Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Van Gogh Blues

Last Friday night my friend Fran invited me over for dinner and Bill Maher. We stumbled across a documentary about Vincent Van Gogh. She tossed this book over to me and said "you need to read this".
"The Van Gogh Blues" by Eric Maisel,PH.D

On page 4 of the Introduction, the writer refers back to another researcher, quoting,

The Psychiatrist Arnold Ludwig studied a thousand eminent 20th century figures. In "The Price of Greatness", he concludes that in his sample, 77 percent of the poets,54 percent of fiction writers, 50 percent visual artists,46 percent of composers had suffered with at least one significant depressive episode. By contrast, the rate was 16 percent of sports figures, 5 percent of military figures, and zero percent of explorers. But Ludwig's numbers are low because virtually 100 percent of creative people will suffer from episodes of depression.

When Karl died two years ago, I entered a depression that has profoundly affected my art and my connection to my creative spirit.

He was always supportive. His Mother, Jean Ruzsa was a talented artist in Cleveland, Ohio. Karl's father was an Architect, Frank Ruzsa, designed many prominent buildings around the Greater Cleveland area. And Karl himself was a master of color and a drummer. When ever I see the color purple, I think about him.

In the book "Circle of Stones" by Judith Duerk, a book I picked up about 20 years ago, she talks about digging for gold in the depth of depression. And that is exactly what the last two years have been. This study is exactly what the doctor would order, were I consulting one.

One of the many benefits I have enjoyed from this study and the way I am going about it is, getting to know the artist as a person. This has afforded me the ability to identify. To see the creative spirit of the person. I have to agree with Cezanne when he said something like create according to our individual temperament and so I leave my outcome to the Great Spirit. But the identification feeds my soul. Because of my social handicap, it has served me well to meet these master artist and listen while history sets the record straight. Fortunately and unfortunately...

There is a process that I have been going through for the last 50 years, the evolution of my creative self. I feel at home in the presence of Donitello, Cezanne, Picasso, Van Gogh, and thee like. They have contributed greatly to the world and my happiness. When I paint, I go straight to now. The rest of life, well, I suspect my good decisions are dumb luck and my bad decisions are habitual.
I encourage everyone to connect to their passion. The passion of mine will be a lifetime pursuit.

Looking back with the usual 20/20. Often using magnifiers, I can see those marked depressions that took me to the next level, a deeper understanding of myself and the world around me. As an artist, the language I speak is visual. Every painting or copper repousee I have ever created has meant something about where I was in my life and the meaning is not found in the linear. I don't know if it is because I didn't have the storybook start in life, or that I am a Gemini, or a woman.
The thing is, I was born this way.

So, I seek.