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MENTAL HEALTH: Getting Well is Possible.

Hello Friends,

Over the last few days I have been deciding how I plan to deal with my brother’s suicide and how I would like to be involved in a large community near where I live.  I met with a woman on Tuesday at the open house for a new mental health facility that opened in Redding, Ca.  Here is a link to the article:

It was exciting for me to hear about all of the many services this group of people is going to offer to Shasta County.  I knew then that God was showing me how my life is going to change real soon.  I signed up to be a volunteer.  I will start out doing simple things at first such as answering phones or e-mails or helping with mailings.  I also plan to begin attending meetings facilitated by the woman I met with.  She facilitates meetings for friends and family members of people who completed suicide.  It has been many years since I went to any kind of open recovery meetings such as this, but I am looking forward to it.  I remember back in 1988 when I went to my first recovery meetings after I stopped drinking and using drugs.  I felt very nervous and afraid.  However, I am not that person anymore; I know what I need to deal with, I have good boundaries, and there is no pressure to share.  I think just meeting new people and hearing other people’s stories will help me begin to deal with the unfortunate choice my brother made.  I will have no problem sharing or talking, though, so I am sure I will.  The next meeting isn’t until June 5th so I have some time to process all of it some more before then.

I have my first counseling meeting set up for June 2nd with a therapist I met a couple of months ago.  I am also looking forward to talking with her.  It has been a very long time since I went to a woman counselor which will be different.  When I first went to counseling in 1988, I went to a woman.  However, after several months, I felt really uncomfortable with her for some reason.  So I stopped.  I kept going to the ACA meetings, and then found a male counselor at the church I was attending at the time.  I went to him for several years, and he was encouraging, safe, and the first man I ever felt connected with emotionally whom I knew I could trust.  I grew a lot in those years, and he helped me through the transition of entering a second marriage which has been healthy and loving.  My husband and I have been together since December of 1994.  It has been quite a journey!  And now we are looking toward the future when our nest is empty and he retires someday.

So as far as working with Hill Country Care Center, I am planning to take some time to get to know people, get a good feel of all of their services to the community, then possibly go through their Shasta Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) Academy which is a “FREE 65-hour certificate training program…designed to help people prepare for entry-level positions within the public mental health field and/or prepare them to become Peer Mentors.”  (That is a quote from their brochure.)

It has been many years since I have taken any kind of classes, but I had already been thinking about something along these lines for the last year or so. I just had no idea I would find out about this wonderful care facility this way.  So hopefully, as I said in my last post about my brother, something good will come from his death.    It is possible that I may eventually get to use my writing and art to contribute to the creating of flyers, etc.  So that is exciting for me, too.

Thank you to all of you who read my last post about the suicide of my brother.  I appreciate all of your support, prayers, and comments more than you know.  I am planning on keeping you updated on what I will be doing and learning as a volunteer in the mental health community.

I am still doing art and still plan to keep working on the picture books I’d like to write and illustrate, but for now it is just for fun.  I am feeling like this other work is going to become more important to me for the time being, but the facility does also have a program where they train people to go into elementary schools and talk about suicide.  Who knows?  Maybe somehow, all of this will meld together into something beautiful.  I sure hope so.

Have a wonderful day, and give someone you love a big hug!  🙂




SUICIDE: Don’t Make That Choice!

Hello Friends,

I have been feeling a little reluctant to write about this, but honestly, I don’t see how I can NOT write about it.  This will be long; bear with me, please.

On the morning of May 5th, I learned that one of my brothers committed suicide on May 4th.  In a way, I wasn’t surprised when I thought back on the last time I had spoken with him.  He called me out of the blue about a month before this and asked me if I knew where his daughter was.  I thought this was a strange question since I have not seen her since she was three years old!  She and her mom left California in the early ’80’s when her mom and my brother divorced.  Anyway, I asked him why he needed to find her.  I asked him if he was sick.  He said he wasn’t sick, but he couldn’t hardly walk anymore. He said he wanted her to be able to have all of his part of the financial investments that our parents left us “just in case something happens to me.”  In the back of my mind I had a flash of what he may have been planning.  However, I did not ask him if he was feeling suicidal.  I wish I had.   I was actually surprised that he even called me.

