Thursday, January 28, 2010

Rejoice (one of my large scale pieces)

Rejoice 36"x48", acrylic on canvas

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

My Site is Live!

HMCraig Art is finally up!

Cue Ludwig

It took me a loooooong time to get this otherwise simple site together. Small things would hang me up for days. It's been particularly hard. I remember when i could put together a website in a weekend, this took months. Little bricks...put enough of them together and you can build something substantial.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

A week off...

..sort of.

My mother came to visit. We went and checked out The Rose museum's collection. We ate at Alchemy, and picked up a pint of Chocolate Orgy at Lizzy's. I also took my daily naps while my mother played Hexic.

We also found some hyacinths, daffodils, and parrot tulips for sale! I am especially excited about the parrot tulips. They are on my dining table at the moment, surrounded by glass objects. Colors and textures!! It smells like spring in my house!

Monday, January 25, 2010


I got some not so great news today. Anytime you get bad news, what is the appropriate way to react? Shock? Yeah, had that. Depression? I've been fighting off various strengths of depression since the accident, so, it's not new. Crying doesn't solve anything. Throwing things? No use in that. Eat? I've been eating... I just had a small wonderful truffle from Finland.

What does one do with lemons? Depends on who has the lemons as to the outcome of the lemons.

Paula Deen's Lemon Blossoms
Ina Garten's Lemon Mousse
Alton Brown's Lemon Meringue Pie

After a few phone calls to friends and family, which helped my peace of mind...
I think I'll just paint mine.

Lunch! (finally meeting people that have helped me out greatly)

Let me introduce John:

You Look Great!

I just had lunch with John and his son Chris. I am happy I finally got to meet them. As someone just learning how to deal with tbi, John's videos were a spectacular find. I think they are helpful for both survivors and their families.

We had a fantastic lunch at a little Mexican place. We chattered back and forth, and I learned things from both of their experiences. John's son is very inquisitive and sympathetic and intelligent. John and I both share the same language of the injury, his vocabulary being much more eloquent than mine. I feel like I am still in the basic syllables stage, where John has been able to write a thesis.

It was wonderful. I am definitely looking forward to seeing them again!

My Super Wonderful Dancin' Pirate Timer

My wonderful dear friend Kat got this for me a few years ago. She's funny and kind and intelligent.. and we both like corny jokes, LOL cats, and pirates.

The pirate dances to samba music when time is up. So instead of being anxious about the timer going off, I giggle and dance with him.

I used him before my brain injury. I like to bake, and nothing says double fun like a batch of brownies being ready AND a dancing pirate in your kitchen!

He is much more important after the brain injury. He is now my little art co-pilot. I set him up next to me when I am painting. Wind him up to 15 or 20 minutes. I started doing this on advice of my neurologist, who thankfully saw that painting is a love of mine, but too much might be bad. Too much thinking. So, I paint until the pirate is dancing to samba. Or I decide I've had enough, whichever comes first. It takes me a long while to complete a large painting because of this time restriction, which is a bit frustrating. I would love to paint all day. But I can't, and the pirate reminds me that even though I have a time limit, it's still fun.

And every time the pirate dances, I think of Kat. :)

Monday, January 18, 2010

Naps and Rechargeable Batteries

People with brain injuries (like me), have energy levels like cheap batteries. Pretty good for a little bit, then the energy drops off and your camera goes dead at the wedding of your only child. Sure, you could probably squeeze some more life out of the camera's battery, but the pictures you want are hard to take because the camera is malfunctioning. The zoom isn't dependable, the flash takes forever, it shuts down in the middle of the father daughter dance.

Without sleep, a day seems about 48 hours long (remember that jet lag you had coming from France?). Without sleep, my ability to form coherent thought breaks down. I start talking in pre-school sentence structures, and I have noticed that my voice gets smaller (so I am essentially a 6 ft tall four year old). I get a bewildered wide eyed look. Simple things confuse me. I know that I am not lacking in intelligence, but my brain just peters out on me. It's had enough. At first, you fight this. This is not a good battle to pick. Your brain will win*. Eventually, you learn the signs, and you learn to speak up and say "ok, this is enough, please excuse me, my head has called it quits". Not everyone will understand. That's ok. They'll learn.

