Tag Archives: art

Colored Pencil Student Magazine Summer Issue

How writing and art has helped heal my recent bout of PTSD

It continues to amaze me how much talent is out there in this great big world and how artists’ use the gifts God gave them to express their feelings through a pencil and sheet of paper.

Suddenly, a ton of scribbles becomes a masterpiece right before the artist’s eyes. It is an amazing feeling when it all comes together and you can share it with others. I know whenever I “nail” a drawing, I feel like I am tracing the hand of God.

I like to think of my writing in the same vein.  As writers we combine words to paint a picture for the people who read our written artwork. Each article I complete is a gem to me – timeless, unique and beautiful.

I have missed blogging and sharing with this community.

I haven’t been writing lately because this Winter and Spring I dealt with a strong bout of PTSD brought on by seeing pictures of ISIS burning the Jordanian man alive. Suddenly, images from my dysfunctional childhood and a 20-year military career that took me to Iraq twice just started crashing over me in waves.

I have struggled with depressive episodes for most of my life, so this just made it worse. I felt like the dude in the second Transformer movie, when he touched the piece of the rock and started seeing writing projected on all the walls around him. My eyes just kept flashing all these horrific images on repeat and wouldn’t stop. Consequently, I fell off my meds schedule and that made it worse.

Here is a little background on what I have been going through. In 2013, one month after I got my bachelor’s from Regent University, I checked myself into a mental institution — exhausted from my own mind, constant worrying and suicidal ideation.

I had thought it would be the happiest time of my life. It wasn’t. Right after graduation, I hadn’t slept for three or more days straight. After a successful 20 year career in the military, I was totally at a loss why I couldn’t get it together and deeply ashamed. It took me over a year to recover and then bam it happened again this February. I was so lost…

It wasn’t pretty but through my faith in our mighty creator, the Holy Spirit by my side, the pure love of Jesus, and the help of my family I sought help and received the proper diagnosis of PTSD….FINALLY!

I never considered I had PTSD, even though family and friends kept telling me I displayed symptoms since I came back from Iraq the first time. The VA only diagnosed me with depression from my family of origin, so I never considered anything else.

At the time I retired in 2009, military professionals still weren’t proficient in dealing with PTSD…unless the person witnessed gross carnage and death. I didn’t see that with my own eyes, but I was around death and saluted several fallen soldiers in my deployed unit. As a journalist, I don’t really need to see something to emphathize with people and I tend to take on feelings from people around me. So I internalized all my fears from operating in a war-zone twice and didn’t know how to deal with them.

During the time I was flashing back, I was fortunate to begin working for Sally Robertson, the editor of Colored Pencil Magazine via computer correspondence. While I was figuring out how to heal and deal with the VA, she was very patient and let me stick my toes in the water as the associate editor of Colored Pencil Student Magazine.

I was deeply afraid of being rejected for suffering with depression, anxiety and PTSD because it can effect your work life. But, she was kind and understanding, which allowed me to build up my self-esteem once again and get back to my old work self. I still have a little way to go but I will no longer let self-doubt continue to seep in and poison my mind against myself.

So I thank Sally and the other artists I worked with in this issue. I am sure they had no idea of the impact they were having on my life.

In the end I have learned, no anxiety pill, recovery center, person, place or thing, can cure you of pain, depression or addiction. No one can do it for you because no one else has “all” the answers “you” need. Even if some people pretend they got it all together, they don’t. We are all in the same rocking boat together. Some people are just better at hiding their pain and pulling themselves together. And, believe me I have looked hard! LOL.

However, I believe that each person and experience (even negative ones) has a small part in creating one master key to unlock your healing and help you on your way to fulfilling your personal destiny on earth.

What I learned in my last PTSD bout is each person throughout my entire life was crucial in helping me heal myself now.

One day, I hope to write a book about what I have learned and maybe it can help someone else struggling with their own issues – PTSD or otherwise. So I am putting this desire out there in the universe right now for other people to come into agreement with me.

I tentatively plan to call it: Set My Captives Free: How one PTSD war vet healed herself through love, therapy and the Bible.

Well enough about me!

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Here is a sneak peak at the summer edition of Colored Pencil Student Magazine. These people are amazing artists!

– Find out why Will Stoller doesn’t sign his artwork and instead created his own signature brand

– Fiona Rose frames her artwork inexpensively with an embroidery hoop

– Carmen Medlin and the art of ACEO’s

– Irene Marie Cortez quits a lucrative medical career to pursue her love of art

– What’s Funzie Art? Annie Nelson explains

– Ann Nichezynski uses her talent for a bigger purpose to educates people on big cats and other wild animals at the Safe Haven Rescue Zoo

– and much, much more…including information on how to enter the 2015 CP art competition (deadline Sept. 1)

Check out all these great artists at  http://www.magcloud.com/browse/issue/947536 and get inspired to create your own art!