My brother and I had a very rocky relationship for most of our lives.  I never really understood why.  I am the youngest.  He was the middle sibling.  We were four and a half years apart.  He would have been 61 this July.  He always seemed closer to our other brother.  However, throughout our lives we all really went our separate ways.  The closest I ever felt to either of them was when we went through the death of our mother in 2006.  Our father died three years later.  So our eldest brother had to handle all of the inheritance stuff.  It was a very stressful time for all of us.  Since then, we have all lived separately; my oldest brother left the area and my other brother and I never knew where he was until about three years ago.

That was when my middle brother decided to call me and apologize for everything he had ever done to hurt me.  He was crying and truly sorry.  This was something I had been praying for since 1987 when God had turned my life around.  I had tried many times to make amends with him, but he was just not ready.  Needless to say, I was thankful for that call.  I told him I had forgiven him many years ago and had been praying we might be able to have that conversation someday.  I told him I had always wanted to know him and I loved him.  I asked him if we could just start to have a relationship then, but he said he didn’t want to.  He was addicted to drugs and couldn’t get clean.  He was living in a trailer park where he had been for the last 20 years.  He didn’t know how to change, and he didn’t ask anyone for help that I know of.  I felt helpless, but I let him be.  I called him a few times just to see how he was doing, but he just didn’t know how to connect with me.

I believe he suffered from mental illness his whole life; most likely anxiety and depression, just as I have since I was at least 15.  Looking back on my childhood, I now believe my dad suffered from depression and this was why he drank.  I also think my mom had anxiety issues not just because of his drinking, but because of her own chemical make-up.  She was always worrying about everything and everyone.

I went through my drug and alcohol abuse days from about 1980 to 1987.  That was the year I quit everything and got help through counseling and an ACA (adult children of alcoholics) meeting every week for a couple of years. However, both of my brothers kept using drugs and alcohol for the rest of their lives.  My brother who died was hurt on a job many years ago and was getting pain medicine through the veterans hospital.  He was in the Navy for four years when he was right out of high school.   Apparently, though, his back became so bad, he could hardly walk anymore.  I believe that he just chose to die to escape the pain that was consuming him.

I have been that low many, many times myself emotionally.  However, I am thankful to have a loving husband and two children who love me and would never ever want me to make that choice just to escape any pain I may go through in my life.  It doesn’t solve anything, and it leaves those whom the person left behind in shock, angry, and sad.

When I learned of my brother’s suicide, I was definitely shocked.  Then I was angry for a few days.  Then I had to begin dealing with the aftermath of what would happen to him and his stuff.  At the time I didn’t have a clue as to where his daughter was.  Then his best friend found my brother’s ex-wife’s phone number.  She was contacted and then my niece was.  Yesterday I spent most of the day on the phone with my 37-year-old niece whom I do not even know.  It was strange, but good.

Hopefully, just getting in touch with her will be the blessing that comes out of his sad choice.  My brother and his daughter were estranged from each other for most of their lives as well.  I always felt sad about that, but hopefully she and I can build a relationship with one another now even though we live very far apart.

To this day I have no clue as to where my other brother lives.  We became estranged after our parents were both gone eight years ago.  He left the area and has never wanted to come back.  However, our brother who died did have a best friend who knew where our oldest brother was.  So the same month that my brother called and apologized to me, he also went and found our other brother to make amends with him as well.  However, I have no way to find our eldest brother to try and do the same.  He is living off the grid which is what he always wanted.

I know this has been a very long post; if you stayed with me, thank you.  I wrote this to encourage anyone who is thinking about suicide or knows anyone who is, to tell you to please reach out for help.  There is lots of help to be found!  First, try to talk to someone you know.  If that doesn’t help, call a local suicide hotline.  Or call 1-800-273-8255.  This is the number for Suicide Prevention Services of America.  Their website is if you want more information.  I have never used their services, but I am sure there would be someone there to talk to.

