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Monday, September 7, 2015

The Art of Pain

I’ve mentioned before that I do Art Journaling as my own therapy for the times when the MS feels like it’s controlling more of my world than I can handle. It really does help too. When I'm having a meltdown, when the tears and agony of what I can’t do is taking over emotionally, I feel compelled to create. I have sat in front of the computer creating a page at 2AM because I’m so wound up I can’t sleep. I can physically feel when the page is done. It’s hard to describe but I feel the tension release and finishing a page makes me feel good. It’s kinda like taking a drug that kicks in and you instantly feel better.

I did this page last week after an hours-long meltdown when I was unable to get out of my wheelchair to pull myself into the bathroom.

I’m A Mess
Credits: Life Aint Always Beautiful by LJS Designs, Melancholy by
Connie Prince, Distressed by Created by Jill Scraps

I knew the page was complete when the tension in my neck and shoulders disappeared. It felt like a vice just lifted off them and I relaxed. Art as almost a spiritual experience sounds strange, but that really is what happens for me. It’s kinda cool.

Like I’ve said before, art journaling is personal, at least for me it is. It’s like poetry. It has great meaning to the person who creates it. It might mean something totally different to someone looking at it and that’s okay; it’s what art is about. You may read a poem or look at a work of art and get a different meaning than the artist/writer expressed, but for the viewer art is not about feeling what the artist was feeling, it’s feeling what you feel. You’re not supposed to experience the artist’s feelings, but join the artist in experiencing the work of art.

If a work doesn’t move you or have any meaning to you, it doesn’t mean it’s bad or not art. It just isn’t for you. That’s oaky too.

Now I’ll share art that I probably get a very different feel from than was intended. I also have a little smile and snicker as my blog is probably the only place you’ll ever see one of my art journal pages and a Salvador Dali painting displayed in the same place.

Dali is best known for his 1931 work, The Persistence of Memory.

The Persistence of Memory, Salvador Dali, 1931

But when I saw his painting, Woman with a Head of Roses, done in 1935, I saw my legs!

Woman with a Head of Roses, Salvador Dali, 1935

Last week I met my spasticity specialist at Cleveland Clinic. He asked me to describe what my legs feel like and I told him the Dali painting described my legs better than I can with just words. Those are my legs. The left leg feels almost dead and deformed and the right leg feels like the draped fabric represents the muscles and tendons, weak and just hanging. The weakness feels just like that.

Before anyone freaks out about the description, it represents the weakness and frustrated emotional pain; the kind of pain that comes and goes. My legs do pretty much always match the Woman with a Head of Roses description but I don’t always feel the frustration and fear of that face in the back of the painting! And when I do I create works like that one at the top of this entry to quell the powerful dark feelings.

And there is my relationship of art and pain, Nani and Dali.


LV said...

Sorry you experiencing so much pain. I have a brother in law that is going through the same thing with his big toe. Been to many doctors and no help.The main problem is he is diabetic.


You say: "Art as almost a spiritual experience" I can relate to this statement. Of course it's drawing or painting for me. I DOES soothe aches, melancholy, stress, "meltdown". Yep, I can relate.

And your work is marvelous.

Edna B said...

Ah, Nani girl, I'm sorry for all the pain. Do you have a med that will relieve a lot of it? Gosh, I hope so. I love your "Mess" page.

I can relate to doing some of your best work when you are frustrated and hurting. I have one of my own favorites done up on canvas and hanging on my wall. To me it represents an especially dark time in my life. To othera, it may look like something else.

I thought your description of your legs in "Woman With A Head Of Roses" was quite interesting. It put some new meaning into the painting for me.

Nani, I hope your doctors can help lessen the pain for you. You're in my prayers sweetie. I'm wishing you a better day, and I'm tucking in a lick from Pogo to help you feel better. Hugs, Edna B.

Winged Heart said...

Oh, dear Nani! I wish no one else had to endure the kind of pain and frustration I do, but I know you, indeed, do. I so identify with your description of the way your legs feel. My left leg and foot are numb most of the time from the damage to my spinal cord, and the neuropathy is terrible. Try explaining to someone how your leg can be numb and extremely painful at the same time! When I get out of my wheelchair, it takes a little time to make sure I have my balance and there are many times I just have to sit back down. I know you can identify. Because of many other health issues, all too serious ones, my creativity sometimes suffers. While I do feel that great release when I finish either designing a scrapbook kit or writing poetry, sometimes the pain and darkness take over and it's just too difficult to think of anything else. I hope both of us can overcome our challenges and keep on creating. I'm sending you blessings for peace in the heart, lightness of spirit, and lightened physical burdens. Sally