May is Mental Health Awareness Month

Insomnia copyright 2012/2022 Douglas Stockdale

Mental Health Awareness Month has been observed in May in the United States since 1949 and was started by the Mental Health America organization. Highlighting this condition is to help understand the underlying issues that lead to anxiety and depression in order to combat the stigma of this illness and provide support, educate the public and advocate for policies that support the millions of people in the U.S. affected by mental illness. Thus, another opportunity to share my story…

I came to understand my underlying issues with anxiety during the COVID crisis that stems from events that occurred when I was an infant that still haunt me to today. Although my anxiety is ‘hard-wired’ in, it is there every single morning, I still have the choice as to whether it manages me, or I choose to manage it. And it is not easy. Sometimes it is okay to say that this is a day (or week or more) to coast and just enjoy the accomplishment of some little things.

It was the awareness of my underlying anxiety which helped me to finalize the layout, sequence and subsequent production of my artist book, The Flow of Light Brushes the Shadow. Regretfully it was another bout with anxiety late last year that was triggered by a chronic illness (subsequently resolved with major surgery) that emotionally shut me down after the launch of this artist book. Thus, my ability to promote and sell this artist book was really hampered in a very serious way and it is taking me over six months to get my mojo back. sigh.

Interestingly for me, while trying to get back to working on promoting my artist book, I began learning about and creating solar cyanotypes, some of which I also layer with Prismacolor pencil (crayons de couleur), such as this photo, above, from my artist book. I am unsure why, but I could work on this new artwork, while I was mentally unable to become engaged with my artist book. I think it helps me understand a bit better when I hear of a writer who develops writer-block, as I am still dealing with an aspect of artistic-block. When I want to work on this artist book, my brain seems to turn to mush. Nothing.

Thus, in a way, the Prussian Blue of the cyanotypes is an indirect way to acknowledge my melancholy mood. Yes, a Picasso moment. In retrospect, although I did not incorporate any cyanotypes in the artwork for my artist book, I could see a place for it today. Maybe after I sell out the first edition and there is interest in a second edition, I would modify this artist book to incorporate a few cyanotype images. In a weird way, that sort of gets me motivated to finish producing and selling this current artist book version (see below if interested), which investigates anxiety. Cool!

Above: Insomnia, solar Cyanotype plus Prismacolor pencil (crayons de couleur), image 8 x 10″ on a 11 x 14″ sheet of 100 lb Revere Platinum archival rag, unique and inquire about availability.

Cheers & make every day an Earth Day



 The Flow of Light Brushes the Shadow, an artist book from Singular Images Press, Fall 2022 release, $60.00 (CA sales tax for those residing in the USA) plus shipping expenses. Message me or singularimagespress@gmail for shipping details and PayPal invoice.

Note: The Artist Special Edition (book + extra print) is Sold Out.


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