Tag: Lyme disease

Staying Positive Works — Strong Spirit

Strong Spirit

Strong Spirit

This painting was done in Painter, using oils, liquid inks and pencils.  I am using it because it is entitled Strong Spirit.  That is what I have.

I started this blog to write about fibromyalgia and lyme disease.  My intention was to write how my belief in a God of my understanding, coupled with affirmations, gratitude and positive thought had allowed me to find a peaceful, fulfilling life in spite of these chronic illnesses.

Then, practicing those things led me back to being able to do art, and art has pretty much been the focus of this blog.

Today, I want to write about positive thinking.

I came across the idea of having God in my life and thinking positive about 30 years ago.  I began reading a lot of varied books on many religions.  I put together an idea of what God is for me, personally.  I believe there is something that holds us all together.  I believe that we are all connected in some way.  I believe that when I, or someone else, does something negative or harmful, it affects us all.

I believe in taking personal responsibility for myself and what I can change.  As I read and researched, I concluded that the only thing in this world that is possible for me to change is me.  I can’t change you.  I can, however, change how I react to you.

This was working fine, and life was going along real sweet.  I was a textile/mixed media artist.  My work was starting to sell.  I was having shows in galleries.  I had been in a group show at a very prestigious museum here in Seattle.  I won awards for my art.  Life looked good.  Positive thinking and a belief in a God of my understanding was working.

Oops, I got sick.  I didn’t just get sick, I got completely disabled and unable to do anything but lay in bed and wonder when I was going to die.  Doctors said I was crazy.  No one, absolutely no one would help me.

Friends and family walked away.  As they left, they said “Screw, you.  You’re a little liar, you’re not sick, just crazy.”

OK.  I got mad.  I got angry, I got resentful, hateful, mean-spirited, the whole thing.  I threatened to divorce my husband of over 30 years.  I was one sick, miserable person.

Where had it all gone?  What was happening?  One day I woke up, and could stand myself no longer.  I vaguely recalled what I had practiced just before I became sick.  I was very dubious.  I figured, this stuff works when things go well, God is there when I’m happy.  But what happens when the pedal hits the metal?  It’s all gone.

Hmm.  Perhaps I had missed something.  “OK”, I said, find something to be positive about.  What?  I can’t remember what I found, but I found one small thing.  Like breathing or something.  I practiced being grateful.  I said affirmations.  I worked at it.  I was not convinced, but I went on with the teeny, tiny bit of faith I had left.

It worked.  Just as negative things build and grow larger and become overwhelming, so do positive things.  It built up.  I found more things to be positive about.

Don’t get me wrong, it was slow going.

Look In My Eyes

Look In My Eyes

Look In My Eyes

I have taken a brush making class at the Digital Art Academy (DAA). The DAA is an on-line school that teaches art while using Painter, the app I use to make my art.  Jason Maranto taught the class.  It has been fantastic.

First, let me explain about brushes in Painter.  You don’t just grab your mouse and paint.  I use a stylus and tablet that plugs into my computer.

Painter comes with over 700 brushes.  These brushes are in many media, such as oils, acrylics, pastels, charcoal, pens, pencils, watercolors, conte, markers, crayons, inks and others.  The brushes actually mimic real world media.  The brushes work with paper textures.  So one can take charcoal or pastels and draw on a rough surface or smooth surface.  The brushes will show the textures of the rough papers and be smooth in the others.

The brushes in Painter have a number of adjustments.  Painter calls these adjustments the Brush Engine.  It is much like an engine, very complicated.  For each brush, there are setting about how the brush will interact with paper, opacity of the paint, the saturation of the paint, the paper grain, the angle the brush is held, and many more settings for each brush.  Users of Painter can make brushes in addition to making adjustments to the brushes that come with the program.

In my art, I want as much as possible to have every part of it my touches, my strokes, my decisions.  In order to do that with digital art, I needed to understand the brush engine. 

I’m so Excited

Pink Fish

Pink Fish

In 2012, through an odd series of “coincidences”,  I took a painting class from Flora Bowley.

