I recently created this painting, "From the Outside of Everything", inspired by the lyrics of Adam Duritz from the band Counting Crows. I've been drawn to this band since I was kid. I remember listening to every version of their song "Round Here" with my best friend in my parent's driveway. I loved their music because it was beautiful and talked about how much it hurts when summer ends, and when you're a kid that's all you really need out of a song. When I was in high school and college I began to identify more with the darker lyrics, and songs about Duritz's struggle with depression and dissociative disorder. I felt the darkness within myself that made his lyrics make more sense than I wanted them to. Now I'm older and his music inspires me more than ever because I appreciate where he's coming from on an artistic level. He's found this way to release all the sadness, the regrets, and the bitterness towards his condition - and create something that's completely raw and that other's struggling with the same issues can so easily identify with, PLUS it sounds good. As an artist, I don't think there is any goal higher than that.
So where is all this depression talk coming from? Well, here's the thing friends, I've talked a bit about my struggle with anxiety and depression here on my blog before, but I'm not sure it's really come across how much it affects every part of my life. I have this fear that once you know how bad it really gets, that you'll think I'm fragile or not reliable. But it's gotten to the point where glossing over the darkness isn't quite cutting it on my end. So here it goes...
There are many days where I don't feel like myself at all. I go from crying to feeling nothing to feeling fear for feeling nothing. For the last two years, there have been a handful of nights where I haven't felt some form of dread, panic & anxiety while laying in bed trying to fall asleep, ruminating on regrets for events that took place either that day or years before. I read every night long after Ben has fallen asleep to distract myself from frequent panic attacks. Reading this might make you cringe, and wonder - why is she telling me this? Can't she just show me how to reupholster a chair? Or a drawing of the Richmond skyline? If you feel this way - I encourage you just look at the pictures and come back to the blog tomorrow.
But if there's something inside you that identifies with what I'm saying, then please stick with me.
I think it's important for you to know the truth. I realized that by just showing my paintings, and not explaining what they were influenced by, and what emotions took place during their creation - it's just not being honest. This is not to say that everything I've ever created has some deep dark meaning, but my art is so much a part of who I am. 95% of the time, I am anxious and the art that I create is a release for that anxiety. I'm hoping to take a page of Duritz's book, and while I continue to fight for normalcy, for the ability to take a deep breath and actually sleep at night - I'll be creating something honest, relatable and potentially beautiful.
So if you were interested in purchasing this painting, you'd click here to see my description. You'd read "Inspired by the patterns and colors found inside sea shells, I created this abstract painting using acrylic paint on a soft claybord surface. The painting has a 1" wood cradle so that is stands out from the wall and is ready to hang", but what you didn't know until now is that when I was at the beach this summer looking at seashells with Ben was one of those times in the handful of moments from the last two years where I didn't feel anxious, or depressed. I just felt normal and happy. If that isn't worthy of a painting, I don't know what is.
So there you have it. I'm a little bit terrified of what you all will think after reading this, but mostly I feel relieved to have it out there. Eeek!
If you're interested in purchasing this painting, it's 18x24" & on sale for $300 (normally $600). Click HERE for details.
Now that I know a decent amount of people read this blog, I think it's necessary for a little disclaimer: I know a lot of family and friends will see this. I want you to know that while I'm struggling, I AM okay. I'm not a danger to myself, I'm on a waiting list to see an amazing therapist, and I'm in the process of a 6 part "Depression Cure" program that's little by little making a difference in my everyday life. It also helps to know that Adam Duritz beat his depression, why not me too, right?
Also, a shout out to my sweet Ben who helps me feel safe and who inspired me to share the truth.
Hi friends! Welcome to the blog! I'm Mandy and I'm an artist, blogger & founder of the "Artists to Know" interview series. Here you'll find photos of my latest art adventures, furniture makeover projects & advice from successful artists!
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