Depression Can Hit Us All

I’m very lucky I don’t get bouts of depression all of the time. For those with chronic depression, my heart goes out to you and I admire you for pushing through your life everyday.

Depression can hit us all. The last couple of weeks have been an overwhelming amount. It’s extremely frustrating and devastating. With the support of my fiancee, friends and therapist I can push through those dark times. Not easy by any means, but I can do it.

I didn’t just Become depressed. The whole year has been a rough one. But I can’t think of it all in negative terms or else I come that which I hate, miserable and spiteful.

What hurts the most is the massive events that happened in the span of a few days. It’s never a good feeling when you see the dark side in those that you would think would never be so vengeful. And vengeful for no actual reason. Although I could see this hopeful happy event go south, quickly. Not because I am a negative person but because this has happened many times throughout my life. And it happened yet again, which brought me to my breaking point.

I was hurt along with a couple others.

*I am being vague, I know but the people involved don’t need to be targeted*

I was devastated with betrayal. It felt like I was reliving childhood events. I would cry, than laugh, switch to anger and soon just an empty shell. This caused me to binge eat for a few days, which made me feel worthless and disgusting. Very strong words. When you feel them deep down as things are occurring it’s like being stabbed by an unknown force and you can’t just stop. You don’t know how because you are in a strange way not even fully there.

With the help from my therapist I was able to come up with ways to vent, cope and create lists to break things down better. Creating ‘Stress Lists” and “To Do Lists” has been helping so much. When I feel upset and want to evacuate my mind/body I pick up my list and go to something else. For example, instead of eating a box of pasta with tons of cheese, I put on a podcast or draw with thunderstorm sounds on in the background. Recovery methods. Although at first you feel silly doing lists, it’s so helpful.

Also, incorporating more meditation sessions I can calm my mind better as well. When I finish a workout, I meditate. Why during this time? Because I have worked so hard at getting my body to this place and want to continue to make it better. Not because I have a poor body image, I just love feeling strong in my own skin. Being healthy makes me a better person not just in medical terms but it spiders out in my life. So, when I complete my workouts and meditate to close it, it’s a way for myself to remind myself of my strength, courage and capability.

During these past few weeks, it’s hard to break it down into a comprehensive post. But, my biggest lesson from all of these events is this. I don’t want to become what I hate and how I feel when these memories surface. When you hurt yourself (physically or mentally) you turn into what those said you were. Worthless, stupid, weak, boring, ect. But you aren’t those things, neither am I. Those that hurt you want you to believe this because they are filled with so much hate and jealousy, you cannot be more successful than them.

Take your life one day at a time when things are difficult. And when it’s very difficult, take it one hour at a time. Oh and if that’s to hard, take it one minute at a time! When you are happy and healthy, it spreads out to those around you. Like attracts like. Be the person you want to meet. Keep going. Don’t stop. If I can do this so can you.

And one of the best things to help me get through my rough times, I drew. I completed a piece during this time as well. There were points when it was hard to do because I was in a foggy place but creativity can bring in the light.

Art. Music. Exercise. Clean Food. Writing. Podcasts. Nature. Nature Sounds. Speed Painting. Reading. Research. And, the Business of Art helps me move through the quicksand. Most of all, talk to someone. And if you need to cry, cry. Trust me, I shed many tears. That’s okay. 

If you have experienced bouts of depression, share your story. Together, it’s a little easier to get through things.

 

Lady Sable

Lady Sable; 11×15 inches; Completed in General’s Charcoal Pencils and Caran d’Ache Colored Pencils (for her lovely eyes)
Sable is a wonderful African Serval from WildCat Ridge Sanctuary

Visit my website 🙂

Lady Sable; 11x15 inches size; 300; charcoal drawing of sable african serval from wildcat ridge sanctuary.jpg

 

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Alert With Thirst; Newest Piece

This has been one of my favorite pieces to not only do but I am pretty happy with the end result as well! A rare feat! This Jaguar took about 1 month to complete, including many days of not working on it because of going to work.