Well, friends, I am definitely going to be reaching out for some help myself in dealing with this.  I have talked with someone locally whom I am planning to meet this afternoon.  Perhaps this is going to be the start of something good.

Have a wonderful day, and give someone you love a big hug!  🙂

Andy Warhol

Andy Warhol

Check out this website if you are interested.

The other day I watched a Biography episode about Andy Warhol. Here’s a link to some information about him if you don’t know of him. I found him to be an interesting person. I was not really too familiar with his work. He was pretty creative, though. He began the ‘pop art’ movement in the 1960’s.

I admire the artists who can come up with something to do and create that is so original. I’m still working on that!

Have a wonderful day, and give someone you love a big hug. 🙂

Margaret Keane’s Big Eyes

This was a really great movie. I love Amy Adams in everything I’ve seen her in. This is an empowering story for any struggling artists. ALWAYS STAY TRUE TO YOURSELF!!!


Painting Jackson Pollock Style #3

I used a brush a little bit in this one like Pollock did before he began doing just the dripping style.

Have a wonderful day, and give someone you love a big hug! 🙂

Painting Jackson Pollock Style #2

Here is the second painting I did the other day in his style.


Painting Jackson Pollock Style #1

Jackson Pollock Style #1

Hello! This past Friday I watched the movie called “Pollock” with Ed Harris. I didn’t really know anything at all about Jackson Pollock, but it appears he suffered from depression and alcoholism which in the past I could relate from myself. However, at that time in my life I was not in the process of becoming an artist. And fame has never been a goal of mine either. He was living in quite a different time, though, and was driven to come up with something “original” which he certainly did.

What I liked about the film is the way Ed Harris thoroughly researched the man he was to play. The film was starred in and directed by him, because it was his idea, his project, and he didn’t want to have to try and direct someone else to play a person he felt he “knew.” He had read about him, researched him, watched films of him working on his pieces, etc. I think he made the right choice. I love Ed Harris in everything I’ve ever seen him in, and in the extras on the movie, it showed the real film of Jackson Pollock showing the world how he did his paintings. Ed Harris definitely studied his subject and brought him back to life so to speak.

So of course after I saw this, I grabbed some acrylic paints, much smaller paper than Pollock used, and went outside after watering down the paints. I only chose a couple of colors: blue, orange, and yellow. I liked the way the yellow and blue became a nice shade of green when they melded together on the paper.

This was something fun and different to do, and I would encourage any artist to watch the film if you’ve never seen it, try the process and just see what happens!

I am still reading a great deal about Vincent van Gogh, but have only attempted to do one painting where I tried to depict him looking out from a boat dock onto the ocean he may have seen. However, I need to re-do it, because of some proportion problems I saw afterwards. What a story that man’s life was!

Have a wonderful day, and give someone you love a big hug! 🙂

Featured Image -- 3194

“My painting does not come from the easel.”

I have always thought Jackson Pollock to be an interesting artist. 🙂

Art of Quotation


“My painting does not come from the easel.”

–  Jackson Pollock, 1912 – 1956, American, painter, abstract expressionist


Jackson Pollock 4Pollock was introduced to the use of liquid paint in 1936 at an experimental workshop in New York City by the Mexican muralist David Alfaro Siqueiros. He later used paint pouring as one of several techniques on canvases of the early 1940s, such as Male and Female and Composition with Pouring I. After his move to Springs, he began painting with his canvases laid out on the studio floor, and he developed what was later called his “drip” technique.

He started using synthetic resin-based paints called alkyd enamels, which, at that time, was a novel medium. Pollock described this use of household paints, instead of artist’s paints, as “a natural growth out of a need”. He used hardened brushes, sticks, and even basting syringes as paint applicators. Pollock’s technique of pouring…

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The Subjects Painters Choose

Have you ever wondered why painters decide to paint the subjects they choose?  I have.  Personally, I have never been a fan of Picasso’s or Pollock’s work.  But does that mean it isn’t done well?  Of course not.  It was done exactly the way THEY wanted it done.  Besides, I’m only one person out of billions of people who love the disjointed faces of Picasso or the wild splashes of color poured or drizzled onto Pollock’s canvases.  You see, I believe that unless an artist tells someone why they paint the things they do the way they do, then all we are left with is speculation.

