Archive for the ‘Mental Health’ Category


It never ceases to amaze me how often I manage to neglect my blog. What’s currently going on with me is that my health was sort of running away from me, and I shall need to take time off of school again. I’m better right now, but I crashed way too hard in the beginning of the semester and there’s no way I can really remedy that.┬áThis is the second time I’m dropping out for illness, and I’m still not entirely sure what’s coming next in either work or academic direction.

In the sketch above, I was actually documenting chest pain and where it was strongest. Even though it was done close to a year ago, it’s still a pretty accurate map of where the discomfort tends to hit.


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Continuing my hunt for a good paint for monochromatic works, next up was Sepia and Ivory Black. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed using the Ivory Black. For all the hate it gets, I actually found it rather fun to use for its inky quality. Like I did with Payne’s Gray and Neutral Tint, I only used the paint and did no under drawing with a pen or pencil.

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It started with a hunt for a neutral color to aid me in monochromatic works. I’ve had my eye on M. Graham’s Neutral Tint for a while, so I nabbed a tube for experimentation. I made a little swatch in my diary, and I liked the easy flow and richness I’ve come to expect from the brand. A large spot of paint accidentally landed below the swatch, so I took the opportunity to paint a face without any initial pencil drawing. It’s interesting what can come out of accidents sometimes!

It was very relaxing. It was also a nice loosening up exercise especially since I can be so fussy and perfectionist with details. While I did like that M. Graham’s Neutral Tint had no black, I don’t think I quite liked the purple cast for monochrome studies. I do imagine that the lack of black would make it a far better and cleaner mixer.

Winsor & Newton’s Payne’s Gray is one of the few paints I have of theirs that does not crack and crumble on the palette. It also rewets pretty well. It’s a lovely dark with a blue dominance that I enjoyed working with, but once the paint runs out I highly doubt I will replace it. Instead of using it as a dark, some people use it as a blue for more subdued effects.

I enjoyed working this way so much in my Handbook journal that I continued to do more like this in other pigments. It was also very therapeutic for my dark and gloomy moments. I’ll upload more of my weird faces in future posts.

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I think the first thing I notice about people is the vibe they give off.

It’s usually easy to tell who’s insecure. Pain and anger are the easiest ones to pick up on. Sometime I can tell within a couple seconds who struggles with them. Anger tends to coarsen and distort the face underneath while pain deadens and hardens the eyes.

I have a friend with a pretty face. Pain is encrusted, sort of like ice, around her eyes and it spider-webs down the rest of her face. I met her at a low point in my life. She was sitting on a couch reading a book and I drifted to her.

Some time ago I was in her dorm while she was changing her clothes. A large tattoo of a fern was on her thigh and I inquired of it. She explained that when she was young, she would often skip school to stay at home with her mother. Her mother needed her for emotional support.

“It didn’t do much good for my education,” she recalled wryly.

They’d find ferns and violets in the woods and bring them back to replant them in their yard. Then they’d drink tea, or some other beverage.

Unfortunately her mother would later develop Borderline personality disorder, and their relationship changed. After some destruction my friend moved out of her home to live with her uncle.

I talked to her about my own trust issues with some people. How sometimes it seemed like everything was going to be okay until I got hurt again. Like some vicious cycle.

“There were some times when I thought my mom changed and she was better, but she wasn’t.” She glanced at me, eyes cracking over in pain. “Don’t let your guard down.”

To my friend, the tattoo was a reminder that the fern mother was gone, and that she wasn’t coming back. It was also a reminder for her to be the fern mother to her own children should she have them.

“If I have children, I’ll see this tattoo as I’m giving birth to them. And then I’ll remember.”

That conversation was months ago. But it was recently my friend’s birthday, and I still held on to the memory of it. I drew the tiny drawing above for her present. Her mouth curved into a smile at it.

“I can’t believe you remember that,” she said.

I don’t plan to forget.

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Lately, it feels like old ghosts are coming back to haunt me. I’m not too sure how I feel about it. There were a few triggers recently that made me aware of their presence, but I don’t know what I feel like doing about them.

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Some people are very in-tune with their emotions. Unfortunately, I am not one of them. For the most part, whenever I get “How are you, Michelle?” or “How are you feeling?” I really have no idea. Or I at least have to think extra hard about it.

One way for me to figure myself out is to do what I imagine is art therapy. Just draw and paint things out. Once one of my mentors described me as a girl with a cloud over her head. Looking back at some of my sketches, I think I can see what she means.



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