The Intoxication Of Shadows

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Artist's Description

Oils on Canvas, Paul Robertson.

90 × 72 cms.

I made this painting up almost entirely. The idea of the sublime, beauty and ecstasy. Is it not beautiful?

Shadows that are beautiful.

This piece won the international competition:

The “Emotional Compass Art Award.”

Technically “The 41st Annual Congress Art Awards”

– for the –
This piece won the international competition:

“Royal Australia and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists.” The primary (and i think the only) art award given by this organisation.

The fact that this was a psychiatric convention sponsoring an art award is in actuality entirely incidental. There were pieces there with price tage over 50 grand. One or two were actually good. Well. One. In this instance the psychiatric context had nothing to do with my bipolar, nor was this connection even how I learned of the award.
This is not the first time the whorls and worlds in my work have crossed paths with psychiatry, and found response, reaction. Even cash. My last psychiatric nurse bought the piece “Stairwell I" as have other mental health professionals. Odd.
This is my first international award. It is a big deal for me. It was published in journals I never got my shit together enough to get hold of. This hsa also happened the three times my work was on tv, with me (I got confused and never saw nor recorded them, and the majority of the considerabole press I have received for my work… though my mum keeps a scrapboo, she is in queensland, and I in Perth.
I didn’t believe I could make any money from painting, even suspect it, until I was 28.
“God made the world from the void. But the void shows through.” Paul Valery.
I knew there was so much inside me, so much boiling, RAGING at my ribs and throat!
I didn’t start painting until I was 23! 23!
What if I had started only 2 years before then, in hospital and in hopelessness? Five years! Ten?
I didn’t write then! No words, no paint. If I had started when I was still a beautiful teenager self-centered in furious self-hatred that was endless and all that I knew.
Never an image seeping scraped beautiful and new from my hands.
I gave up writing poetry at 14 to leave more time to masturbate! I had never had cause to regret this choice. I do of course… but regret eats violent and useless and I must work NOW work WORK WORK!!! Now that I DO know!
Paint while I yet live while the beauty and courage beat behind my lips scalding and frightening!
Remember what you were.
The exact colour of failure.
That would look cool on house painting colour charts amidst the other made up names! Eucalyptus green, sea green:
Frustrated beaver brown, carnally excited prairie dog off white, mandrill’s ass pink, gothic fake hair black, contemporary fear washed out blue, hippy belief system hypocrisy green and HERE everyone’s favourite, a square all to itself! A BIG square with bright lettering in all the colours that are utterly unlike it! FAILURE GREY.

I have now become so physically ill that I cannot paint. It breaks my heart;
It breaks and breaks and it BREAKS my HEART.
I have a brain tumour. It is not cancerous; will not kill me. But it has distorted my brain’s translation of the world from sense to perception. My mind tells me I am on fire.
Opiates do not work, but other painkillers, and shock treatment, make some difference. But I cannot, can NOT paint…
The tumour is roughly the size of an average mandarin.
It has been wrenching me into a hell fire for four years.

Until that point it merely drove me mad.

It is… it hurts me less to be in pain continuously than the horrific despair that filled 8 months of each year.

though please… you must you must try and see try give credence push my tiny feet aside and creep into my worn and broken shoes… i can never NEVER


put the fire out.

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Artwork Comments

  • chantelle hartley
  • Kathleen Cameron
  • branka bogdan
  • Shanina Conway
  • Anne van Alkemade
  • illicit
  • Melody
  • Mazza
  • Heather King
  • Paul Douglas Robertson
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