Artist Intermission: Anxiety and Depression

I’m in a bit of an “artist intermission” full of anxiety, and the familiar depression that I’ve battled for many years. Nope, not a glamorous star here bringing awareness to those of us who live with depression and anxiety. And, I don’t have the resources to completely “take time off” to check in to a place of wellness to work on myself. Although I’m happy for those creatives who can work on their own wellness with time off and a dedicated (even inspirational) place to do it.

For me, I’m still here – in my home studio which has sat empty and alone for the past several weeks, just waiting for me to come back. I’ll admit that I’m acutely struggling right now.

IMG_4232
Not much going on here lately…

Meanwhile, some of you have asked what I do with myself?

Well, I sleep a lot. I’ve worked on office chores such as household budgeting and financial actuals. I sit in my green leather studio chair and pet studio cat Stan. I managed to finally update my website with snapshots from my Arctic Circle Expedition. I take pills and go to talk therapy. I attempt to help myself with hard-to-crack wellness workbooks. And, I generally try to get back into things I’ve enjoyed in days gone by like gardening… one weed pulled at a time.

IMG_4237
I’ve had this self-help workbook for months… I’m on page 18.  😦

I miss painting my abstracts… I really do. Hopefully a new and inspirational project will come along for me soon. In the meantime, I’ll just try to tread water.

And a big thank-you to my husband, Steve, who through it all, helps and loves me lots.

Advertisements

The Arctic Circle Expedition – Icy Inspirations

I’ve always been inspired by anything water – rain, puddles, the Pacific. And the frozen water of the arctic circle didn’t disappoint me in how it all inspired my paintings made onboard the ship and once I returned to my Portland studio.

DSCF5753
Arctic sunset behind the tall ship Antiqua.
DSCF5715
Flat icebergs in front of the glacier at Blomstrandbreen.
DSCF5430
Icy blues and greens near Ny-Alesund.
DSCF5340
Setting up a safe perimeter among the ice.

 

 

The Arctic Circle Expedition – Part 3

Daunted by the experience itself and the 900 snapshots I took on the Expedition, I’ve clearly taken several months off from blogging more about my trip. Today I finally finished going through all of my snapshots, pulling out the better ones for publishing here on my blog and posting on my website.

The good news is that in the meantime, I completed the last larger commissions for my Kickstarter backers in late February, so everyone now has their arctic abstracts – over 80 that I painted – all inspired by my time in the ice and cold of the arctic circle.

Preparing for the Expedition, I had thought I’d be able to possibly paint on a table set up on the outside deck of the ship. But after two failed attempts to paint in the cold, snow and wind, I set up a makeshift studio on my bunkbed in my shared cabin.  Tight quarters for sure, but I made it work and at least was out of the extreme elements!

DSCF5512
Tight painting quarters on the bunkbed in my shared cabin.
DSCF5253
Yes, for this hot-blooded guy, I did actually feel cold for most of the trip!
DSCF5111
Our first glacier hike.
DSCF5115
The glacier at Esmarkbreen.

The Arctic Circle Expedition – Part 2

By the way, I had two very simple goals for my time on the Antigua in the Arctic Circle…

  1. Soak up the frozen landscape: I was mainly looking forward to seeing glaciers and lots of ice and was certainly not disappointed!
  2. Paint my abstracts: I committed to painting smaller abstracts (12 x 12” and smaller) for my Expedition Backers (from Kickstarter) and completed them just before the end of the trip.
    Now begins the project to get them all sealed with spray varnish/fixative and ready to ship out in November!

Here’s a snapshot from the ship as we departed a calm but cold fjord (Ymerbukta) on the second day.

259EE476-7FCC-4CFB-815D-F6E439830DAB

The water in this fjord was calm enough to start freezing… you can just see the thin frozen layer in this snapshot. Every day was a new opportunity to soak up the frozen landscape around Svalbard!

D66706F3-1373-4129-8126-F89698B676D4

The Antigua from a hike up to a glacier in Esmarkbreen.

2C311AD9-AB3F-4626-B24E-F490156E1D8B

I’m still working through all of the over 800 snapshots I took with my little travel camera, so will have more to post soon!

 

The Arctic Circle Expedition – Part 1

Well, since my last post, I’ve been fully outfitted, made all of my preparations… and have actually GONE ON MY ARCTIC EXPEDITION!

Most folks are more interested in the actual trip and what I experienced while in the arctic circle than all of my preparations anyway. So in a multi-part series of posts, I’ll be sharing my most favorite images and observations of my travels in and around Svalbard (Norway) and the Arctic Circle.

I did have some fun trying to pack up all of my cold-weather gear and art supplies, but finally got everything down to a manageable size and packed up!

After a day and a half of travel, I arrived in Longyearbyen, Svalbard which is about 78 degrees (north) and 800 miles from the North Pole. I would spend the next 2 weeks aboard the tall ship Antigua, sailing the arctic circle around Svalbard, soaking in the frozen landscape and painting my abstracts.

Here’s a snapshot of the first glacier we visited… and, after a nice hike, that I actually got to touch!

And here’s me looking (and feeling) pretty darn cold (it was in the teens and 20’s most of the time throughout the Expedition).

Finally, here’s a snapshot of the tall ship Antigua that I spent 2 weeks on, along with 27 other artists, 4 guides and 7 crew!

My Arctic Circle Journey – Getting Outfitted

My Arctic Circle Expedition is still months away (I leave on September 28th, 2018), but I’m trying to take advantage of end-of-season sales to get myself better outfitted for the Arctic.

Some of you know me as the guy who wears shorts year-round (Denver, Columbus, Portland… doesn’t matter!). I’m usually warm, so I just don’t have much colder-weather gear in my closet. But, on a recent winter trip to Boise, I was reminded that I CAN actually get cold, so I need to be prepared for the Arctic by planning on more than shorts and tees for my wardrobe.

Trying on big, puffy jackets isn’t a whole lot of fun for me and I began to overheat in the snapshot below, but here I am hitting an end-of-season sale for warm outerwear that I just don’t have…

IMG-3461
While technically an “mid layer”, I’m calling this a “puffy layer”…

My dreams of icebergs coming true…

Nearly a year ago, I posted that I was accepted for a truly epic artist’s residency: The Arctic Circle 2018 Autumn Arts & Sciences Expedition in October, 2018.

davidcastle1
Me in my cozy, warm studio thinking about making art in the Arctic Circle. [photo: Mercy McNab]
Wow. I’m super excited as the super-long anticipation and lead time gets shorter… 18 months from when I was accepted has now shrunk to just 6 months. And, I’m thrilled to announce that after a month-long campaign on Kickstarter to raise the funds necessary to participate, I am fully funded!

A huge thank-you to those Backers on Kickstarter who pledged funds now to receive paintings of various sizes at the end of this year to help me get to the Arctic Circle. Now that I’m through the funding phase, I have lots of work to do to get organized, outfitted for the Arctic environment and experiment with how I’ll paint my abstracts on a ship in the middle of the Arctic Circle!

6-the-arctic-circle-program-2
Arctic Circle Environs. [photo: Risa Horowitz]
As a guy who generally likes to be well-prepared, I’m thinking this summer will go quickly and in no time I’ll be in the Arctic, soaking up the frozen inspirations and making art… somehow and of some sort!