Artwork in Progress + Steps

 

I recorded many of the steps along the way: 

Outline work:

IMG_7096

 

Minor shading and reinforcing line-work:

IMG_7122

 

Watercolor overlay and deeper mid-tone base:

IMG_7143

Water-color detailing (Bad Picture, the light is reflecting off the heavier painted areas):

IMG_7152

Heavy oil and pen shading+detailing in addition to skin shading and texture work (Current Progress):

GhostV4

It has taken on a bit of a surreal vibe with the self-harm symbolism being echoed through the blood-tinged smoke, the wrist, the smoking, and standing in front of a moving train. I like how dark I’ve managed to get the shadows as well. I need to go in with some white and highlight a few things, but I want to get basic mid-ranges handled on the train and grass before I do so.

The scene itself is from Finding Happy: Chapter 11, which hasn’t been released yet. I need to spend a week or two re-editing the flow of part one as a whole, at which time I’ll start releasing more hard-content. Another issues with these pictures is I couldn’t submit .Tif files, which really hurts the shadows in the current drawing, especially the hair. I’m going to try to figure out which compression file works best for it in future uploads, but I just wanted an update on artwork put out since it’s been almost a week and a half.

-Cheers

Bluebeard

A few reasons why “13 Reasons Why” doesn’t actually promote suicide.

Preface: This is an atypical post, as Bluebeard is an art project, not a platform for media commentary. I write stories, I’m the opposite of a diplomat, abrasive, even. Yet, I’m inclined to defend this series’ integrity. This show is an exception, in many regards. It handles topics most people won’t touch in a deft and admirable fashion. I’ll spare you a half-assed plot summary and get to the point. If you haven’t seen it, and you have access, I highly recommend it.

_______________

It’s not an easy thing, to balance entertainment and tragedy. Catharsis is one of the most misunderstood and least accepted precursors of joy. The concept is this; without negativity, without different emotions, and without pain, joy would be meaningless. A constant and uninterrupted joy is the equivalent to a never ending supply of heroin at your bedside. It would be fake. Light is only recognizable amidst darkness, so to speak. This is why I respect ’13 Reasons Why’ and what it does.

It creates a meaningful dialogue in a country where, frankly, we suck at feelings. It’s 2017 and people still say “Commit Suicide” like it was a crime, a murder. It’s not, and has not been in the United States since the ’80s. We treat it like it’s something dirty, we don’t educate our youth about the dangers of depression and self-harm. We ignore the victims who suffer from it every day, telling them to suck it up, because we’ve cultivated an individualistic sink-or-swim community where many would prefer to see their friends fail than see their friends surpass them. It’s this ignorance an repression that ultimately leads to higher rates of suicide in every demographic.

’13 Reasons Why’ is a perfect example of what we need more of; exposure. You can’t fight what you don’t understand, as a chemist, that fact has been drilled into my mind for years. You don’t cure cancer without an intimate knowledge of the mechanics surrounding the mutations that cause it (cyclins, P53, etc.). Yet, research on suicide and depression continues to be given a backseat to things like developing new tanks, war-machines, and war-heads because if it can’t knock the earth from its orbit, it isn’t explosive enough. The best way to combat depression is to talk about it.

As someone who has suffered from depression, as someone who’s lost someone close to their heart to depression, and someone who has thought about suicide at least once a week for the past five years, I can tell you with near-perfect certainty that the one thing that has been effective for me was having someone to talk to. Someone who wouldn’t call me an attention whore. Someone who wasn’t going to judge me for what I might be going through, however trivial it may appear from the outside looking in. Those people aren’t easy to find, because we are socialized to value stoicism and strength over emotion and introspection.  The result of that, by the way, is that the cruel and stupid flourish at the expense of the thoughtful. If you’ve ever been beaten up by over four people on the playground while the aid turned the other cheek, you know what I’m talking about.

The argument against ’13 Reasons Why’ is this: Hannah’s suicide romanticizes self-harm, the tapes glorify suicide, makes it appealing, thereby increasing suicide rates.

Ironic to see this coming from the same news outlets that have a field day when when some kid shoots up a school. Glorifying school shootings by making the shooter famous and showing their face to everyone gives the killer what they wanted. This isn’t that. Hannah’s characterization is slowly revealed through the tapes, the (extremely valid) reasons she was in pain. One thing above all led to her decision, though. That was the fact that no-one was there for her. She tried, very explicitly, to reach out. Nobody gave a fuck. Instead they continued to abuse her, both verbally, and in one grim instance, sexually.

