memoirs, art and fragments by Thomas Milner

Archive for the ‘therapy’ Category

I hear voices

I hear voices.

Obsessive compulsive

Obsessive compulsive.

Some of my latest therapy

Every evening after dinner I wheel myself to (what these days I unblushingly refer to as my) atelier. Recently I’ve been reviewing all my sketches and paintings and stuff from way back.

I touched up here, tweaked there, I snipped and pasted, trimmed off and recoloured backgrounds, heavy with the marker; it was great fun, better than having to think up a new idea.

This was a cut & paste job on  blue paper:

STILL LIFE WITH FRUIT

STILL LIFE WITH FRUIT

This was supposed a «father figure» (My dad had a beard).

ELDERLY MAN

ELDERLY MAN

Here’s (literally) cut and paste, making quite an effective colour contrast:

FLOWER

Here is a foray into the unfamiliar world of wax pastel. As one can see I’m a complete beginner and little control  over the medium; (I didn’t mean her neck to be that long).

PASTEL STUDY

PASTEL STUDY

This is rather a risqué little sketch for this place. Again in pastel I used lines etc. to cover up the mistakes.

PASTEL GIRL

PASTEL GIRL

This was (for me) experimental – bit of a confusion, bit of a mess, I didn’t where I was going – great fun though.

ORGANIC WOOD

ORGANIC WOOD

Another fast water-colour sketch:

SKETCH

SKETCH

This one originally was so bad that I did another painting on the reverse of sheet of paper (thick gummed A3 paper which can acrylics) so you get two for the price one.

CLASSICAL STATUE

CLASSICAL STATUE

So this one is on the side of the paper; it’s just a glorified doodle really but great therapy – very calming.

PORTRAIT

PORTRAIT

One doesn’t have to Tom Hanks (or Tom’anks as they say in Portugal) to understand the symbology of this one.

MALE - FEMALE PATTERN

I lovingly repaired this one from about four years ago. I discreetly touched up the colours without spoiling the spontaneous composition.

LIFE'S LITTLE DRAMAS

LIFE’S LITTLE DRAMAS

Depends what kind of mind you have when you view this one.

SAM_1921

CABIN CREW

CABIN CREW

this last one isn’t really a painting but a piece of cardboard which I would use at the end of each session to use up the paint – waste not want not.

 

UNTITLED-002

Supergirl

My wife has gone to the West Indies

Jamaica?

No, she went of own accord.

STAGE 1

STAGE 1

My brother went to Eastern Europe for a holiday

Romania?

No, I went with him.

STAGE 2

STAGE 2

I’ve been learning a Scandinavian language

Finnish?

Not yet.

STAGE 3

STAGE 3

It’s not the jokes that count, it’s how you write them.

STAGE 4

STAGE 4

I’ve got Togo

SUPERGIRL

SUPERGIRL

MERRY CHRISTMAS

Therapy

While we’re on the subject of my paintings I would to like to showcase more of the recent products of my therapeutic and calming activity (which I love to do). Here are 4 or 5 designs of a woman’s face. (Some people have remarked that it’s always the same woman – yes, it may well be so, but the truth is that it’s only face that I know to draw -nothing more significant than that).

Here we have a repainting of the picture that won me second place in the Rehabilitation Through Art competition 4 years ago. (Wow, great)

WOMAN WITH BLUE SCARF – PAINTING by THOMAS MILNER

Here is an attempt to go a little abstract.

ANOTHER FACE – PAINTING by THOMAS MILNER

Here is a touch of cubism.

CUBIST GIRL – PAINTING by THOMAS MILNER

Here is a combination of the two.

GIRL WITH BROWN HAIR – PAINTING by THOMAS MILNER

Here is a variation of the theme.

AMANDA ACQUITTED – PAINTING by THOMAS MILNER

I was concentrating on the colour combinations rather than the design in this one.

IMELDA BABY – PAINTING by THOMAS MILNER

Back to the annual Art competition down in the Algarve; this was my second entry which earned me only fourth place (disappointing).

AMAZON – PAINTING by THOMAS MILNER

Last year this was my third entry which merit first place (hurrah).

WHERE AM I? – PAINTING by THOMAS MILNER

And finally this year this larger canvas got me third place (not bad).

MY SON – PAINTING by THOMAS MILNER

My latest painting

Here is my latest painting.

UNDER ATTACK – PAINTING by THOMAS MILNER

Not bad, is it?

 

More Painting Therapy

Oh, these chilly late October afternoons when the days draw shorter and I have dress warm, dear,  as my mother used to urge us and tomorrow’s yet another dratted public holiday and I’m feeling low and moan, moan and whinge, whinge.

I decide to start a new painting – that always cheers me up. Accordingly I wheel myself up to the first floor to my atélier, take up a fresh sheet of gummed A3 paper and sit in front of it for about five minutes, my mind as blank as the paper in front of me … I pull myself together and sweep a confident pencil stroke diagonally the paper and then another and a shorter one and then I’m off.

