Some of you who have followed this thing for a bit know that I struggle with depression. This year been very challenging for a number of reasons, but I am doing everything I can to get better.
A few months ago, I participated in an intensive outpatient therapy group to work on things. I met with a group of others who had similar struggles, and discussed strategies to deal with things we were going through. I went into the program thinking it would be useless, but it turned out to be really valuable.
I have also been seeing a new therapist and a new psychiatrist. I am trying a new anti-depressant, and started going to the gym. Tomorrow, I go in for a bit of blood work and other tests to see if I would be a good candidate to take part in a clinical trial called COMP360 testing whether psylocibin can help with treatment-resistant depression. Johns Hopkins, did some studies earlier that were promising. The first trial Compass did wasn’t as promising as the John Hopkins trials, but it still showed promise. This trial is expanding to more patients, and testing more of them at a higher dose to see if it is effective. I have never taken any kind of drugs like this, so I’m curious to see if it works. Fingers crossed that I don’t get the placebo, and that I see some relief from it.
In addition to all of that, I am taking a watercolor class at the Canton Art Museum. The first class was last Saturday and I really got a lot out of it. It was all about the materials that go into painting, but it was really great to see the instructor (Kit Palencar) display his work. He was generous enough to show a lot of his sketches and practice work, which made me feel much better about my own work. I often feel like the only thing I churn out is practice work, and its only “fit for the bin.” But, I also know that’s the only way to get better.
I told Kit after class that it was helpful to see the stuff that he would never show in a portfolio, the stuff you wouldn’t see in a museum, because it puts the successful works into perspective. It’s like social media, where you only see the highly curated picture-perfect moments of someone’s life. You see enough people living romanticized perfect lives on Instagram that eventually you think you are the only one who has to scrub the toilet when you shit, or you’re the only one who hears that rattle when they turn the car on… that sort of thing. The truth is, we all have buckets and buckets of shit in our lives that we are walking around (and through at times) we just keep quiet about it. We don’t televise the boring bits, or the things that make us look stupid. We don’t sit down at parties and introduce ourselves by saying our embarrassing stories. We tell people what our jobs are, and we try to frame those jobs i such a way that it makes us sound as successful as possible.
All that to say: this is a big part of why I started doing this. I wanted to capture the real struggle that goes into becoming an artist. I started seriously trying to create art when I was in my 30s. And here I am today just a few years later, still making a lot of terrible shit, and occasionally stumbling on something I’m proud of. With that in mind: here are some more gesture practice sketches I have done recently.
These are from the figure drawing class I’m taking on Proko.com. Each one is a thirty second gesture drawing, but I didn’t time myself. I woukd say they actually took me more like 60 seconds each.
There were a LOT more but these were the best ones. So I did exactly what I just talked about hating: I didn’t take pictures of all the crap. I woukd go back and do it now, but the ones that haven’t been used to start a fire in the chiminea are crumpled up in a heap on the back porch.
I have been practicing more than just gesture drawing. Here are some other things I have drawn or painted lately as I try to improve and take care of myself at the same time.
Here are some of my attempts to draw “the bean” from the Proko figure drawing course:
I have made a lot more junk, but I think I’ve aired enough of my dirty laundry for now.