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New Painting - A Different Shade of Past

Artwork, Finished Work, PaintingLaura Johnston1 Comment
Laura Johnston A Different Shade of Past 16x20" acrylic on canvas 2016

Laura Johnston
A Different Shade of Past
16x20" acrylic on canvas

This year, until recently, I've been wrestling with an episode of depression. It's not something I talk about much, but it's no stranger to me. I've been dealing with depression and anxiety for nearly two decades now, but it had been a while (a few years!) since it had such a strong hold over me.

Normally I am able to satiate myself a bit with painting; I've turned to my art throughout my life as a way to cope. But this time I felt stuck. I couldn't paint my way out of it, and it was confusing and frustrating. Yet, even though painting was not bringing me the clarity or release it usually does, I painted anyway. I knew the cloud would pass, but knowing that doesn't really make it easier to flounder around feeling lost. In these down turns (whether it's depression or just a plateau/dip in progress), there's often a part of me saying, "Is this it? Can I not paint anymore? Could I ever paint? WHAT IS ANYTHING?!" I'm working on it. Based on chats with my artist friends, this is par for the course. I have lofty goals to learn to embrace the dips.

This painting is a more recent production. There is another, larger 30x40' canvas that represents my true struggle-busing through the beginning of this year (it is not quite finished yet). This one was started within the last month as an attempt to dislodge the kink. I started going to therapy with a new therapist here, and she helped nudge me in the right direction. I felt freer with this piece than I have with any in a while, so I am hoping that this is the beginning of a new phase. I am happy with this one.

I’m glad to report that at this point I’ve mostly got my energy back, and I feel pretty good and pretty ambitious now, but boy! Earlier this year it was all I could do to keep my life afloat as I felt like everything was too much. I don’t exactly have my spark back, but I feel it coming.