A very good friend at that time, tricked me into signing up for Flora’s eclass.  I was very sick with fibro, lyme and CFS.  I had been in bed for over 20 years.

I was kind of doing art.  But I was just too sick to do much.  Making a phone call overwhelmed me.  Trying to be creative was impossible.

Then, I discovered the computer app I now use, Painter.  At that same exact time, Flora came into my life with her philosophy of life and art.  I had a positive outlook on life, but it had never occurred to me to apply that to my art.  Duh!

Flora has shared stories of her students  in her blog.  This week, she chose my story.

Click here to read the blog.  While you’re there, check out her fantastic art and be sure to check out her classes.  Be sure to click on “Shop” at the top.  She has fantastic products made from her art for sale.  Flora’s art or her classes make fabulous Christmas gifts.

Milestone — I got 200 Followers

Sea Life 2

Sea Life 2

I would like to send all the people who follow my blog a BIG thank you.  I just reached 200 followers.

When I decided to start a blog, I figured maybe I’d get ten people following.

I started this blog to talk about how I managed to have a life even with Fibromyalgia and lyme.  But soon after I started blogging, I saw that really, I’m an artist.  That is who I am.  Life can do what it will to me, I do art.

I thought Fibro and lyme had taken art away.  I basically did very little art for over 15 years as I was too sick.

Since starting treatment for lyme four years ago, the art abilities have come back. 

The Blog Hop

Wonderland

Wonderland

I’m so excited.  About two weeks ago, I discovered that art bloggers were doing blog hops.  Blog Hops are where one artist blogs about his/her art, and then asks three other artists to talk about their art in their blogs.

I really wanted to be asked to do one.  Then, last week, Yanik Falardeau asked me to participate in an art blog hop. Wow!  Thank you, God and Yanik.  Check out Yanik’s fabulous blog here

The lyme has flared back up.  Apparently general anesthesia, which I recently had, can cause this to happen.  I had been feeling very despondent about this, because I am very sick again.  So this has come at a really good time for me.

There are four questions I am to answer as part of this blog hop.

The first question is:  What are you working on at the present time?

I have just finished this painting, called Wonderland.

I took my first painting class from Flora Bowley in September, 2012.  I have been painting ever since.  As most of you know, I paint digitally.

Since I took Flora’s class, I have been working very hard to get my paintings to look like what I see in my mind.

I have been pouring over other people’s work looking for help and inspiration.  I look at work by Flora, students of Flora’s, Kandinsky, Van Gogh, Matisse, Klee and many others. I want to paint as the big kids do.

I made progress and I was starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel in Peace at Last (posted here) and another painting.  But they were still not quite what I was trying to get.  There was just not enough going on in the paintings.

With this painting, I feel like I finally started to get what I wanted.  I finally got a painting to do what is in my head.  This is a huge break-through piece for me.  To me, Wonderland is freer and has depth.

I know I have a long ways to go, but I’m very encouraged.  I’m starting to really have a lot of fun painting.

The second question is:  How does my work differ from others in this genre?

Flora Bowley calls her students the Bloomers.  I really like the way Flora and many of her students paint.  However, in many of the student paintings, there is a tendency to pretty much copy almost exactly what Flora does.  People use the same exact symbols and color combinations she uses.

I decided that one thing I don’t want to do is have someone look at my work and say, “Oh, yeah, she took Flora’s Bloom True class.”  I want my work to reflect the unique creative person I am.

The next question is: Why do you create what you do?

I have FM/CFS/lyme and spend about 75% of my time in bed.  I had been a textile artist prior to becoming ill in 1994.  Then, I no longer was well enough to do textiles.  I thought I could no longer do what my soul wanted to do.  Then, I found out I could paint on the computer in bed with a Wacom tablet.  Being able to paint again and be creative has filled a hole in my soul.

I am driven to create.  It is like I don’t have a choice.  For some reason, God wants me painting.  I hope that it brings joy to others.

