Tag Archives: therapy

sketch at the bay / charcoal and chalk

Sketching was good therapy today. I watched a scary series on Netflix, Squid Game. It was made in S. Korea and dubbed in English. Man! Was that weird. Have you seen it? They don’t start killing people right off the bat. First they lure you in with good characters and an interesting story. It has some arty scenes too. One reminded me of an M. C. Escher stair case. So when the murders start you might want to look away but you don’t turn it off because you want to see how they get out of there.

I was feeling the after effects of it this morning. I mean a slight weird mental thing. The story gives you a lot to think about later. They could have extended the series by giving a back story on the bad guys who are dressed in red and wearing black masks with either a red triangle, square or circle on the mask. You get the feeling the bad guys are victims too.

so, I finally hauled myself out to the beach to draw and that helped me feel more sane.

The wind was light from the East, the waves were small. A ship came in. That ship was easy to draw. The beach wasn’t crowded. Some clouds rolled in. I hope the wind picks up tomorrow because I’m waiting for the kite surfers to come back.

the Bob Ross documentary on Netflix

He inspired so many people to paint. He showed them that anyone can do it. All it takes is practice. It’s not a gift from god to a special few people called artists. He was one of the first art therapists because he had such a calm zen like attitude, happy accidents and happy trees etc. When your life goes down the tubes you can feel better painting. If you keep at it long enough you aren’t depressed anymore.

I can’t paint like that. His way is so contrary to what I learned in art school that I’ll probably never try. Yes, I was brain washed in art school, but it’s ok. There are millions of artists painting like Bob Ross. Not many artists that know the old traditional ways are sticking to the old ways, so, the chances of anyone forging my paintings after I’m dead are slim. The academic tradition is dying out. Anyway, who wants to forge an artist that isn’t commercially successful, like me?

That’s all beside the point of this post.

The alarming thing about the documentary is that Bob’s business partners stole the rights to his name after he died and they made millions off the sale of merchandise with his face and name and his son didn’t get any of the money. Bob saw the problem coming before he died and tried to stop them but couldn’t.

Everyone that watches him paint loves him. He had a real genuine personality which is so refreshing in the totally fake art world we have today. He really loved people and it comes through.

I could never buy any Bob Ross merchandise because they used him to satisfy their own greed. And if someone wants to buy one of his paintings they might be buying a forgery.

What does it mean? His business partners were his best friends. You can’t trust anyone, I guess. Is it better to be unknown? Then you know your friends aren’t after your money.

E.T.s bringing in the oxygen sucking machines

My fellow Americans, stop wasting ammo. When this happens the rest of the world will be depending on us to kill the E.T.s

Anyone can do art.

Art can be a discipline, therapy or just for fun depending on your needs.

If you really want to get into doing art, the more skill you get the better. It’s like playing a musical instrument. You have to spend a lot of time practicing but anyone can pick up an instrument at any time in their life and if they live long enough to keep practicing they can see an improvement and possibly even master it. It’s not something an artist is born with. To think that is to ignore the time the artist has actually worked on it.

But not every artist wants the discipline. And they don’t have to have it in today’s art world. Self expression is valued even more highly than skill.

A lot of people just need to distract their minds from a problem and art can help with that. If you have some fun doing something with paint, that’s a couple hours that your brain took a break from whatever is eating you. What if you’re stuck at home and you’re tired of Netflix? What if you’re stuck at home with a tyrant and you can’t escape to your job like before? What if you have to home school your kids and you don’t know how to teach? Art will help in all of those situations. Any art, any project.

Art as therapy:

I wasn’t always sane, but now I am. I can’t say for sure how I got my mental health because there might be more than one reason but I think art helped. It didn’t happen suddenly. I didn’t get my head shrunk or take meds for it.

And simply not dying might have helped. Like the cliche, Time heals all wounds. That’s why I tell young artists who are suffering to stay alive. If I lived long enough to enjoy my retirement you can too.

This art therapy project:

First, think of the thing that bugs you the most. Do a rough illustration of it (stick figures or blobs will work for this). For me, the thing annoying me is the global pandemic so I threw some yellow watercolors down on the paper and then scribbled in some red lines with my Inktense pencils to make rough corona virus waves and hot spots. If I didn’t tell you my E.T.s started out as corona viruses would you have recognized it from the pictures on TV?