When you feel like you can keep working on a piece and time flies by, that’s when you know you are enjoying every moment of your work. And people notice. My fiance noticed how much I enjoyed working on it as well as the amazing people that watch me on Facebook.

Evolution 2

Majority of the piece was completed with Faber Castell Polychromos Colored Pencils and Sennelier Soft Pastels as well as Mungya Gallery Semi-Hard Pastels for the final details. A new mixed media approach was  a lot of fun.

I am very familiar with pastels. It’s been quite a few years since I worked with them but once I picked them up I sort of forgot why I stopped working with them. On second thought, I do remember why….they are very messy. But, that aside it felt great to work with them again. The main area I used them was the foreground and background. I wanted to keep those areas soft and out of focus, pastels achieved that perfectly.

The very last details, like the whiskers, I used a Semi-Hard white Pastel as well as other color variations to make the overall piece more interesting.

I had a lot of fun with this piece. Now, I may need a small break before moving onto the next one.

This piece is available on my website. I used Wildlife Reference Photos for the beautiful image to work off of.

Always Watching; 16x20; $300; jaguar drinking from a pond drawing; faber castell polychromos colored pencils and soft pastels

Alert With Thirst

12 wide x 16 high

Polychromos Colored Pencils, Soft Pastels & Semi-Hard Pastels on Fabriano Artistico Watercolor Paper

$300.00 – Buy Now

 

 

 

 

Work In Progress: Jaguar Drawing

In the event of keep things new and different with the process of drawing, I decided to do a bit of a mixed media approach to this piece. Faber Castell Polychromos Colored Pencils & Soft Pastels.

Its been a minute since I used pastels. Had to get the feel for them again but picked it up fairly quickly in a few minutes. Right now, the background + foreground is done in pastel. The under layer is done in light colored pencil to establish where the main colors went. When dealing with an out of focus background and foreground, think in abstract terms. It’s easier for your brain to break it down that way.

Take every layer one step at a time. I used OMS (odorless mineral spirits) to blend some layers together on both pastel and pencil areas. Once I come closer to the end, I will most likely go back in with pastel to fine tune everything.

This piece is up on my website for purchase now if you are interested. Follow with progress photos on my Facebook page as well 🙂

From Start Until Now

Jaguar1Collage

Started with a light outline in graphite pencil using the grid method. Once that is established, start filling in the eyes to really put the life into the cat right away. Layer by layer, I build it up leaving the details for last.

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Here is where the piece stands right now. The background and foreground is kept soft with the pastels. I wanted that to be loose, for now, once the cat is done I will fine tune everything more if I feel it’s needed.

Reference Photo is from: Wildlife Reference Photos

Size: 12 inches wide x 16 inches high

Kit Fox Charcoal/Graphite Drawing

This little adorable Kit Fox is a resident at Safe Haven Wildlife Sanctuary. One of their newest residents, he is sure a sweet little guy to view. Keeping this piece light and playful was a great way to reflect the playful nature of his little stance.

Piece is completed using a graphite base with black and white charcoal on top. Size is 11 inches wide x 14 inches high.

*40% of the purchase price goes to Safe Haven to help support their residents*

KIT FOX

SIZE: 11 INCHES WIDE X 14 INCHES HIGH

MEDIUM: GRAPHITE BASE WITH BLACK & WHITE CHARCOAL TOP

PRICE: $240.00 (40% OF THE PURCHASE PRICE GOES DIRECTLY TO SAFE HAVEN)

Kit Fox; 11x14 inches size; 240; charcoal drawing of kit fox safe haven wildlfife sanctuary

When Stress Strikes

Stress quote 1.jpg

 

It’s a part of life isn’t it? Stress comes in all shapes and sizes with no discrimination attached to it. It strikes us all at different times. It can take us down with a quickness. How do you handle it? Do you wallow in the thickness of it? Do you try to fix everything that is causing it? Do you throw in the towel and give up?

