art, art therapy, bipolar, colorful, drawing, Outsider art

“My outsider art, my therapy”

I’m kind of excited about this drawing. I always want to make outsider art and most of the time it doesn’t feel right. I think I got what what I was looking for.

When I saw my therapist last week and she told me to get the bad feelings out. She told me yell! So I did and what i ended up shouting almost involuntarily, fuck you fuck you fuck you etc.

Recently I wrote about art therapy. This is a great example of that. This drawing is how I felt when I was yelling in my therapist’s office. Drawing this was another way of getting negative feelings out.

I drew it all in one sitting. I really didn’t want to stop the process, so I kept working on it.once I got going it was easy.

I did it with prismacolor markers. I wanted to express the insanity I felt so I didn’t use any pencil or ink outlines, just straight up color and shapes.

This sort of  artwork makes me so nervous. It’s way outside my comfort zone. but that’s a good thing for an artist.

 Since I’m not skilled at drawing and I rarely post pieces that are raw and negative I feel vulnerable. It’s totally uncensored and totally unpolished.

So, here you go!


anxiety, bipolar, child abuse, depression, drugs, mania, mental illness, substance abuse

no more wire hangers 3

is anyone getting the titles of the posts in this series?

my mother knew she had mental illness issues, but she refused to see a psychiatrist or a therapist. we convinced her to go to a couple therapists to find one she felt she could talk with. she went to meet two and her excuses for not going was that she was sure one had ulterior motives and the other had an office that made her anxious.

when i had panic attacks growing up (we didn’t know that’s what they were at the time) she got angry at me. in retrospect i think it was it was because she was scared when she saw me going through that. i’ve seen her have panic attacks and oh boy have i seen her anxious.she was afraid that somewhere inside her was me. she didn’t want to  go through what i went through with my depression and mania. two psychiatrists told me, after long talks about my mother, that she was bipolar, too. i’m not surprised, but having a doctor say it shed light on things and made me feel validated

she even self medicated, like i did. she was obsessed with this shitty white wine. she drank glass after glass all evening while she watched courtroom dramas and true crime shows. after i went to university she bought a new house that she has since defaulted on. the house was a gorgeous Victorian in downtown St. Louis. it was in a neighborhood that was transitioning from a gutted ghetto into lovely restored houses. good old gentrification. her house was already transformed when she bought it.  it was gorgeous but it had three stories. she usually watched tv and drank in a family room on the second floor and also in her bedroom on the third floor. guess who had to fetch the wine?

drinking was her second drug of choice, the first  was nicotine.  by now, she will have smoked almost 60 years, two or more packs a day. she was a professional smoker. she chain smoked 24/7. she drowned her sorrows in wine, cigarettes, and taking it all out on me.

i’ve already said i’m a recovering alcoholic, i’ve been clean for 15 years. when i went home to visit (my dad lived in St. Louis and i was tied to my mother by a mental bond i had to fight to break, so i still kept coming back. she encouraged me to drink. she prepared by laying in a supply of beer, gin (she had cocktails after work, too; gin and tonics…one or two) champagne and vodka plus a few bottles of decent wine for dinners. she encouraged me to drink. pushed me to drink. i  jumped back into the hole of drunkenness to avoid having to deal with her. i can’t  put it all off on my. i was thrilled to have time away from my husband so i could drink my fill. i had to be very honest with him to keep our relationship working well and i wanted both he and I to be happy. i made the decisions to drink the alcohol she bought, but it was damned hard, too hard. i embraced it.

hangovers were hell so my mother gave me a bottle of codeine to use to take them away. i took a few in the morning. went back to sleep, woke and puked, went back to sleep and got up feeling pretty good.

we went out drinking too. she liked to show off my tattoos and piercings when we were bar hopping, hoping to look cool. at home she hated the tattoos.

