New Abstract Art by Me + Discussion

March 27, 2011 at 6:24 pm | Posted in abstract art, Art, art journal, Autobiography, Bipolar, Borderline Personality, BPD, DBT, Depression, drawings, EDNOS, Handmade, Hope, Illustrated, insanity, iPad, iPad Art, journal, Kristin Bell, Marsha Linehan, Memory, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Mindfulness, pain, Painting, Photography, process, Prozac, Psych Meds, Psychiatrist, Psychiatry, Psychiatry Denial, Psychoactive Substances, Psychology, Sculpture, Self-Harm, Self-Injury, sketchbook, Stress, Suicide, Support System, Surviving | 2 Comments

I was reading a book by Marsha Linehan, the creator of Dialectical Behavior Therapy treatment for people with Borderline Personality Disorder, and I was struck by the theoretical concepts that she was discussing in the book. At the same time, I had been thinking about my friend who has BPD. I thought about the unending pain she suffers and how there is so much rage and turmoil in her life. I wanted to incorporate both Linehan’s concepts and aspects of my friend into the art journal that I just started working on as a collaboration with my friend, John.

So, John began the journal by preparing many pages and providing inspirations and prompts, then he mailed it to me and it was my turn to lay down something on the pages.

The first thing I did was use a handheld scanning pen to scan vertical snippets of text from the Linehan book. I then printed out the scans and cut them up into various pieces. You can just make out some of the text, like the words “dysfunction” and “BPD” and “DBT” if you look closely at the first piece.

Next, I began by glueing down the various text scans onto the journal…all over the top of what my friend John had already done. You can see bits of the yellow wash that he had laid down already. I added handwritten elements with text that expressed how I felt about my friend with BPD. Some are “rage and flounder,” “escape impossible,” “improbable at best,” and “hermedically sealed” (which I spelled wrong, but ends up being seen as “medically sealed” in the final product which I think is just as good and apt).

I colored over parts with a reddish pen, because for me, reddish colors always seem to represent pain and suffering, if not outright blood. I also used my label maker to add “A FACE TO YOUR PAIN,” because I felt like this was my way of giving her pain a face. There is also a scrunched up scribble of a face contorted with pain on the journal page just above the label. Then I started adding layers of cut out graph paper, because I wanted part of the image to have some linear and quantifiable aspects, like the discreet squares of red in contrast to the smudgy blob of red elsewhere. I also added a cut out plastic sleeve that I applied color to.

I then decided that I wanted to cut out some of the page and expose the treatment that was done on the other side of the page by my friend John. I likened this to an escape hatch to relieve the immense pressure and pain of the page and my friend’s actual pain. I cut out “hermedically sealed,” which is how it seems my friend’s pain is stored, and I pasted it onto the next page so that it could be seen as “medically sealed” through the cutout. A lot of my friend’s history involves intense and traumatic encounters with the medical establishment, so I thought this was appropriate. I cut out and folded over some of the page to make more linear elements and to add to the color use on the page as well. I also wanted to do this to incorporate the idea of overlapping aspects of our lives and our histories.

When I cut out “hermedically sealed” it left an opening that for me seemed like a window and represents the hope I still have for my friend despite what seems like endless suffering. I painted the page that can be seen underneath with blues and greens to represent the sky and grass, and I placed a puffy Hello Kitty sticker in the window as a kind of whimsical “hello” with friendship. Part of the other cutout seemed organic and flower-like to me, so I also added a stem of a flower for more aspects of light and living, but also change and death. With some of the folded over cutouts I felt like there was too much color and light, so I blacked out the spaces with a magnum black Sharpie.

Throughout the process, I was concerned not only with symbolic aspects of representation, but also with the aesthetic elements of line, color, space, balance, etc. So, part of the experiment was definitely symbolic, but I also spent time adjusting the image elements to try to make an interesting and unifying picture.

When I felt like I was done with the journal page, I took a photograph of it and posted it to Facebook to keep track of the process aspect of the journaling project. I was then compelled to go further with the image by enlarging parts of the image and cropping them in interesting ways. I took snapshots of the screen with my iPad and then emailed them to my desktop machine where I processed them in Photoshop and then printed them out. I really didn’t know how they would look printed out or if I would use or like them at that point.

I liked how the prints looked, but I felt they really should be juxtaposed somehow, so I combined them.

The closeup crops that I made were deliberate. I based my decisions on aesthetics and also on what words would be incorporated into the image. “A FACE TO YOUR PAIN” was cropped into “TO YOUR PAIN” for one image and “OUR PAIN” for another image. I wanted to bring together these two aspects of the experience of pain, the self and the other, and comment on the interaction between the two. For my friend who suffers, it seems that her pain is hers alone and that it is an isolated state of suffering, but she also has friends, family and care providers who care about her and interact with her pain and suffering. We, of course, have our own pain and suffering, but seeing her in pain is also difficult and informs our own pain and our own worldview.

