Going through deleting old photos to clear up space and came across some of my paintings in progress. I started painted Whitewater Roar in a small group art class. I chose what I wanted to paint, based on a photograph I had taken of the Huka Falls, New Zealand. A professional artist gave me some tips as I painted (other students worked on paintings of their choice), then I finished it at home.
This was the final painting, acrylic on canvas. Will upload beneath it some of the layers underneath. I like acrylics as they dry fast (unlike oils) so can be ready quickly for a new layer. Plus there are no toxic solvent fumes.
This is my first ever attempt to paint this waterfall. It really does look aqua and turquoise with white foam. It was exhibited in my second solo art as therapy exhibition.
I originally wrote this blog post in January 2019. Moved to here after deciding not to renew the domain name. In 2021, I published my first novel, Pet Purpose: Your Unspoken Voice.
I wrote this blog post in February 2019 on another blog. Moved some posts here after deciding not to renew the domain name. I had another solo art as therapy exhibition since plus published my first novel, Pet Purpose: Your Unspoken Voice.
Collected the rest of my 'art as therapy' paintings from the gallery (they were happy to keep them for a few months after the exhibition for some colour on the walls). It was my first (and maybe last?) solo art exhibition with a difference. It was to highlight bipolar disorder and art as a healing medium. Many people commented how colourful the paintings were. I'd even painted pain in bright colours. My paintings were symbolic abstracts and only I know what they all mean.
I wrote this blog post in March 2019. Will not be renewing the domain name of the blog, so moving some blog posts to here. Since writing this, I have had two solo art as therapy exhibitions and published my first novel, Pet Purpose: Your Unspoken Voice.
I've just painted two landscapes in acrylics, after not having painted landscapes for more than 20 years. I can only remember two landscapes I painted in oils. One was of a snowy mountain and another was of some trees along a dirt road - I was told by the art teacher and other students that my trees were too bright with too much yellow and that I reversed the lights and darks. I've come to realise that I like painting with brighter colours than are really there in nature. And that yellow is one of my bipolar mania colours.
I wrote this blog post in February 2019, on a blog I am not renewing the domain name for. Transferred a few posts to here. Since writing this blog post, I had two solo art as therapy exhibitions and published my first novel, Pet Purpose: Your Unspoken Voice.
Enrolled in a series of 4 lessons in landscape painting in acrylics. Last time I had lessons was over 20 years ago in traditional oils. I love the buttery texture of oils but not the slow drying time, the fumes of solvents and messy clean-up.
I have decided not to renew a Pet Purpose domain name, so will move a few blog posts to here before it goes. This post was originally published February, 2019.
Sometimes I paint with a knife. This could be a finished painting but I feel that I want to paint the patterns in it with blue (representing depression) and yellow (representing bipolar mania) over it.
This is the one page artist's statement I wrote to go on the wall for my art as therapy exhibition, Speak, in 2020. With some of the artworks.
Speak is a second solo art as therapy exhibition by Xanthe Wyse. Xanthe’s first art as therapy exhibition, Spinning Orbit, was two years ago. Spinning Orbit was messy, raw and intense artwork to help calm Xanthe’s mind while on a challenging journey towards stabilising bipolar disorder with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Several times in my life, I have been told that I am 'too honest'. Lying makes me feel extremely uncomfortable. Over the past few years, I have been working on an semi-autobiographical fiction book called Pet Purpose. I see it as semi-autobiographical because it is telling my story in disguise.
Originally, when I chose the title around five years ago, I intended to write memoir about my bond with pets. But more of life happened and the story has evolved into a story of courage as a young girl suffers trauma and loss, is later diagnosed with bipolar disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and with her determination to survive, finally starts a healing journey many years later in adulthood.
The story loosely reflects my own journey, but I have changed the story-line to protect myself and others, even those who have hurt me. Changing names wasn't enough. I made the decision to write fiction, to 'lie to tell the truth', to help ease flashbacks of PTSD. So that I didn't have to remember it 'exactly' and keep re-traumatising myself. So that I minimise upsetting people. So people can't say 'that's not really what happened' (because they won't know what really happened) and minimise my message. So that I could have some distance while I still tell a personal story. So that I could express my truth in a creative way.
I had a therapy session last week for PTSD. When I first started therapy, my emotions were shut down and I talked about trauma like I was a news reporter - factual without emotion. But last time I cried and cried.
I said, "I'm such a failure - failed in my career, can't work full-time, divorced, hardly see my son, own practically nothing."
The psychologist replied, "You're not a failure. You have bipolar disorder and trauma which has made things very difficult for you. You've been doing the best you can."
It's hard to find the words when I am depressed, but I will try anyway. I also don't feel like doing anything, including writing this, but I try to push through it. I first suffered depression in my late teens. I am now in my mid-forties. My diagnoses were changed from 'treatment-resistant depression and generalied anxiety disorder to bipolar 1 disorder, PTSD and social anxiety disorder. I want to try to describe what depression is like for me and some things that help.
Xanthe finds creative expression including writing and painting to be therapeutic and helps her to manage her diagnoses of bipolar disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).