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Art therapy - share your work here

Amazing @spinningmytires makes me think a little of Paula Rego, a little of Picasso
Thanks for introducing me to Paula Rego - her artwork is awesome! Yes, I can see a resemblance in the way that she posed her figures with subtle distortions.

Many have told me my style resembles Picasso. Yet, I suspect that my simplistic, cubic style is due to the fact that my visual imagery is mostly internal where the details are lacking. If I were to paint details, I’d likely need to be observing from an external reference. My mind simplifies everything.

You're very talented @spinningmytires, and that is a pretty accurate depiction of dissociation!
Thank you, ziter. Just wondering - over the past few decades my imaginary female figures have been mostly reclining, or positioned on the ground or sometimes kneeling. Only a few of my figures have been seated. Perhaps within my imagination, a standing female figure might seem too confrontational, as if, to be ’standing her own ground.’
 
Both of these sketches, I’d dawn during the mid 1970s. I was then mostly living alone at home and struggling with a deep depression, insomnia and unexplainable panic attacks while on Elavil. However, my T was then telling me that I was fine and that my talk therapy had become supportive. I’d actually made plans to terminate my therapy with him as I felt it had become pointless.

When my family would occasionally meetup at the house there would always be heavy drinking. (My parents were basically separated and living apart from 1969 to 1981). They rarely spoke to each other nor to me. Often there were cold stares of silence. During these gatherings I felt small, insignificant, emotionally neglected and powerless to change anything.

No one seemed genuinely concerned about the other’s feelings. Perhaps, their lack of emotional awareness was due to the alcohol. Whatever the case, I often wanted to escape.

I think my black and white pen drawing represents my struggle with depression and insomnia during that same time period. If only I could have found a small enclosure of some kind, where I could hide and feel safe enough to drift-off to sleep at night. The darkened night sky has always disturbed me.

Perhaps, at that time, I had found comfort in drawing many repeated parallel lines and similar shapes, as this is quite noticeable in this paticular drawing. This isn't my usual way of working.
 

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This group of four female figures I drew in late 1974. This had been an extremely stressful year for me. During that time, I’d abandoned my efforts in establishing a social life thus, I’d stopped dating. My T then said I was regressing and prescribed Elavil, after being off anti-depressants for a few years. My T didn’t seem to understand why I was lacking a desire for intimacy.

Looking back on my social withdraw in 1974, I think my tendency to dissociate was my greatest problem. I could describe to my T my social behavior which was most often appropriate and yet, I couldn’t describe to him what I was feeling during my social encounters. Apparently I was then emotionally numb.

This was my first T and he rarely ever asked me about my feelings. Perhaps this wasn’t such a good thing. Perhaps his lack of focus on my feelings only reinforced the notion I was taught eariler by my mother that, ‘my feelings really didn’t matter …that my feelings were often wrong and that I should learn to correct them.’

I had been in therapy with this T for two years before I ever cried during a session and then only because my dog had died. I didn’t want to emote in front of my T - I just couldn’t hold back my tears. As I recall, this was the only time I’ve ever cried during a therapy session.

About my drawing - I drew this group of figures intuitively without any preliminary plan. My ballpoint pen disallowed making corrections thus, my awkward errors remained as mostly in their arms and feet. The heads were of little importance to me beyond their positioning. The many repeated parallel lines were suggestive of a unifying fabric which I found comforting to draw.

To me these figures all seem lost, confused and empty. The standing figure on the right seems to be holding her arms up and open and out to her sides, as if, to convey her emptiness. The palm of her left hand is open and turned upwards to convey its emptiness as well. Her right hand tentatively touches the other’s shoulder, as if to console the other’s grief and withdraw.

The standing female on the left clutches her own upper arm as if to self-comfort while the placement of her feet clearly convey her insecurities and disconnection with the ground. She looks as if she might fall.

The female at the bottom left seems totally confused. She struggles to make sense of the burdensome thoughts and memories occupying her mind. She doesn’t look towards the others for support.

The female sitting on the ground with her backside facing us, looked outward beyond the confines of the drawing while wondering if there might be any possible way out of here.
 

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I’ve rarely drawn male figures beyond those I’d drawn in life-drawing class. However I think, this mid-1970s drawing of an imaginary male figure might be interesting in comparison to my imaginary female figures drawn during that same era. So, I'm posting both drawings here for comparison plus another imaginary figure drawing.

