Saturday, April 16, 2016

Visual Seizure Diary

I recently re-discovered my fine art roots, which I haven't tapped into since my first year of art school. I've found it has been great therapy, and in that respect I've also been researching art therapy as a way to cope with some of the issues I deal with, epilepsy and otherwise.

I'm no great sketch artist, but I know these images are just for me, so there are no judgements or critique like there were in college. I've been watching some technique videos on YouTube, and watching a couple documentaries about Art Therapy. It's important to me to see and hear from others and how art has helped as coping strategy for them, whether it be visual art, writing, music, theater, etc.

So, while drawing I've been trying to come up with subjects, and I decided that I would like to draw something that meant a lot to me. Because my memory is so bad, and I usually don't remember my seizures, I often do have a still image in my brain of the last thing I saw before the lights went out and the seizure started. 

So... that's going to be my subject. A visual seizure diary. I'm going to draw the last image I remember from my seizures with a date of the drawing and a short description on the back of the image to reference in the future. I've completed two drawings already from major seizure memories from the last six months.

I probably won't draw every seizure because a lot of them I just don't remember, like there's no image in my head before the seizure began. But to have a visual record of a seizure could be, and had been so far, a great way to cope with some of the issues that have risen since being diagnosed with epilepsy.

I have a nice set of colored pencils, and I'll keep purchasing drawing pads as I fill them. Hopefully I won't need too many sketchbooks in the future, because that equals more seizures, but I know it's my reality, and if I can find a way to make something positive out of this horrible disorder, then I'm game.

Hell, maybe I'll become a better artist in the process.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Van Gogh

After a very horrifying EEG experience two weeks ago, then a near equal withdrawal experience last week coming off a couple of my medications, (I will get into this another time), today was the kind of day I needed to help me forget about that hell and get my life back to normal.

Today, Sara and I visited the Van Gogh exhibit at the Art Institute of Chicago. It was a gray, cold, and misty day, but I wasn't too worried about that. Just seeing his work up close really helped me get back in touch with my creative roots.

The museum was packed with people clambering to see the exhibit. We were all like cattle being herded into, what seemed like, a small exhibit space, but once we got close enough to see his brush strokes, my eyes lit up.

All week I've been doing some art therapy with a sketch pad and colored pencils. My drawings aren't really much to write home about, but to me, they've meant the world. I even find myself dreaming about my drawings, and waking up in the middle of the night to finish drawings that I had started the night before. No drug in the world could make my emotions come to the forefront of my psyche like they have this past week. That's why going to see Van Gogh's work, my favorite artist, that much more meaningful.

I even forced myself to pick up a camera again. If you know me, then you know photography runs deep in my blood. Maybe my first time out shooting around downtown Chicago in awhile won't yield the best shots, (I shoot mostly film, so I've yet to develop and view my work), but just to aim my camera, and press the shutter was enough to make my blood warm.

So, this past week, with all the shit going on in my life right now, to be creative for the first time in a long time was a pure joy. Something I know I'll look back on, and be proud.

Pride in myself. A feeling not felt fully since my first seizure.