellow Massachusetts artist. Fran does beautiful digital collages using images she finds at flea markets.

Just a couple hours later, I was at my old job where I'm spending the evenings this week and I picked up the Globe. I wouldn't have seen this if I hadn't been at work this week because I don't get the paper delivered at home. And even if I had gone to the paper's website, I probably wouldn't have seen the bit from the daily insert, called "Sidekick." There on the front page of "Sidekick" was a large image called "Letting Go," the same one I saw in Calyx, from Fran Forman. I snapped a quick pic of the paper for you.

In some synchronicity squared, I received a comment today from Patty of Magpie's Nest on my recent post about, synchronicity of course, which reminded me about an article I read in the Globe over two years ago. I wasn't sure if I'd be able to find it, but I did a quick search with what I remembered and it was the very first thing that came up on google. The article is all about seeing signs in numbers, in this case it involves a message from someone who has passed on. The story clearly made an impression on me since I remembered it so clearly. Looking back at it now, I laughed because of the date it was published includes my favorite number for synchronicity: 17.

Gah, it's seems impossible for me to explain these things properly. Today there were so many little instances of seeing the same things show up in different books and websites and the oddest places. After a full day of feeling bombarded, it's almost silly. When I read SARK's newsletter this evening with her own story of crazy synchronicity (which she told ever so eloquently), I laughed when she shared the Anne Lamott quote, "That's God showing off." That's a good way to put it. In an email, I told Patty that I think of them as winks from the Universe. Winky, winky, wink-wink.

Lifeforce My internet has been on the blink which has been frustrating and I feel terribly behind in catching up with emails and blogs. But I'm trying to let it roll off my back. Speaking of letting things roll off my back, I've been continuing to enjoy yoga. I tried out a new yoga dvd today: LifeForce Yoga to Beat the Blues with Amy Weintraub, author of the book Yoga for Depression: A Compassionate Guide to Relieve Suffering Through Yoga, (which was excellent by the way.) I really enjoyed the dvd which incorporated yoga poses, breathing, and chanting. It's definitely a dvd I would want some privacy to do, mainly because of the chanting, but I do like chanting and I like the way she incorporated it into the poses themselves. It wasn't a super challenging dvd, but I did feel much lighter and more energized afterwards. I especially liked how she began the dvd with some simple body movements (rolling the ankles, knees, hips, a little dancing, and a little shaking) that warm the body up before you do any poses. I appreciated that because I feel like sometimes yoga classes and videos go right into the poses cold. Eventually your body warms up, but it's much nicer to go into the stretches with the synovial fluids in your joints already moving, especially when your not the most flexible lady on the planet. Plus, doesn't shaking just feel good? Try it. It feels fantastic. :-) Shake it like a polaroid picture and all that. As I type this, in the background someone on t.v. says, "Shake it. Shake it." Hehe

All the yoga and reading I've been doing has been very helpful in my journey as I taper off anti-depressants. I'm grateful for that. It's so important for me to keep up with self-care here, especially as the days begin to get shorter, and yoga helps me remember to breathe and connect with my body. Finding creative ways to face my tendency towards a depressive state has been kind of fun. I enjoy reading what has helped others and trying natural ways to keep my spirits up through inspirational books, movement, supplements, art-making, etc...Every person is unique, so I think I need to discover my own personal prescription. But I always feel like I'm on the right path when I start seeing synchronicities every where!

Stormy Weather and Some Links

July 21st, 2008, Comments (18)

I made this drawing in ink on paper last week. The image came intuitively in my sketchbook and then I re-created her here. The piece is called "Speaking with Rabbits."

My moods have matched the weather lately: a bit cloudy, a bit stormy. But overall, it's good. I have to say that Byron Katie's book, Loving What Is (although I'm reading it in very slow bursts) has been helpful in re-framing my thoughts.

