I'm struggling just like you, folks. Clowns to the right of me, jokers to the left....
I was touched by the texts and calls I got concerning my well-being following my last post, Grief is a Drifting Landscape. I forget that when I post from a place of depression or loss that it effects those who care about me. For as long as I remember Art has been how I deal with these states of being. But I tend to forget that for what is a reasonable and necessary means of dealing with fears and anxieties for me can be distressing for loved ones. Not the least being that this dark landscape is so constant, so familiar as to be the easiest and most fertile place for me to draw inspiration. I'm not saying this is a good thing, just a known commodity. After so many decades I guess I have come to value the darker parts of my creativity over the happier.
I went back to sleep after posting Grief is a Drifting Landscape late at night. In the morning I still felt the familiar loss and confusion I have felt every morning since that day in July my husband suddenly passed away - but I also had a great amount of joy in my day. And I do. Everyday. Oddly grief has made me more aware of the wonderful, richness of life. I know grief is something that evolves and the power of it will dissipate eventually. Being bi-polar will not. So heres the truth: What goes down does come up. It always does, even when it seems impossible at the time. So, remember that. Even if I forget it in a dark moment.
- a perpetual longing. I see the trees, the worn paths, but no effort gets me there. The earthiness fills my nostrils but the dirt runs through my fingers like breath. Days, months pass and nothing changes. 2016 passes into 2017 and still... I hang the towels in different patterns. I walk Zoe down different streets. I am loved, but restless and wish I were HOME.
I drink too much.
...such is life.
After a more than year of intense work, my exhibition PRONK! is on view at the Bromfield Gallery in Boston, MA.- in spite of the accumulation of 109 inches of snow in just 29 days, frigid weather that kept any of it from melting and snow bound Bostonians that stayed away from it in droves. Actually they stayed away from all activities that required public transportation, driving, parking or walking. The Boston Museum of Fine Art saw a 46% decline in visitors this winter so I don't feel too bad.
None the less, I am grateful to have the work finally on view. PRONK! runs through March 28. (I will post all the glorious specifics with photos in an upcoming post. Including the magnificent fashion show Objet a la Mode, otherwise known as Furry Objects of Fashion with Ice Cream on the Side Damn You Snow)
If you should miss this opportunity there are two more chances to see work from this series I have been in general been calling Still Life in an Age of Anxiety. Yes, I am anxious. We are all anxious here in Boston. Climate change is real, people.
...and it was not enough.
What I know of depression, and I know it well, is love is not enough. Loving a person with a depressive disorder is not enough. Remember the old Al-anon phrases "unconditional love" and "co-dependency"? The relationship between the mentally ill and his/her loved ones is riddled with pitfalls, most notably one of perceived inequity.
We are not easy to live with, I know. But neither are you, dear friends. Perhaps more than any other illness mental illness comes with an extra burden of guilt. In part because some of the ones who love us most deep down believe that if we only tried harder, got happy, took things less seriously we'd get over it. It feels like a set up to always letting people down. That feeling of otherness eventually eats away at relationships. It is easy to love a mentally ill person "unconditionally" as long as you see yourself as the stronger one, the logical one. The saner one.
Let me tell you of the extraordinary feelings of exuberance, of joyful moments that the healthy mind takes for granted. To me they are gifts. These very gifts are what becomes my art. And those "un"sane moments? The unshakable dread, the suffocating anxiety, the escalating irritability that comes when words and sounds and sights converge into un-sortable chaos? They also become my art. I know these ups and downs tax the people I love. They are for better or worse woven into the fabric of me. Separating the illness, the behaviors and the core of who I am is tough work and often requires professional help. But most importantly, time in my studio. Art is the stabilizing factor that allows me to love and be loved.
Who are you?! I love your writing. I feel your insomnia...
March is the month I get restless. Spring supposedly is around the corner, although this year there is still deep snow and not a blade of grass or earth in sight. And snow is again predicted for Monday, St. Patrick's Day. White and green. It seems a cruel combination.
But March...spring cleaning, the urge to throw away the stale and consolidate the remaining mess. Meaning like clockwork I am driven by the urge to redo my Blog and Website. For years I've wanted a combined site that is dynamic and current. Kind of like the way my studio looks, but without the entire clutter. Multiple projects, impulsive accumulations, and wondrous merging and collaboration of elements and people I never would have conceived of. The deadline is March 23, 2014 when my other website is not renewed.
...faux fruit, faux tulip, faux still life.
After a year of work, my exhibit Within These Walls is finally up and all I wish to do is crawl into bed and sleep. Deeply. For a long, long time. Preferably until the sound of a very large martini shaker convinces me its safe to awake.
But the underwear drawer is empty (way past the recycling stage), the dog hair has gathered itself into the Cujo of all dust-bunnies (dust-doggies?), the dinner table groans under the weight of unopened mail and the studio qualifies for FEMA funds. Meanwhile new deadlines, new exhibits, more marketing, more networking, submissions, thank-you's, meetings, critiques, and "jobs" - all keep piling on. And the clean-up and catch-up of everyday life just gets harder. Dear God, make it go away!
OK. I washed my big girl panties. I paid the bills, vacuumed, saw the shrink, made a cup of coffee and here I be, awake and ready to resume my place as a responsible adult and fairly mature artist. I am finally writing a blog post.
Carol McMahon and I had the pleasure of being the subjects of a wonderful well-written piece in the current Artscope Magazine (Mar. 2013) by Meredith Cutler, Living in a Material World. I couldn't be happier or more grateful. Meredith writes beautifully and with the insightfulness thats comes from being a mixed media artist herself. Lately when I wonder if anyone gets my work and question why I do this insane art thing year after year, I quietly open up her article, read it and imagine a good dirty martini at my side.
Thank you Meredith and Brian G.
For the PDF click on: artscope43_MarApr13_Volp
Hurricane Sandy baring down. So what. Lazertran may go out of business. That is a true disaster. Broke my arm a week ago. Have to significantly change course for my exhibitions. Lazertran has recalled all their inkjet transfer product from the past 6 months. And now the new product has come up short.
Broken arm, crunched ribs...no Lazertran.... I feel your pain, Sandy. I feel the rage.
Meanwhile, all my Transfer Workshops are on hold.