I tell myself this every day

I tell myself this every day

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Mother Mary Wont Help Me Now

This is one of the many paintings I'm working on. It's the Virgin Mary from some Italian cemetery. I'm not religious- I just like catholic imagery. I have at least 4 others going as well. I also have 2 commissions I'm working on. I love painting. I didn't know I did until 5 months ago.

I took a fantasy art program at the Douglas Education Center- home of the Tom Savini Special Makeup Effects Program. My boyfriend recommended I try it- he saw something in me that I very much did not. I went ahead and took his advice. Not only did I sign up but it turns out the class was taught by one of my first ever artistic inspirations and some what of an idol of mine growing up Dorian Cleavenger.

Holy shit tits and popsicle sticks.

I could take a class taught by this guy? He's mortal? Mt. Olympus gave this guy a hall pass in order to teach an art program?

I'll make a separate post about him and all the adventures I've had. He's the shit.

I can't say I learned how to paint as much as he taught me how to be an artist. I learned how to see things from a different perspective and not only that but in a factual sense. His specialty is fantasy art and it has always been an interest of mine but I could never ever in my life understand how to create this stuff just out of me head. Wasn't going to happen. I learned that he followed the laws of nature in order to create things that look like they could exist but very obviously don't.

Having bipolar and having that continuous emotional intrusion in my life I am very much drawn to facts and science. I love things that you just can't argue with and are based on solid research. That's my solace in a brain overrun by uncertainties. I like mechanical things like bicycles and all their moving parts. I like the internal workings of cars. I'm terrible at math but I fucking love geometry. I like knowing there are somethings in life that are solid and predictable or at least follow a common law. It's what I don't have naturally so I am drawn to it.

Dorian's approach very much appealed to that side of me. He taught me how to see something as simple as light, the way it works and how to use it to create form. Light! I love light! It has rules and regulations but infinite uses and applications! He uses light to create form and therefor create these fantastic alternate universes in his artwork that look real. They are believable in the fact they follow the laws of nature but are obviously not real because I've never know a giant octopus, dragon, bat, medusa, underwater lady thing to exist.. But there are concrete concepts being followed! Science! Fabric, water, foliage, metal, skin, scales- everything found naturally that is effected by gravity, light, or other scientific elements- can be used to fabricate realistic but completely original images.

Oh happy day!

I was completely taken over by these concepts. I have become obsessed since day one.

I was always artistic but I wasn't "artsy" in the sense that I had my own style drawing or painting when I was younger. I had a great imagination but didn't have that freedom of expression feeling that most of the other art students did. I was really good with realism but that didn't seem as cool or as "artsy" as what the other kids were doing. I became discouraged because everyone else was doing really abstract stuff or into comic/comic book type things. I wasn't really into that stuff. I had picked up enough comic books to be familiar with Dorian's work but that's about it. I was drawn to Dorian's artwork as well as H.R. Giger. It was stylized but it was real. I fell in love with that.

I unfortunately gave up all artistic pursuits after high school. I became really good at costuming but it was all self taught fun stuff and a lot of it was for goth nights or other theme nights at bars. Fun but nothing worth bragging about.

I have since taken off as an unstoppable creative entity since being back on meds and taking this class. I have a painting for every range in the bipolar spectrum. When I'm in a mood I can't shake I will pull out the painting that best represents my mood and literally paint myself out of a mental hell hole. If I can't paint my way out I at least give myself something to focus on so I don't act out.

It has saved my life. It is saving my relationship with others and it is saving my future from possible failure.

It's one of the best tools I have in my bag of tricks to fight back against the parasite inside of me. And it's not just the paint or painting itself. I've obtained a whole new look on life and a way to combat some of the bad behaviors that come out of having this disorder.

When ever my thoughts start racing or I become paranoid I will go outside and study how the light effects the surface of the rocks or how it differs from the way the light is reflected off the pavement. I will force my mind into reality and into the factual state of nature. If I'm manic I will look at brightly colored images (usually lots of reds and warm tones) and study how color effects the form of an object. If I'm depressed I'll study the effect the weather has on a couple hundred year old marble memorial statue in a cemetery.

It might look like I've lost my mind to those watching me sit and stare at rocks, pavement, and tombstones. I'm ok with looking like I'm crazy if what I'm doing is keeping me sane.

 I posted my unfinished painting on purpose. It's incredibly flawed and is a far cry from the reference. It looks sloppy and there isn't any unified form to it. The learning process is trial and error and it's currently comprised of mostly errors. I posted it that way because despite how gimpy it looks right now I will finish it and it will be awesome. I have no problem exposing how imperfect the process and stages are when it's being worked on. I don't create masterpieces- I problem solve. I fuck up more than I get right but I'm willing to keep trying until it's where I want it, and every time I get it right I walk away having learned something.

 It will eventually be realistic and show the folds of the fabric perfectly, it will be conveyed as slate and specifically old slate that has been weather damaged over the past couple hundred years.

I see that in all of my current unfinished paintings. I see that as a representation of myself and my struggle against bipolar. I'm far from perfect or even where I want to be but I'm not giving up. I am not a complete person and I'm far from perfect but I'm a problem solver.

Light has rules but you can create anything with it once you understand it. My brain has a different set of rules but when I fully understand them I will use it to create the life I've always wanted- consistent, happy, productive, successful, and beneficial to the ones I love.

I won't ever stop painting or perusing my artistic talents. My last day of class is tomorrow and I'm sad but what I take away from this experience too monumental to focus on what I lose after Friday. I have the tools and the dedication to finish every one of these paintings as well as myself. I don't care what the world thinks of me or my work when it's unfinished. I know where it's going and I know how awesome it's going to end up.

Thank you for reading.

P.S. Thank you Dorian for being a part of my life. Thanks for everything you've taught me and the time you took to further me as an artist and a person. I listened to every word. I took in everything you said and I will hold onto it for the rest of my life.

P.S.S. That's DC and myself- I'm the one who has the terrified look on her face. The airbrush was scary and wreckless. 


  1. Art has saved my life - literally as well as figuratively - over, and over, and over again. When I was in the psych ward I stole every scrap of paper and every tiny golf pencil I could possibly get by the nurses and drew all the time. When I first got out, all I did was lock myself in my studio and paint and paint and paint. When I'm at my most manic, art is what calms me down and gives me focus. It's gotten me through tragedy, deaths, breakups, you name it.

    I'd love to see you post more of your work! I really dig your stuff - that gas mask painting you did a while ago in particular blew my miiiiiind, maaaaaaan.

    1. Aw thanks darlin. I knew when I met you that you were artistic. I guess it takes one to know one :)