P!nk on my mind

On the way to and from work I listen to music on the car stereo, from my iPhone – isn’t technology wonderful! A lot of the time I listen to P!nk, closely followed by HIM, Def Leppard and Guns ‘n Roses. Sometimes I choose the song because of the beat, or the message in the lyrics, or a bit of both. Looking back at previous pages reminds me of music I love, and of where my head was at when I did the layout.

Dylusions – Small journal. Paint: Rose quartz, Vanilla custard, Slate grey. Stencils: Diamonds in the rough, Love hearts, fronds of foliage. Stamps: Dy’s alphabet.
Other: Archival ink, Distress collage medium, Distress oxide ink, white gel pen, Pitt big brush pen.

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Rabbit head!

I’ve been playing in my large Dylusions journal and decided to replace the model’s head with a rabbit’s head. Is it a perfect fit? Nope. And that’s ok…
Dylusions: large journal. Sprays – Slate grey, White linen, Polished jade, Calypso teal & After midnight. Stamps – Heads n tails, Dy’s alphabet. Stencils – Sugar lumps, Circles.
Other: Archival ink, White gel pen, Pitt big brush pen, Tombow markers, Distress collage medium, Distress ink.
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World Obesity Day

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Today is World Obesity Day. I have been obese – my BMI was 48. Normal weight range for my height is 62-70kg approx. On many charts I am still slightly overweight, and that’s ok.

Weight loss surgery saved my life, but it is not a cure. I am an addict and always will be. Some people would argue I am a “recovering addict” but I am not so sure. The struggle is real, daily, and hard. Bloody hard.

I have tools I can use, including my tiny stomach, and a host of psychological tips and tricks. The harsh reality, though, is my head craves the dopamine hit food gives me. Food is my best friend & comfort, and my solution to everything – shame, anger, boredom, tiredness and so on. Some days I won, some days I lose – some days I chose the dopamine hit.

A drug addict can survive the rest of their life without another fix, an alcoholic can avoid ever tasting alcohol again. I have to face my drug of choice – food – multiple times a day in order to survive.

Next time you see someone who is obese, please don’t judge them. They might be mortally ashamed (yes, fat shame kills us because we avoid the medical system). They might have already lost 1, 10 or 100kgs. They might be booked in for weight loss surgery or trying to fund it. They might have had surgery, regained the weight and are wondering if suicide is the only way out.

Obesity is not just about the food we put in our mouths. It’s about our society, childhood deprivation (especially of maternal love), environmental factors, poverty, and much more. Please don’t judge. Please do support.

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Cats, gods, art

This week’s #ColourMePositive quote came with a challenge to use black on the page and include a portrait of a cat you own or know; of course I used Goldie. She turns 14 shortly – we’re not sure exactly when she was born because we rescued her from the neighbours. Although, really, she rescued herself by leaving them and yelling in our front garden until we took pity on her. She’s been yelling ever since…

She’s incredibly healthy for her age, despite having dementia and skin cancer on her ears. She’s also missing a few teeth but it hasn’t affected her appetite!

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The sacrament – and my process

I was away last weekend and didn’t work in my art journals, but did get plenty of art time to work on more Hokitika Gorge paintings. But I miss the freedom that comes with an art journal, where the process matters more than the outcome. I’m not sure I’ve ever documented my process for a layout like this, so will try to capture it.

 
Before I do though, this is another song by HIM, with Ville Valo singing. HIM disbanded a while back and Ville has moved on, but I still love their music. The lyrics, often quite dark, really speak to me. Villa reads a lot, including poetry and classics, and his writing frequently includes references to religion and Edgar Allan Poe’s works.

 
This layout was done in my small Dylusions journal, which means there’s no need to gesso the pages as they’re really strong and colours generally don’t bleed through.

 
Using ink blender foams I put down Dylusions paints in Polished jade, Lemon Zest and Vibrant turquoise. Using the same colours and the ink blenders, I stencilled using Dylusions Teardrops, Squares and Diamond in the Rough – I use each colour, and each stencil, in all three sections.

 
Once that was dry I used Distress Collage Medium to glue down the magazine cut-out, leaving a medium strip of gel medium around it. Next, I blend a shadow in once the gel is dry, using a walnut Pitt Big Brush Pen to outline the collage. The slickness of the gel means you can blend out the pen, which is India Ink, if you work quickly.

