Recovery & Resiliency Art Gallery

A big THANK YOU to all the brave artists who are choosing to share their artwork with the community. Please click the sections to view individual art. The artwork on this page is shared with permission, but cannot be downloaded or copied for any type of use.

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Painting

Artist’s Statement

Motherhood can be beautiful

But there are some aspects of motherhood that are not. In fact they are painful, agonizing, and overwhelming.

When I had my first child, it was indeed magical; staring at me is this tiny creature that came out of my body. Then came all the worries, and add the workload on top of that, plus no sleep. And — boom- severe post partum anxiety, triggered by a past trauma in my life. I was so fearful. Self-doubting to the extreme, afraid I wasn’t good enough.

The more we think about our fears, the more we feed them, and then we make them stronger. Thats what I am attemtpting to portray by the mother bird feeding her young in a nest located in my mind.

The most important way to decimate irrational fear is to be present. To look into the eyes of that child and see the now. We can’t change the past and we don’t know the future, so stop feeding anxiety and be, here now.

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Acrylic Painting

Artist’s Statement

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Top (single): original
Bottom (quad): reprise

Artist’s Statement

My piece represents the desire to reach perfection as well as the anxiety and chaos that comes from things not turning out to be absolutely perfect.  This piece also represents how music combined with art has helped me see past the chaos of anxiety as well as my own frustrations with limitations I have experienced due to disability or underdeveloped maturity.  Music combined with art has helped me to see the beauty in the entire composition of the ups and downs in all things regardless of how they turn out or look at any given moment.

My piece had nothing originally to do with ocd or anxiety.  When I first made this piece it came from my heart!  It was about how I adore the composition rhythm and movement in music.  

When I first submitted my piece to my teacher I received a lower grade because my work was not very clean.  I was underdeveloped also frustrated because I do strive for perfection in the big picture though I hate small details.  However, through re imagining this piece last year I learned to not give up but push forward in art- I learned to see things differently to embrace the mistakes, and enjoy the ride.  When looking back I can see sometimes even the flaws make sense in a bigger picture- combining Prints of this special collaboration in new ways helped me see how everything comes together beautifully even if it’s not absolutely how I originally intended for it to come out.

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Mixed Media

Artist’s Statement

I had this idea to repurpose vintage printer trays and various game pieces to make a display table. I had no idea how transformative this dream project of mine would be for me. I used a lot of games as a child….memories of simpler times but also times where I did not understand what was truly going on in my head. I ventured into areas of crafting I knew nothing about….moments of anxiety coming forth constantly, asking if I truly knew what I was doing, wanting me to quit halfway through like I usually do. I constantly pushed my OCD thresholds….testing what triggered me, entering constant dialogue about what I could control and what I couldn’t, owning any “imperfections” and marveling in the project. While this project was initially simply a representation of fun, camaraderie, and nostalgia, it also became a representation of owning your own “imperfections” and celebrating them as a part of you. It is a symbol, for me, that I CAN tackle something. I spent over a year on this table, little by little putting all the pieces together and I continued to put my own pieces together. And now that it is finished, I have a visual representation of what I can accomplish. Let the future crafting commence!!!!

“Big Sur 2020 Impasto”

Painting 

Artist’s Statement

Ever since I was in High School (20 years ago) I didn’t know I was already struggling with anxiety, and it was manifesting through my OCD. back then I was just telling myself that I am just being overly conscious or even paranoid. Sometimes I can tune it out, but more often than not I can’t. 

Traveling, even just going for a drive on a weekend helps me decompress and clear my thoughts, helps me find my center. Appreciating the beauty of nature makes you want to take in all that positivity around you as much as you can, either through paint or picture. And with that you can never expect how a camera or a paint could actually be a weapon for the betterment of my well-being.  A very powerful weapon. 

Now when I am either confused, lost or just feeling drained without any reason at all, I try to create something either through painting, or going back on some old photos that I took. And Big Sur was one of those paintings that reminds me that despite it being rough, something beautiful can still come out. It might not be from our own eyes, but somehow someone will see it one way or another. 

