“Drawing the Line”

“Drawing the Line”

 

I just wanted to take a moment to share my latest painting. I actually finished this one last week, but I’ve been struggling harder the last few weeks, so I’ve been slower to post. This piece will not be listed for sale on Etsy. This one just didn’t turn out as well as I had hoped.

This is a mixed media piece on an 11×14 canvas panel. It was created primarily with  acrylic paint, molding paste and string gel. This piece, similar to the one before it, symbolizes my struggle to keep the mess at bay by creating boundaries. I wanted to show how the mess bled through, and my attempt to sort through the tangled and stained mess.

I don’t like this piece very much. I think that I portrayed what I intended to, but I think I just don’t want to think that my past was that ugly. It wasn’t all bad, but when I think about the best times that I had when I was young, those were times that we were trying to make the best out of a bad situation.

Well, I better stop before I say things that I shouldn’t. I have started a new piece, which I hope will be finished sometime this week, though it might take longer. We got a membership at the YMCA and we all signed up for a class, which means we have something going on almost every night of the week now, but keeping busy helps.

Thanks for reading,

 

 

“Boundaries”

"Boundaries"
“Boundaries”

 

This is my latest piece. It is called “Boundaries.” It is a mixed media piece on an 8×10 canvas panel.

This piece symbolizes my struggle to create and maintain healthy boundaries in my life. From a distance, the lines look clean but if you look closer you can see how the lines are actually a huge mess. This is my most complex work to date. It will be listed for sale on Etsy for $65.00.

I would normally explain in detail how this painting was created, but this piece was more complicated. I will, however, tell you what products I used. This piece was created with liquid and medium bodied acrylics, crackle paint and glazes of acrylic matte medium tinted with liquid acrylics.

A lot of detail work went into this piece. Normally I will create a piece within three days. This one took me about a week from start to finish and is a more sentimental piece, which is why I have decided to charge a little more for this one.

I just ordered some more canvas panels in several different sizes. I’m excited to try some larger pieces! They should arrive in a few days.

I’m also continuing to work on Door County Freelist, which if you missed, is an online classifieds site for Door County. The site has been live for almost a month now. If you’re in the Door County area and need to buy sell or trade something, please check it out and post something! There are sections for community events, personals, jobs and apartments. There is also a local discussion forum and business directory (which I am adding to daily) It’s still rather naked, so please post or share.

That’s all for now. I hope you are enjoying my work. Thanks for reading!

 

T.

The Chiropractor

Hi, everyone! Last week I went to the chiropractor for the first time. My wife had been trying to get me to go for months, saying that it would help with the tension in my neck and shoulders. I didn’t believe her. I always thought that it was a muscle thing and that a chiropractor would be no real help. I was wrong. The chiropractor explained how the spine, when it’s out of alignment, effects your nervous system, and how people with PTSD can benefit from chiropractic care. When the spine is out of alignment it constricts the parasympathetic nervous system, the part that slows down the heart rate and lets you relax.

I was very nervous about my first visit because my latest flashbacks make me more jumpy, especially when somebody is behind me, but she knew about my situation (because she’s my wife’s chiropractor too) and was very cautious and understanding. She had me put on a gown and she looked at my back and sent me for X-rays. I had a little breakdown after we left. I think it was because I felt vulnerable in the gown and with somebody completely new touching my back.

When we came back with the X-rays, she looked at them with us and showed me what was going on with my back, neck, and shoulders. She found that I had had whiplash at some point in my life. I’m not sure what it’s from. It could be from when I fell off a horse when I was 12, or from the trauma when I was younger. Either way, left untreated for so long, it has caused a lot of problems that need fixing.

She showed me how bad my back was. A healthy back moves when you bend and twist. Mine doesn’t. It’s stuck. After my first adjustment, I was amazed! My neck was moving so much more freely and a lot of the tension in my shoulders had gone away… for about a day, but that little break from it was awesome!

So, now I’m going to the chiropractor twice a week, and my therapist once a week. I hope that between them and my regular doctor, I’ll be able to start getting some real relief. I need it!

I guess that’s all for now. Thanks for reading,

T.

