Tuesday, 10 February 2009

How I treated the Blues with Filter Forge

From previous posts you will know that I have found Filter Forge a fantastic tool that I use regularly for art both 2D Digital Art and for developing materials for 3D art. In this post I wanted to mention one other way it has helped me.

In the summer of last year my chaotic life took some even more catastrophic turns. I lost my job, the dog died and I lost my home – any one of those events was enough to put me in poor spirits but all 3 together in one season left me in a precarious emotional state. I blogged a little about it at the time, but not a lot as clearly I was too busy being in a mess and for some time had no internet connection!

Creatively I was burned out and I was having strange visions and quite dark thoughts. Part of me wanted to draw or digitally create the dark pictures in my head to exorcise them but then I rethought that approach and realised that it may not be helpful to my emotional well being to actively focus on the darkness.

So I turned to Filter Forge and chose 2 colours – Yellow because it represents light which can signify goodness and hope. Green because it is the colour of growth and life. I focused on making patterns with these 2 colours – the tasks had to be simple as my mood was making it very hard to concentrate. I limited my palette to focus my thoughts. I already knew how to use Filter Forge and in these sessions I was not creating filters I was simply messing with the basics of the package, tweaking and clicking

At the time I did not feel hopeful or joyful but continued to make patterns with these things in mind. I stored them all in a folder and the ones I liked best I submitted to RedBubble. Some of them are now my favourite work.

The rhythm and patterns and colour I found very helpful and I know there is such a thing as Art Therapy and I wonder if I accidentally self prescribed some Art Therapy for myself in these hard times. Looking back I doubt anyone else could have prescribed better.

If your creativity dries up due to stress, tiredness or depression I personally would recommend downloading the trial version of Filter Forge if you don’t already own it, grabbing some of the nearly 6000 free filters – and then click through and make yourself something beautiful even if you don’t feel it.

Filter Forge is marketed as an Adobe Photshop plugin but it can be run on Corel Paintshop Pro or as a standalone program.

I will over the next few weeks be returning to Filter Forge and have a look at how it is used.

I am quite aware that this may all sound a schmolzy or some such word – but the truth is often stranger or more icky than fiction.