STAGE 1

The next afternoon I enter the uncomfortable world of colour. The picture is indicating organic growth of some sort (there are no straight lines; I have denied myself the comfort of my trusty ruler).

STAGE 2

Next day I’m two minds about whether to carry on with it or abandon the wretched thing and just bin it but being irredeemably lazy I settle for the former in the hope that my retrieval skills can rescue it.

STAGE 3

The final afternoon sees me doing some major tinkering, touching up, colour adjustment and generally fiddling about with it. At ten minutes to four I stop, spray it with a cheap and rather nasty-smelling hair fixative and call it a day.

BULB TO FLOWER – PAINTING BY THOMAS MILNER

Between you, me and the gatepost, dear

You might not believe this but I have little better to do after lunch than to come up here to my atélier that I’ve made for myself in the book-museum, which is situated (open-plan) directly above and separated from/by a waist-high parapet to/from the entrance and reception area.

So I’m obliged to concentrate a fraction of my attention in ignoring the mind-bogglingly uninteresting and unwanted information and opinions often expressed in ringing/rasping tones beneath me (gobby cows).

Another smallish part of my brain is occupied with a new sketch/painting;

A while ago I gave up searching for a new style – this isn’t an Art Course after all; so I curve the curves and colour the colours in my usual self-indulgent fashion.

STAGE 1

There was a teacher, I remember, in the school in Lisbon all those years ago, middle-aged, pleasant and with the forceful delivery of a person born and bred in Dublin.

If she had a fault it was that she was frankly a bit of gossip; she would lure one into a corner of the staffroom and start in a loud whisper with the words: between you, me and the gate-post, dear …

STAGE 2

Tomorrow is the 8th birthday of the Home so the Bishop and other nobs are visiting us plebs for lunch (different food, mind you – reminds me irresistibly of the prefects and masters troughing away at The High Table, raised up on a dais in the Refectory at school).

Eight years, eh – between you, me and the gate-post, dear it looks and feels like rather more …

STAGE 3

Between you, me and the gate-post, dear, I sometimes get sick of living in an Old People’s Home and wish I lived in a Young People’s Home instead.

What a commotion down there!

Mouthy mares!

STAGE 4

Back in my room now and I’m watching the dénoument of Amanda’s trial in Italy – what a result!

I think I’ll name the painting after her.

AMANDA ACQUITTED – PAINTING by THOMAS MILNER

Karma and painting

How to restore order out of mental chaos and paint a meaningless picture at the same time.

I have a theory that painting symmetrical shapes randomly is both soothing and therapeutic.

First you take a piece of gummed A3 paper and a pencil and then (staying firmly inside your comfort-zone) you play around for about an hour and come up with this:

STAGE 1

The next day you start to colour it in. you are unsure about the colours but are vaguely thinking yellow and green. You use a water-colour wash and by the end of the hour your uncertainty is showing.

STAGE 2

On the following day you decide to deploy the acrilics.

STAGE 3

STAGE 3

And finally after doing the fine brush work and just generally fiddling around with it and tidying it up you consciously decide to stop before you spoil it any further.

You sign it and then pause to give it a name – Asymmetry.

ASYMMETRY / PAINTING by THOMAS MILNER

The Municipal Goddess

Starting the day with a swim is highly recommended.

So I enrolled at my local Municipal Baths at Feira. These were modern, strategically located facilities with a 25-metre pool (half-Olympic size) and a circular shallow heated pool for children and for hydro-therapy for the physically-disadvantaged (such as I am now).

I opted for the free regime three times a week during the dead middle-of-the-week morning and started building it into my routine.

I must confess at this point that I am not a very good swimmer.

I was simply never taught how.

When I was at my Prep school the sadistic gym-teacher would herd us 9 year-old, white and shivering boys down to the deep-end of the pool and, one by one, we had to jump in … sauve qui peut … in a water-gulping splashing panic most of us managed make it to the side of the pool which we gripped, gasping for air. (One poor little wretch, doubtless assuming that all was up with him, refused to move his limbs and sank like a stone to bottom of the pool, so that the gym-master had to spoil his fancy track-suit by diving in and fishing him out).

I never learned how to breathe correctly, for example, so I ended up with a limited repertoire of only two strokes – the breast-stroke and the back-stroke. Nevertheless I read somewhere that swimming exercised more muscles of the body then any sport.

So I would slowly churn (or ripple) my solitary furrow along the watery lane towards the future.

Sometimes there was a swimming class for a group of middle-aged women who used to cluster at one end of the pool and exercise the only part of their bodies that didn’t really need it – their mouths.

From time to time a white-skinned girl, a Municipal Goddess, with the wide shoulders and streamlined hips of the professional swimmer would dive in and cover 20 lengths of the pool in an unbelievably short time, cutting through the water efficiently with her lazy powerful strokes and her flashy racing turns. Then she would unhurriedly climb of the pool and stalk gracefully from the hall (leaving us, the doggy-paddle brigade, feeling somewhat rueful and chastened).

THE MUNICIPAL GODDESS

Yes, there’s nothing better than a good swim to start the day.

%d bloggers like this: