My posts have been lapsing lately due to the fact that I had a heart attack on September 11th. Yes, I had my own disaster on 9/11 and though it was not a national tragedy, it was a personal one.
Because my attack came on due to a stressful situation, I had a lot of anger and anxiety building up within me. A good friend, Vivian T., suggested that I “paint” my heart attack. So at the first opportunity and when I was feeling somewhat better, I chose a canvas and some paints and began.
My color choices were indicative of the anger and stress I was feeling and my strokes were long and swift. I made use of full arm movement with a large brush to lay down the first washes, working off some of the stress I was feeling.
Cadmium yellow and cadmium red along with some titanium white and burnt sienna fit my mood perfectly and I was off to a great start.
Next, I took a trusty palette knife and began scraping on more paint of the same hues, at the same time removing some of the previous wash that had not yet dried. Jabbing and jerky movements were used to relieve some of the anger I was feeling. This left some rather angry-looking strokes, reminiscent of the spikes on an EKG. Ah, this was definitely helping me come to terms with my situation.
Then I used a chopstick to scribble some sgraffito lines into the composition, allowing some of the first layer to show through. This enhanced the painting and made me feel even better.
By this time, I was feeling tired, but invigorated by the relief I was feeling. Painting seemed to melt away some of my angst and my stress level was improving.
Sitting back and looking at the painting thus far, I felt that bit of red splattering might mimic the blood flow that is blocked off during a heart attack. So I grabbed a brush, loaded it with red paint and made a few, hopefully well placed, splatters over the painting. I was careful not to over-do this as I wanted my initial strokes and sgraffito to be at the forefront. The splatters were made as an enhancement to the painting.
Voila! Stress level decreased! Painting Finished!
PS: Naming the painting was a tough decision. I felt that “Heart Attack” was too personal, too real. So I named it “Heartfelt.” I hope you agree.