Every painting I finish is special to me, it is my own reminder that every stroke counts. Each stroke might not be perfect. Each color might feel wrong but in the end it is not what matters. What matters is our drive and determination to overcome adversity.

“Accepting Help”

Oil on upstretched canvas

Artist’s Statement

This piece is part of a Mental Health series I created during the height of the COVID-19 quarantine in New York State. At a time when everyone needed support, accepting help from others is such an important part of healing and coping.

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Paintings

Artist’s Statement

The art plays a major role of how I not only deal with it, but also express it.

At my most vulnerable moments, instead of self destroying and hiding I paint. I want to show what is going on inside and document it in the way of art.

I feel like even with all the brilliant work mental health community is doing right now there is still a lot of misunderstanding and neglect from people who luckily haven’t had to deal with this issue.

So I hope that my paintings would be a way to show the people that they are not alone, that there are many who feel the same way. And for those who don’t understand what it feels like to deal with mental illness, would show the emotions and mindset that we live through.

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Mixed media

Artist’s Statement

As someone who has suffered with anxiety and mild OCD for years, nothing soothes me more than keeping my hands busy. My mixed media art involves attaching thousands of vintage chandelier crystals, lampwork beads, jewelry components and semi-precious stone beads to a wired base of recycled corks. I also enjoy adding mosaic elements which includes cutting tiny pieces of glass tile to exactly the right puzzle-piece shape… who says OCD can’t also be a gift?!

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Mixed media/Collage

Artist’s Statement

This took many, many hours to put this collage together. I found it extremely relaxing cutting out every little piece needed to complete this project.

“Light in The Darkness “

Mixed medium artwork is painted with acrylic paint and resin

Parts are glow in the dark revealing light and hope in the time of darkness.

Artist’s Statement

My artwork is unique and Ever-changing.

Not one piece is the same.

It’s all original just like myself.

It’s a little glimpse of my life and it’s how I express and release my inner pain. 

 

My goal is to create artwork full of parallelisms and contradiction.

The softness of rock, how dark can be bright

The pieces will appear different depending on which angle or in what light.

 

I use every medium I can find inventing uses for items you might see everyday.

I use discarded items, from broken glass and old windows.

I’ll make you see the beauty in things people usually throw away. 

 

I hope you enjoy my exciting new journey in my artwork.

I will continue to grow-evolve and share with you how my life, my dreams, and my struggles are a reflection of my hard-work.

[Untitled]

Painting

Artist’s Statement

Fastidious attention to color interplay and mark making, this painting exudes energy.

“Conditioning”

Oil on canvas

Artist’s Statement

This was originally my stress release canvas that I wildly painted on in times of duress, but over the course of a year this image of my internal state began to take form. I found that by expressing my anxiety with imagery, the emotions transferred to the canvas and I felt a much needed reprieve from my state of mind. Art has become my ultimate stress release, an act of transmutation that makes me grateful for extremes of emotion because they are the fuel for my creativity.

“Two ras in a spar”

Painting

Artist’s Statement

{ n/a }

[Untitled]

Painting

Artist’s Statement

This painting was inspired by the novel Frankenstein. I painted it right at the beginning of my OCD treatment when I was learning to lean into my fear and uncertainty surrounding death.

[Untitled]

Painting

Artist’s Statement

This piece is titled Home, it’s a reflection of a mountain I look at every day but not being able to see the forest through the trees.