How bout some fun links to brighten up your Monday (or Tuesday which it nearly is by the time I'm getting around to posting this)! O.k., here we go,

  • Check out this super cool coiled paper basket tutorial from esprit cabane that I found at Nathalie Brault's blog. esprit cabane is a French ezine all about crafty and green living and it's been translated into English already!
  • Violet of Violet Ink shared a link to BG Patterns, a site where you play with making patterns. She used it to make her fabulous new banner!
  • Hanna has a great post about her favorite pens for mixed-media. I love reading about other artist's experiences with their art tools!
  • A quote from Aine Livia's blog: The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honours the servant and has forgotten the gift. -Albert Einstein
  • Decor*8 has organized a totally dreamy give-a-way of inspiration packs, put together with all sorts of ephemera for art-making that was shipped to her from all over the world. I donated some stuff and man, I would love to win!
  • Super sweet artist, Wyanne is now offering a selection of classes online. She's teaching classes on discovering your marketable style, how to take it to the next level as an artist, marketing your art, and art play.
  • Shayla shares some fun artwork using straws as a tool (I've done this before and it IS fun!) and she also shares a link to an artist who uses this tool to make spooky daily monsters.

Being Brave with Depression

July 15th, 2008, Comments (32)

Floating Over the Circus marker and ink on watercolor paper, 9"x12"

I've been feeling a bit quiet and tender around the edges this week so far. One thing that really helped brighten my mood was getting out the door and taking a long walk. I brought some things I needed to mail and a bag to get some groceries in and walked a couple miles into town. All the beautiful flowers along the way filled me up. And I need to be especially true to self-care right now as I'm on a journey that fits right in with my Be Brave theme of the month.

I wondered about whether or not to write about this here. It's a personal subject and can be a touchy one. I've talked about my experiences with depression here before. I think a lot of creative folks struggle with it, perhaps we're more sensitive and therefore more vulnerable to dark moods. 1 in 5 women in the U.S. is on anti-depressants, so I know I'm hardly alone. And while I'm not feeling like discussing my history with depression at the moment, I do want to say that I'm currently trying (with the assistance of a doctor) to slowly come off my anti-depressants. The first month of this process (that may take 6 months or more to complete) went amazingly well. I didn't feel a difference at all, in fact I felt better than usual. I'm now in the second month and I've felt the dip. I know I'll rebound though. It's sort of the feeling of when you jump into water. You dip down a bit before coming back to the surface.

I know that there will probably be some withdrawal symptoms involved in the future. Anyone who has done any reading about or had experience with coming off anti-depressants knows that the withdrawal can be harsh. However, I feel like I'm in a place in my life where I'd like to approach depression from a different angle and it feels like now is the time to go for it. Plus, I feel like I have a great doctor to work with who will help me do this safely and smartly. I'm not anti-medication by any means. I've been on some sort of anti-depressant for nearly 7 years and I would never judge anyone's choice to be on or off medication. Whatever keeps you healthy and safe is the way to go. And I'm not positive that I'll be able to come off anti-depressants completely, but I do want to try. If I can't do it safely, that's o.k. too. There are many reasons for making this decision and perhaps I'll go into that more later, but I felt like I wanted to share where I'm at at the moment as it is a big part of what's going on for me currently. Part of my brave action today is writing about this here.

I'm a bit behind on email, but if I owe you one, I'll get to it soon, promise! Tomorrow is a day for returning emails and errands and hopefully some art and then Thursday is my birthday and I plan to do whatever I feel like. Hehe. Friday, I'm planning to meet my mom for a pedicure and a movie and then drive up to Artstream for Lisa Solomon and Lisa Congdon's art opening. I feel totally introverted at art openings, but it should be fun, inspiring, and hopefully I'll see some familiar faces!

Killing Yourself Over and Over Again

May 8th, 2008, Comments (17)

Drawn with markers in my journal last night. this is actually the back of the page I drew. I like the way the bleeding markers look on the reverse side.

I'm listening to Martha Beck's Steering By Starlight on my ipod (thank you to Christine Kane for the recommendation.) It's really great and has me thinking, laughing, processing, and pondering some more.

In one part, Beck tells the story of a client who is so depressed and fed up with his life that he's contemplating suicide. Her response is, "You'll definitely have to commit suicide to be free...In fact, ideally, you'll do it all the time. Not physically. Mentally." She goes on to explain how a person can live a vital life by regularly killing (in a sort of suicide) their conceptualized self. In other words, by regularly freeing yourself of the stories you cling to, you can free yourself from those self-imposed limitations.

I was particularly struck by this part of the book. Possibly because I've had my own brush with suicide. But also because this kind of death (of old beliefs) is one that keeps coming up for me over the last couple years.

