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Harriet Hodgson (@harriethodgson1)

Art for Healing

Just Want to Talk | Last Active: Sep 20 11:48pm | Replies (421)

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@jenniferhunter Hello Jennifer! That painting of Dr. Folgelson is amazing! I bet he was honored to receive that. I love the way you juxtaposed those iconic doors behind him. I too am a fine arts painter. Since my illness; I have lost the creative part of me. I don't know if that will ever return. I have contemplated setting up an official painting studio to see if that would help bring it back. My disease steals most of my energy unfortunately. I am glad that you sought out good help and saved yourself. More than that, you saved your passion.

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Replies to "@jenniferhunter Hello Jennifer! That painting of Dr. Folgelson is amazing! I bet he was honored to..."

@windwalker Yes! please do set up an area that can be dedicated for creating of some kind. Knowing that that space is ready for you when you have the energy and the inclination is important. Just remember not to beat yourself up, if that area goes unused for any length of time. Knowing that it is there for you when you're ready may give you the excitement sit, think about a project, then carry it through. I speak from experience; I am finding my groove again after being away from creating things with regularity. Had to tweak where my focus was, and I'm finding that I that there is new energy in me as I use some of what I have to work on creating what my heart is screaming to do.

@windwalker Thank you so much, Terri. Dr. Fogelson was amazed and a bit overwhelmed and his face was pure joy when he saw the painting. It really was a fun appointment, and I wished it didn't have to end. He is a humble man, and he said he was just doing his job. It was his kindness that really helped me, and he liked another painting I brought to my first appointment with him and he said he wouldn't mind having something like that in his house. I said that could be arranged, and we all laughed. I'd never been able to be completely at ease seeing a neurosurgeon until that moment. That's how I started my medical journey with him. I did the sketches of him because I needed that. I only draw or paint what I like, and I needed to play that game with myself to overcome my fears, and it was the beginning of the path to the portrait. Because he was trained at Mayo, I wanted to represent his place in Mayo's history literally, by putting the Plummer building doors behind him. I love those doors and they tell their own stories in the pictures on them, and it gave me a nice setting for his portrait.

I've had lots of days when I'm not at my best either. I go to a painting group at another artist's studio and we work from a live model. That gives me good practice and I find exchanging ideas with other artists helps recharge me and it challenges me and grows my skills. You can also get some artists videos. I enjoy watching them from great painters. There are things that interfere with creativity and responsibilities that get in the way. I do have a room where I paint that really isn't big enough, but I manage. I painted Dr. Fogelson's portrait in my living room because I was recording video of the entire process and needed room to set up the lights and cameras. I do sometimes put on music to paint by which helps me get in the "zone", but when I'm really in the zone and so focused, I don't hear the music at all, and I'm only aware of how much time has passed when I realize how much music I missed. This is music that is so beautiful to me that it can bring me to tears just by listening. I play music too and performed a number of years with a concert band and experienced a lot of really great music.

I think having a dedicated space filled with things that inspire you could help. Make sure you have good lighting. I know I'm affected by the dark days of winter and having LED lights that simulate natural light wavelengths helps me. It's like painting by north light at 5500 k which is bluish (avoid looking directly at them) , and I think that makes me more alert, and the color rendering under this light looks good in any light. I have to stop in the evening or that light stimulation will keep me awake at night. I also go to art museums and study the paintings and figure out how they were done. I look at lots of art online, and again study the paintings I like. Spending time outside helps too and I have a horse that I ride. That is helping my strength and stamina for painting a lot because I lost muscle from my spine problem before my surgery, and it takes years to build it back, and that happens when I exhaust my muscles, and my body responds by adding some bulk. Anything that stimulates your mind creatively can help get you going with your own art. The seed is still there, deep inside, just waiting for nourishment. There's no pressure in trying to produce work unless you put that on yourself. Just practice and don't worry about creating works of art. Have fun and see where it goes. You might surprise yourself.

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