Mommy Dearest.

child abuse, dad, family, mental illness, writing

No More Wire Hangers 2

i have cut myself off from my maternal extended family entirely. i stopped talking to them before i stopped having a relationship with my mother. all my blood relatives there are as crazy or crazier than me. we’ve all been in mental hospitals, we’re all on long lists of meds. we all get really psychotic from time to time and we’re all full of rage because each one of us, including the adults, are victims of child abuse and are mentally ill. they are toxic and every word they say is a trigger.

i decided early on that i was not going to have children because   i want to break the evil chain that has been passed down for generations. my great grandmother came here from ireland. her last name is my middle name. she and my great grand father abused my grandfather who abused my mother and her three sisters. all four are very mentally ill and the three that have children abused their kids.

i knew from childhood that i didn’t want to have children. in the end it’s kind of ironic because i was always so super careful about not getting pregnant because i didn’t want to carry on the tradition. the ironic thing is that i had endometriosis (i had a hysterectomy and it’s gone now) so i probably couldn’t have gotten pregnant regardless. it was an epic case of better safe than sorry! i was very safe! but i couldn’t have been sorry!

thus  far it’s gone down through my cousins, the mental illness, but i don’t think any of them abuse their children, but who knows.

i had a psychiatrist to said my mother was “crazy making.” i knew he’d really hit the spot. in the previous post about child abuse, i talked about how my mother lied to me all my life, about huge important things and that she told me things that were the opposite of what they were.  she told me my father still loved her, she told me what a great relationship she and i had. i didn’t know what to think. i knew, or thought i knew, or suspected that it was a lie or a delusion on her part. i was a confused kid, bipolar coming on and even though she was mean and manipulative, she was my mom, so i believed her.

along the same lines, she preceded every criticism or rant she made about my father by saying, your father is a wonderful man and he loves you so much. i would never say anything to make you feel bad about him. then she would launch into a speech about something he had done or said wrong. she did that about a lot of people, people i loved or liked–sneakily try to turn me against whoever had made her angry.

later, as i figured out more about her  through therapy and learned more about her life from my father i began to realize that some of the people i thought i “should” hate were really nice people with nothing wrong with them. she was twisted and the way she twisted me up made me  scared about everything.

nothing i knew was solid. there was no one i could trust.  sometimes even now i stop myself from thinking about something because i can’t forget that she told me she could read my mind.

and now because of that birthday card she sent me, i am thinking about it a lot lately.

no fun.

bipolar, child abuse, depression, mental illness, writing

no more wire hangers!

day before yesterday, i got a card in the mail from my mother. it shook me to the bone. i haven’t had any communication in with her in 10 years, my choice. she was abusive, cruel,  a chronic liar, bipolar (not something to judge about, it’s just that i am too, and a combo of a bipolar parent raising a bipolar child is a disaster), OCD (same as bipolar no judgement on OCD, i have it too), a child of an abuser, alcoholic (me too), full of rage that came out all the time, and just plain mean.

as an adult i realized a lot of what i believed my whole life were lies. my mother told me that my dad still loved her (they divorced when i was 15) and that he told her he wanted he told me he hated her and felt like an abused spouse, and said they could have worked it out. what was i supposed to think of that??

then my father told me that my mother cheated consistently throughout their marriage and threw it in his face. i have always loved my father and wanted to be just like him when i grew up. when i found about that, i grieved for my father’s suffering. he’s a quiet, gentle man (he swears a lot though.  lol) how could i have not known? i lived with them both in a pretty suburban neighborhood. you could see the playground at my grade school from our house.  i thought we were the perfect family, honestly! i disassociated virtually everything about my mother, my father was great when he was around. our house was nice, my father was a university history professor and my mother taught at a high school.

i was confused my whole childhood and early adult years because neither my father nor i came clean about our life with her. she treated me nicely in front of him and they had raging fights that they hid from me.  she often said to me, we have such a great relationship, don’t we?! by the time of the divorce i knew things were seriously fucked up, i just didn’t know any of the specifics. when she said our relation ship was awesome i had to answer yes with glee or she would grab me by the shirt front, hold me up to her face and say, i know what you’re thinking, you think i’m a bitch, don’t you, don’t you? i had to agree with everything she said or boom, rage, screaming in my face. i still have have the feeling she can read my mind, even though i knew it’s not true.

i’m going to stop for now, i’m not staying on topic or putting things and order or whatever i should have done.

back to the card for a moment. her hand writing is beautiful, unmistakable.  i hadn’t looked at the return address and when i opened the card i saw the writing and the words, repair our relationship and threw it away immediately. i thought i was going to be sick. 10 years i’ve been trying to pretend she wasn’t alive and then i get this bullshit. i see my psychiatrist on Tuesday, so we can work through it.

this has been hard to write and i have so much more to say, but i’ll put it in chunks so i can handle it and so you don’t have to read a huge block of text!

i don’t think many people blog openly about child abuse, and i’ve never talked much about it to anyone  but my husband, my shrink, and my dad. i’ve told a few people that i hate her and didn’t explain. so here it is, at least some of it.

child abuse is something you never get over and for me,  it ruined a lot of my life.

anxiety, disabled, feelings, Uncategorized

mean old man

yesterday a mean old man made some cruel comments on one of my posts about my illness. I deleted the comment because I couldn’t keep myself from rereading them. I don’t think wordpress is a safe environment for me to express my thoughts and feelings anymore. his goal was to make me feel worse, and I hate to say it, but he succeeded.