There have been two memorable times in my life where I had a temporary, but freeing experience with the death of my stories. The first was when my step-brother died. He was only 23 years old and his death was sudden and unexpected. The night before he'd been at my sister's softball game. He went out for pizza with his friends before retiring back to the apartment he shared with a close pal. During the night he died of a brain aneurysm.

There had been a couple other deaths in my family that same year, one was expected and the other wasn't, but there's something particularly shocking about the death of someone so young and seemingly full of life. After the funeral, I remember everything seeming so surreal, more vivid and clear. Within a few weeks, I had ended a five year long relationship (that I had been agonizing over whether or not to end for the last year) and I quit the job that was making me miserable. Getting this stark reminder of how fragile and fleeting life is was like a bucket of cold water being splashed in my face. It woke me up. I recognized that I had the choice to live a life that made me happy or stick with whatever was bringing me down because I felt there was no way out.

The second time I experienced an inner death/rebirth was when I hit my lowest point with depression and was contemplating suicide. It had been crossing my mind for awhile, but when I actually made the decision, something shifted within me and again, everything became surreal and especially vivid. I saw my then therapist who directed me to the hospital where I checked myself in. And from there, I was able to reevaluate my life in a more objective way. I was able to ask for help, admit I was struggling, and get myself out of situations that seemed impossible to get out of, even though they really weren't. In my head, my stories about disappointing others, failing, etc, were just that - stories. And when it came down to it, the stories didn't mean much. This time around, I put in my notice at another job that seemed prestigious to me and related to my degree, but was no longer serving me, and I found a job that paid twice as much, was much less stressful, and allowed me time to heal and do what I love (make art). I also left the apartment that was too expensive, but I thought I couldn't break the lease (I found a subletter), consolidated my debts so I could afford the monthly payments, and moved to another apartment (which led me to meet the hubster.) And I also got some help from friends and family and re-connected with people I love.

Both of these turning point moments were brought about by extremes. Sometimes you can get to a shift like this without the low point. I remember at one point in my twenties imagining if I had a year to live what I would want to do. And then I did those things (spent more time with family, took a trip to the Caribbean, ran a marathon.) But lately it feels harder to get myself to that place of letting go of the story so I can get on with living. I try and do it in the small ways...I get present when spending time with my cats, really feeling their fur, noticing their movements, fully loving their every breath. Or on a walk when my mind goes still and the grandness of a tree puts me in a state of awe. Or when I'm dancing across the kitchen floor for no other reason than pure joy.

I suppose it doesn't all have to be about extremes, moving, leaving, huge life changes. But I also sense that there's something, some story holding me back right now and I'd like to put that fairy tale to bed. So, how do you get to the stories and let them go without the death and drama?

In my efforts to let go of defining beliefs, I look for inspiration in the writing of people like Patti Digh, whose blog is about just this sort of thing...in her case it's about living as if you had 37 days left. I find glimpses in the writing of Eckhart Tolle. And I write and I paint and I talk with loved ones, which often gets me closer. How do you get in touch with that part of you that grasps at your stories? And how do you lovingly help it release its grip?


April 18th, 2008, Comments (13)

Art journal pages. Another scribbled intuitive drawing and a collage with some writing on it that says, "everything outside is blooming. i want to bloom too." Speaking of blooming...here are those lovely ranunculus flowers I mentioned yesterday.

I worked on a small encaustic painting today. It was so gorgeous out that I brought my encaustic tools out onto the porch and put this together with wax, tissue paper, and textured paper for the two crows on a 6"x6" panel. It was inspired by a photo I took while at Artfest.

I started using an old iron with the encaustics and like it much better than the hot air gun. Tomorrow is supposed to be a beautiful day and I plan to take advantage.

I hope you all have a wonderfully creative weekend!

If you needs some inspiration, check out what these Creative Every Day participants have been up to!

  • Hanna has been making some beautiful stencils, one of them was one of the coolest happy accidents I've seen in awhile!
  • Valerie has made a gorgeous box out of coasters.
  • Cris has a lovely painting in progress of sheep in a field.
  • Mrs. Pivec has a stunning mixed-media piece that sings spring.

And there's so much more to see. Go take a gander at what people are up to!