“A Little OCD”

“I’m a little OCD”

They say to me

Innocently, casually

But to describe what they see

This mental illness to be

Just a Pinterest worthy

Orderly and cleanly

A quirky, trendy

Way of living

But what they fail to see

Is how debilitating 

This “doubting disease”

Can be 

This unending need for certainty

As thoughts swirl inside me

And my chest heaves

With anxiety

 

“I’m a little OCD”

Is exactly 

the lie I believed

Deceived by the misconception

That if my obsessions

Weren’t just over cleanliness and neatness 

That I somehow missed

The criteria to really be 

“A little OCD”

 

“A little OCD”

It’s a bit silly 

As if someone could be

A little diabetes

When in reality

It’s all chemically

Explained, 

Rather than simply

An insulin deficiency

It’s serotonin scarcity 

Do see how it’s the same?

I’m not insane 

I’m not deranged 

It’s just an illness of the brain

So please explain

To me

How could someone be 

A little bit of a disease

A little bit of a disability

A little bit of a disorder 

 

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

A thought distorter 

A mind hoarder

A brain out of order

And it feels as though I am riding the border

Towards insanity

 

They say insanity

Is doing the same thing repeatedly

But expecting it to turn out differently

Yet still my anxiety

Uncontrollably 

Gives in

To the compulsion

A temporary solution

To my obsessions

 

It’s the excessive obsessing

The incessant checking

The confessing

The soul cleansing and cleaning 

The reassurance-seeking

The havoc wreaking 

Constantly needing

To be

Sure 

To feel 

Secure

I’ll paint you a picture

 

It’s the can’t sleep at night 

Until everything is “just right”

And no, it’s not just checking that the door is locked twice

It’s the internal fight

The eternal fright 

That despite

The knowing how irrational it sounds

I cannot lay down

Until I am certain 

Nothing is plugged in 

That will burn my house to the ground

 

It’s the I can’t be around

Delicate 

babies or puppies

Because what if

I hurt them accidentally

 unintentionally 

OCD 

Fundamentally

Attacks anything and everything you hold dearly

Sincerely 

Anything you are fond of

Anything you love

 

It’s what everyone saw to be

Just performance anxiety

Not realizing 

This was OCD

Convincing me

That my stage fright

Just might

Kill me

That it 

Wasn’t the music making me

Sick

But that 

Just like piano keys 

My thoughts were dangerously

Black and white

That if I didn’t get the notes of life

100% perfect, 100% of right

Then my body would go into fight or flight

 

It’s the, I can’t even be

In a church without feeling filthy

Guilty

They call it, scrupulosity 

It’s the 

I can’t go up for communion

Without an intrusive thought coming in

Which feels a lot like a sin

And I begin

To feel as though I am going to hell

And I can’t tell

Anyone because if they knew 

Then they might believe

That my thoughts are true

That my thoughts are me

And that maybe

I am just cynical

Maybe even criminal

For having thoughts so uncontrollable

That I feel unlovable

 

And if I am unable 

To trust my own thoughts 

How could I learn to trust a God

That I cannot even see

And I just desperately 

want to be free

To be 

Unapologetically

Authentically

Me

 

The me 

I want to be

Is not defined 

By what goes on inside of her mind

Rather, she is kind

Creative,

Imaginative, and innovative

She is brilliant

And resilient

She is gentle 

She is not just a mental

Illness

But she is loved so much more than this

 

So now, do you see how there is something we miss

Something crucial we dismiss 

When we say “I am a little OCD”

Luckily,

I have learned to use person-first terminology

To put the person before the condition

Which changes the conversation

And separates my obsessions

And compulsions

From my personality, my humanity

And in doing so you see,

I am no longer “a little OCD”

I may be a girl who has “OCD”

But “OCD” does not

Cannot

And never will define me. 

“Good news “

Oil on canvas

Artist’s Statement

The whole world is now going through difficult times of the pandemic and its consequences for every person in every country. And each of us is waiting for this good news that difficult times are over.

“The eye sees through one’s soul”

Mixed media

Artist’s Statement

{ n/a }

Love Poem to Myself

She came into the world
With a noose around her neck
That I will reject
As my soft hands stroke the folds
That time has carved.

She was a hard one to love
Sensitive beyond her years
That led to fears
She didn’t know she had
I love her then.

