The Blends, a Group of Paintings

The Blends is a series of digital paintings I did with brushes I made myself. 

I had recently started exploring brush making in Painter.  I decided to try my hand at making my own brushes.  Painter has an incredible amount of settings for brushes.  Making brushes is a very complex process.  But it is a lot of fun. 

I wanted a brush that would blend. 

I also wanted a brush that would paint and allow the layer beneath to show. 

Not knowing much of anything about brushes, I didn’t realize I could have just reduced the opacity of the brushes I already had.  This would have solved one problem.  But I just wasn’t happy with how Painter blends. 

So I put together a series of brushes that blended and painted as I wanted. 

I did a series of digital paintings using only my blending brushes. 

You can connect to them by clicking here

God and Honesty

Treasure 2 by Kerry C. Mitchell

In my last blog, I said I would write about how changing my life got me into a positive flow of energy that I call God. 

My coming to believe in God happened on one night.  Usually with  most people, it is a slow awakening process to come to understand God. 

I believe  there is an energy flow out there that we are all a part of.  We can either choose to take part in it or go against it.  It is just like a river; go with the flow or fight a constant battle upstream. 

So what did I find that puts me in this flow, that brings me happiness and peace? 

One area that needed immediate attention was lying, cheating and stealing.  This did not appeal to me at all.  I thought I benefitted from all the dishonesty. 

I told lies.  I stole things.  I cheated.  I thought this was the easy way.  My rationalizations included everybody does it, it won’t hurt anyone, it’s a big corporation, etc.  Those reasons are not true.  Not everyone lies, cheats or takes what is not theirs. 

I quit. 

My God, My God, MY GOD!

Untitled 18 by Kerry C. MitchellI have had an off and on relationship with God in my life. 

When I was young, I went to church and Sunday School.  I earned a bible of my own by memorizing and reciting the 23rd Psalm.  Good for me.  But what did it mean?  I had no idea. 

What did I learn from that Presbyterian church that I grew up in?  Nothing that I  can recall.  There was no studying the Bible, no outstanding sermons, no breakthrough revelations, nada. 

I believed in the big guy in the sky kind of God.  I prayed and went through the motions.  But I never connected to God.  Never really understood what/who he is. 

I went to college and became a political radical in the 60’s and 70’s.  God was put by the wayside. 

Then I had a huge spiritual awakening when I was 33.  It was like, wow, there is a God and He is here; NOW. 

How I Rediscoverd the Artist in Me

Circle 3 by Kerry C. Mitchell

I am an artist.  First and foremost, I do art.  It is in my soul to do art.  I don’t have a choice. 

When I got sick with CFS-FM-Lyme, I could no longer do art. 

I had been a textile artist.  I made large stitcheries (I called them painting with thread) and multi-media art.  I had sold my work.  It was in several private collections.  I had been accepted into juried shows, shown in galleries and street fairs.  I had recently been invited to join a group of women who were successful textile artists.  Their group was by invitation only.  I was thrilled.  The biggest dream of my life, selling my art and doing well, was coming true. 

Then, bang, sick.  I was too sick to do art work.  I needed to sit up to do the art work.  I was flat on my back unable to do anything for myself.  Furthermore, I couldn’t think creatively. 

I was devastated.  But more than devastated, part of my soul, my being was missing. 

I finally got to a point where I could play around on the computer with Paint Shop Pro.  I didn’t really know how to paint, so what I produced was not so hot.  I did find some fabulous plugins by Redfield which did wonders to the paintings.  So I did that when I when I was able to kind of sit up in bed for very short periods of time. 

Then I started getting treatment for Lyme disease.  It actually started to work.  I started feeling a bit better.  The healing from Lyme is very slow, so I still spend about 85% of my time in bed.  But at least I’m able to be up and do a few things. 

Last September I purchased a new computer.  While I was installing my software, I came across a program I hadn’t even installed in my old computer.  It is called Painter.  It is a high-end painting program.  It comes with over 700 brushes, in all kinds of media like, acrylics, oils, pastel, crayons, pens, inks, etc.  So I installed it.  It was a great program, but extremely hard to use.  I had earlier quit trying to learn it because it was so complicated.  But now my brain was a bit clearer.  Some of the fog had lifted.  So I went on-line and sort of figured it out. 