That’s the point. That’s all there is to it. Compassion and the simple act of being there, the act of not presuming to know what somebodies going through.

Not everything people are saying is wrong, her suicide scene was romanticized, in the artistic sense of the word. It was an artistic and cathartic scene that made me cry. But romanticizing something doesn’t glorify it, it’s the act of making it relatable. It’s the context that matters.

’13 Reasons Why’ accomplished something when they made depression, pain, and suicide relatable to a mass audience. The people who jump on it and condemn its intentions are the same callous, sensationalist, and opportunistic folks who’d sell everything they are for success. Success is relative. Means do not always justify ends.

I’m not arguing Hannah’s character is perfect, because she’s not. She has flaws that inhibit other peoples ability to help her, most notably Clay, the socially inept protagonist. But who doesn’t have issues? Who doesn’t have the occasional self-destructive moment? People who say they don’t ever have painful moments need to take their masks off and look in the mirror.

Another salient point is that just because Netflix produced something that contains an instance of self-harm, doesn’t mean Netflix is trying to get people to kill themselves. That same logic only holds when applied to everything, including murder, crime, and things a whole lot worse than depression that are regularly aired without criticism. We do this, this taboo stuff. Sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s ironic and damaging. The reason people get mad that a suicide is depicted in a story is the same reason that people get mad when there is nudity. All the while mass-murder and unapologetic gore become normalized.

I’m not arguing against depictions of violence or further censorship, rather, that people start giving more credence to actual context than click-bait titles. ’13 Reasons Why’ doesn’t convince people to kill themselves, if anything, it’s a positive step in combating the enigma of depression,

Maybe it could help our society grow in a positive way that encourages youth to be open instead of smothering uncomfortable emotions and pretending they don’t exist. That’s when the damage is done, when you bottle the negativity up. This show simply tries to alleviate that built up societal pressure. One thing it won’t do, however, is convince psychologically healthy individuals to up and kill themselves. There are reasons for suicide, it’s never trivial.

 

Saving Hadley Chapter 16

Start at the beginning: https://bluebeard-art.com/prologue-2/

XVI

May 25th, 2017-Simon

 

Simon waited, nervously tapping, for the car to arrive. In his left hand, he held a stuffed paper bag, in the other, a reinforced metal briefcase. After much thought, he’d decided on a black T-shirt, dark cargo pants, and black leather shoes. He also wore dark rimmed sunglasses under a black and orange cap. They’d picked a small and isolated road in the boonies to make the exchange. Simon checked his digital watch, 7:12 PM. He’s two minutes late. Did I get the location wrong?

A moment later, a black Sedan with blacker windows turned onto the country road where Simon had parked. Simon’s pulse quickened, his tapping sped, as the car slowed to a stop in front of him. This is it. An older man in a navy-blue suit stepped out of the drivers-side door. Gracefully, he slipped around the front of the Sedan and opened the back-passenger door, and motioned for Simon to get in. Eagerly, Simon walked forward, ducking to get into the Sedan. As Simon sat, securing his belongings on his lap, the driver closed the door.

A man sat to Simon’s right. He looked rough with his long beard and black pin-striped suit. I may have underdressed. Without looking to Simon, the man asked, “Do you have the cash?”

Simon handed the man his paper bag and said, “Yes. Seven hundred and fifty thousand dollars, all unmarked.” Simon felt a wave of anxiety as the man took the bag without response, opened it, and took out the money.  I suppose it’s natural for him to want to count it.

Two minutes later, the man greedily stuffed the money back in the bag before saying, “Good.” He gently rapped the divider twice and the Sedan started to move. The man opened his small briefcase, stored the money inside before looking to Simon, “Your mark has been prepared, as per your request. Currently, he is sedated at a small farm-house within two miles of this area. I will, as we discussed, remain at the location with you to dispose of the corpse once you are finished saying what you need to say, Mr. Sheffield.” Smiling, he continued, “Please don’t hesitate to let me know if something is out of order.”

Meeting his gaze, Simon responded, “I’m sure I’ll find everything to be in order.” Simon turned away from the man. This is so casual to him. It’s like I’m buying a car, not a person. Unnerving. The pair rode in relative silence for another three minutes before the Sedan came to a smooth halt. Simon and the bearded man both got out of the car. Simon examined his surroundings. For miles, all he could see was meadow-like grass and weeds, uncouth life flourishing in the warm summer sun; infecting his resolve. How can such beauty and horror collide? And no one will notice. In front of the Sedan was a red barn. Behind the barn was a fence that stretched for at least three acres. A few large horses were running from one side to the other, as Simon walked towards the entrance of the barn.