You can do corona viruses too or some other subject.

Second step, Think of something much worse than the original problem and add that thing into your picture. Like, what if those yellow dots with red lines aren’t corona viruses? What if they’re aliens coming to rob us of our air?

It could happen. Then we’d feel nostalgic for the days when all they talked about was the virus because suddenly they forgot all about the virus and then it would be E.T.s 24/7 on the news and our president might not be able to strike a deal with them.

Third step, Put the more scary thought’s picture in the brains of 100 people on your blog. Now 100 people will have a new perspective on corona. It’s possible to live through the pandemic without ever getting sick but impossible to live without our atmosphere.

We have a lot of brave guys who would volunteer to fly up there and destroy the oxygen sucking machines and kill the E.T.s. They’re going to need bullets and bombs.

That’s today’s art therapy project. I’ll leave it to the mental health professionals to explain how that made me feel better.

It’s raining again. I’ll go back out to draw in plein air as soon as the weather clears up.

wild wisteria rainy day

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The wisteria is growing on the trees next to the end of the highway. One side of the parking lot has a few spaces where you can see it so I sat in my car to sketch this. It’s raining but I had to get out of here for a few minutes. Plus, these are my last few days here and I might not get another chance to sketch this clump of wisteria.

Now I can’t wait to get out of here. This morning there was a fire in one of the apartments undergoing renovations. The renovations are loud, then the smoke alarm will wake the dead, sirens and fire trucks.

Some guys were coming over to get a sofa I’m giving away and couldn’t get in for a little while. So now that’s gone and I have room for more boxes.

Normally I’m as cool as a cucumber but I think a little case of nerves in showing up in this sketch. Good thing I did the sketch. I got the nerves on the paper, now I can get back to packing. That’s how art therapy works for me.

Bead Curtain Tree / Crab on Soft Pretzel

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I don’t know the correct name of the tree. I looked for the plaque but didn’t see it. The chalk is the bead like tiny flowers. They’re light green but starting to turn brown.

I was feeling so lucky today to be able to go out to draw in Plein air. It’s the best therapy for me and free. Even if I’m doing a sketch that I’ll never use for a painting. Over the past 15 years or so, drawing and painting in plein air has had a cumulative effect of healing my spirit. Think of the money I saved by not going to a shrink. Then what? I’d have got a prescription for happy pills and probably got hooked on them.

I’ve also been watching the lock up shows. I watched “60 Days In” on Hulu and often thought that could have been me under different circumstances. I imagine if a person is only slightly crazy and they commit a crime and get caught then go to jail, by the time they got out they’d be crazy for real.  I think that kind of stress could kill me. The next day when I go out the heavy traffic doesn’t even phase me and when I get in the zone of drawing I’m just fine.

If you want to draw in plein air you have to like people because they will talk to you. Today I saw an old couple looking at me so I said hi. The man said he thought I was a lego statue because I didn’t move. He saw me from the other side of the canal and walked over watching me the whole time and I never moved. I told him I’m sketching and he repeated that I never moved, so I laughed.IMG_2518

On the way home I stopped at Wegmans and bought this yummy thing. It’s a soft pretzel stuffed with crab meat. Now, I come from the land of soft pretzels (Lancaster Co. PA.) and fresh Chesapeake Bay Blue Crabs, which I love to eat, but I never heard of a soft pretzel stuffed with crab meat before. Genius. It was $12. In the oven now!

Gazebo With Fall Foliage oil

Painting in plein air is my therapy.
Painting in plein air is my therapy.

I enjoyed it so much, sitting on the thick root of an old Magnolia to work on this painting. It’s kind of a Zen thing for me.

I’d be more comfortable standing up to draw and paint, but I walked all around the gazebo and thought the best view was  more uphill from it, under the tree. A big branch was partially blocking my view so I had to move around  too see. I decided not to paint the branch that was in my way, but I also enjoyed the way the leaves glow when the sun shines through them. Have you ever noticed that? This painting wasn’t about the Magnolia, though.

If you look in the other direction from there, you can see the end of the Italian Garden, with a stone wall and roses. It smells sooooo sweet, even in the end of Oct. I’m going back to that tree next year.

What I don’t get is, why am I on this beautiful path alone?