This is a tale of two images, two paintings. I call them “Depression, or The Black”, and “A Burst of Colour”. They reflect my mood at different stages of my recovery or perhaps different stages of my Bipolar II Disorder.
Depression, or The Black
The first of the paintings is based on a meme by enkei87 that I saw on Twitter. Unlike many memes about depression, this one stayed with me. It haunted me, tormented me. It demanded that I paint it my way.
In its original form, the meme almost fully captured my darkness. It showed someone lost, alone and vulnerable, threatened by anthropomorphized darkness. But the key is in the
So I made some modest changes when I painted. I made the creature larger and
The creature I see is surrounded by darkness, ready to ensnare and to suffocate. It is The Black and The Black is it. The claws will capture the Lost One and The Black will stifle all.
A Burst of Colour
But my world, while suffused with an abundance of bleak days, also has moments of lightness and colour. On these days my world has life and vitality. It uplifts.
“A Burst of Colour” tries to capture this life and vitality. A study of primary colours and their interactions, it has movement within. It has peaks, valleys and shadows. It has warmth. The shadows within are tempered by
A Burst of Colour is a world wherein there’s no Lost One, no threat. It’s a world that’s welcoming and nourishing.
On Two Images
Contrast “Depression, or The Black” with “A Burst of Colour”. The former of these two images has menace whereas the latter is about comfort. The former is bleak whereas the latter is joyful.
My recovery is much the same way. The early days were filled with menace, bleakness and despair as I tried to find my way. Over time, comfort and joy grew as my healing took root. Yet, this pattern of bleak-filled days then joyful days repeats again and again.
In many ways, these paintings depict the contrasts within me, the dour depressed soul and the buoyant uplifted one, the depressive and the hypomaniac. Melancholia exists on a troubling majority of days, colour on so much
Other days, balanced days, are drowned out. I don’t yet have a painting for them.
Images by John Dickson