I spent most of January without a computer. I shelled out the big bucks for a new one to someone who took my not-working computer off with him, didn't send the new one, but kept stringing me along, sending me increasingly abusive and manipulative texts about the matter. The cops weren't much help - they said I'd have to sue him in the civil court if I wanted my money back. The whole thing made me seriously anxious. I kept trying to tell myself, it's okay, it's only money, just let it go, it doesn't matter. But underneath it all, the anxiety started up, and once it gets a toe-hold on you, it can be kind of difficult to shake. There were other triggers too, not just the computer and the nastiness I was getting via SMS, so I'm not blaming it entirely on that, but for one reason or another, I found myself in a kind of dark hole.
Usually when I plummet emotionally, I hide in bed for a day or two, feeling utterly miserable, and then suddenly it passes and all is fine, and when I look back, I see it was just before I got sick, which often seems to trigger emotional angst for me. But this time the day or two stretched into a week and then another week and to be honest it's been really hard to do all the stuff I'm supposed to do, much less all the stuff I want to do.
Luckily, I believe the best possible therapy for this kind of angst is art. I often do my best stuff when I'm really miserable, and it has the advantage that because I don't give a damn about anything, I break all my own rules and loosen right up and often what comes out is really different and interesting from my usual stuff. I was incredibly inspired by my friend Jenine, who told me consolingly that "the black dog goes when it goes." Rather than trying to force myself to snap out of it, I just need to wait it out. I like her approach. And even better than that, I LOVE the imagery that her words evoked in my mind. So this has been the summer of the black dog.
This is my first one, painted onto a piece of plastered fabric, and gouged into it with a knife. I love the aged texture of the piece, and the crosses, which to me are a symbol of first aid and healing. I'm going to talk more about that in another post later.
Next I made a black dog stamp…
And then I did another version of the black dog painting.. which I love so much I'm going to make another one to go on the wall of my house. Paula said to me, "Sometimes I need a black dog painting." And she's right. I think we all do - a little reminder that the hard times will pass and we just have to wait them out. Anyway, this one has the dog leaving the home (when it's good and ready!) and the healing cross up on the roof of the house.. and numbers, numbers to count the days, to show the passing of time, numbers for patience…
My black dog painting is in my Etsy shop, Fixie's Shelf. If you'd like a black dog painting with particular details, or of a specific size, please feel free to ask me to paint one just for you.