On Scintilating Scotoma and Art

What a goofy title, right?  Let me explain.

I recently finished a painting that was giving me headaches – figuratively.  I had a decent drawing to start with, which I posted last time.  But once I started applying paint I started to grow bored with the image.  I wanted to cover up the blandness with something interesting… when I started seeing floating, flashing lights in my vision – a symptom I experience immediately preceding a migraine headache. Literal headaches this time.  The scientific name for these lights is scintilating scotoma.  Generally I just refer to them as the flashing lights of impending doom, but to each his own.  Usually these lights fill me with a building sense of dread as they grow exceedingly larger until they obscure a large crescent shaped portion of my vision, blocking out words, faces, whole figures and finally dissipating in a furious crescendo of unfettered pain. But this time the lights provided a solution to my problem with the painting.

I decided to infuse those lights into the image, to try and create a physical manifestation of them.  Perhaps that would get rid of them?  I could only hope.  Anyways, as I started painting the geometric shapes on top I started to feel like perhaps this mix of the representative with more visually abstracted shapes would suit me well.  I was certainly happy with the finished work, especially having saved it from being tossed aside only to be wiped out with a layer of gesso later.  It was empowering to take something which has been a pestilence in my life and use it to my advantage.

Here are both the preliminary drawing, and the finished painting.  Amazing where inspiration can come from, is it not?

And your reward for reading today – Amon Tobin with At the End of the Day


8 responses to “On Scintilating Scotoma and Art

  1. I am very impressed, you keep it up and you’ll go places.

  2. Brady, this is incredible. I think it’s amazing that you didn’t let your migraine discourage you–but you used it to create something wonderful. That takes character 🙂

  3. Your picture is priceless. It gives expression to my private hell. Thank you.

  4. Nice painting….like the self portrait too 🙂

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