They Call Me Bruce

I've recently started painting again after a long hiatus. Acrylics are new to me so this is a learning process, mistakes and all. The subject matter is Bruce, a good friend's dog. This painting represents a lot more though.

They Call Me Bruce

During my teens and 20’s I used to complete a couple of paintings a year and sell them off. But for whatever reasons that stopped like so many other things I used to enjoy while younger. Not that I don’t have enjoyable pursuits now, I do, but this was something I wish I never gave up.

I have collected brushes, paints and other paraphernalia over the years that remained unused around my desk. Always waiting for that perfect moment in time to start painting again. It never came. Well actually it did, it presented itself numerous times. Something always held me back, a darkness, a fear of failure, something I never had when younger. It’s odd because part of creating is making mistakes, learning and starting again. In my day job I constantly use this process to better myself and the work I do for websites. Maybe the changeability of my work I do for the web had less commitment than a simple brush stroke.

Staring at a blank canvas, for want of a better expression had started to affect my own personal life. The more I get frustrated the more my mood changes and affects all around me.

I go through phases of an idea in my head that genuinely excites me, like a web project or a DIY project and then it slowly tortures me. I can sit in front of a computer all night and not have a thing to show for it by morning. Suddenly deflated I hit a slump. My energy drains and my mood changes.

Of course depression is alway at the back of my mind but it seems like a silly self diagnosis to compare myself to all these people with symptoms worse than me. I don’t particularly have any signs of severe depression. I still function as a human being. Yet something is still wrong. The chemistry is not right.

I do notice lows and of course the highs, those brief brain stimulating highs that never last till morning.

Last year while searching for something completely unrelated I came across this web page and it was a ‘Holy Shit’ moment. Walking Depression, it had a name. Of all the 10 signs that Alison Gresik lists, I can safely say I tick all the boxes.

Shortly after recognising all these signs in myself I crumbled a bit inside and didn’t deal with things very well. I was not a nice person to live with for that brief period.

That was months ago and while I now recognised what was going on, I still did nothing about it. I am now aged 40 and can remember periods of my life where this affected me greatly but I just didn’t have to tools to comprehend it back then. I likely still don’t.

So why and I writing all of this. Well today I finished a painting. I finished a painting that I started. I committed to that first brush stroke and saw it to the end. Even before that painting was finished I already started preparing the canvas for the next one.

While this post may have passing interest for some, surprise others and make sense to a few, I hope it strikes a chord, at least with visitors to this page. Even now, writing this I have a voice inside, trying to convince me not to post this. But the blank canvas does not put the fear of God into me right now. For now I am in control so here it goes…