“Rainbow Shower”

Hi everyone! I just wanted to share my latest painting. This is a mixed media piece on an 8×5 canvas panel. I’m calling it “Rainbow Shower.”
Rainbow Shower
Rainbow Shower
This painting was really simple, but fun to make. I started out with an 8×10 canvas panel primed with white gesso, then I used liquid acrylics mixed with water, placing large drops at the top and letting them drip to the bottom. If you try this, be sure to place some paper towel underneath your painting, or it will run everywhere! I learned that one the hard way.
I “helped” some of my paint drops along by spraying them with water. When the first layer was dry, I added more in the places that I felt looked a little “blah.” Once that layer was dry, I used some more liquid acrylic mixed with water, flinging it onto the canvas, to form tiny spray droplets. I did this by putting the paint mixture onto the brush, then running my finger over the bristles so that the paint would splatter. After the drops were dry, I used straight, untinted string gel to make the “water drops.” I drizzled some of it right over the canvas, and then placed larger drops of the string gel on my canvas and propped it up so that it would drip.
And that’s all, folks! This is a fun and simple painting that just about anyone could do themselves. I had fun watching the colors run together as they dripped down. I hope you enjoy this painting. I will soon be listed for sale in my Etsy shop.
As always, thanks for reading!
T.

 

Door County Freelist

Hi, Everyone! I know it’s been a few weeks. My anxiety has been crazy, so I’ve been throwing myself into projects to keep my mind occupied. I will be writing a few more post within the next day or two to tell you all about it.

I have one new painting to share, which will probably be my next post, but the biggest project over the last few weeks has been the development of a local online classifieds website for Door, County, WI. I decided to make this site, because when I first moved to this area, I had trouble finding job and apartment listings. There was barely anything in the local papers or online. Everywhere I have ever lived (and I have moved around a lot), I could find job and apartments listings online. If there was nothing on the job engines, there was always Craigslist.

But when it comes to Door County, Craigslist has dropped the ball. They have listings for the Green Bay area (an hour away), or Northern Wisconsin, which features ads mainly from Marinette and Menominee (1 1/2 hours away). So, I decided to do something about that.


Door County Freelist took me about two weeks build. It has all of the same features that Craigslist does, plus I added a local business directory. It’s completely free to list something. The site is now live and ready for listings. Unfortunately, it’s still naked, so if you live in or around Door County, please go to doorcountyfreelist.com and post something… anything! People aren’t going to post if they see that nobody else has posted, so I just need a few brave souls to get it started.

You can post just about anything on Door County Freelist. Sell your old junk! If you run a business or community group, you can list that. If you’re single and looking, there’s a personals section. If you have nothing to post, share the site with someone who does. I’d really love to see this website take off and start making a difference in the Door County community. So please post and share!

Thanks for reading,

 

T.

tcathersmitchell.com

Hi, everybody! My new website is up and running! Please visit tcathermitchell.com! From there you can access this blog, which I will continue to update regularly. All of the same links and features are on my new site, it just looks prettier.  I have an about me page, links to my online shops and video gallery as well as a contact page. I may add new and better features as I figure out the ins and outs of WordPress.

That’s all for now. Thanks for reading!
T.

Welcome!

Welcome to tcathersmitchell.com! I’m T. Cathers-Mitchell and I am an Author/Artist living in Door County, WI. You can learn more about me and what I do on my About Me page.

From this page you can:

You are welcome to poke around and enjoy! Don’t be shy! Feel free to contact me or leave comments. I welcome and encourage your comments, ideas and feedback.