Long walks to school alone
That she could not complete
Just too great a feat
I reach for her hand now
To walk along beside.

Three friends that walked together
Laughing having fun
Loneliness undone
Souls cross time and mortality
Love does not end

Entangled in a search for love
To fill the hole
It rent her soul
And led down dark alleys
I send my light

A promise before God
It cannot fail
Love must prevail
She tried, and cried, and waited
For the dawn

Fruit of the union
All are grown
Do not bemoan
Love flowed and flows
From heart so true

My heart to you
Your heart to me
I cannot flee
Love travels back and forth
Midst uncertainty

The girl, the teen, the woman
I love these all
I hear their call
To love me too
With truth and beauty

© Anne Robbins 2020

Artist’s Statement

My therapist has been very supportive of my writing and has encouraged me to use it as part of my therapy. In July she gave me the assignment of writing a love poem to myself. This is the result, a poem that reflects back on a lifetime, and the importance of loving myself at each place.

[Untitled]

Mixed Media

Artist’s Statement

The chaos in the brain, the frustration in the face.

[Untitled]

Painting

Artist’s Statement

I began painting portraits as a way to create something beautiful. There aren’t too many people in the world that I admire, but Mariah Carey always has been. Her music is of great comfort to me, and I have been listening to her since I was a kid in the ‘90s. I know that she has had her own bouts with depression and poverty like I have, and during some of the worst parts in her life, she looked like the painting I created. It was very satisfying to me to encapsulate her with paint, and to feel a tiny connection with a woman who inspired me so greatly, after being able to render her on a canvas. The painting isn’t so much about anxiety, per se, but the creation of it helped smooth mine. In the middle of painting it, I packed up my bags and left home, in order to leave a very bad living situation. That painting was one of the only things I was able to take with me.

“Season of Change” 

Acrylic on Stretched Canvas

Artist’s Statement

This painting helped me accept and deal with a major change in my life. Painting helps me see and process my emotions. Being a NYS LCAT (licensed creative arts therapist), I know the value of creative expression for emotional healing.

“Intrusive garden”

8.5×11 digital watercolor

Artist’s Statement

This piece is an emotional sketch of how my summer went. In April, I was told to stay home due to covid. I have always been busy. What felt like a pause in my life I began to obsess over thoughts to the point it made me sick and I stopped eating. I was admitted into the hospital where I was diagnosed with OCD, Anxiety and depression. I also have ADHD. For the first time in my life I actually feel like I have my life together thanks to counseling and medication. The garden is a representation of intrusive thoughts and how they consumed my mind and the overgrown represents how it affected my life. I hope my piece helps spread awareness about OCD and how it’s okay to reach out for help.

“Water Ritual”

 Oil and watercolor on panel

Artist’s Statement

I painted it after a story I read about a woman with OCD who was compelled to bathe 6 hours a day. To finally be clean after 6 hours a person’s behavior would almost have to be magical in the final moments. That is why I decided to portray her as more of a water nymph creating an impossible moment.

OCD Awareness Week is October 11-17, 2020. In honor of this, OCDMN is planning a week of online events, including an art gallery. We are inviting everyone at any stage in their OCD or Anxiety journey to submit artwork to our virtual gallery. Artwork can be in visual or written format.

You may submit multiple entries, but please submit different entries through separate forms. Also please note that for this event, we will be selecting 20 pieces to showcase on the website.

We appreciate the bravery and vulnerability it takes to submit your artwork!

  • If submitting the artwork for another artist, please enter the artists name below.
  • If you check this box, your artwork will be listed as "By: Anonymous"
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  • Please select the media type of the artwork.
  • Please upload an image file of your artwork, or if a written piece please upload a text document. You may upload multiple photos of the same artwork (e.g. different angles) but please only submit one piece of artwork per form.
    Drop files here or
  • Please describe the artwork in as much or as little detail as you wish.
  • By signing this form, I am confirming that I have the authority and/or permission to share the artwork I am submitting to OCDMN.