When I come up against stress I think of the following story, to which I am paraphrasing the best I can:

“….there are three people in a sinking boat. An optimist, a pessimist and a realist. The optimist says ‘We will be fine, help will come soon and we will survive. No need to worry!’ The pessimist says ‘We are all dead. No one will come, everything is ruined.’ And the realist says ‘We are in a sticky situation. The likelihood of us surviving may be slim but what can we do to increase that?’….”

Be the Realist.

Things are in a bad place. You cannot stop nor control everything going on. But you can manage things as best as you can. You can survive.

Don’t push away those annoying crappy feelings. It’s okay to be sad, mad, upset, annoyed, all of those emotions are normal. It’s not a bad thing to feel that way. You may think ‘my problems are nothing compared to people who are trying to survive a food storage or war’ but they are real problems in your world. And that’s okay.

Another quote for you “God gives you no cross you cannot bear”. Now, I am not religious but I do like that quote and truly believe it. Things get heavy but you can carry the load and if you are wise, lighten it over time.

I have many different things going on right now. In the next post, I will dive into that a bit more. Until I am able to sort things out a bit more, I will leave you with some ways I have learned to get through those times.

I allow myself to feel depressed, sad, mad, upset, ect. I don’t allow myself to stay there forever, you must move forward or you will sink deeper and it’s twice as hard to get out of that hole. If you already suffer from depression this will of course be slightly different, consult with your doctor/therapist on ways to move through those emotions safely.

Don’t pretend everything is fine or will always work out. Sometimes things don’t. But, as a realist figure out ways to manage things on a more level head. You will survive this, you’ve survived many things in your life.

Talk to people you trust about what is going on. For me, I have been figuring things out in my mind before I go and speak to people about my business. If I speak to quickly I get super negative and my stories are jumbled. When I take a moment to pause and sift through things I can explain myself better.

Get out! Do something active. You don’t need to spend money either. Just move around. Hang out with friends or family. Ask them how they are doing. Be the listener. Find a hobby you love to do and do it. Exercise, draw, meditate, walk the dog, read a book (yes a book!), window shop, explore the town, ect.

Life is hard. Stress is hard. Saving money is hard. Paying bills is hard. But all of this is not impossible. Take it day by day and if that is to hard, take it minute by minute. You are stronger than you realize. Keep moving forward and don’t look back.

This stress is just that chapter in your own book of when you learn another lesson. Just keep your eyes, mind and heart wide open. You Got This.

 

Finished Piece & New Work

Happy to say that I was fairly pleased with how the elephants turned out! I wanted to finish the piece before the end of May and I was happy with the face that I did. Finished this in mid May and it was a big undertaking.

Elephant Collage

Mama and Calf 19x23 faber castell polychromos colored pencils on fabranio artistico watercolor paper from wildlifereferencephotos.com 420
Mama & Calf; African Elephants;  19 inches wide x 23 inches high; Polychromos Pencils on Fabriano Artistico Watercolor Paper; $420.00; BUY NOW

I haven’t done a large colored pencil piece in a while so I figured why not go with elephants. They are magnificent animals, very much endangered and more human like than most people think. It was a challenge to go from drawing in fur to drawing in rough skin. Since their skin isn’t smooth, to make it rough was actually fun. I went in with a looser hand and lightly played with the pressure the each pencil.

Always fun to try something new! Hopefully these lovely creatures find a new home 🙂

 

Once I finish a piece I usually take 1 – 2 weeks off to recharge my brain and body. Drawing a large piece takes a lot out of you so you don’t want to jump into a new piece right away.

Now I am taking a step back to graphite and charcoal. This piece is of a Kit Fox from Safe Haven Wildlife Sanctuary. He is a cutie!

Fox 2

When working with these two mediums, I base out the darks and lights in graphite, go in slowly with charcoal and than add in white charcoal. Never be afraid to go dark. You can always lighten that up with white charcoal or use a eraser, as long as you are using a light hand.

Keep up to date on how this piece comes along! Like/follow me on Facebook 🙂

Enjoy!

Art. Sleep. Health. And Understanding

Success graph 1

This graphic explain my week in a nutshell. The good, the bad and even the down right ugly. Which is okay, for the most part.

