Bipolar Disorder, Everyday Life, recovery, Uncategorized

A Day Spent As Van Gogh


This weekend was one spent creatively.

Not so much did I find creative ways to spend my time, but I used my creativity all weekend, spending hours upon hours, engrossed in art projects, just me, alone with my supplies, lost in my head, creating a masterpiece.

I suppose it was what I needed, as I feel better, both mentally and emotionally now that the weekend has ended, but I feel sorrowful that I somewhat ignored my spouse as I spent some twelve hours painting, and then another four hours or so teaching an art class.  He was incredibly supportive, and all weekend spoke positive affirmations to me, applauded my work and told me what a great job I was doing, which was what I needed to hear.

I was lost in my work.  The project was large, a 30×40” canvas, the largest I have ever worked on.  While at the art supply store, I stood in front of all the canvases and that was the one that “spoke” to me.  It was the one that fit the vision that I had in my mind.  I had this vague picture in my head of what I was going to create.  I knew it would be vast and it would be colorful, it would be a statement piece.  But how I would create it, I was not certain.

All supplies were bought on Friday night.  I slept like a baby that night (up every few hours, cranky, tossed and turned) and woke early (630am) the next morning.  I made coffee and I sat and stared at the blank canvas.  Did you know how incredibly intimidating a large blank canvas can be?  It just sitting there, looking back at you, all blank and such.  Waiting for you to decide what is going to go on it.  What colors are going to cover the white, what shapes are going to begin to cover the large rectangle?

I did not begin the painting session until my spouse woke a couple hours later and he was able (and willing) to construct my new floor easel (I literally jumped and skipped when we purchased it, the glee I felt to have such a wonderful tool to assist me in my art AND my teaching, brought such joy to me).  Once the easel was assembled, it was time.  While waiting, I found within the drawers of craft supplies that I have hidden in the office was old scrapbooking stencil supplies that would lend such an amazing hand to the abstract art that I wanted to create.  I was thrilled with my find.

And then, I started.  One shape at a time.  As I traced each shape on the canvas, I was nervous.  I wondered how this would all turn out.  Would I like it?  Would the recipient like it?  What if it doesn’t turn out as I hoped?  And then I recalled a bit of advice that my therapist gave me about not affixing expectations to things, like relationships.  If we allow things to be what they are, and not set hard limits, like expectations, on them, then there is less of a chance that we will be disappointed because we are not setting the thing, whatever it may be, up to something that is measurable.  I tend to think about it weather wise.  If I always expect the day to be a sunny 75* day, I have an expectation.  And if the day is cloudy, I get disappointed.  I will miss the blessings that come with the days that are cloudy, like the incredible way that the mountains look.  So, I decided to use this mentality with my painting.  And I just painted.  I traced my shapes and just let it flow.  The shapes went where they went.  I painted with colors that I picked out of a bucket at random and applied on the canvas where I felt that they needed to be.

It was an amazing process.  It was addictive and draining.  It was as exhilarating as riding a roller-coaster.  I wasn’t sure what to expect as I turned each corner, but I was filled with curiosity and excitement to see.  As the hours passed, I finished more and more of the painting.  It was becoming a masterpiece.

When I look at the piece, I see so much.  I see love, joy and peace.  I see a relationship that has been healed and renewed.  I see promise for the future.  I see healing.  It truly is a work of art, but I may be a little biased.


I am in a process currently.  And I am finding that art is helping my heart heal.  I have no wall space left in my house, yet the need to create is strong.  Not sure where future artwork will go, but I know that more will be made as I still have more healing to do.  I am relieved that I have found a positive way to process what life has been throwing at me.

“Art is to console those who are broken by life.” ― Vincent van Gogh

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