I finally finished my sketchbook for the Sketchbook Project 2013 and mailed it out yesterday. You can see all the pages here, (or click on the tab above) in their proper order. My theme was “memoir,” and was all about my son, Michael. I did not have the time, or the fortitude, to create enough pages to fully explore Michael’s too-short life. But, the whole process was cathartic for me. It was therapy. And it’s finished. I will either go to bed for a week, or I’ll start a new project – I haven’t decided!
My book is a mixed-media creation – I used watercolors, pencil, Micron pens, charcoal, water-soluble pens, Photoshop text, and a photograph. Most of the music was copied from sheet music, but there were some songs I could not find sheet music for – for example, “Sweet Zoo,” and “Irish Heartbeat.” I sounded out the tunes and wrote out the music the way it sounded to me – but not with the proper notes or bars, etc. But, hey, it’s art!
This book contains some cherished memories, but it is also a statement about mental illness. As parents, we may do everything right when we raise our children – despite our human foibles and failures, of course – but when mental illness insinuates itself into the life of an adult child, all we can do is…nothing. I hope this will change. But there is no easy solution. Meanwhile, I prefer to remember the good times. I prefer to remember my Michael.