How do you like the sky in the painting I used for this post? Dark, moody perhaps with some fluffy white clouds. When I started to paint this painting, I decided that I was going to paint an anxious sky. I wanted to express my anxiety through my brushes, colours and knives and see what the result would be. It came out pretty dark, with various shades of bronze, blues and purples. I started to add clouds and at first, they were dark too but as the days went on and as I kept coming back to this painting, my anxiety was more in check and I began to seek contrast in the sky.
It took me 48 years to come to the realisation that anxiety is an illness, as opposed to something that I had to just live with. Circumstances in January were such that my anxiety was high; worrying about my health and that of others, in addition to other triggers that occurred throughout the month. This revelation, which in retrospect shouldn’t have been one, came as a relief - almost as to say, ah, this is not my fault. And this was reinforced just 10 days ago when I had the privilege to moderate a session with Michael Lansberg, the former TSN host and now mental health advocate. His organisation #sicknotweak (www.sicknotweak.com) is working hard to remove the stigmas around mental illness and to call it what it is, an illness as opposed to anything else - weakness, a condition, a character flaw, etc. If you have the opportunity to hear Michael speak, make a point of going. He is raw, blunt and pragmatic in his approach, making it all very relatable and in some ways, comforting.
Coming back to my painting, it was the first time that I set the goal of deliberately painting my anxiety. I am sure that I will do it again and that it will come out differently. But when I look at it, I think that it captured, to some extent how I felt in January - worried with a lack of clarity, dense and opaque.
I love this painting because it is raw and expressive. It reminds me that life is not always a walk in the park but that there is still beauty in it, regardless of the stage or state we are in. And that, as skies and clouds come and go, so do emotions and situations.
So, what do you think? I am curious, what would your anxious sky look like?