I guess i’ll keep posting my art, until someone decides to attack me about that, too.

I don’t think i’ll be writing anything.

I used to like this place, to look forward to writing and posting my art. now a singe asshole has made me feel uncomfortable here.


i’m on my own now….

i went to see my doctor, Dr Lu, a specialist in physical medicine, who has been treating my spinal stenosis. i was afraid that this would be the end of the help he could give me, but i was hoping against hope that it wasn’t true. wrong!

he referred me to a spine surgeon, which i am going to skip because there is no way i am having surgery on this until it lasts a lot longer and gets a lot worse. i think he was grasping at straws. he ordered knee xrays! i kept trying to tell him that i’ve had arthritis in my knees for many years and my orthopedic surgeon treats them with injections. so, another xray is really NOT useful.

the only good thing he did is order a TENS unit for me, that my insurance will pay for.

it seems i am left with taking my meds, resting, and using things at home that treat symptoms. things like, ice, heat, compression, diet, and patience.

he didn’t even thing it was necessary to make another appointment. as my husband said the doctor meant, you’re on your own now. i think he knew that this would be the case, but didn’t want to keep me from being hopeful.

i was incredibly anxious about this appointment, this morning was awful. this is the outcome i didn’t want. i want to scream, somebody help me! but what’s the point.

hopefully i’ll be able to get used to this idea, and just move on, doing my best. maybe it will go into remissions sometimes? i know there are good days and bad days.  live in the moment, in the moment, in the moment!

but if you do that, where does your time go? it just floats away. this makes me want to ask myself big giant questions like, who does this make me since i’m so different from i was before spinal stenosis? the ever popular  question, why me? the thing in the forefront of my mind when will it end? will it ever end? is there anything else i should be doing? is there anyone who can help me? where do i stand? is my life ruined? was my life much better than i thought before this? is there anything i could have done to prevent this? should i get a second opinion? on and on…

i don’t know anything and i feel a lot. where to go from here?


the how and why of texture in my work

one of the things i love about painting and making mixed media creations is texture. i like my art to be not only visual, but tactile as well. i use a variety of things to add texture to my work, acrylic mediums, goopy acrylic ink, impasto, tools that create texture in the paint, or objects incoporated into the work. there are lots and lots more.


i painted this at a time when i was obsessed with texture. there are a variety of acrylic mediums in it, like, clear tar gel and glass beads. there’s a lot of scraping, too. i use things like palette knives, toothbrushes, fingers, a box cutter, the wrong side of paint brushes and whatever else i can get my hands on. scrape scrape!

the black claws? things reaching out to touch each other? spiders? explosions of tar? reach across the canvas (this is on a 12″x12″ stretched canvas) bring unity to a chaotic background. i hesitate to call it a background, because it’s really as much of a crucial element in the painting as the big black things are. there are some ugly colors involved there. i like using ugly colors  and strange mixes of colors that end up looking ugly. i don’t use ugly as a pejoritive word, i like ugly art! not all art has to be pretty, attractive, or easy to look at.


this piece is also chaotic, very storm-like, and ugly, like the previous one. this one is a statement of negative emotion. i felt angry, which i do a lot, when i made it. i took a palette knife and piled on the paint. i squished it around and added more and more paint. it was cathartic. i think the texture adds to the atmosphere of wild emotion.

