Friday, December 8, 2017

creating art for wellness

I was terribly excited to receive an acceptance email yesterday for the February 2018 Picturing Health exhibit at Viewpoint Gallery.

But I am very trepidatious as well.

I created a series of images over a few months that were meant for my eyes alone. My husband had a major stroke in June and spent two months recuperating in two different hospitals. It was a fearful, stressful, and lonely time for me. Days were spent at the hospital. Nights were spent alone with my animals in a zombie like state. I had no ability to focus and no desire to see anyone or do anything.

I had been following a photographer online who creates self portraits, usually very creepy ones, using composited images. I was intrigued by her images...I had never before seen anything like them. (her name is Brooke Shaden,  

Then I came across a quote that I found interesting:
"Art is not always about pretty things. It's about who we are, what happened to us, and how our lives are affected." - Elizabeth Broun, Director 1989-2015 Smithsonian Art Museum

Those two things connected in my mind, and in an effort to heal myself I decided to create an image to try to convey how I was feeling. The word that was uppermost in my mind was "Devastation". So I set about creating an image to portray that word. I took a self portrait and I inserted myself into a composited image created from nine different photographs in my library files.

I never planned to show anyone that image.

Then I created another image called "Overwhelmed", and another called "Depression". On and on, night after night, I worked on learning a new skill and pouring out my emotions by creating. The end result was a series I call Stroke of Emotions.

It took me two months to show anyone those images, and I only showed 3 people....all family members.

Then I found out about the Picturing Health exhibit at Viewpoint Gallery. Funded by the Robert Pope Foundation, the Picturing Health project was created to explore the relationship between wellness and creativity. My Stroke of Emotions project was a perfect fit.

If only I had the courage to share my project with other people.

Deciding that my images might just help other people, I submitted five images for consideration (that was the maximum allowed). All five images were accepted into the exhibit.

Sharing my journey was something I never planned to do. But it may help other people. I know it will help me.

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