The week started good leading into messiness which started stress and ended here with an ‘ah ha’ moment. This blog isn’t just about me as an artist. It’s about my work, my passions, my life and the in betweens. It’s amazing, tough, stressful and beautiful all jumbled together. I want you to come into my life a little more because I feel we are all connected in more ways than one and maybe, just maybe, when we share these stories we don’t feel so alone.

The Art

More work has been done on my elephants, yay! Slowly coming to the end but with a lot more to go through. The most difficult part with this piece is that it’s a pretty large drawing. So, you spend a lot of time on one area and it feels like you haven’t gotten anything done. But, the truth is you have. Because if you rush through any piece with detail, it’s going to be done quickly and it won’t look so great.

So the pace has been right, just a little frustrating. Which is totally fine too 🙂

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Not to mention, putting a new feature on my website! Purchase a work in progress piece, like this one 🙂 

I have a few other drawing lined up which always feels good. One frustrating part right now is focusing on the piece I am working on. With several other things going on I am re-learning how to focus on one thing at a time. Meditation is slowly helping with that 🙂

The Sleep

And when I mean sleep, I should say the lack there of. I’ve had a sleep issue for a while now. And I am learning how to prioritize it better, not easy when you have a hard time falling asleep or staying asleep many nights.

Although the week start well, by the time yesterday hit I was beat down. To the point of not being able to put a sentence together, wanting to eat crap food and not being hungry at all. When you’re tired, you start to lose it slightly.

Which leads into….

The Health

I am a dedicated workout chic. I know how to lift, what exercises work well for a certain body part, the best foods to eat, what to stay away from, ect. I know my health inside and out. However, I also know I have been struggling with binge eating for a while now. At least 5 months now and it’s not simple.

It doesn’t take a genius to know you can eat through any workout. Especially if you have a body type like mine that can put on weight easily. I’m healthy, I’m at a great weight but truth be told I’d like more. I’ve always wanted to have that toned athletic body and be athletic. That is another goal which I can arrive at as long as I can get my issues in check.

Which is one reason why I started therapy. It’s time, it’s been time for a while now. But taking that one step feels great. Being able to talk to my therapist all week has helped me move through this week without to much destruction. I’ve slipped at times but I also got back up right away.

The Understanding

We all have those ‘ah ha’ moments. Those times when the pieces seem to finally fit. Well, about one hour ago I had that moment. And I hope to have many more throughout this journey.

I realized this with a reason why I binge. As a kid I was told many times by different people in my life that I couldn’t do something. We all were a certain times I’m sure. However, when you are told this so often, you start to believe it. I thought I moved past it but I haven’t yet. (Thank you therapy for helping me there!)

For me, the food represents something I want to overcome or do. In this case, not eat the trigger foods. My mind (which during the binge moments is like an itch I have to scratch) are people telling me I can’t overcome or do something. Well, I started to believe that and I give into temptation. After the short lived satisfaction, I feel guilty with those old voices in my mind going “told you so”.

I do this with other things but I didn’t realize I was doing this with food as well!  Ah Ha!

The point is, don’t do something to prove others wrong. Do it for yourself. Have your reason Why and make it personal. I have my personal whys but I’m not looking at them. I’m looking at “is this what this person would want?” Not groovy.

Honestly, just do you. Easier said than done but possible. Join me on the journey. It’s scary and hard but by sharing it becomes a little easier to handle. 🙂

 

 

 

A Week of a Breakdown. What I Learned.

We all have bad days. Bad weeks. Bad things happen, can’t change that.

This was one of those weeks for me. I felt like I was losing it, quickly. Lack of sleep, stress and things creeping into my mind from my past since being triggered a few months back.

I was truly exhausted with a thickness of depression settling over me. It was plain awful. But when I looked inward I realized this was my cue to finally take a step, okay a Giant Step, of reaching out for help. I entered into therapy.

Since money is tight I went to the online option, Talkspace. Which so far has been quite helpful. To have a therapist with no connection to me, my family or anyone I know  that is there to listen and guide me is incredible. Knowing you need help is a great step, taking the initiative to get help is another.