When I combined the crop prints, I was “mindful” of the tension between the different images on the page and wanted to incorporate Linehan’s ideas about thesis, antithesis and synthesis in the overall picture. For me, the synthesis is the final completed work, but up until then I felt that I was going back and forth trying to find the finished piece. I felt that I needed to bridge the piece to make it more cohesive, so I added a red ribbon that tied the gaps that I saw together, also tying my friend to the world and people outside of herself. I then added sculpted copper wire to put back in a bit of the organic that I thought was lost and to act as a core and a crowning jewel.

For the second image, I employed much the same process. I printed out crops of the journal and then cut and fit the pieces together like a puzzle. For me, the second piece is more about hope, so I used the “A Window Opens” text in part of it and the overall image is less dark and red. The border of the image is a handwritten excerpt from Linehan’s text that talks about dialectics and how it is a process that persuades and encourages movement. I used the red yarn to imply some movement, but also tension. The yarn is tight, but not so tight that it tears the page. It also helps to unify the image I think, adding that aspect of synthesis.

The journal page.
The first finished piece.The second finished piece.


Sculpey Cupcake Numero Uno!

March 23, 2011 at 3:33 am | Posted in Art, clay, Colorful, Cupcakes, Cute, Fun, Handmade, Happy, Kawaii, Kristin Bell, Pink, polymer clay, Sculpey, Sculpture | 2 Comments

This is my first sculpey cupcake. I just made it today and it is about the size of a real cupcake, but not edible. LOL

Sculpey Dogs for My Psychiatrist!

March 14, 2011 at 3:11 am | Posted in Art, clay, Cute, Dogs, Fun, Handmade, Kristin Bell, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Pets, polymer clay, Psychiatrist, Sculpey, Sculpture | 4 Comments

I am just getting into using Sculpey polymer clay, and I decided to make some sculptures of my psychiatrist’s dogs for him. These are them at two different angles! :)

A Yummy Sandwich!

March 14, 2011 at 2:10 am | Posted in easy cooking, Fast Food, Food, gardenburger, Health, healthy cooking, Kristin Bell, low-calorie meals, mozzarella cheese, pesto, roasted tomatoes, sandwich, spinach | Leave a comment

So, the thing is, I hate cooking and I don’t like to eat healthy food! What a great combo, right? LOL Probably one of the reasons why I’m so fat. But, I’ve been trying to eat a bit better and lose some of the pounds. I went to Starbucks one day and decided to try their Roma Tomato and Mozzarella Sandwich. It is completely delicious! But then I’m like “I can’t afford to eat this delicious sandwich every day. What should I do?!?” So, I adapted the sandwich to make it at home and I’m here to share my results with you.

The skill level for making this sandwich is like super-beginner. You need NO skills whatsoever. If you can buy the food at the store, open the packages and turn on the microwave you are golden! This sandwich can be adapted with changes to make it however you like, but here is the general idea.

What you need: bread, roasted tomatoes (they come in a can), pesto (generally sold in the cheese/fresh pasta area), baby spinach, gardenburgers, and mozzarella cheese.

The whole sandwich is less than 450 calories depending on how you make it.

Here are what the ingredients look like that I used:

1) Bagel Thins, because they are only 110 calories and I like bagels.

2) Mozzarella cheese slices. I got the pre-sliced ones that are 80 calories per slice, but you can slice your own if you like. It is probably cheaper that way.

3) The *Original* Gardenburger. You could use whatever you like, but I like the Original kind. It is 150 calories. Also, you could have the sandwich without any garden burger at all or you could even use a regular burger, but that would involve cooking, which I don’t do! haha

4) Pesto. You can make it  yourself I suppose, but I didn’t. I bought it in a container. Less than 1 tablespoon, so approx. 50 calories.

5) Roasted tomatoes. These are very low in calories and come in a can already cooked.

6) Baby spinach. Also very low in calories. Bought it already washed and ready to go!

Now all you have to do is:

1) Toast your bagel.
2) Cook your Gardenburger for about 45 seconds on high in the microwave for each side.
3) Put a bit of pesto on the bagel. Here is what mine looked like:

4) Put a bit of the roasted tomatoes on one side. Here is an example:

5) Add the pre-cooked Gardenburger, put on the slice of mozzarella and top with the baby spinach. Don’t forget to put the lid on! Here is what it looks like before it is cooked, and I suppose you could eat it without cooking it anymore if you like.

6) I like to have it nice and warm with the cheese melted, so I put the whole thing in the microwave for about 30-35 seconds on high to melt everything together. Here is the finished sandwich!

Sculpey Puppy I Made for a Friend

March 5, 2011 at 12:26 am | Posted in Art, Cartoon, clay, Cute, Dogs, Friends, Fun, Handmade, Kawaii, Kristin Bell, Pets, polymer clay, Sculpey, Sculpture | Leave a comment

I just made this little sculpey puppy for one of my friends. She loves dogs and has some that are white and fluffy. The puppy is actually really tiny and it was difficult to get all of the fur on. I’m still going to try to figure out how to do it more efficiently perhaps. This is one of the first sculpey sculptures I’ve made and today is the first day of using it! So far it is really fun! :)

Space Unicorns!

March 2, 2011 at 6:04 pm | Posted in Kristin Bell, Magical, Music, Music Video, space unicorn | Leave a comment

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