Painting Fish with Acrylics while on Meds

orange fish white carp art

just can’t think of a good title for this painting

by Robert Conway

Yep, I took the plunge, I don’t want to delve into anything serious not on this blog, lets just generalize it and say that ‘old man winter was giving me the blues’. Why not? the rules have changed, everyone is crazy now, crazy is the new normal. Anyhow, my old 20th Century brain needed an overhaul, a little outside assistance getting through this mind numbing hassle festival that we call modern times, just a little tweak was all that was needed, a low dosage, nothing major, like the mayor of Toronto or anything, I am not starring off into space and drooling or something like that. That was a big concern, but the stuff they have now is different than it was when I was growing up, I think back then they gave everyone Thorazine to keep them quiet so everyone else could go about their day. So for years there was always that stigma in the back of my mind, my greatest fear was that I would become a total zombie, a total zombie who didn’t want to paint! but that did not turn out to be the case at all, in fact I have just upped my game, I am at a different level with my painting now, more focused in my execution and more confident than ever that I am improving with my progress at being a painter.

It all started the third day I started to take these pills, I was at work(as a digital retoucher) and I found myself writing the most eloquent emails about the most mundane work stuff, even my boss was like “I didn’t need a novel Bob, a simple yes or no would of done.” That’s when I realized that I was concentrating better, better than ever, I have always been easily distracted it is probably ADHD but we did not have that term in my day. I was always a poor student and If I had this stuff in high school I know I would of avoided that purgatory like stint at that community college. But I digress.

So along with the heightened concentration and the easing of distractions I am also finding that the extreme highs and lows that I have always experienced while I was painting have kind of melted away and has been replaced with a steady sense of quiet confidence and a little more optimism. If you have read any of my other posts you know that I am all about avoiding panic and ignoring self doubt these are the two culprits that had impeded my progress in my earlier experimental days and I am done with them, don’t let the door hit you on the way out fellas!

I would say also that I was greatly concerned that my desire paint would be diminished from taking these things which is not the case at all, the act of painting has become less of a struggle now so I am enjoying putting brush to canvas even more than before.

March 16, 2014

52 thoughts on “Painting Fish with Acrylics while on Meds

  1. Way to go, Bob! We recently struggled with that same issue with our six year old grandson. Same problems; same results. All good. More concentration; more enjoyment. Hard to give in to meds but there are times when they do good. As for the painting, Coy Illusions seemed to be appropriate to me. Jane C

  2. Good for you. There are times when outside help is needed and I know from experience what you describe. In fact, my disabling condition means I now continue every day with a minimal dose. All power to your painting elbow!

    • nice Sarah, so you are part of the club too? yep, the world is just too stressful out there, and working in new york all day that’s a real pressure cooker so I needed a little assistance. thank you so much for tweeting my stuff I just joined a little while back and I am still trying to figure it out. 🙂

      • Oh yes! And if life gets very stressful, up goes the dose. Pleasure to tweet you. I hope you might be able to tweet some of my posts! Thank you so much for your support of my blog – much appreciated.

        • anytime Sarah, you are going to be on my tweet rotation, I’m still a newbie at it but it is kind of fun. here is hoping I don’t have to up the dose, I did a lot of that in college 🙂

    • thank you Cray, you notice that the water in the background is muddy brown in that painting, that is because I never knew how to clean the pond filter, those poor fish I should of bought them all snorkels. 🙂

    • thank you, it was a beautiful sunny day when I took the photo for that painting, actually there are two other paintings I made from the shots from that day, I was on a roll.

  3. Robert, i am about 80. How old are you? Did you have a lot of mood changes? It might be that I know how you can stay in the best condition.

  4. Well, as my mother said after cataract surgery, “if I had known how easy it would be I would have done it a long time ago”. Glad you are managing life so much better now but sorry it took so long!

  5. Hi Robert
    I admire your honesty about this subject that is often swept under the carpet. It is good that more and more people are aware that there is help available without turning into a zombie and it is nothing to be ashamed of. How about “Golden flow” as a title for your beautiful painting? Oh, and Thanks for liking my post on dualistic thinking.

    • Golden Flow is a real good one, thanks for all the excellent suggestions folks. I enjoyed your post very much. yep, it is a little weird airing a tiny bit of myn dirty laundry out there, but what the heck? the deal is done. I get a feeling in the near future everyone is going to be popping these things, they will be standard issue as things spiral further out of control.

      • I’ve used a lot of acrylic glazes — I make my own, using transparent pigments (phthalos or quinicridones) and medium gels and sometimes metalic paints from Golden. When you build up layers you get depth. Golden may have info on making glazes. Eventually I will be offering a class in glazes.

  6. Kudos to honesty! You never know if you are helping someone by sharing your struggles. I was on a radio show the other night promoting my book and shared by experiences with being bullied as a kid and teenager, which I kept secret for so long because I thought it was shameful (but after much research realized the bullies should be ashamed, not me!) Anyway, I’m so glad you are in such a good place now and your art is still fantastic!