Unlike the four very stressed-out female figures in my drawing titled, ‘Lost and Empty,’ my drawing of this imaginary male seated on a blanket seems relaxed, well-composed, as if, emotionally fulfilled. Yet the placement of this male figure's left arm and leg seem protective, as if to hide his feelings from his object of desire, supposedly the flowers.

As a visionary, I drew this male figure looking away from me, as though, I didn’t exist. This was often my real life experience with my father ...rarely did he provide me with eye contact. He was so very aloof and brief with his words.

Not until age 24 and after four years of therapy, had I become consciously aware of my father’s ‘no contact’ CSA. A few times I had caught a glimpse of him standing by my bed masturbating, as I slept. This I assume he was doing when I'd see his boxer-shorts dropped to his knees …yet I have no memory of actually seeing his exposed genitals beyond one childhood experience at age 4 …perhaps my dissociation hard at work. I don't know.

Yet not until I was 24, had I become aware of my father’s emotional isolation. He never seemed to be lacking anything on an emotional level, as if, he considered any emotional need or desire as a weakness. Never would he request a hug nor say that he missed anyone.

Here I’ve also attached a drawing titled, ‘Man Turning Away,’ which might express this feeling of isolation.
 

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I’m truly amazed that I’m able to sketch this way using only my imagination. I drew this in about 2001 or 2002 when I was becoming painfully aware of my family’s unkind manipulations. Perhaps this explains my defensive pose …my memory of childhood compliance, if never ending.

This sketch I drew quickly within several minutes without stopping nor making corrections. I had given it little thought before I began moving my pencil over the paper.

Initially, I only knew that I was drawing many light lines, as if to suggest a solid form, before realizing that some lines was more significant than others ..thus these lines I would darken. Gradually a small child appeared. Bit by bit this figure evolved as the pose then fell into place.

Some people have suggested that I likely first establish these images in my mind and then proceed to copy them onto paper. But this isn’t the case, as I’m rarely aware of what I’m drawing until I begin to recognize it on the paper. Then too, my imagined imagery will continually change …it’s extremely fragmented ...thus impossible to copy. I wish I could create this type of intuitive drawing on command yet I can’t. Drawings like this one rarely happen.

But what I find interesting about this drawing is my eye-level. As the artist, I had conceptualized my eye-level as being below the child’s eye-level. Here, my ‘artist self’ is looking up at this child. In other words, I was either conceptualizing myself as being another child of nearly the same size or I was conceptualizing my ‘artist self’ as sitting on the floor in front of this young girl.

I titled this drawing, ‘My Party Dress Compliance’ as during social events my uncomfortable childhood appearance meant everything to my mother. So twenty some years ago, I again found myself struggling to maintain this ‘best public appearance’ while being painfully aware that, all was not well within my manipulative family.
 

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Pieces of National Geographic photos. My first collage. It is so much fun! Maybe the ripping is therapy…and then creating something.
Photos and magazine printed pages cut into various shapes and arranged on paper make a great material for creative self-expression. And yest it's fun!

Though magazine pages weren’t easily available anymore nor are they archival, an unglued collage arrangement could still be photographed and saved as a digital photo image. Here the artist wouldn’t be limited to using only 2-dimensional materials either, as personal belongings, keepsakes or other objects of interest might be arranged as if these were a still life. No drawing nor painting skills required. Also words, might be added.

For me, gluing the collage pieces to my paper support was the greatest problem. I’d used a clear acrylic medium, however, this would often wrinkle the thinner magazine papers. There are better options available these days, especially with computer printers and scanners. The scanning of objects other than flat documents can also be very interesting. There's no limit!
 
Photos and magazine printed pages cut into various shapes and arranged on paper make a great material for creative self-expression. And yest it's fun!

Though magazine pages weren’t easily available anymore nor are they archival, an unglued collage arrangement could still be photographed and saved as a digital photo image. Here the artist wouldn’t be limited to using only 2-dimensional materials either, as personal belongings, keepsakes or other objects of interest might be arranged as if these were a still life. No drawing nor painting skills required. Also words, might be added.

For me, gluing the collage pieces to my paper support was the greatest problem. I’d used a clear acrylic medium, however, this would often wrinkle the thinner magazine papers. There are better options available these days, especially with computer printers and scanners. The scanning of objects other than flat documents can also be very interesting. There's no limit!
It is amazing you just wrote this as I was looking at the idea on line of using more dimension with ephemera, buttons etc. I have only done 3 pieces and can envision totally what you are saying. Thank you for taking the time. It truly is art therapy for me. Fish totally intrigue me. That is all I want to do. Endless.
 
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