The bearded man, walking ahead of Simon, reached the barns two, large, sliding doors. Looking back, he smiled enigmatically, before theatrically sliding the doors apart. This is the circus my life has become, apparently. Stepping back, he motioned Simon forward, not unlike a sales man emphatically revealing his product. Simons jaw tightened as he saw the limp form of Bud Clifton. The fires ignited Simons senses, all trepidation slowly trickled from blazes embrace, freezing or dying as it was caught in the blackened and glutinous soul-fire. Simon walked into the barn, liquid rage distorting his vison, frost exciting his nerves to the point of numbness, as he pictured Hadley’s cold and limp frame on their bathroom floor. This is the man who ruined my life.

Clifton was bound by leather to a wooden chair with an ambiguous IV trailing from his right elbow to a saline-bag. Low dose anesthetic. Time to wake him up. The entire floor of the barn was covered in two layers of material. The bottom was an opaque white, while the top was a clear, thin, and unapologetic plastic. Simon moved to the small, wooden, table to left of Clifton’s IV stand. Clifton was a short man with a muscular build. He looked to be in his late twenties and had a handsome face. He can’t be older than me. He looked older on the news.

Rumbling, a deep voice whispered, “He’s the one, his age is irrelevant. He must be made to pay.” You’re right. I can’t falter, I’ll do this for Hadley, for Adam. Simon set his reinforced metal briefcase on the wooden sill, unclicking each latch before opening it. A shiver of dark anticipation chilled Simons back, fraying his sense of self. He moved to where Clifton’s IV stand and cut the flow of the sedative. Just a few minutes now. A chorus of voices whispered sub-audibly, encouraging Simon’s dissociative haze of vindictive-lust. The briefcase contained several chemicals, neurotoxins, nerve agents, and laxatives.

Smiling, Simon grabbed both laxatives and placed them beside the briefcase. The vials were labeled  and .  Next, he grabbed a mid-volume syringe with an oversized needle. Simon opened each tube of laxative, then drew half of  into the syringe. I do love this one, if the math is right, and it is, his large intestines will reabsorb around 700% more water. That’s roughly equal to taking six medically effective doses of MiraLAX. Carefully angling the syringes needle into the air, Simon compressed the laxative a tad, too much of  could kill a person, so it was important to get the dosage right. Simon drew approximately four milliliters of  before compressing the rest of the needles volume and checking for air.  was a bulk-forming laxative that ensure Clifton’s discomfort would be maximal. By combining the two laxatives, Clifton would almost immediately empty his entire bowel, solidly, and be forced to sit in his own filth. He may also vomit shit, a nasty side-effect. Intestinal spasms are a bitch. He’ll be fine though, as long as I keep him hydrated enough to keep the shock away.

As Clifton began to stir, Simon went to loosen his restraints, syringe in hand. Not so loose that he could escape or wreck his IV, but enough to struggle. The bearded man called out “What are you doin?”

Annoyed, Simon shouted over his shoulder, “Remember when you told me to tell if you if anything was out of order? Please stop commenting.” The bearded man didn’t respond as Simon pulled Clifton’s shirt over his head. He palpated Clifton’s abdomen, feeling for the duodenum of the small intestine. Cruelly, Simon forced the large needle into Clifton’s skin until he felt the intestine rupture. Carefully, he released the solution as Clifton groaned, starting to stir. As he removed the syringe, careful not to damage Clifton’s intestine further, Clifton began to shout in pain and confusion.

Smiling unkindly, Simon pulled the smaller man’s shirt down before taking three slow steps backwards and observing his prey. Clifton looked at Simon, eyes wide, and half choked, “Where the fuck am I? Who are you, what’s wrong with my stomach? It hurts!” Simon felt an unapologetic rush of euphoria, reveling in his own perversion. “Ugh, my stomach, what is that feeling?”

“Well, that’s a lot of questions, Clifton, how about you answer some of my questions first, then we can consider yours, I think that’s fair.” Simon responded, flatly, eyes dead, and lips snarling.

Desperately, Clifton said, “I’ll answer anything you want me to answer, man, I don’t know anything though.” Clifton suddenly screamed in pain. “My stomach, help me!”

