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Submitted on
July 25, 2008
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NIKON
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E4600
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Jul 24, 2008, 9:59:05 AM
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(Contains: strong language)
[Catharis III contest entry, I hope...]

oil pastels on watercolor paper - 11'' X 15", with minor color and contrast alterations in PSPPX2.

This came from a vision I had while in withdrawal from opiate medications. I was craving it bad, and I saw this white widow spider, with the red hourglass on it's belly, and distinctly heard "Poison, child". The words come from William Gibson's book "Mona Lisa Overdrive" - where the character Angie finds a packet of the designer drug she was addicted to, and the Loa/Voodoo priestess spoke the warning in her mind.

Opiate addiction is a horrible affliction. If you know anyone who is addicted, please be compassionate and encourage them to get help.

And if you use opiates recreationally, don't be stupid and think you can't become addicted. I have a master's degree in Psychology and studied addiction and have a thorough understanding of it. I thought that knowledge made me above and immune to such a thing. I was dead wrong. All it took was for me to get a chronic illness that makes every day painful to some degree. I need the meds to some degree, but it is all to easy to fall into that addiction pattern and screw myself all up. It is something I will struggle with for the rest of my life.

At least now I have an understanding of how clear my mind is when I'm not all fucked up. I love that clarity and hope to keep it...
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:iconrandom-kojak:
random-kojak Aug 2, 2009  Hobbyist Artist
you can do interesting things with oil pastel, thats what i like about it.
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:iconrandom-kojak:
random-kojak Aug 2, 2009  Hobbyist Artist
this is great, i really love the style
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:iconskulkey:
skulkey Aug 5, 2009  Hobbyist Digital Artist
thanks so much for the fave and feature, man! :B

i'm really amazed at all the attention and faves this one garnered, because as i have mentioned i don't usually (or consistently) work in traditional mediums these days, and feel even more of a hack at them than i do at my usual digital transmogrifications... [i have no idea why spellcheck doesn't like that word no matter how i spell it - hasn't it read Calvin and Hobbs? hell, spellcheck doesn't even like itself...]
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:iconrandom-kojak:
random-kojak Aug 26, 2009  Hobbyist Artist
anytime, i was surprised how popular it was to compared some of the others.
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:iconthe-raven-hunter:
Congrats on winning 2nd place in the contest :hug: :) I've done up the journal feature here: [link]
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:iconskulkey:
skulkey Nov 14, 2008  Hobbyist Digital Artist
many thanks. :)
Reply
:icon1pen:
1pen Nov 7, 2008  Professional Photographer
I love the use of the pastels on the watercolor paper...it gives it a very textured almost abrasive feel.

I'm really inspired that you've created this and spoken out about this. It takes a lot of bravery to admit that a drug got under your skin. I have Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy type 2, it is a devastating disability and causes chronic near-intolerable pain. It never ever stops. Some people lose their minds over it. They tried a drug on me that wasn't a pain medication per se, but was supposed to help with the pain and "improve mood" since people dealing with chronic pain tend to get depressed. They said it wasn't addictive. That was a lie. Even though I wasn't on long enough to suffer the withdrawal (I later heard horror stories from other patients of what that's like) other than a raging headache and some weird "zaps" for a few days, I was on long enough to recognize that it was hooking me. I've refused all pain medication out of fear of what might happen. I don't want to run the risk of becoming dependent or addicted. It means I am having to learn to cope with chronic nerve pain among many many other terrible things associated with the RSD in my own inventive ways. :)

I'm sorry to hear you have to endure chronic pain too. Hang in there :hug: and congratulations on the award in CathARThis III.
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:iconskulkey:
skulkey Nov 25, 2008  Hobbyist Digital Artist
hey, sorry for the late reply, and thanks for your words. i've been having a hard time lately for a number of reasons and not really wanting to think about it.

sorry to hear about your condition - seems really difficult. i'm glad to find that you're able to find other ways of dealing with it. you have my utmost respect.

i'm unfortunately unable to deal with my various symptoms without some medication. recently i had to go a few days without an antidepressant, among other things, and i was quite surprised about how much a difference it made on my pain levels - pretty much made my life miserable for a week or so. fortunately i got my insurance nonsense sorted out and i'm back on it.

i still need to go to a specialist of some sort and see if there's a better way to deal with all this stuff to the point where i can function at a somewhat normal level again.

thanks again for your kind words and encouragement. :hug:
Reply
:icon1pen:
1pen Nov 25, 2008  Professional Photographer
I'm sorry that your pain level and symptoms are that bad, but I am glad to hear that you got your insurance nonsense figured out...boy do I know how that is. Actually, though, because my disability is the result of a hospital mistake I get this interesting trade-off. I don't have to deal with the insurance companies as much, (yay), but I now have to deal with a very intelligent and calculating hospital Risk Management team, (yargh).

As for pain though, I know my doctors keep waiting for the other shoe to drop for me, for me to be as miserable as I they think I should be. It worries me that they expect that. They keep telling me to prepare now for it. It's a degenerative disease, so, as they warn me, it could and probably will get worse. It's not really strength, in my opinion, that's getting me through this without pain meds, because the truth is I've crawled into the office time and time again pleading with them to just take the damn arm, or do something, and they've tried all sorts of treatments and medications...many of which were worse than the pain. It's this awful lesser-of-two-evils deal. You can have inhuman pain levels, ooooorrrr, you can have more manageable pain AND no personality. Or manageable pain AND rectal incontinence. Or manageable pain AND liver problems. or manageable pain AND kidney damage. Or manageable pain AND.... It just got to a point where my quality of life was shot to hell either way. I could be miserable with pain, or miserable with pain AND something else. I opted for just pain.

It'd be downright insensitive and rude for me to presume that what has held me together for the last eleven months could or would work for anyone else. If anything, this whole thing has taught me how much our trials are relative. My pain is incomprehensible to someone who doesn't deal with chronic pain, yet someone with cancer might look down at me as though I am the rookie upstart. I think it's great that you have found something that HELPS and that works for you and your life. I wish I could find something I could tolerate for life, but I just haven't.
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:iconterrorcookie:
Addictions are scary. I have an addictive personality, so I have to be very careful.

I've only been drunk once in my entire life, and after that I realized I had to stay away from alcohol from then on, otherwise it might turn into some kind of crutch for me. It terrifies me to think of how out of control I was. That saying, I too appreciate mental clarity.

I've never seen a spider like that before and I hope I never do, but it's neat that you did and what came of it. It sort of reminds me of ancient cave drawings being examined under the light of a torch.

Thank you for sharing this and your story. I wish you the best of luck in everything. :rose:
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