I had so many ideas for this theme, I mean Pink Cloud, gah, can you get a better theme? I think not, Tammi and Sondra really outdid themselves with this theme, and I personally thank them so very much for putting this art exchange out into the world, it is just the coolest thing I’ve been a part of, and to connect with so many strong women in recovery.
So, Pink Cloud. In my recovery (589 days sober as of today), I have experienced highs and lows, but the pink cloud didn’t really emerge for me at the beginning of this last bout of sobriety, like it does for some, it more crept up on me. The beginning was difficult for me, and felt dark and lonely, and, well, that sounds pretty dramatic and really it wasn’t. It was just not this euphoric state. I was going off on a path that even I didn’t think I would ever venture down, and something that had once been a lifeline in many ways no longer an option, and I didn’t have anyone IRL who was with me, you know? I have the most supportive friends, hands down (my bestie bought me a case of my favorite Mango LaCroix after my mom died to have on hand at the wake, which was the sweetest gesture I think I’ve ever experienced). But I didn’t have anyone who was this sometimes gray area, sometimes bat out of hell binge drinker who just decided to stop. I was the party. I brought the party, and without it, I was this weird introvert who read a lot of books. Not that there’s anything wrong with that! I love me, seriously. What I’m trying to say is, I was on an island, and there weren’t any pink clouds on my island.
Sidenote: There was Napa, which my first bout of sobriety I visited for work and 28 days into my sobriety I definitely had the pink cloud surrounding me, it was a beautiful experience and in the land of wine, this former wino needed none of that, I just needed the landscape and a nice fire, and myself. And Gabby Bernstein. But I think it’s important to note that that pink cloud experience is what I thought of after I started drinking again, and it’s what drew me back. (To read a bit about that experience and how I fell in love with a tree, see my blog here.)
But, midway into that first year, I felt an uplifting, a taking away, a shedding of something dark that had hung over me like a shadowy cowl. I started feeling this euphoria inside for no reason at all.
Was this the elusive pink cloud?
Now, a year and 7 months or so later, and I get this feeling a LOT. Right now I’m writing this in my closet office and I’m dancing to some tunes, and I feel so happy it’s ridiculous.
Sobriety is all a cloud, sometimes it’s dark, sometimes it’s emerging, sometimes it’s raging, but it’s always there, accessible to anyone who wants it.
I always try to push myself to do new things with this exchange, and I wanted to try pouring acrylics, but different techniques than I used for a previous exchange (where I swiped acrylics, you can see that project here).
I had a vision of creating three panels that all used the same colors, but the outcome was different. I wanted there to be a progression of clouds – dark, medium, then POW! Bright.
For this project, I wanted to use the prettiest pinks, a bubblegum pink (Liquitex Rose Pink), a medium pink (Liquitex Medium Magenta), and a bright fluorescent pink (Liquitex Basics Flourescent Pink), and seeing what they would do all mixed up together in different ways. I also used a gold (Liquitex Basics Copper), and a purple (Liquitex Basics Dioxazine Purple) and a grey (Anita’s All Purpose Rainy Day) , because every pink cloud has some grey in it. I used Liquitex Pouring Medium, as well as 100% silicone to help get some cells. I have to say that my cells didn’t appear as much as I wanted them to, but I’m new to this, and everyone who does this has their own method of mixing the medium, and I am thinking my calculations weren’t 100%, but I do think the effects are pretty.
The first panel I did a “dirty pour”, this is where you layer all of the paints in a cup, and you flip it onto the canvas, tap it, and then wait for all the paint to settle, and you lift up the cup, and you can then pick up the canvas and turn it this way and that to get the effect you want. I have to say, this method lived up to its name – the grey took over and the effect is a dark effect, which is perfect for the first stage of the pink cloud – well I can only speak for myself – some people experience the highs right away, and they are in that bright fluorescent stage of pink, but for me, it was dark before it was light.
The second panel I did I had seen a Dutch technique of “fanning” acrylics out using a hairdryer. I wanted that airy feel that could be achieved by literally blowing the paint across the canvas. First you add white paint to the entire canvas, so the paint has something to move about on and flow freely. Then I swiped the colors I wanted upward. Next, I aimed the blow dryer down, and then up and across. I swiped a few times to get the look I wanted and to bring out colors I wanted. When I was happy with it, I air blew bubbles out, and also could slightly shift the fan effect in the direction I wanted it to go.
The third panel I created circles within circles, and then I shifted the canvas to achieve the effect I wanted. The fluorescent pink really shines here. I then took a Popsicle stick and created waves to bring out some of the white paint that wasn’t coming through.
My husband also took a torch to it to help with cell formation.
After they dried for several days, and after it stopped raining in Chicago (seemed like weeks), I spayed the canvases with a sealant and UV protector.
I also created “Blackout Poetry” – I just have to laugh at that name! I have been so inspired by Sondra’s course called “Change your Story”; (if you are interested check the course out here, it’s been really life and story altering for me) she’s been working with me on a particular piece of writing I’ve wanted to unearth for some time, and after one of our calls, I just couldn’t sleep and kept writing. I had the idea to do Blackout Poetry for the exchange – it’s a medium I’ve always wanted to try, and my mom used to especially love these poems, I have many that she’s gifted me over the years that she purchased on Etsy. So, to create my own was really cool. Basically, you find a piece of writing, and you select words that jump out at you to create a poem, ignoring the rest of the words. Then you cross out the other words, so that your words stand out. I didn’t know what I was going to write going into this, but it soon became clear that the poem was to be about the ladies in recovery who have helped me, and this exchange in particular. I also like that the beginning line, “Coming Out Girls”, can be applied to those coming out as LGBT, especially being pride month. I used text from: The Bookseller: A Newspaper of British and Foreign Literature, published in 1858 from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.
I kept the title because I loved it, and felt it went with the pink cloud theme:
CASTLES IN THE AIR
Coming out girls carried me.
They possess the key to the heart of the landscape,
Wide awake and already
I always like to include a crystal for these exchanges, and for this one I’m including a “TV Rock” quartz. I love how it magnifies things, like a TV. And there are healing properties, too:
I love these exchanges, I love trying new things, and meeting new strong women in recovery. Also, I got messy doing this, and moved out of my comfort zone. And I think my mom would have loved that the necklace with her handwriting on it got messy (it washed off).