Dear Mental Health Professionals: — Behind starburst eyes

I am aware that the DSVM (all editions since the 3rd) include Autism as a mental illness/disorder. However, just because they are included does not make the mental health field correct in their assessment of Autism as a disorder. It is included because Western society has a serious lack of acceptance of anything different. All […]

via Dear Mental Health Professionals: — Behind starburst eyes

Breaking Out

I just completed this colorful pastel drawing yesterday. (May 2016) I was raised in a very strict religious home. I was also born with high functioning autism, and being artistic I was somewhat “out there”. This drove my mother crazy. She was always trying to make me fit a certain mold that she thought I should fit into. I also got lots of flak, bullying, and teasing from teachers and classmates. I believe that our world tried to make us fit into a certain mold. That is why I made all the small mini paintings within this painting to fit into a checkerboard pattern. It shows how each person is an individual, yet there are constraints on us imposed by family, religion, society.  However, this can be confining, and keep us small. At some point, it really helps to BREAK OUT of the mold people tried to force us into.

I had great fun doing this.  I drew this on a large sheet of Sennelier La Carte pastel board in the color sienna.   I started out making a grid of 1 inch squares on it.  I used hard Nupastels and pastel pencils.  I started making a small abstract mini painting in every other square.  I just went with the flow on this one, and was very spontaneous.  After I was almost halfway done, I decided to BREAK OUT, and very gesturally painted the large element on the lower left side.  Freedom to be me feels GOOD.  God made me with high functioning autism, and that is exactly how I’m supposed to be.  Certain others who can’t or won’t accept me – that is their problem and their hangup.

Here is the listing on my etsy store.

Breaking Out, pastel on pastel board, 25 1/2 x 19 1/2

My New Raised Beds

I’ve been wanting to have a raised bed vegetable garden for years.  This year, we did it.  I say we, because my husband Jon and younger son Andrew built the raised beds in March – 3 of them, at 10′ x 4′ each.  This way, we could put really good soil in there, instead of relying on this clay soil we have here at the juncture of the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers. (St Louis). There is a reason almost all the homes in south St. Louis are brick.  Our soil is so heavy it makes really great bricks.

I ordered the soil from a local composting business.  It was half river bottom soil, and half compost.  I started peppers and tomatoes from seed, and put them out right after our last frost date of April 15.  When I first put them in, they were a bright, lush green.  However, several weeks later, they were a funky yellowish green with purply veins and stems.  From research on youtube, that indicated phosphorus deficiency.  That’s strange.  I thought compost was very fertile.  I was trying to go organic, and had started heirloom plants from seed myself.   Here is the before picture: tomatobefore

Since I am aspie, everything I do, I go whole hog into.  I seldom do things halfway.  So I go to Lowe’s to get a soil testing kit.  I also end up buying the moisture/light/pH meter as well.  When I used the soil testing kit, it showed a very high pH. It was off the charts.  On the alkaline side was green and dark green, but my test came out blue!  (with a slightly greenish cast).   I actually enjoyed doing the soil test. This meant my pH was at least 8.0 or more, which is very high.  I did all kinds of internet research, and got lots of conflicting opinions.  According to my gardening book, tomatoes actually like a slightly acidic soil.  So, I ended up buying soil amendment at Lowe’s which was to bring down alkalinity.  I also analyzed this in my mind, thinking that this river bottom soil must have been derived from the limestone bluffs that run along the river banks here.  Then afterward, I started obsessing over whether the soil test was accurate, and what if I was wrong to have added the sulfur?

My husband suggested just hitting it with Miracle Gro and forgetting about it.  I’ve had to tell myself to just relax, and let nature take it’s course.  My soil test also showed there being a complete lack of nitrogen, so I decided to hit it with some Miracle Gro as my husband suggested.

Something helped, because things are looking a lot better.  At least I haven’t killed my garden (yet), due to my hyper focus.  Here it is after I added the sulfur and Miracle Gro.tomatoafter





Grieving for Autism

outstanding. I was diagnosed at age 38.

Autism and Expectations

There is a grieving process that happens after a diagnosis later in life. But it’s not grieving for the autism, it’s grieving for the effort that you’ve had to put in your whole life trying to be someone you’re not.

It’s grief for the you that carried that huge backpack of techniques for appearing normal, without knowing why.

It’s grief for the times you misunderstood situations, not because you were stupid, but because you weren’t capable of understanding them without support. Because the rationale behind them was alien.

It’s grief for the times you thought you were going mad, when you were just suffering from a sensory overload.

It’s grief for the times that you forced yourself to interact, even though you were already socially exhausted, because that’s what people do and you didn’t want to be different.

It’s grief for something intangible. Something that you can’t even be sure…

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Color Effects in Art

Hey guys.  The wind chill was minus 10 Farenheit when I awoke this morning.  I am enjoying my day of staying at home and cooking and doing art.  This morning I baked banana bread and started beef goulash in the slow cooker.  Now, I just got done working on a pastel painting.  I’m using a rough, toothy pastel board of about 20 inches by 16 inches.  It is brick red on the front.  This will help create unity in the painting, as little splotches of this will show up throughout.

I use mostly Nupastels and Unison pastels.  I also use other brands, such as Schmincke, Sennelier, and others.

I started this several weeks ago.  I’m using a photo as a reference point for it.  I took the photo at the Missouri Botanical Garden several years ago.  It was a potted plant – some type of daisy.  Color is my favorite aspect of art. I’ve been told I have a strong sense of light in my paintings.  I’m very glad, because this is what I aim for – color and light.  Since I’m on the autistic spectrum, I also can’t help but be detailed.  That is how my mind works.

As you can see, I’ve painted in the background around the flowers.  I think the flowers will be easy.  I’m doing a secondary color triad (green, violet, orange).  I realized that there is quite a lot of gold and orange in the greens, and an orange influence in the flowers, too.  I really love the lighting effects on the leaves, and on the sphagnum moss. The trick to achieving an effect of strong lighting is to contrast light with dark mainly, and secondarily to contrast color temperatures between light and shadow areas.

I’m seeing that the background is quite busy.  I will just go ahead and do the daisies, then see if and how much I need to soften and simplify the background.