The reality behind the brush

By Harry Croghan Contributing Columnist

5 months 1 days 7 hours ago |300 Views | | | Email | Print

I very much exist in two worlds. Often they overlap each other. The one world is in the reality of when my feet hit the floor each morning. My body literally screams get up, move around, you’ll feel better, so I do and I do feel better. I only sleep when my energy sources are gone or greatly depleted. Sometimes when I can, I take a nap in the late morning or early afternoon, again, because my energy is depleted and I am making more mistakes than I can deal with. This means it is time to stop and take a short rest. Only since I have been retired have I had this luxury of a nap. Before, I kept on working, mistakes and all.

Sometimes I just sit and endure but that’s really during the hard times. I become immobile and do nothing. Usually during these times I do a lot of talking to myself to help me break free from this mental lock. I search for a key to open the door and let me out.

Sometimes I force myself to paint. I lay out the colors of my feelings, then with a brush, I attack a canvas as I might a real foe. The enemy is inside and I must release him and throw him onto the canvas. It usually is not a pretty sight. These are not the colors that bring peace to me. They are the colors of anger and pain and I want to work them out of me, down my arm and out the brush and seal their power onto the canvas.

When I was younger, I did a lot of these paintings. They possessed great power and, for me, released a lot of turmoil. To name a few: Peasant In A Red Box, Loss of Individualism and one simply called Anger.

There are times when I literally don’t have the energy to force myself. Those times I just have to wait for an outside or inner source to move me out of that realm. I am not a person who is a “waiter.” I have always been a mover and shaker so being stopped is frustrating added onto frustration. As the frog said, “It’s not easy being green.” It’s not easy being a subjective artist with a type A personality.

Even with all its handicaps, I wouldn’t change or exchange my ability to create art for the release from the anguishes of all the others. It is all a part of what makes me me. To change the bad might change the good. I think they are very much related to each other. I don’t really know where a happy medium would be or if there is any.

Harry Croghan is an artist, photographer, writer and teacher. He can be reached at (740) 852-4906 or by e-mail at


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