Then share your artwork with the colored pencil community at Colored Pencil Magazine’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/ColoredPencilMagazine?fref=ts.

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CPM and CPS are on all your fav social media sites: Pinterest, Blogger, Flickr, Deviant Art and Instagram. 

Wherever you are online, we are there. Go to our home page at www.coloredpencilmag.com and click on your favorite social media icon.

Melissa LeGates
Associate Editor
m.legates@coloredpencilmag.com
Colored Pencil Student at http://www.coloredpencilstudent.com

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me

Melissa LeGates is a freelance writer and retired Air Force journalist who specializes in feature writing. She is also the associate editor at Colored Pencil Student Magazine, as well as a colored pencil artist herself. She blogs about the exciting world of colored pencil art at coloredpencilenthusiast.wordpress.com.

Incredibly Imaginative Upcycled Décor for Your Home

 

Carved wood night stand

Lucydesignsonline.com
 

Carved Wood Night Stand 

This DIY expert walks you through how to upcycle an ordinary night stand and turn it into unique, artistic home décor with a Dremel tool. 
 
 
Upcycled Pallet Ottoman

Domesticsuperhero.com
 

Upcycled Pallet Ottoman

You would never know this beautifully tufted fabric ottoman was created from an old wood pallet – and it’s an affordable DIY project, too!

 
 
stencil old curtains

Cherneeshouse.wordpress.com
 

Stencil Your Existing Curtains

Old curtains look like new again with a stencil from the art supply store. The cute detailing gives the curtains a one-of-a-kind look and is a very easy weekend DIY project. Sometimes it’s the simple ideas that can add a big impact to a room. 
 
 
upcycled bike gears Stained Glass

Velo Gioielli
 

Bike-Inspired Stained Glass

You don’t have to be a bicycle enthusiast to appreciate these great upcycled, stained-glass masterpieces made from bike parts and colorful glass. How beautiful are these colors?
 
 
filmstrip lamp

Happy Factor
 

Cinema Filmstrip Lamp

These handmade lamps are made with 35mm filmstrip from different movies. Just think what you could do with all that old film Dad (or Grandpa) took on family vacations! Sounds like a personalized family DIY project in the making. 
 
 
Originally posted July 17, 2014 at http://www.craftfoxes.com/blog/crafty-picnic-baskets

me

Melissa LeGates is a freelance writer and retired Air Force journalist who specializes in features and B2B writing. She is also a colored pencil artist and blogs about it at coloredpencilenthusiast.wordpress.com.

Fine artist Lisa Clough

Living with chronic pain – Artist thrives despite painful medical conditions through prayer, diet and a steady dose of painting

 

Lisa Clough (as told to Melissa LeGates)

When most people think about Christmas, they might remember the smells of cookies, pies or turkey cooking in the oven – or time off from school.

For me, I equate Christmas to having a sore throat. I had one every year of my childhood because of my compromised immune system. So I know it sounds odd but sore throats remind me of being excited to wake up and open presents.

Soreness, pain, nausea and tiredness have been a part of my life as long as I can remember. They are not exactly my friends but I have learned to deal with my chronic illnesses through my faith in God and his calling in my life.

Yes, I said illnesses. I have three that I have to keep in check to function each day, although you would never know by looking at me.

That has always been the frustrating part – convincing others I actually don’t feel well, especially doctors.

For so many years, doctors treated me like I was making things up. It doesn’t help that I talk really fast, especially when I am frustrated, so doctors always thought I looked too energetic to be sick.

My main complaints have always been nausea and fatigue. I have woken up with the feeling of being rested only about five times in my life. On top of having Celiac disease, Fibromyalgia and Ankylosing spondylitis, I also don’t retain REM sleep therefore I never really feel rested.

Here is a quick rundown of what those diseases do to me. Celiac disease is a reaction to eating gluten that damages the lining of the small intestines and presents it from absorbing parts of food important for staying healthy. So if I eat those cookies and pies, I immediately feel nauseated and end up in the bathroom. Fibromyalgia causes long-term, body-wide pain in joints, muscles and tendons. So it essentially feels like somebody is stabbing me in my side or legs some days. Ankylosing spondylitis is a type of long-term arthritis that affects the bones and joints at the base of the spine and over time the spinal bones fuse together. This is the reason why I cannot sleep with a pillow, and I really miss them. I cannot stretch like a normal person can when they wake up, because sometimes the muscles around my rib cage will tighten to the point where every breath is agony. And REM sleep, oh how I would love to get some. REM, or Rapid Eye Movement, is a stage of sleep occupying only about 90 – 120 minutes total of a night’s rest but without it people often feel drowsy the next day, which is my case every day.