Back Camera

this minimalist work is sort of strange. i was experimenting with using a palette knife to apply watercolor paints  without adding water. it never really dried, just got sticky and pliable enough to bend the painting with out damage.  i don’t know why i tried this; i guess i was just looking for weird new ways to paint.

the paint looks like dabs of color mushed together, but not mixing, like it would be if i added water. the texture is a big statement, boldly dividing the vast whiteness of the paper.

iris in bloom

this is a mixed media piece. i made it at a time when i was adding glue to watercolors to achieve a strange, melting, splotchy effect. it makes the painting smooth and coagulates strangely in some places. there isn’t any grainyness, as there would be a with a  lot of textures. it feels nice to the touch. the glue was a way to explore texture and to do something at least a little bit new and original. it’s so hard to find things that people, people with much more expierence  and skill than me, haven’t done already, and done better. i think i found something pretty unusual to do, at least i hope so!

i read a description of a line of paint brushes, on one of the selling points was that they didn’t leave any visible brush marks in your painting. i kinda laughed because i was wondering, why the hell would i want that?! lol bold  is a description some have said about my art. i think it’s a good one. all these creations of texture are are done heavy handedly and obviously. i like it that way, but i’ve seen other people use them subtlety l. it’s more sophisticated and controlled, but i do it very differently!


morning light

i woke up too early this morning, before 6! i could tell from the light coming in the bedroom doorway that it was early, but not stupid early. (does that sound california? i suspect a lot of what i say does.) i can tell by the color of the light what time it is. it’s not super specific, but i can get a good idea. the earlier it is, the weaker, paler, and more blue the light is. the later it is, the stronger, more bright, and more yellow it is.  today it was thin and washed out, but at least the sun was up! as soon as i woke up, despite the light, i was sure i wanted to get up; who knows why! i often feel like i ought to be in bed or that  i’m “in trouble” for being up so early if i wake up earlier than i think i should be getting up. today that wasn’t the case.

after i come downstairs i drink a lot of fizzy water. it’s almost 8am and i’ve had a liter and a half already! no wonder i have to pee constantly!

fatigue is kicking my ass today. my bra hurts (damn those under wire nightmares) and the tag on my shirt is irritating my neck. all my skin feels really sensitive. i can feel a little bit of my hair  brushing my face and it’s driving me nuts. it makes me feel panicky and angry. i’m listening to Rage Against the Machine because of that.

my pain level is fairly low, although my back was super sore before i sat with the heating pad on it for half an hour or so. now it’s more relaxed.

i hope the rest of the day is better!

i think it will because i’ve eaten (a banana, it was really good) and taken my meds, it’s time for coffee!


complaining updates! health going downhill

ok, so. i’ve got the sciatica is kicking my ass. still taking a variety of pain meds, still spending most of my time in bed or on the couch. i haven’t been making much art recently. i feel like i gave up on the big drawing. it’s still on the table and the supplies  are still there. maybe when/if i feel better or if i get so sick of laying on the couch that the pain of sitting in a chair is worth breaking the negative thoughts and self pity.

i’ve discovered the world of comic books/graphic novels. i’m reading mostly batman series and some suicide squad and neil gaimen. my husband says i’m turning into a middle aged nerd. doh! i’m really enjoying them. the art in the batman series i’m reading/looking at over and over, is fantastic. they’ve got composition way beyond anything i could ever do. they use a  lot of negative space, which i love. some are almost b&w  while others have the  colors of lowered pick up truck’s air brushing paintings. lol
this series has all the same artists and writer. pretty fab.check it out!

on monday i had a toothache that my dentist referred me to an oral surgeon about. there was a weird blister on my gum, that my dentist lanced. they gave me antibiotics. the surgeon said that, for various reasons, the bad tooth had to come out! i was terrified, i’d never had a tooth pulled. they promised me that it was super easy, only took 2-5 minutes! that chilled me out a little bit. it was the second worst dental experience i’ve had. they had to drill it into little pieces and wrench them out of my jaw. the dentist kept pinching my lips by holding his tools in places where my lips  were pressed against my teeth. i kept having to stop him for it. ugh. i now have a  giant hole in my mouth. he gave me painkillers and that was that. i managed not to cry until i got to my car.

tomorrow i have another procedure. i’m getting epidural injections  of cortisone in two spots on my spine. they use “conscious sedation,” twilight i think it’s usually called. it’s in a surgery center and i have to fast etc.  etc.  so i guess it’s pretty much a surgery. second one for 2015! it’s supposed to bring down the swelling in my spine, from those bulging discs. that will make it much less painful. it’s awesome for some people and doesn’t help at for others. i’ve had great responses to cortisone injections in my knees and hands. wish me luck! i really hope this will bring a bit of relief. it’s not a cure, but should help with the symptoms.