When I spend time doing artwork, it is usually because I am in pain, very upset or both, but I am attempting to express my pain or strong emotion, and thus release it. One, I devised intuitively, back in September of 2015. (See below) It is a meditative, very pure and easy method. You start by drawing a combination of intersecting lines, lots of them, up close to and in between the edges of all four sides of the paper (all this is just the basics, feel free and empowered to improvise!). Make sure all these lines cross over each other, and, if you’re up to it, make the spaces between the lines relatively small. This allows for a large amount options for the next step, coloring.So, then you start filling in each area with different colors, if possible. If you don’t have many colors, just spread out each instance of color, but make them appear as randomly chosen as possible. Then, begin to fill in each area with a variety of color.
The second method is drawing a vortex. My art therapist says these can work as a soothing mechanism. Often I like to combine a number of different sized vortexes in each drawing, giving the sense of emotional strain in life.
The third method is using a combination of the two previous methods, intersecting and overlapping, which creates even smaller spaces, because of all the many spaces, and then continuing to fill in random colors. I’ve never done one yet that looks just like any other, and it tends to display a beautiful, centering, or, because of the tension, a display of extremely complex possibly mixed portrayal of a conflict, inner or outer, mental, emotional, psychological, etc., combined with a soothing method of relaxation, distraction, focus, and A meditative state, which once you can learn how to balance your feelings. We just need to learn to balance in a healthy way.
Then, there’s the poetry, which I have been doing for a long, long time. I began consistently, when I was in high school, I had spent a lot of time listening to rock music, hard rock, and I had been in several years of chorus in school, then in rock and roll bands, as the lead singer. In high school, I started out trying to sort of mimic the typical teen love/angst/anger/yearning to be understood/to find my own identity/ and to dream of bigger things, situations, states of being, that I believed would be a better state of existence, both for me, and for the world.
Then, that got put on the back burner, but I continued to write. Poetry became my big thing, but I didn’t show it to anyone until years later, after I had dropped out of church and school. All this anger was coming up, and there was no stopping it. I let a friend of mine borrow my printed stuff, then my word processor died, so all I had were the hard discs. No telling where they might be. I might have even thrown the discs away. Hundreds of poems. Never got the hard copies back, rather.
Later I came up with my own form of poetry called Unpoetry, which breaks every rule. I still do it to this day. When I started painting abstract expressionist water colors, I was asked by my teacher if I’d like to take part in an exhibit in the Student Union Art Gallery. I had a ton of paintings, some huge, wall sized, and some much smaller. My exhibit was called “Abstract Splattings: Shredded Views. A series of my poetry was displayed beneath the paintings, in print and in Braille. I showed a few in a coffee shop, submitted a couple to a local arts and literary journal, and that’s about it. The journal printed two paintings, one, on the front cover, and the other upside down in the interior. Also, I showed a few in a long gone coffee shop, Epitome, whom never returned them and I think they hung them incorrectly, too.
Fast forward twenty years. No more painting, only poetry. Then, I was introduced to adult coloring books, then came up with my own style. I’ve been doing mostly marker drawings for about 5 months, now. I saw an art therapist for a while, showed her my book, then we discussed the Unpoetry. She saw me as trying to show lack of meaning through a medium full of meaning. We did a few pieces of art, but mostly talked.
Now, my focus is in nonfiction writing. I’ve become more aware of the world around me, the pros and cons of it all. I want to help change things. I used to be asked, “what would you want on your tombstone?” My answer was “He made a difference.” For so long I abandoned that thought. Now I’ve come full circle, and I’ve had new experiences that have shaped my determination and inspiration about certain topics, specifically related to mental illness. I want to advocate and be an activist. Maybe then, I can make a difference.