However, it hasn’t been all bad. My sicknesses have afforded me plenty of time to stay inside and get better at what God has designed me to do – create.

I am blessed to make a living as a professional fine artist. I paint. I draw. I play violin. And if I have any energy left, I love taking on new hobbies like quilting, crocheting or working with mosaics and glass.

So I don’t really have a lot of time to feel sorry for myself.

Even as a child, I never blamed God for feeling so sick. While all the other children were outside playing, I was safely tucked away in my bed drawing or coloring. I have the best mom in the world, and she would bring me hot tea to cheer me up and make me feel better.

Those years struggling to find out what was wrong with me set the foundation for my craft. Although God designed me to be an artist, I don’t think it is some sort of magic and Poof, He made me instantly great. I have had to work really hard at perfecting my craft the same way a doctor learns the skills they need to cure others.

It also helps that painting for me is a type of prayer. When I create, I feel closer to God than almost any other time. If I go long without painting, I start to feel disconnected and depressed. It’s not just that I like to paint, I have to paint and create. There is a force driving that need in me. I can only assume it is His will pushing me, and I’m grateful for that.

So I paint whales, flowers, stars and planets, and anything else that pops into my mind. I love animals; they inspire a sense of awe and wonder in me. I like taking God’s creations and placing them in settings that don’t normally exist together. For me, it is like creating a new world inside our world.

So no, I don’t feel sorry for myself despite my pain. The knowledge that God is in control and that everything happens for a reason keeps me positive. Even now, I hear from others who have physical afflictions, who tell me how encouraged they are after hearing my story. If that alone is God’s reasoning, then it’s all worth it.

Plus, I don’t have it that bad. I have a roof over my head, a husband and family who loves me, art supplies and internet access to share my work. God also blessed me with an inquisitive mind and through internet-research I learned eating raw foods or embracing a vegan diet diminished my symptoms greatly. So now my health is in my own hands. If I feel poorly from eating like crap, I am the only one to blame.

I figure, worst case scenario, if I never feel totally well while I’m here or Earth, then Heaven is going to feel that much more amazing to me. Not only will I be able to worship non-stop, it will be pain free!

That is a pretty exciting thought for me!

Native Californian Lisa Clough is a self-taught fine artist who lives in Frisco, Texas with her husband Matt and two Italian Greyhounds. You can check out her artwork at www.lachri.com and watch her speed lapse painting videos where she invites you into her studio every Wednesday to learn painting tips at www.youtube.com/user/lachri. She also loves teaching art classes around Texas and offers online student consolation. “I feel when we are blessed with a gift and called to perform for Him, we should be working harder than secular artists to represent Him in the best way possible and grow our gift,” Lisa said.

Colored Pencil Magazine June 2014

Living the dream–Fine artist transitions from amateur to professional by teaching others art

I had the privilege of interviewing You Tuber and artist Lisa Clough on her colored pencil artwork.

Click here to read a PDF copy of the article: Clough-CPM-Jun-2014.

You can purchase a copy of the magazine in its entirety at www.magcloud.com/browse/issue/761782.

You can connect with Lisa on her You Tube channel at www.youtube.com/user/lachri. She posts time lapses videos of her creating artwork every Wednesday, critiques of other artists’ work on Tuesdays and Vlogs most weekends.

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me

Melissa LeGates is a freelance writer and retired Air Force journalist who specializes in features and B2B writing. She is also a colored pencil artist and blogs about it at coloredpencilenthusiast.wordpress.com.  You can commission Melissa’s work (either writing or art) by contacting her at malegates@gmail.com.

A Painter's Strong Sense of Place

A Painter’s Strong Sense of Place

A Painter's Strong Sense of Place
Barbara Petterson

Click on link to read the PDF of the article:  Petterson DE Beach Life June 2014

To purchase a copy of this magazine, go to www.delawarebeachlife.com/shop/single-issues/single-issues/june-2014.html

me

Melissa LeGates is a freelance writer and retired Air Force journalist who specializes in features and B2B writing. She is also a colored pencil artist and blogs about it at coloredpencilenthusiast.wordpress.com.  You can commission Melissa’s work (either writing or art) by contacting her at malegates@gmail.com.

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