Here’s to the hidden paths

One of the ways I combat the pain from fibro is through art. I don’t react well to pain medications, so I do what I can to get through the bad days, which sometimes includes losing myself in my art. I’ve never really considered myself as an “artist”, I think I’m more of a “creative gypsy” (yes, I made that term up), since I tend to wander from medium to medium. Pastels, water colors, crochet, cross stitch… I’ve tried my hand at a wide variety of hobbies in my quest for creative expression.

Lately, I’ve been painting, which is something I haven’t done in nearly two years. This isn’t unusual for me; I’ve been known to go a year or even several before picking a hobby up again. This time, though, it’s different; I didn’t pick my brush up in order to escape the pain. I picked it up because a two year old boy asked me to.

I guess I need to fill in some back story here. In order to keep myself from becoming a grumpy old troll again, I babysit, when I can. I’ve been watching this little fella for about a year now; I’ve seen him grow from a toddling baby into a rough and tumble little boy, and I have loved every minute of it. He’s at that funny age where children latch on to something and obsess over it. They want to watch the same movie, hear the same song or read the same book over and over and over again, until you think your head will explode if you have to endure it one more time…

Well, D’s obsession happens to be construction equipment. This kid can, at two years old, name more heavy machinery than anyone I’ve ever known. As a matter of fact, he often talks about machines that I’ve never even heard of.

We often color or draw together when I watch him and he always asks me to draw things for him, a doggy, a kitty… Usually it’s just simple stuff, which is great, because I really can’t draw, (there’s a reason all of my art up to this point has been abstract). So, anyway, not long ago, D suddenly asks me to draw an excavator. My mind went totally blank. Eventually, I managed to draw a box with wheels and an arm with a scoop on the end of it, D approved and the mission was accomplished.

Not long after, D’s mom told me that because D loved that (hideous) little drawing so much, she wanted to put it on canvas or something to hang in his room. It was at this point that I decided I needed to at least try to come up with something better; I really didn’t want my name attached to that awful doodle. So, I set out to draw the best darn construction equipment that I possibly could.

That, ladies and gentleman, is how my very first commissioned art work ended up consisting of a bulldozer, an excavator and a dump truck. It’s certainly not the kind of work I dreamed I would sell, but if I’m honest, I never expected anyone to ever want to pay me for my scribbles.

As it turns out, I can draw! Who knew? I’ll never be asked to do sketches for an anatomy text book or anything, but I bet I could illustrate a children’s book. How cool would that be?

I realize that on the surface, this post has basically nothing to do with fibromyalgia or dealing with a chronic illness. I shared it because I wanted to share what I’ve learned. I know I’m always talking about fighting on and not giving up, but this experience showed me that I had, in fact, given up on some things: my dreams. I’ve been so focused on getting healthy and beating this disease that I couldn’t see anything around those goals. If anyone ever asked me what I would after I achieve these goal, I wouldn’t know what to say. I’m not saying that those aren’t good goals, they’re still at the tippy top of my priority list, but I’ve come to see that I can be more.

A two year old child took me by the hand and showed me a path for my life that I hadn’t even seen. He has made me realize that there is always more to learn and that just because our original dreams are no longer possible, we should never stop searching for more.






Free WM

This piece is one of my personal favorites, in part because of how soothing it was to create. “Free” is unusual in that it was actually created over several days, not in one sitting like the majority of my work. The background of the piece was painted in watercolors, once it dried, the rest of the design was done in soft pastels and charcoal. Another unusual thing about this work is that the design wasn’t planned ahead of time. Normally, I doodle something in my sketch book and then decide to make it into a finished piece. With “Free”, I just set my pencil to the paper and went with it. The flowing curves of the design itself and the careful blending of the colors just set my mind at ease. I’m not normally the type to get hung up on the creation of a piece, but this particular drawing put me into an almost meditative state. I titled it “Free” partly because of the way I felt during its creation and partly because the finished design looks as though it is floating freely in a warm summer breeze.

As always, you can view more of my work at:

“Chaos Rains”

Chaos Rains WM

No, I didn’t use wrong word when I titled this piece, it really is supposed to be “Chaos Rains”, not “reigns” :). I chose “rains” because of the drips and drops of color I used to create the background but I really do love the homophone.

This piece provides a glance into my brain on some of my foggier days, days when chaos actually does reign in my mind. The riot of color in the background represents all of the random fragments┬áthat seem to float around in my head while I’m trying to form coherent thoughts. The black lines are those thoughts, sometimes they twist and turn, getting lost in the riot, and sometimes, I’m lucky enough to pull them straight out of the fray.

Thankfully, not everyday looks like this- I think I’d go totally crazy if they did, but it happens often enough. I am at least grateful that my imagination provides me with the ability to express myself with more than just words alone.

“Shades of Love”

Shades of Love WM

This is one of my favorite pieces, but it actually happened on accident. I was just playing with some watercolors, experimenting with the way they moved across the paper and I fell in love with the way the colors came together. I call it “Shades of Love” because I believe that love is made up of many different emotions. Affection, loyalty, passion, longing; I think it’s safe to say that most people can easily equate these emotions with love. Then I realized that there is another side to the story; the side no one really likes to think about. Jealousy, anger and even hatred are also facets of the complicated equation we call love.

Think about it: when you are truly in love with someone, they have the power to get under your skin like no one else. The strength of your love allows them to know exactly which buttons to push to make you angry or jealous. I’m not saying that you should be angry or that your partner should use their power to make you angry, I’m just saying that only someone who truly loves you has the power to draw out your strongest emotions, negative or positive. The next time you and your lover get into an argument, try and remember that the only reason that you (or they) are so angry is because you’re in love. Just see what happens ­čÖé

Of course, this theory also works on other things that you love, not just people. Think for a moment, about issues that you feel strongly about. Why, for instance, do I see red when I hear about the abuse of children or animals? Because those are both things that I love. I don’t just ”┬álike” them, or even “like, like” them. If that were the case, I wouldn’t get so angry when I look at the news headlines.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this little theory of mine!

For those of you with an interest in the piece itself, it’s a watercolor and charcoal painting, entirely of my own design. If you would like to see more of my work, please visit me at DeviantArt!

“Strength in Pain” or “Self Portrait”

This is a watercolor/pastel painting that I created about 6 or 7 years ago. It was originally drawn as my self portrait, kind of a look at myself from the inside. At the time, I felt as though I was separating into two different people- the “happy” me was escaping, while the “other” me was sinking to the bottom.

Whenever someone would ask me about this painting, I would always reply with “Well, what do you see?”. Very few people knew that it was actually my self portrait; it was just too personal and too painful to explain. I’m sharing it now because I don’t want to be that empty little person stuck to the bottom of the page- it’s time to rejoin that other side of myself. Hopefully someday soon, I’ll be able to share a new self portrait.