The last question is How does your creative process work?

While I work on a painting, I stay focused on that painting.  I work only on it.

When I paint, it takes me away to a very special place.  When I can find that place, then I can tap into what makes me creative and makes me feel very good.

I work in layers.  I start out with just throwing paint, pastels, whatever on the canvas.  I build up the layers of paint and marks, to hopefully give the end painting a lot of interest. This is the part I have been struggling with so much.  I think I touched it in this painting.

I have chosen three other artists I admire to carry on blogging about their art.  I hope you will check out their pages.

They are,

Karen Bonaker at Karen Bonaker Art;

Mary at Oil Pastels By Mary;

Mo Davies, at The Crazy Crone’s Arty Farty Studio

All three of these women are wonderfully creative artists.

 

I’m One

Abstract-09c

Abstract-09c

Wow, I just got a notification from Word Press that I’ve been blogging one year.  My memory is that it has been a much shorter time.

I want to thank everyone who has followed me during this exploration.

I thought my blog would be about living with Lyme disease and fibromyalgia.  But now, my blog seems to be about art.

I think my art is my life.

When I was unable to do much of anything in art, I felt as if there was a hole in my soul.  Since starting to paint on Painter in September of 2012, a large part of who I am has been returned to me.

Last night, my brother-in-law, complimented me on my paintings.  This blew me away, because I didn’t think he was at all interested.

Again, a big thank you to all who are reading this and following me.

I wonder where I’ll be a year from now?

The art for this post is a crop of another painting.

The Inner Peace Award

I Got the Blues

I Got the Blues

I have been awarded the Inner Peace Award by Ewa at Fibromyalgia and Self Disorders.

This really means a lot to me.

The rules of this award are to say why you choose to accept it, and then pass it on to others.

Before I got sick, I had started a journey to find inner peace.  I had done a lot of reading and soul-searching.

Then, fibromyalgia.  No inner peace there.

I spent so many years distraught, crying, screaming and generally just miserable.

Then, slowly, I began to pick myself up.  I began to piece things back together.

Then I got treatment for Lyme disease.  I had gone 15 years flat on my back in bed with the Lyme undiagnosed.  Finally, treatment was started and then things began to come together.

I was able to go back where I had been in my mid-30’s and start to find that inner peace I wanted so much.

That is why I started to blog.  I wanted to share with others how I had travelled the path of grief over losing my life and had somehow come out the other side.

Now, I am being really challenged.  My inner peace and calm are being disrupted.

I have been on the same dose of pain medication since 1993.  I had occasional pain breakthroughs, which were treated with additional pain medication.  They never lasted longer than a few days.  That I could handle.

Sometime in late summer, I started having pain episodes.  I tried to ignore them.  But they became worse and worse.  Now they have turned into constant pain.

My inner peace is really being challenged.

In addition, I am seeing a new provider for pain medication.  This woman seems more interested in trying to catch me making her for drugs than she does trying to take care of the pain I have.  It is extremely upsetting and stressful.

The stress makes the fibromyalgia worse, which makes the pain worse, which . . .  You get the idea.

But I’ve learned some things over the years.

I believe that God will take care of me.  I may end up in  lot of pain, but I know he will lead me to be able to handle it.

This current person who is prescribing medication may only be a stopping point on the road I’m on.  I believe that there is a peaceful ending to this current side trip.

I so want back the peace and pain-free life I had for so many years.  But maybe that is not to be.  But I want to live up to this award of Inner Peace.

It came at a time when I really needed it, and it means so much.

Thank you, Ewa.  You are truly one of God’s angels today.

I am very new to blogging.  So I don’t know a lot of other bloggers.  However, I would like to pass this award on to some bloggers who have been helpful to me in my journey to find and keep inner peace.

They are:

Dawn Hosking

Jenn at My Fibrotastic Life

Katarina at Painfully Aware

Susan at Owls & Orchids

I have a good friend, Leigh, who is very supportive of my blog, but doesn’t have a blog, yet.  I want to add her name in here also.

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