Phoenix Kereru painting in progress. Painting mood. Bipolar, PTSD.



My name is Xanthe Wyse.

Felt like doing another painting, which I have already decided a name for (I think). Phoenix Kereru. A kereru is a New Zealand native wood pigeon, big birds with a distinctive sound when in flight.

I am diagnosed bipolar 1 disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Creative expression is therapeutic. One of my favourite ways is to paint as it’s so expressive. I don’t try copy sometime exactly. I paint how I feel inspired to, usually listening to music – which is why there is so much movement in my paintings.

I was listening to Maniac (Michael Sambello) from Flashdance from the 80s. Lyrics include ‘they all say she’s crazy’. High energy song. I don’t recall much about it apart from high energy dancing and welding.

I jotted down in my art journal afterwards, some of the themes I processed while painting. I paint with intuition. I did some rough sketches in biro from some photos of kereru before painting. So I can make a departure from the photos and use my imagination.

One of the ways I keep the colours intense is to paint cool and warm layers separately and let dry between. Acrylics dry fast (unlike oils). I also use good quality acrylics. Using Atelier Interactive Acrylics. The initial layers are with Liquitex Acrylic Inks. I usually stain the canvas with ink to get rid of the white to start with.

I also use only a few colours together for each layer. This layer was yellow, magenta with white to tint. I also used a bit of gloss gel which is like spreading the pigment out but more like a stained glass effect rather than opaque.

As you can see, I paint ‘messily’, yet I have developed control over it, yet still don’t know exactly how it will turn out. So it’s like learning to manage living with bipolar and PTSD.

Hoping that I will like it enough for my cover of the sequel novel, Soar Purpose.

My first novel is Pet Purpose: Your Unspoken Voice, available as paperback and ebook. The novel is semiautobiographical – the character was trying to resolve her trauma.

Some more of my paintings:

The messier, wackier art was also processing trauma:

Source: Youtube