When I came up with the Idea for this website I was very sure I did not want create a running log about my time in the hospital. Nor did I want to talk about the effects of MRSA. I doubt that anyone would want to hear about it anyway. This blog was always meant to be about my struggle to find a new way to create art. From what I have read there is a lot about art journaling that appeals to me as well as mixed media art in general. Because there was so much damage done to my brain stem I have trouble using my right hand as well as general ataxia throughout my body and damage done to my nervous system. With all of that said I need to modify most of the techniques I am seeing. I am simply writing about my way of modifying those art journal ideas.
My aesthetic preference tends to run on the darker side. So I often do not have butterflies, white modeling paste and white gesso, which are what seem to be popular for art journalers. I do like bright colors for paints and shimmery colors with black. As for writing, I can’t write anymore so I tend to avoid that where I can. And there is just too much neurological damage to allow me to keep a straight line if I draw. I mention thses issues because they are part of the reality I have to live with now. Anything artistic I do would be limited and dictated by my body and how much it limits and dictates to me. I hope this answers any questions you might have about me and clarification on my story.
I would draw all the time. I could just have some printer paper and a mechanical pencil, or some charcoal and a sketch pad, either way, I was always drawing. I used ink pens for drawing, for inking my own lineart and shading with cross-hatching. I would also do watercolor paintings but I used waterproof ink for the lineart and I would often paint with ink as well. Art was my passion and what I wanted to do with my life. Making art was everything to me.
Then 2013 happened. I had an ear infection which unbeknownst to me was an MRSA infection and the ear is a straight line to the brain. For years my health had been declining culminating in the MRSA infection in 2013 with several brain surgeries, a coma and then more pain then I had known was possible. But the kicker in all of it was the loss of use of my right side. I could no longer write or draw. This with the loss of my ability to be understood when I spoke effectively meant I could not speak or write for a long time. That alone was very isolating but not being able to draw was devastating. It also took a lot of work but after trial and error, I was able to hold writing and painting tools in my left hand.
So I found ways to make art that had nothing to do with drawing. First I made collages from the few magazines I could find, as I did when I was a teenager. Then as work on my motor skills, I started to do adult coloring. Now I want to get back to the creative side of art. There have been several times I saw bits of it already with coloring. So I am going to start Art Journaling to see if I can find a new way to make art again.
What I’m hoping you take away
I want to show my path to making art every step of the way so that people who are in a difficult situation, be it from health or some other factor, would see the things that don’t work and the things that do. As with what my life has become, take my example as a worst-case scenario. Then apply the rest of the example that best works for you. Or just go on this journey with me and see where art therapy ends up taking you.
I want to show that you don’t need to be able to draw or have any particular skill at writing or painting to still be capable of making something beautiful.
If you ever have any questions, feel free to leave them below and I will be happy to answer them to the best of my ability.
All the best,