Thanks for visiting,

Flashbacks

Hi everybody! I’m writing this post to share some of the struggles I’m facing with my PTSD. Last week, I began having some new flashbacks. That sounds kind of like an oxymoron, but it really isn’t, because my flashbacks are little snippets of repressed memories from childhood trauma. I have been having these flashbacks since I was in high school.
The first time I had a flashback was in high school gym class. We were doing a unit on dance and learning some traditional ballroom dancing. One day, I was paired with a partner who had placed his hand lower on my back than my previous partner, and suddenly, I was transported to another place and time. I began crying and had to sit out of the rest of the class, and I felt like I was crazy. I had no idea what had just happened, only that it was scary and I just wanted to curl up into a ball and hide.
Since then, I have had several others. They came very slowly, sometimes years apart, until recently.  About 10 years ago, I had a flashback that occurred more often than others, and I began to suspect that I had been sexually abused when I was very young and had suppressed those memories. I was afraid to go digging into my past to confirm my suspicions, but as time went by and I began learning more about my mother’s past while editing a book that she had written about her life, that all changed. Reading and editing that book for her threw me into, what I like to call “a funk” for a few weeks. I became more depressed, edgy, emotional and scared reading about the things that my mother had gone through as a child and wondering if something had happened to me as well.
As time went by, I learned more about my past from conversations with friends and family members, and finally last summer, I got some information that confirmed my suspicion that I had been sexually abused as a young child. Since then, I have been seeing a counselor and actively digging into my past, visiting places that I remembered from childhood, and the memories and flashbacks have been coming more and more frequently. My flashbacks have been becoming more intense and frightening.
The last few weeks, I have been having two new flashbacks. One of them is not very frightening, but the other is very intense and is triggered very easily.  This flashback is part of a traumatic event that I remembered this past fall. It is simply reliving the memory of being grabbed from behind and carried away to a place where I now remember that I had been sexually assaulted. This new flashback and every one that is new and intense put me into another, “funk.”
The last few weeks, I’ve been much more jumpy. I startle when anything touches my back unexpectedly, and even if somebody is standing behind me. Last night my wife was sitting in a chair across the room from my desk facing me as I was sitting at my computer. She was about 8 feet away and even that triggered my anxiety. At night, I need a pillow behind my back so that my wife doesn’t accidentally touch me when she gets up to use the restroom in the night, in addition to the body pillow that I clutch tightly in front of me. I can now calm myself down rather quickly, but it still makes my life quite difficult. I’m somewhat afraid to go into public places lately. Just the thought of standing in line at a checkout counter is enough to trigger moderate anxiety.  I make it a point to be consciously aware of who is around me. I feel so bad that I feel the need to protect myself from innocent people like my wife and kids.
It seems like every time I seem to be making some progress and start thinking about going back to work, I have a new flashback and the cycle starts all over again. This month seems especially difficult, and I think it’s because I couldn’t get in for regular appointments with my new therapist until February. I hope that my new therapist can help me find a balance, because I don’t want to keep living like this. I don’t want to be scared all the time.
That’s all for now. Thanks for reading and never give up!

T.

“Butterflies”

Hi everybody! It’s been a busy weekend and week so far. My wife had Saturday off, so we got to spend some much needed time together. Then we had an ice storm Monday night and the kids were home with me all day yesterday. The one good thing about that ice storm is that I finally finished a project that kept getting set aside for other things.
 
These are my butterflies. They’re for sale as a set on my Etsy shop. They were originally going to be a set of 6, but one of them just didn’t make the cut. These are 5 mini paintings on 2”x2” canvas panels. These were fun and pretty easy to make.
I started out by prepping my canvas panels with white gesso. Then, (I use this trick a lot, because it’s fun and makes some really nice effects), I drizzled rubber cement in patterns over all of the canvas panels, and allowed it to dry.
The next step was staining each one with water and liquid acrylics. My original idea was to have one for each color of the rainbow, but my yellow one just didn’t work out. Once that was dry I rubbed the rubber cement off of each panel, revealing the white patterns underneath. Then I went over each panel with a glaze of acrylic matte medium and liquid acrylic.
Next came the fun part. I used some modeling paste and butterfly stencils to create the raised butterflies on each panel. This is the first time I had used the modeling paste, and that’s how I lost my yellow butterfly. It was the first one that I did, and I didn’t get the molding paste spread through the entire stencil and didn’t notice until it had dried and I went to paint it. Poor butterfly. Anyway, you can use any flat surface to push the molding paste through a stencil onto the canvas. It takes about 24 hours to dry completely and dries opaque.
The final step. Which sadly, took about a week for me to get around to doing, was to paint the butterflies. You can paint, glaze or stain molding paste with just about anything, but for this project, I used watered down liquid acrylics as a stain, because they would be easier to blend and mix to create the colors that I wanted.
And that’s it! I hope that sharing my methods helps you all to explore and try new things. Every time I’m working on something and I think, “This is crazy!” I stop and remind myself that there are no rules to art. Art gives you a chance to think outside the box… of paints. There are no limits. If you want to paint with corn chowder, do it! You might look and feel crazy, but I bet you can do some really fun things with it!
On another note, yesterday I bought tcathermitchell.com. Right now I have that url set to point here to my blog, but I’m hoping that in the near future I will be making a more professional homepage with that url. This blog will still be updated and accessible through my homepage and at this web address, but Blogger has its limitations, and I’d like to have a more professional looking web presence.
That’s all for now. I’ll be writing one more post today, sharing something that I’ve been struggling with over the last few weeks, which is one of the biggest reasons it took me so long to finish this project.
Thanks for reading, and keep creating!

 

T.