Because of bipolar, I learned how to paint.

Before bipolar, I’d never had any interest or talent in fine arts, but when I was (unknowingly) becoming manic, I decided I wanted to paint. It was a very random thing. The idea struck me out of no-where, as ideas tend do when your mood is elevated.

I looked up the profiles of various Sydney artists and chose one. I adored his work (and I still do). His paintings are amazing, and so is he.

I e-mailed him and asked if he gave individual art lessons. I am sure he thought it was a bit strange to be approached out of the blue, by someone he didn’t know, but he took me on and mentored me. I don’t think he realised how little I knew about painting (which was nothing at all) or how much I valued (and still value) his mentorship.

I had half a dozen lessons with my mentor and he taught me a lot, not only about art, but also about life. I painted most of the works below during the time I was studying with him.

When my private lessons finished, I found out about a free fine arts TAFE course for people with a mental illness. I enrolled and it was fantastic

Then I decided to go to art school. I sat a drawing test, presented my portfolio, had an interview and and was accepted into the Sydney Gallery School as a first year student.

I studied painting and drawing part time for two years at art school and during that time my mental health improved enormously. I was on better medication and becoming a lot more stable.

I adorned the walls of my house with my creations. They remain, a testament to the fleeting beauty of bipolar.