I’ve decided that life is about moments of happiness. I don’t know about you, but I don’t know if it’s possible to be happy for longer than a moment. I don’t think I’ve experienced it and perhaps I never will. That’s okay. I’ve found solace in the little moments. Since I was a teenager, a lot of those little moments have existed when I’m painting. There is so much comfort in creating a piece that represents exactly where you are right now. Paint doesn’t judge, it doesn’t talk back, it doesn’t tell you to get over it or talk about itself instead. It allows you to feel all you need to feel and maneuver your way through the fog at your own pace.
I’m a big fan of unconventional utensils while painting. I can’t afford brushes that don’t shed while I’m painting, and I don’t like having little hairs stuck on the canvas, so I find other things to paint with instead. Nothing is off limits. There’s a certain challenge to it and you never quite know how it will work (or if it will work at all). I’ve used dish sponges, receipts, tags from clothing, butter knives, pizza boxes, old towels, and (of course) my hands. I use my hands more often than not. There’s a certain joy you get from finger painting that doesn't come along very often as an adult.
These paintings in particular were created when I was having a particularly hard time with my depression. I was also doing everything in my power not to regress into old eating habits. It was a very tough time. These were made with whatever I had left after a recent move and that meant a couple canvases, some old paint, masking tape, cardboard, and a pair of scissors. I painted the canvases pink using the cardboard as a brush, let them dry and then placed masking tape I had ripped apart over top into these images that reminded me of why I was hurting. The first, my body. The second, a representation of my parents recent divorce. I dolloped dark, somber colors over top of the masking tape and spread it with the dull scissors. I hadn’t painted with scissors before, but once I started I couldn’t believe I hadn’t thought of it before. The texture the scissors left on the canvas was unlike anything I’d achieved before. And the final products are something I’m unbelievably proud of. It was a very liberating feeling that I hadn’t had in such a long time.
Having this outlet to allow my feelings to come to light in a proactive and creative way has truly been a life line for me over the last decade. The best thing about art is that it is open to interpretation, so what signifies pain to me can also mean be perceived as happiness to another. The second painting pictured above often elicits a feeling of hope and unity to those who have seen it even though it has a lot of dark feelings surrounding it for me. It’s a way for me to express my feelings and help heal those hurts that I have and, somehow, still being something beautiful into this world. I don’t have to explain it, I just have to allow it to exist. I’ve learned to cope with my mental illnesses through art. I’ve learned to let the idea of perfection only exist in the movies. I’ve learned that sometimes real life can be just as good, if not better, than the make believe. There is so much happiness in the paint and there is so much hope in the art.