Then, last Fall, a friend suggested I take an on-line painting class from Flora Bowley.  I grumbled that I didn’t want to learn to paint landscapes and couldn’t paint anyway.  She informed me that Flora was an abstract painter and that I might enjoy this class now that I had more energy. 

I decided to at least look into the class. 

 I often have a problem with contempt prior to investigation.  The class was right up my alley.  Flora not only teaches how to paint, but she teaches inspiration, being bold and brave and comes from a really nice spiritual place. 

The class was amazing.  I actually learned how to paint.  Most of all I had fun.  Fun is not a word I find often in my life of being confined to bed.  What was really super was being able to paint from bed on the computer in Painter. 

At first, I was totally lost.  I had never really painted.  An expertise in textiles did not transfer into an expertise in painting.  Thankfully, the woman who told me about the class, also took it with me and explained, in detail, the things I didn’t understand.  Although my brain fog has cleared some, I still have a lot of problems understanding and expressing myself. 

I will forever be grateful to Flora and my friend for leading me back to art. 

Since last Fall, I have painted, painted, painted.  It is a real challenge for me.  But I’m learning and growing.  

Most of all, my art is restored to me.  I can be an artist again and express myself.

This story of finding a painting app for the computer and being lead to a class that taught me to paint are all actions of my God.  I have come to know that in my life, things don’t happen by coincidence or happenstance.  I know all these forces were brought about by the God of my understanding to return my art to me.  I am very grateful for being able to do art again. 

One of the reasons I wanted to do this blog was to share my journey learning to paint.  It has been a whole new world opening up to me.  It has been a big learning process. 

I set up a gallery of some butterflies that I did in Painter.  Now I have a gallery with a few of my early paintings from Flora’s class.

I will be posting more paintings and explaining what I learned as I progressed down this new road.

I Understand You Don’t Understand

un18kcm

I’ve pretty much given up on people understanding chronic pain and fatigue and exactly what a chronic illness is.  I’ve come to understand most people just can’t fathom what my life is really like.  I have learned to accept that.

When I got sick, I became severely neurologically compromised from Lyme and FM.  I could not get out of bed due to extreme fatigue.  I couldn’t think clearly, I couldn’t find the words I wanted to say.  I was extremely sensitive to any kind of input of sound.  It overwhelmed me.  It made me feel like my brain was going to explode.  My reaction to prolonged talking, a noise or any kind of input was to sometimes start screaming.  I couldn’t  help it.  It was how I reacted.  My brain was on some kind of overdrive.  I had no control over what it did.

I also cried a lot.  I would be in the middle of a conversation and cry.  I cried from deep, deep grief of losing every single facet of my life.

The pain was unbearable.  It was down my entire left side.  From the top of my head to bottom of my feet.  It started in my head, then into my neck, mouth, and teeth.

Down my left arm and into my fingers.  It hurt to touch anything.  The pain continued down the side of my body, into my hips, butt, thigh, calf and foot.  It left no part of my left side untouched.  It was so bad that on some days I could barely walk because of the pain on the bottom of my foot.

I literally was too fatigued to get out of bed.

The only thing left of me, Kerry, was this horrid chronic disease.

What Happened When I Got Sick

circ-1

I’m going to talk about what it was like when I first got sick with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), Fibromyalgia (FM) and Lyme disease.

FM, CFS and Lyme disease are difficult illnesses to diagnose.  When I first got sick in 1993, there was very little information for doctors or their patients about any of these diseases.

In 1993, my husband and I went to Mexico for Christmas.  While there, I ate some raw vegetables and guess what, got really sick.

When I came home, I continued to not feel well.  I was tired all the time, my head was cloudy and fuzzy and I could barely get myself to work.  Work was awful.  I couldn’t think, I was exhausted and the director was noticing.

The doctor I was seeing at this point knew I was sick, but didn’t have a clue what was wrong. However, he clearly saw I was exhausted and was giving me notes to my employer stating I was to take days off for rest.  Finally, one day I went in to see the doctor, and he said I just couldn’t work anymore.  I knew this in my heart.  But to admit it out loud, to come to terms with it was overwhelming.  I can’t work?  What would I do for money?  What would happen to me?  What was wrong with me? Frightened and scared to death is all I can recall.

This doctor referred me to another physician.

Then the nightmare really began.

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