Fighting Fear

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“Fighting Back from the Inside” drawing by Maranda Russell

Fighting Fear
Written by: Maranda Russell

I took fear by the hand
and shook him until I heard
the sound of his yellow bones
popping in and out of place.

I pushed him down the stairs,
his skull cracking
against the white, stone steps
on his way to the finale.

He hit the basement floor,
his form a worthless gray lump,
emitting the mocking voices
no muzzle can silence.

Still, I must close the door
at least one more time
and pretend not to hear.
So I do.

New Videos! Artworks for Sale & My DNA Genealogy Test Results!

Hello! I had a couple videos I wanted to make sure I shared with my blog readers! The first is just another look at some of my newest artworks and what inspired them (quite a few of them already sold!):

Also, I decided to do one of those DNA genealogy tests for fun, just to see what kind of results I would get, so here they are:

Hope you guys enjoy the videos! If you haven’t already, please consider subscribing to my YouTube vlog channel, Spiritual Agnostic.

Volume 2 of My Ebook Series “Stories Behind My Art” Now Available!

“Stories Behind My Art, Vol. 2”

This is just a short blog post to let everyone know that the 2nd volume in my Kindle ebook mini-series “Stories Behind My Art” is now available! In each volume of this ebook series, I share at least 20 of my recent artworks and talk about the story or inspiration behind each painting or drawing. I started this ebook series because I wanted to share my love for creating art with all my fans. The books feature a wide variety of artistic styles, including outsider, folk, naive, expressionism, cultural, primitive and abstract art. At only $.99 per Kindle download, each ebook in the “Stories Behind My Art” series is a great deal and a fun, quick read.

If you haven’t read Volume 1 yet, make sure you take a look at that too! (Please note that these art ebooks are best read on color devices if possible.) If you read and enjoy my new book please consider leaving a review on Amazon or Goodreads so that I will know!

Abstract Art Kick – Delving into the Dark

Lately, I’ve been on an abstract art kick. For several reasons. The first and foremost reason is probably because abstract art is just pure fun! It often feels more like playing than work. It is a great way to rediscover that childhood sense of wonder and vivid imagination that we all once had but may have left behind.

It can also be a low pressure way to try new things. With abstract art you don’t have to worry as much about whether it turns out good or not. Even if it does turn out badly, just put some more paint on and keep reworking it! I’ve done that myself quite a few times and ironically, those “bad” artworks often turn out to be some of my most popular pieces. Go figure.

Lastly, I believe I am drawn to abstract art because I find it to be the most efficient way to express deep emotions and feelings in a way that transcends simple, realistic imagery. With abstract art I find it easier to delve into subjects like depression, anxiety, rejection, anger, hurt and fear. For some reason I find that the happier emotions can be easily expressed using realistic or figurative art, but the seedier side of life and human feelings can be harder to portray. And to be quite honest, I’ve always been fascinated by the dark side…even though I strive to live in the light as much as possible.

Here are a few of my recent abstract paintings, hopefully they make you feel something. If they succeed in doing that, than I feel like I have done my job as an artist –

"The River of Envy", acrylic 5.5" x 8.5"

“The River of Envy”, acrylic 5.5″ x 8.5″

"Quick to Turn Away", acrylic 5.5" x 8.5"

“Quick to Turn Away”, acrylic 5.5″ x 8.5″

"Deep Space Abstract", acrylic 5.5" x 8.5"

“Deep Space Abstract”, acrylic 5.5″ x 8.5″

"Floating Through Life", acrylic 5.5" x 8.5"

“Floating Through Life”, acrylic 5.5″ x 8.5″

5 things I love about being an artist

"Molten Ascension", watercolor 5.5" x 8.5"

“Molten Ascension”, watercolor 5.5″ x 8.5″

Since I recently wrote a blog post about “5 things that can suck about being an artist”, I thought it would be good to balance it out with 5 things I absolutely LOVE about being an artist!

1) Getting to work mostly at home, whenever and wherever I desire and in whatever clothing I desire (usually pajamas). It also rocks to be able to listen to whatever music or tv show I want to while working.

2) Making something out of nothing. There is just something so magical about taking a blank sheet of paper or canvas and creating something brand new that is one-of-a-kind. It is especially exciting when I have a great idea in my head and see it taking shape before me. To me it seems to be a tangible way to “make dreams come true”.