Shaking his head condescendingly, Simon said, “You do, actually.” Clifton blushed as he released a large amount of gas, violently soiling himself. “Does the name Adam Sheffield ring a bell?” Clifton’s face froze, suddenly stoic.

Jaw tight, he responded, “Yeah, he’s the kid that lady buckled into the car seat wrong.” How dare you.

Simon spit on Clifton and shouted, “You ran the red! Your blood alcohol content was point two-six percent!” Clifton shouted in agony as another stool passed. “You killed my son, Clifton…You can’t even take responsibility for that? My wife slit her wrists because of what you did!”

Shaking in fear, Clifton stuttered, “So…wh..what are you going to d..do to me?”

Scowling, Simon answered, “I’m going to teach you how resilient the human body is to death.” As Clifton started screaming at the bearded man for help­–Help that will never come–Simon moved to his briefcase, removing a small vial of an augmented muscular neurotoxin he’d labeled . Simon set the  on the table before removing his smallest syringe, the one with a child’s needle attached. He drew exactly point three milliliters of the  into the syringe before compressing the syringes remaining volume. Clifton had quieted considerably after the first thirty seconds of screaming for help. He hung his head in a mixture of defeat and exhaustion as Simon approached.

Pleading, Clifton said, “I’m sorry man, I fucked up, I shouldn’t have been driving. I never meant to hurt anyone, I had a problem.” He suddenly looked up to Simon, eyes wide. “It was my friends twenty-first and we were showing him a good time, you…you gotta believe me, I never meant to hurt you or your family.” His eyes were streaming tears.

Simon’s mouth curled into a disgusted grimace, as he spat, “Now if only you’d told the court that, you wouldn’t be here, would you?” Simon walked around the right side of Clifton’s chair, syringe in hand.

“What are you doing, please man don’t hurt me!” Clifton shouted, struggling against his restraints.

Chuckling, Simon said, “If you keep struggling like that, Clifton, you’re going to hurt yourself more.” Simon grabbed Clifton’s under-chin, forcing his head backwards, and brought the syringe to Clifton’s left eye. Clifton, understanding, stopped his wild movements, and screamed as the needle entered his iris. Unapologetically, Simon injected the neurotoxin, before removing the needle. Simon walked back around the chair to get a better look as Clifton’s eye started to dart in random directions. Clifton was still screaming, his voice cracking as his chords chaffed. Now he understands what he’s done. A thin stream of blood started to trickle from Clifton’s spasmodic eye.

Four minutes later, Clifton’s eye had slowed its seizure-like spasms. His screams had dwindled to scratchy gurgles, his voice near death. Shivering, he looked to Simon and pleaded, “Please, just kill me now.” His right eye was looking, pleading into Simon’s eyes, while his left eye had rolled down, ceasing any coordinated movement.

Grinning malevolently, Simon responded, “But, we’ve only just started. And to be honest, I paid good money for our appointment here today. You still have to experience at least two deaths to make up for what you’ve done.”

“You’re fucked!” Clifton screeched, mournfully. I know.

Daily Blog 9/8/17

*Contains detailed depictions of Self-harm. 

This is a very sad, very dark, chapter. I post thoughts on it later, editing it put me in my sad place.

Start at the beginning: https://bluebeard-art.com/2017/08/27/daily-blog-82717/

 

XI-I

February 8th, 2017-Hadley

Hadley read the old Digitex clock on her nightstand. 7:12 PM. She had forty-eight minutes until Simon would be getting home. I’ve put this off for too long as it is. Forcing herself out of bed, she headed to the bathroom. The room was dark, blinds and curtains drawn to hide the fading summer sun. Halfway to the bathroom, Hadley lost her footing and fell, hitting her face, hard, on the carpet. Dazed, she sat up, feeling foolish, realizing she had tripped on a pile of clothes that had grown into a mountain over the past weeks. Hadley groaned, pushing herself to her feet. She walked the last few feet to the bathroom, and reached around the corner to fix the lights. She set them to a dim, comforting glow. Walking past the sauna, she turned left, reaching for the drawer to the right of the sink.

She opened the top drawer and briefly searched through the various pillboxes. Pausing, she considered her choices and decided on the oxycodone and ibuprofen. Clumsily, she opened the oxycodone, taking four pills out of the pillbox. One extra. Might help. She turned the sink on, putting two of the pills in her mouth, she bent down and took a gulp of water, easily swallowing the pills. She repeated the process for the second two, choking on the water this time. Hadley picked up the Ibuprofen, staring at it in a daze. She could already feel the oxy getting to work. This will save me.