 
I write out my words – often song lyrics or my thoughts – and print double spaced. I insert a line at the top of the Word doc so I know how wide each line can be and adjust my font size to fit; for the small journal 10.5cm works well for me. I roughly cut out each line and use a foam blender and Black soot Distress Ink to ink the edges to take away the harshness of the white paper.

 
I put them aside and use Archival ink in black to stamp the title with Dylusions Dy’s alphabet stamp set and Stamper’s Anonymous Tim Holtz Tall Text stamps. While the lettering is drying I use Tombow glue to adhere the text strips; I’m not too fussy about lining them up, spacing etc. Once they’re down and the stamping ink is dry, I use a broad tip white Signo pigment ink pen to add highlights to the stamped letters.

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3 years ago

Today it’s 3 years since I had weight loss surgery; C bypass to be precise, also called a mini bypass. It was meant to be RNY Bypass but I had so much internal scarring it couldn’t be done. My surgeon, Atul, prefers this operation but it’s not popular in NZ.

My highest weight was 139.9kg and my lowest post surgery was 60kg, which wasn’t a good look. I got so low, not by trying, but because I got incredibly sick and was in and out of hospital including a brief stint on life support.

I’m back to exactly where Atul (and the surgeons in New Plymouth who treated me) said I should be – 75kg. Some days my head tells me that the gain means I have failed and will get super fat again. But the sensible part of me knows that is not true. The reality is I was too thin, it didn’t look good especially for my face, and I felt frail.

We’ve been talking about our mental wellbeing on a FB support group and I just commented that “All of us – fit or not, at goal or not, plastic surgery or not – have to find a place where our bodies & our heads are comfortable and that we can maintain without weight/fitness being the main focus of our lives – because that’s not really living”.

At this weight I can eat fairly normally in a high protein, healthy fat & low carb way. I don’t exercise because of my physical limitations so can’t rely on that for extra control. And my weight is not the biggest thing in my life.

I am incredibly grateful to Atul; I believe he saved my life and I continue to save it by doing the right things. I am still a food addict, and chocolate is my crack, but I have the tools to manage no. So grateful…

 

Body like a back road

Yes, it’s more of the music I love – “Body like a back road” by Sam Hunt. This morning I’ve been doing some of the boring bits needed to get paintings ready for exhibiting, like painting the edges white. As I work, Tony’s been reading a book, Faith’s been sleeping/barking, and we’ve been listening to some of our favorite music on iTunes. The sun is out, the washing is drying in the back porch and (almost) all is right with the world!

As I did this page I dropped the letter b from my Dy’s alphabet stamp set. We must have spent 20 minutes looking for it. I was beginning to think it had joined all the odd socks in the universe somewhere. But, no – it had somehow gone under the bottom drawer next to me. I have no idea how…

Dylusions. Small journal. Paint: Vanilla custard, Rose Quartz, Slate grey. Stencils: Diamond in the rough, Star struck, Holes. Stamps: Dy’s alphabet. Other: Tim Holtz Tall Text stamps, Pitt big brush pen, Archival ink. Distress ink, Distress collage medium.

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Beam me up

As is often the case, I’ve turned to a song to say all the things I can’t find the words for. I love writing letters & blogging, and I’m a fairly slow deep thinker. Yet, when it comes to emotions, I’m suddenly voiceless.

It’s the same for many addicts. Saying what’s in the deepest recesses of our hearts and minds is too hard, too scary, and makes us too vulnerable. On the flipside, that vulnerability is very healing. Through counselling, a lot of effort, and patient friends, I’ve healed a lot in the last year or so; healing that will help me maintain a healthy weight as I get further and further post weight loss surgery.

This page uses the lyrics from P!nk’s song ‘Beam me up’ and refers to my angel babies, and also to missing Mum and Dad.

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Picking up a dropped ball

My dear art friend Theresa has had to step back from running the Colour Me Positive FB group for a bit, due to internet issues. Rather than see it die, I’ve agreed to take over for a bit, putting up the weekly challenges, and generally watching over things. I don’t believe in always picking up the ball when someone else drops it, but this time felt right. There are plenty of opportunities I say no to. 

This week’s quote is from Frida Kahlo, one of my favourite artists, and an incredibly strong woman. I suggested of people want extra challenge they use hot Mexican orange and Kahlo style lush foliage. I used Dylusion’s paints and stencils for this one, and Distress Ink to edge the word strips.

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