Art, grief and grieving, Life, oil painting, Painting, Still Life

Psychotic reaction


Psychotic Reaction 8" x 10"  oil on panel
Psychotic Reaction
8″ x 10″
oil on panel


Wow, rough week! Just when you think you’ve entered calm waters, out of nowhere some kind of psychic wave crashes over you.

There have been three or four watershed events, in my life,  that have radically changed how the world occurs for me. The first was my first experience with LSD. The fact that everything appeared different to me, while under the effects of the drug, opened me to that there may be things beyond my perception. Leslie’s death has jarred me that way, although not as pleasantly.

I’ve made a lot of mental maneuvers to try and make sense out of what’s happened or, rather, to construct some kind of meaning. Holding that all together is more work than I realized and a seemingly insignificant event shattered it all in a second. The illusion of meaning I had so cleverly duct taped together crashed down on my head. leaving me feeling foolish and deluded.

Fortunately I have friends who impossibly manage to tolerate these manic episodes. They listen calmly and stand at a safe distance until they can get close enough to put their arms around me and say, “Deep breath.” “You’re OK.” “You’re held closely and dearly.” “I consider it a gift each time you choose to share your staggering”.

I’m OK, I’m OK. I think I’m OK.

Thank you J.E and E.R






9 thoughts on “Psychotic reaction”

  1. I was touched by your posting and reminded of my own struggle to make sense of my brothers death. I dont think reason helps, but neather did it make sense for me to surrender to sadness. As death is enevitable, it seems that experiencing the loss of life should be at least manageable, and not the sudden blow that leaves us dazed and wandering in an alternate space, void of light, or energy, or meaning.

    I don’t think I will ever come to accept his death or that I couldn’t save him-but I do find energy and familiarity in your recent paintings of blues, green, reds, water glasses and pill bottles.


  2. I just wanted to give you a hug, tell you it will be okay, this will pass.
    Take a deep breath, eat right, get plenty of rest, watch a funny movie, walk in nature.
    Your art is getting so fantastic!
    Thank you.


  3. Dear Mr. Sharp. Thank you for your blog. I love your paintings and your honesty about your life. Carmen Fletcher, New Hampshire

    Sent from my iPad



  4. Hi Bill, I continue to enjoy your paintings and read your comments with interest. Just remember, through all these mental processes, you are doing things right. Be patient with yourself. All will be revealed as you move through grieving to a sense of completeness. If ever you want to get together and talk or paint let me know and I’ll try to be available. I am back to oil painting now and have put away my watercolors for the time being. Of course I’ll use them for travel and quick plein air opportunities, but my main focus now is oil, primarily portrait painting. You may recall the artist Alexander Rokoff at the Falcon Art Community. I am studying portrait painting with him. I am learning so much. He is an excellent teacher in the classical approach to portraiture. On another note, I imagine you can get off an incredible oil of your backyard with all this snow. In you style of painting, the variety of whites would be stunning. Hang in there and continue painting to your heart’s content. Jer

    Jerry G. Dickason 922 NW 11th Avenue, #315 Portland, OR 97209 503-477-4983


  5. Bill   I wish there could be an easy way thru this. I can’t even imagine the highs and lows you must be experiencing.  my heart breaks for you.  I am so thankful you have friends you can turn to.  k\now u r loved by so many. as u go through thus I pray you find your way to the other side and find peace.  love you m


  6. Hello Bill – I enjoy your emails and your blog- I read them all and enjoy your beautiful inspiring artwork. I am an Art teacher and don’t paint as often as I would like however retirement is just a year away. Your paintings motivate me to enter my studio to meditate about what I would like to paint, prepare to paint, and sometimes I paint.

    I lost my mother a year and a half ago. She had been suffering for about 3 years following a stroke and wore out her shoulders using a walker. She was in intense pain from her deteriorated shoulders. I try to do things and go places that remind me of her. She is at peace and I am still in sorrow but it is getting better with the passing of time. I feel that when I am thinking of her – I am with her because she is ever present in my thoughts because little things remind me of her. I have the Bible I gave her for Christmas in 1998 that I read daily. I take comfort from seeing the scriptures she marked and mementos she stored in her Bible. Most of the scriptures were regarding Heaven because that hope is what got her through her pain and suffering. I also have her ashes that I occasionally hug. Little things remind me of her and memories bring her back to me through my thoughts of her. The sorrow is not as difficult now – it is still there but it just gets more mellow. I have no way of knowing your spiritual beliefs but I am sharing this YouTube video called ” I Hear Angels” because it is and has been a comfort to me:

    I hope that you will find Understanding and Peace, Bill, Elkin NC


  7. Kristi, Thank you for your thoughtful comment. I am sorry for the loss of your brother. I would agree with you that it seems like grieving should be more manageable, if only because it’s such a common and inevitable experience. One would think we would be better able to include loss in our lives and take it more in stride.

    Thank you rachwms

    Michelle, it’s always welcome to be reminded that this will pass or at least change. Hugs are welcome as well. Thank you

    Carmen, thank you

    Hi Jerry. Thanks for the note and encouragement. I’m glad to hear you’re enjoying portrait painting. It would be fun to see what you’re up to sometime.

    Thanks August1848

    Bill, thank you for your kind note and the link. I enjoyed hearing the song. I’m sorry for your loss. I wish you peace as well.

    Thank you takingitpersonally


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