Why am I sharing this? Because it’s a part of my journey as not only an artist but a person overall. Something I feel we all forget. We tend to put people in boxes with labels. It’s safe, easy and convenient. But it’s not always helpful. I don’t want to just be ‘an artist’ or an ‘animal lover’. I’m so much more than that. Being transparent about things makes me grow and hopefully helps others as well.

With a week of tears, confusion, discovery, guilt, exhaustion and everything else in between it’s been a somewhat humbling experience. I don’t want to go through it daily but I know I will go through it again, it’s just how things are when you open up. And that’s okay.

The desire to create has been a little difficult lately. With my schedule jumbled and my mind racing it’s hard to focus on my work. Be it drawing or the yucky business side, the drive to do it hasn’t been there. I went over this in my last post in case you wanted to take a peek.

Once I entered into therapy and started short mediation sessions on my own, I started to slowly see a shift. Not a major one but enough to acknowledge it. I was able to sit for a few hours the last couple of days with my elephant piece and work on it. I paused at times to collect my thoughts and relax. Telling myself it’s okay if it’s hard to focus, this made it a little easier to focus for longer periods of time.

Small but important.

It’s going to be a long road ahead but the journey will be worth it. If you have ever wondered about therapy, consider it. Starting with Talkspace is a great step. You don’t have to go anywhere, it’s doable as far as money goes, and it’s great way to feel safe. Don’t lock those things away, open them up with a professional. If I can do it, so can you 🙂

Elephant Piece:

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I was able to get a lot done in the past few days after starting therapy, listening to myself, meditating and getting a good amount of sleep….finally 🙂

New Website Option:

Also, I added a New option to my website. Being able to purchase in progress works!

WIP Buy 1

 

 

Do You Always Want to Create? No.

One question I get, along with many other artists, is:

Do you always want to create art?

Honestly, no I don’t. Does that make me less of an artist? Of course not, just confirms I am in fact human. The interesting thing about this is I may not Always want to create but I always want to be around art.

Whether that is looking through art magazines, viewing artists websites, reading biographies or redoing my studio, the love of art never leaves me. At times I get annoyed that I can’t “art”. It’s as if I am lying to myself about being an artist.

Silly as that sounds that is a real feeling and that is okay. But the beautiful thing about that is I can appreciate other realms of art. I can have my mind go to a different type of art. Giving that creative mind a break and open up a different part of me. Learning and even Relaxing.

Never ever let someone tell you that being an artist means wanting to create all of the time. That doesn’t make you an less awesome of an artist. Just means you need a break from creation and that’s is perfect fine.

If you do, great. I sorta envy you but I like that my mind wants to shift at times.

Creating 1

What do I do when that drawing bug isn’t biting at my skin? See below and maybe, just maybe this will help you as well:

  • Clean my studio or home. When things are messy or have been set the same for a long time I need a shift in my environment.
  • Reading or flipping through art magazines or books.
  • Time Lapse videos of artists painting or drawing.
  • Exercise. At times, I have to much energy built up. In order to draw I need to be a certain level of relaxation. Yoga is a huge help!
  • Take care to the miscellaneous things. Paying that bill, doing the dishes, laundry, taking inventory, ect.
  • Playing a video game. Being a gamer, sometimes I just need to escape to a different world.
  • Reading a good book. With a cup of coffee or tea 🙂
  • Looking through reference photos. Sometimes an image may strike you to create right away.
  • Writing or blogging. At times my mind is filled with so many thoughts I just have got to get them out.
  • Venting about things. We tend to bottle up emotions, not good. Venting to someone, the room, your pet, a piece of paper helps so much. Not to mention, you may figure something out about yourself that you never knew.

The last one on this list is the one that is usually the one that helps me the most. Or dealing with miscellaneous items. Vomit up those feelings and stop procrastinating on random things and you brain will shift to a more pleasant place.

Never give up art. It’s freeing, important and stabilizes you in so many ways. Keep going. That feeling of an art rut will pass. Instead of waiting for it to strike, find something else to do. You got this.