      • hi Maryanne, yes I did I have been away for a few days at the waterpark with my son. that was a very interesting story about the bullying, I could not image having to go through that, that must of been all consuming. I have only experienced that on a very minor level when I was a kid and I remember it being all that I would think about. Anyhow I really am feeling a lot better now and people have noticed, I was thinking about the same problems over and over again like a broken record before and now it seems like a lot of than is melting away. thanks for reaching out to me I really enjoy your writings especially about all the rock musicians you have met along the way. 🙂

        • Hi Robert, Thanks so much for your kind words. Glad you are in a much better place now. I enjoy your blog very much too. You are super talented! Best wishes 🙂

  7. thanks for visiting me again at my blog, always nice to see your name on the Likes.
    Interesting post, I am glad you have managed to even out the highs and lows a bit without sacrificing creativity. My dad was bi polar and I always lived with the fear that I would be too. I go up and down a lot, especially in relation to my art, but so far it hasn’t tipped into the extremes I grew up with with my dad. And by now, at 64, I am pretty confident things will stay manageable. But as an artistic and over- sensitive type I am glad to know there is help should it be needed.

    My title was more a quip- ‘Jaws’, sorry 🙂 I like Golden Flow too.

  8. Depression chronic severe, bipolar, anxiety, the meds take the edge of most days. Key is to know enough about mental illness so that it does not immobilize us and know that we are not , nor should we allow, disablement from the things we like. Now that LSD stuff of 40 years ago-I would not recommend.

  9. Hi Bob – good to see you are ‘normal’ now! I didn’t even know there was anything ‘wrong’ with you … however, I think labeling things as right and wrong is … wrong! We, as artists, do what we need to do and when it flows better, we live a richer life. The untitled painting: why not call it “The right side of yellow” – just a little play on words in relation to the right side of the brain … good luck – I like it!

    • wow, this is all cool stuff, I was original thinking the title was going to be something pastoral and calming, but you folks have got me thinking, and thanks for that I might add!

  10. thanks for sharing – and I am mixed about the way we use meds in this culture -(and at times too) but it is examples like your story here where I am grateful we have advancements that are so beneficial (but is such an abused area) –
    anyhow, I really love your painting – and the title I would give it is:
    “looking up”
    it sounds a bit simple – but as I looked at it – I just felt a peace.
    It has a warm mood – and for some reason I did not really look at the painting in depth until I read the post (when usually I study the art or photo and then read – if I can – lol –
    but for some reason – I just read first)

    and so I had your inspiring writing in mind – on how you are feeling better! and so as I was looking UP at that fish I felt like things were looking up for you. 🙂

    what I like about this painting is the mix of the realism (you give us a real tank type of view) mixed with an old school feel of maybe feeling like we are looking at photo film or something like that.
    Then there is the tone (oh such nice tone) and your use of color (still digesting that aspect) –
    but the main fish is there – calm and steady in the center (and I almost suggested the title to be the word “BE” – because of the calm feel with that). and the shape and smooth feel of the main center fish contrasts nicely with that (more ornate) fish that is in the upper part of the frame.
    and all the waves and movement in the upper part of the frame add a bit of “quiet energy and zest” into the composition. and that fish gives a feeling of unity –
    like not one fish alone, but together – and being present –

    and having that upper fish only half in the page – well it brings movement and momentum – that goes with the looking into a real tank feel – while also gives “life is moving on and it is good” feel.
    Great painting and post.

    • wow that was fantastic, looking up that is a good one, that is a real contender, I am glad to see that everyone sees this as such a positive I get it, the top fish that is cut off that is curvy and full of movement and in a hot color represents old mood swingy bob and the statuesque slow moving white koi represents new, better painter, less angry, pill popping bob. I knew there was a reason I had to work on this one. there has been a few comments that mentioned duality and two personalities and such. this is becoming one of my favorites posts because the feedback has been fantastic. thanks so much for sharing.

  11. Robert, your fish painting is going to be gorgeous when you are finished! I’m so glad you are feeling well. Life has become what I call, “Bizzarro World”!

    • totally bizarro. people don’t know up from down anymore, and I do not think I am exaggerating at all. I am glad that a lot of people like this painting and think it is a happy one, I am into it a lot better now that I shared it.

  12. Hi Robert, thanks for the honesty. Your work has a stilling sensitivity that draws you right in. It would be interesting to see how you work evolves now that you’ve decided to take meds. Have you noticed subtle changes? I’d been diagnosed with a cyclonic type of ADHD years ago, put on meds, became very thin, skin erupted etc. So I quit taking the stuff and took up running. Since then 80% of the symptoms have disappeared. Whenever I spiral down I pick myself up by the bootstraps; I find any distance up and above 10km works wonders for me, although I realize this isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Thanks again for your honesty.

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