So, we nap, sometimes quick, sometimes for 6 hours (!). Sometimes we wake refreshed, sometimes it takes me hours to get through the groggy mist of sleep. You know how some people aren't morning people and it takes them forever to get up and around? Try doing that twice in a day. And then try to get anything accomplished. It's frustrating. At the same time, it really pares down what's not so essential to you. Do I need to watch Housewives of Orange County? No, I need to go look at art...and take a nap.

There is a precarious balance between getting enough sleep and getting more than enough...which I think helps result in an inability to sleep at night...just making the whole cycle more vicious. About once every two weeks, I would try to go without a nap to kick-start my sleep cycle. This decision was made because I had probably lied in bed for 3+ hours the night before staring at the ceiling, anxious because I wasn't sleeping. I will say that with my new prescription, I have been able to sleep well.

So, if you are a new tbi person, naps are good. I know that seems to completely go against the all-American if-you-aren't-doing-something-useful-all-the-time-you-aren't-worth-much way of thinking. You have to learn to let that go and realize that naps are useful.

That was a lot of thinking, I'm going to say it's nap time now. Sweet dreams, y'all!

*I do believe I read this in Brainlash. It helped me out a lot.

Friday, January 15, 2010


I remember being in art school when a teacher would ask a student where he/she got an idea from. Sometimes the student would act offended as if the teacher were accusing them of plagiarism or even better... not being able to come up with their own concept. The truth is that we don't live in a vacuum. We should always be searching out inspiration, or even be inspired by every day things.

I have been inspired by many (but these links are only a few)..
Maud Lewis
Janet Fish
Georgia O'Keefe
Rachel Ruysch
Van Gogh
Dale Chihuly
Boston Flower and Garden Show

and music, too!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

I got drugs!

Check it out, I've started my own Damien Hirst installation!
Not that I've ever been one to want to be anywhere near prescription meds, I try to do everything in my power to stay away from them. I fear the side effects.

But... yesterday, went to a Dr. and he wrote out a prescription. Trazodone. It's supposed to help me sleep, and that way I can let my brain rest and recover. I have a very low tolerance, so I only take half of a pill. And, oh boy, that half a pill is still working from last night. I am not anxious one bit. Everything is fine in my little medicated world. Dishes need cleaning..pfffft! Not worried about them. It's nice not to worry.

I read the side effects, and "uncontrollable laughter" is one of them. I already laugh at inappropriate times, so this ought to be a hoot and a half.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Working with Bricks

I am trying to build a massive wall. It's a bit hard, though, because I have some limitations. I get confused by some relatively simple things (which will then occupy me for a while), and have a bit of a problem with sequencing. Throw in headaches and fatigue and it's quite the party!
My massive wall is what amounts to getting my artwork out in the world. This blog is a section of the wall.. The little things that go into this blog (such as deciding on a font for the text, or trying to write up a profile, or just adding a post) are each a brick. I'm pretty happy if I can get two bricks laid perfectly in a day. Then it is naptime, because those two bricks sucked the energy out of me.
I have laid down two bricks today (this post, and putting up a parked image* on my website). I am feeling pretty accomplished.

I will be posting my artwork, I promise. One brick at a time.

btw, I totally stole this idea. Will Smith. I couldn't watch it all the way through, because I can't focus that long, so I get to watch the rest later.

*I already had a website, but didn't have content on it. So, while I was paying for the website, the hosting company was using it as advertising for themselves. I just made a quick (as quick as I can move...which isn't that quick) image to claim my space.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

I get to figure out who I am....again.

I didn't think very much about the workings of my brain before my accident. I do now. I am alternately fascinated and troubled about what is happening inside my head. What parts of my personality are magnified, and why? Which parts have I lost? Do I have any new skills or traits?
What happens when a person who has trained as a fine artist acquires a brain injury? It depends on the part of the brain that was affected. Some people, like Alison Silva get more creative.
I am one of those people.