3) When people really connect with something I have created and tell me how much they like it. There is nothing that makes me happier than hearing someone say they have “fallen in love” with an artwork of mine or that something I made inspired them or made them happy. I even get all happy inside when people on Facebook like, share or comment on my artwork. (So if you are a FB friend of mine, keep that encouragement coming! It means more than you know!)

4) This might be weird, but I really love shopping for art supplies. It is one of my favorite things to do. Second only to shopping for books. When I get into an art supply store and see the aisles of paint, brushes, canvases, pencils, pens, etc., I just feel so happy, almost like I used to feel as a kid when I got to do “back to school” shopping and pick out all my cool supplies for the coming year. I guess that is the nerd in me coming out.

5) Lastly, when I am in the “zone”, painting or drawing, I feel it is almost like a meditative state, where all my worries, cares and physical problems recede and the “true” me gets to express itself for a while. Even though I have many chronic pain issues, when I create, even the aches and pains seem to take a back seat to my soul and its desire to connect to something on a deeper level. I’m not sure if that is the case for everyone (perhaps it is due to my Aspie ability to focus on special interests), but regardless, I am grateful for it.

5 things that can suck about being an artist

"Beam Me Up God", watercolor 8" x 8"

“Beam Me Up God”, watercolor 8″ x 8″

1) No matter how many artworks you create or sell, there is always this niggling voice in the back of your head asking, “Am I really talented or is all this a fluke? What if my artistic muse abandons me and I never make another meaningful work of art?”

2) There is a point in almost every artwork that I start that I feel it is total crap and just want to rip it to shreds. Sometimes resisting that impulse is extremely hard. Often, even the best, most successful pieces of artwork I have created barely escaped the shredder.

3) The whole Money vs. Love issue. Do you create what you love, even if it doesn’t sell, or do you create what you know will likely sell? I have tried to do both but find it doesn’t work for me to try to create anything just because it is “popular” or will sell. I inevitably lose interest in the project and get depressed because I am not being true to myself. Luckily, my art is selling more and more even though I am following my bliss instead of the dollar signs. However, I realize that my situation is not the same as anybody else’s and some people have to do what they have to do to pay the bills and put food on the table. I respect them for that and hope they can also find time to do whatever feeds their soul.

4) People just don’t realize how expensive professional art materials can be! How many artists get the look asking why they charge so much for their art? I used to wonder that too when I would see a hefty price tag on a piece of art…but now I understand. Most of us really don’t make much profit from handmade things…even if they seem expensive. I’ve also noticed that people are often confused by how much it costs to ship artwork, especially if the object is large, heavy, being sent to another country or the buyer wants special postal services.

5) The absolute worst thing about being an artist in my opinion? When you go through a dry spell and nothing (or at least not much) sells. It can make you want to give up entirely and wonder how people like Van Gogh kept going when they never sold much of anything (of course then I remember that he did cut off his ear and eventually committed suicide – which doesn’t cheer me up much). In the end, I guess it is the passion and the obsession that keeps us going…and hopefully the depression from feeling unpopular even lends itself to a deeper display of emotion that improves our work or adds a new depth to it. At least that is how I like to look at it.

New folk & outsider art ebook release!

"Cats Watching from the Window"

“Stories Behind My Art” Kindle Ebook

Just a quick post to let you all know that I have published a new outsider art ebook! This ebook is entitled “Stories Behind My Art” and is the follow up to my first art ebook, “Through the Eyes of a Child (An Aspie’s Art Journal)”. “Stories Behind My Art” features some of my new favorite artworks from the past year or so. As the name of the ebook indicates, with each artwork I have included a short story about what inspired the artwork or what the piece means to me personally.

I purposefully tried to include some more meaningful artworks, so the subjects represented in the book range from bullying to innocent bloodshed to social conformity to spirituality and religion. I think art is a great way to express your feelings for the things that really matter or to give a voice to those who haven’t been heard. I hope you will all check out my little ebook and let me know what you think of it! It is only a $.99 Kindle download, so give it a try! If you read it and do like it, please consider leaving a review on Amazon or contacting me to let me know what you think!