I have been preparing art for adjudication for an upcoming Art Club show at the Esplanade. I am using my self-portrait after brain surgery that I made last year. I also made three other pieces two other mixed media and one woodblock print. I barely made the deadline Saturday. I am proud that I was able to get them in.
So how does a person with a brain injury get some art done. Well I obsessed and thought about what I was going to do for months. I am not writing about just thinking of what I would like to do, but it consumed my thoughts. Then once I figured out what I was going to do, I became distracted with other things that I do not remember but one was our moving houses. An email reminded me about the show, so I went about gathering the equipment, hardy board, Styrofoam head, magazines, paper shredder, and rope. I was on a feverent roll of action so I tried to use Vaseline on the Styrofoam head and paper mache in hopes that I would be able to use the head as a mold and remove the paper mache from the head once dry. Once I paper mache the head, I was distracted by other things. A few weeks or so (could be months) I came back to the head to try to remove the paper mache to have a hollow head. Well that didn’t quite work at all. I was forced to re-visit the head.
So one Sunday morning in the kitchen, I took a butcher knife to the styrofoam head and carved it in half. My son was on the couch with his mouth hanging open thinking that I had probably lost my marbles (still debatable). I hadn’t really thought the process through. Dull knife and it took a while and made a big electro-static mess. After energy used I was once again distracted.
I then forgot about the art project again because I had to make donations for school fundraisers. Thanks to the club’s secretary, another email reminded that I had a month to left to deadline for handing in pieces of work. I think that I have plenty of time to do it all. So prepped the board and got stuck. It was this 24″x48″ piece of white board. So I went to the computer and looked up photo transfers (I forgot how to do it). I deviated from the art project and made a sign. I went on computer and made some word art templates. I then phototransfered nine to one side. The next day and for a few days after I worked on removing the background. I became distracted and started my woodblock carving.
I grabbed half a head, some found objects, rope. I went to work with a screwdriver and punch putting holed in the head. Then then threaded the head with rope. I really hadn’t thought this part through. It wasn’t part of my master plan, but I ran with it. And then it sat again. For the last month of this project, my Botox has worn off, I am in pain. I can only work on this for sometimes as little as a few minutes and as much as a hour. Each time after I work, my head is spiking in pain and I need to go lie down because I feel absolutely wiped. Not from physical energy, but mental energy spent. Time suckage of just staring at what I am doing and trying different things is huge. I can’t make up my mind. That is the one thing where I continually get lost in time is my lack of decision making.
My two other pieces I know are going to be trees. I have half carved out my woodblock. The final piece is still stuck. I start with a board and end up getting a canvas. The final week in the house it is chaos. I work on art, sleep, nap, work on art, scatter art prints everywhere. The garage, downstairs and dining room table have been taken over. Laundry is piled high in the bedroom. Toys are everywhere. We eat left overs or what ever is in the fridge. Thank goodness our student went away as there was really no scheduled meal & kind of fend for yourself atmosphere. My head is spinning, my chest hurts. I am depressed. I am an emotional, physical and mental wreck that is sinking down a deep rabbit hole. I keep printing and burnishing my tree but each print is crooked. Then the ink is still wet after 48 hours. The only salvagable I have ruined trying to straighten for the frame. I become obsessive-compulsive in trying to get a straight tree print. It consumes me Thursday and Friday. My hubby has a hockey tournament and my Saturday (the due day) is over scheduled. I am able to drop two pieces off on Friday and by Saturday afternoon the other two go in as well. What a relief. I am hollow and exhausted. My vision has a hard time focusing. I go to bed the same as the boys and sleep through the night with the help of a sleeping pill.
Art has been therapeutic for me. This has been a successful learning experience. I do not respond well to deadlines. I have to work at my own pace however forgetful, inconsistent and irradic it may be. At least for now as there is plenty of room for me to become more flexible (one of my weakest executive functions). I hope to go back to school and become an art therapist as I have seen the benefits for me and know that I would be able to help others in the healing process as well.