Hadley dumped the ibuprofen on the counter. She counted out eight two-hundred milligram tablets and took them, one at a time. She turned to face the Jacuzzi. Stumbling, she walked up the two steps, and tripped as she climbed down into the tub, slamming her head on the nickel-plated faucet. Blood dripped from her nose and forehead as she reached down to stop the Jacuzzi’s drain. Hadley cranked up the hot water all the way until the tub was nearly full, topping it off with cold water. Needs to be hot. The water burned her skin at the meniscus as she stepped into the water. The burn felt good. Perfect. She sat down and laid back, letting her meds kick in. A little better.

After a time, she sat forward, reaching back to stabilize herself on the Jacuzzi’s side and stood up. She struggled to step over the Jacuzzi’s edge, almost losing her balance, light-headed as her blood pressure plummeted. She stood up and gazed in the mirror, blood slowly dripping from her forehead to her left eye.  She’d lost more weight. Last she’d checked, she was down to ninety-three pounds, and that was three weeks ago. Her baggy tank top, now soaked, hid much of her skeleton figure, but her legs and arms were a reminder, a morbid template of what she used to be. What she could have been. Her green eyes, which she’d always been proud of, had faded to a dirty olive. Maybe it’s the drugs. But if my hair can turn to grey, why can’t my eyes lose color? How did I let this go on for so long?

Smiling, Hadley took a few steps forward, and grabbed the pink razor behind the sink. She removed its head, and took out two of the blades. She turned around, steadier now, and walked to the Jacuzzi. Effortlessly, she swung over the edge, wading again into the scalding water. The pain felt good, it felt peaceful. No more conflict. This is it.

The drugs made Hadley feel safe, made her feel at home. The running water became muted, all she could hear now was she and Simon laughing, back when they were whole. Setting the back-up razor behind her head, on the side of the tub. She held her left arm in front of her face, bracing herself. She cut her left wrist from left to right, slow and deep. It stung, a manageable pain. Carefully, Hadley switched the razer to her left hand, cautious to keep the wound out of the hot water. Not yet. I need to deepen the cut. She repeated the cut from right to left, on her right arm, but it wasn’t deep enough. She went over the cut again, twisting the blade back and forth, grimacing in pain. Tears welled up in her eyes. It’s too late to quit now, this is the one thing I can’t let myself fail at.

As a new wave of pain hit, Hadley dropped the razer. She cursed herself for not taking more of the oxycodone. Struggling to stay awake, she grasped the other razer with her right hand. Holding her left arm out again, she dug the razer into the base of her palm, screaming weakly as she slowly moved it an inch towards her inner elbow. Panicking, Hadley’s bladder released, her breath quickened.

She pictured herself with Simon, kissing, the day he’d brought her Silgan. For a moment, Hadley thought she heard Simon call out to her. It’s the delirium. Renewed, she sliced through another two inches of flesh, whimpering. Her wrist now formed a cross of sorts. Her tears shifted to laughter and back again as tore another inch. Struggling to keep her eyes open, she moved the razer to her left hand, and dug the blade into the same spot below her right palm, twisting back and forth to compensate for the lack of strength. Again, she thought she heard Simon call out to her.

This time, as she struggled to make the cut she screamed “Simon!” in agony.

 

Another inch she gouged “Mommy!”

 

Another inch she lacerated “Simon!”

 

A final inch she gained “Adam!”

 

Crying, Hadley looked at her arms, she’d done it. Now all she had to do was let them fall into the water. She would finally be free. Smiling, she saw her mom tucking her in when she was young. She saw Adam, being born. She heard Simon, call out to her, stopping her from getting on the plane, so he could get on one knee, to prove he loved her. Her arms fell into the water, which quickly turned pink. She heard Simon call to her again, she saw his face when she’d told him she was pregnant. She saw his eyes, as the water turned red. Hadley heard her husband call out “Hadley where are you?! Hadley!” A moment later, the bathroom door slammed open, it was Simon. No! He wasn’t meant to see me…like this.

As the water turned a muddy, blackened red, Hadley whispered “Simon, you’re…early.”

____________

Thanks for reading!

Next chapter: https://bluebeard-art.com/2017/09/10/daily-blog-91017/