My favorite artist is Georgia O’Keeffe.  I love all of what she did, although I wouldn’t hang all of it in my house.  I love her flowers the most out of all her work.  But her cow’s head paintings and some of her abstract work is very interesting.  Even her cityscapes she did while she lived in New York are pretty intriguing to me.  She really didn’t enjoy living in the city very much, so that’s why she painted the skies and accented the sunspots and clouds she saw.  Georgia absolutely loved the outdoors.  That’s why she ended up living out most of her later lifetime in New Mexico.  She took long walks and found all kinds of things that interested her enough to make paintings of, mostly animal skulls and bones.

In Lovingly, Georgia, on pg. 92, she said,  “I had been taught to work like others  and after careful thinking I decided  that I wasn’t going to spend my life doing what had already been done.”

Georgia knew from the time she was a young girl that she was going to be an artist.  She was also fortunate enough to be able to attend art schools growing up.  She taught art for several years, but she always knew she would become who she turned out to be.

In her autobiography Georgia said,   “I said to myself, ‘I have things in my head that are not like what anyone has taught me — shapes and ideas so near  to me — so natural to my way of being and thinking that it hasn’t occurred to me to put them down.'”  (Georgia O’Keeffe, Georgia O’Keeffe)

Before I ever studied anything at all about art, I wasn’t even the least bit interested in going to a gallery or even drawing or painting myself.  It wasn’t until I went to college at 30 years of age and took an Art History class that all of this was introduced to me.  I didn’t become an artist until about ten years later!  But what I learned there that I think has become the most valuable knowledge for me is not to be so quick to judge the artist just because what he or she has done may not be my own taste.  I wouldn’t want people to do that with my art, but they probably have.  In fact, I expect it really, especially from people who aren’t art lovers in the first place.  Or from people who just love to be critical about everything.  The people’s opinions I take to heart the most are other artists’.  Others who have studied art or those naturally talented people who just do art of all kinds, but maybe have never even read anything about it.  Those are the ones whose opinions I value most.

No one knows what is going on in an artist’s mind when they are creating.  Only the artists themselves know this.  A perfect example is Georgia O’Keeffe.  Many of the male critics in her early years of fame assumed that all of her flower paintings were expressions of some hidden sexual ideas.  At first, she felt offended by this.  Over time, however, she didn’t care what people said about her.  She chose to paint what she wanted and how she wanted it to be.

In a gallery brochure for fifty of her flower canvases that were being shown, she was defensive of her paintings and how many of them she was showing.  She said in her autobiography,  “Everyone has many associations with a flower.  You put out your hand to touch it, or lean forward to smell it, or maybe touch it with your lips almost without thinking, or give it to someone to please  them.  But one rarely takes the time to really see a flower.  I have painted what each flower is to me and I have painted it big enough so that others would see what I see.”  (Georgia O’Keeffe, Georgia O’Keeffe, bold italics mine).

This is what I love about her.  She took the time to tell us why she did the things she did.  Some of her abstract art has this same line of reasoning.  She did all of her painting so we could see the things she saw, the way she saw them.

So whether you are an art lover or not, the next time you see a piece you’ve never seen, don’t be too quick to judge it.  If you can, take the time to learn about the artist.  You might be surprised at what you find and end up respecting the piece.  Or you might still hate it.  And that’s okay (as long as you don’t tell the artist you hate it).  Some artists can take that, I suppose, and don’t care what we think of their work.  But most artists I’ve met are sensitive and just need that extra encouragement.  Which would you rather be – someone who discourages others or an encourager?  I’d rather be the latter.

Until next time, have a great summer day, and give someone you love a hug.

InkBlots and IceBergs

a psychologist writing about psychology and writing

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