Why Painting?

The 'subtitle' of this website is "Becoming an Author". So what am I doing with all those paintings in recent blog postings? Been wondering about that. 

When my therapist began working with me on DID, she suggested I capture any shreds of memory I could about my childhood abuse. We soon realized that I usually couldn't write them down, it was too painful. So, she suggested I draw or work with clay, which I did. I had done this in my first rehab almost 20 years prior. It worked. At a later date she encouraged me to transform the pictures into words and stories. I learned that this is an established therapeutic approach for transporting traumatic memories from the amygdala part of the brain, where fight/flight/play-dead trauma memories are stored, to the frontal cortex, where temporal logic and reflection take place (hope those brain parts are correctly named).

But I had begun painting a long time before that, still in my teens. When I lived in Silicon Valley (then called Mountain View), I participated in the wonderfully warm and supportive painting group of a New York artist who opened up the world of artists such as Impressionist Pierre Bonnard to me. And when I was a child, I watched my father paint. His house smelt of turpentine and incense. My odyssey to Virginia last fall was in large part to recover a painting of his (and the bust I wrote about in my story "Es war so"). I remember when he had just finished it. I was three. We just hung it up today:


For a year I have been too occupied with 'burying my mother' to be free enough to write. No more becoming author here. During my 4-week stay at the hospital this summer, they offered art therapy. I jumped at the opportunity and felt rushes of joy I hadn't for ages. Painting makes pain go away. Since then, I have remained unable to write, but my engagement with painting has increased.

First came my 'Archive' picture. And yesterday I first wrote a Juni Shimata text, then began work on a series of paintings associated with it. This is a welcome media-cross-over for me! I particularly relish 'picking out' specific words in the text to be dealt with in one picture, other words for another picture of a completely different nature... I'll show you soon. Those pictures will save me several thousand words, I hope. ;-)