The Artist and her Cats – Painting our Feline Friends

Charlotte Farhan and Logan
Charlotte Farhan and Logan

Cats have been of extreme importance to me throughout my life of 31 years. Having reared kittens, rescued cats and met many along my journey, these majestic and complicated feline friends are to me more than beautiful creature but are inspiring and have become my best friends and even family.

I decided to start painting cats when I realised how important they were to my artistic process. My three cat progenies who my husband and I treat as our offspring (not as human babies) but as the wonderful species that they are, are called Omar (our 10 year old moggy), Isabella (our 8 year old Burmese) and our youngest Logan (a 5 year old Bengal).

They rush to greet us as we arrive home, they speak to us in a language which we have adapted to best understand one another, they are attached to us as we are them and require constant attention and care, which we are more than happy to give. We feel privileged to share our lives with our fury brood and at times when I am unable to leave my home or am so overwhelmed by sadness or trauma my phenomenal little ones comfort me and lick my tears away.

So I shall continue to honour the species I feel akin to by painting them and creating lasting impressions of them.

Here is my latest called “Lucy Loves Laziness”

Lucy was my Mothers cat when I was little, she was a wise cat, full of neurosis, who did not particularly like me, but I shall always remember her curled up in the flower beds, whilst keeping a watch out for small insects to eat.

Lucy Loves Laziness - By Charlotte Farhan
Lucy Loves Laziness – By Charlotte Farhan

 

Lucy Loves Laziness - By Charlotte Farhan
Lucy Loves Laziness – By Charlotte Farhan

 

Lucy Loves Laziness - By Charlotte Farhan
Lucy Loves Laziness – By Charlotte Farhan

 

Here is a look at the other cat portraits in my collection, most have been sold, prints available and greeting cards coming soon.

Cat Portraits By Charlotte Farhan
Cat Portraits By Charlotte Farhan

If you are interested in one of these or have a feline friend you wish me to do a portrait of please fill in the form below for further details.

Original paintings cost £55.00

Prints cost £25.00

Commissioned Cat Portraits cost £45.00

All images are 10″ x 12″ x 1″ and are on box canvas or high quality printing paper.

And here are our 3 beautiful family members:

Thank you for visiting…

The struggle with the unseen

My illness – The struggle with the unseen

Having any unseen illness is a struggle and for obvious reasons. Some say mental illness is not a physical illness which I strongly disagree with, how can the brain not be physical? Having had severe psychiatric illnesses since the age of 11 would make some assume I would be well adjusted by now or even that I must know my own illness through and through. These are all incorrect assumptions.

The fact is my life has become more of a struggle with age. Being 30 now has made me want to take charge more than ever but to my surprise it is proving far harder than I would have imagined as my younger self. As a young teenager I did not understand and just felt out of place and suicidal. Then as an older adolescent I just became reckless and would put myself in dangerous situations. My twenties became a decade of denial, I did not want medication, therapy, hospitalisation or even to really admit my illnesses to my friends. I drowned my emotions and masked symptoms and behaviours with alcohol and drugs.

However, mental illness does not just disappear in fact it spreads like an infection and causes more illness until the infection is so severe the body crashes and there is no other option but to admit defeat and seek medical attention. This is what happened to me at 28 and has been a uphill struggle since. Although this has made my life more difficult it has not stopped me having a successful marriage and a progressing career.

 What you cannot see – By Charlotte Farhan As a Borderline I spend an intense amount of time suppressing emotions. People often say to me after I have had an outburst, “I did not realise you were feeling so emotional and unwell, you looked fine to me” This is due to the combination of having had to be strong and resilient through major abuse and trauma as a child as well as being ridiculed and scolded for displaying extreme emotions as an adolescent. So I developed an emotion regulation strategy. This painting is of the emotions people don’t see. My art is here to break down and challenge stigma as well as educate.

What you cannot see – By Charlotte Farhan
As a Borderline I spend an intense amount of time suppressing emotions. People often say to me after I have had an outburst, “I did not realise you were feeling so emotional and unwell, you looked fine to me” This is due to the combination of having had to be strong and resilient through major abuse and trauma as a child as well as being ridiculed and scolded for displaying extreme emotions as an adolescent. So I developed an emotion regulation strategy. This painting is of the emotions people don’t see.
My art is here to break down and challenge stigma as well as educate.

A detailed list of the unseen illnesses I suffer from

Here is a list of my unseen mental illnesses the definition and severity. The list is done from the most severe to the least. As well as identifying which illness (untreated) led to another.

  • Post-traumatic Stress Disorder – develop after a person is exposed to one or more traumatic events, such as sexual assault, warfare, serious injury, or threats of imminent death. The diagnosis may be given when a group of symptoms, such as disturbing recurring flashbacks, avoidance or numbing of memories of the event, and hyper-arousal, continue for more than a month after the occurrence of a traumatic event

  • Borderline Personality Disorder – is a cluster-B personality disorderis a pervasive pattern of instability in interpersonal relationships, self-image and emotions. Impulsive behaviours, self-injury, experiencing severe mood swings, feelings of emptiness, and intense anger.

    Depersonalisation Disorder – is a mental disorder in which the sufferer is affected by persistent or recurrent feelings of depersonalization and derealization. It is classified as a dissociative disorder and an independent neurotic disorder. Feeling disconnected from one’s physicality or body, feeling detached from one’s own thoughts or emotions, feeling as if one is disconnected from reality, and a sense of feeling as if one is dreaming or in a dreamlike state.

  •  Agoraphobia – Anxiety about being places or situations from which escape might be difficult or in which help may not be available in the event of having a panic attack. Situations are avoided or endured with marked distress, many require a carer or companion.

  • General Anxiety Disorder – is a neurological anxiety disorder that is characterized by excessive, uncontrollable and often irrational worry

  • Panic Disorder –  is an anxiety disorder characterized by recurring panic attacks. It may also include significant behavioural changes lasting at least a month and of ongoing worry about the implications or concern about having other attacks

  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder – is an anxiety disorder characterized by intrusive thoughts that produce uneasiness, apprehension, fear or worry (obsessions), repetitive behaviours aimed at reducing the associated anxiety (compulsions), or a combination of such obsessions and compulsions.

  • Diabetes – Diabetes is a condition where the amount of glucose in your blood is too high because the body cannot use it properly.This is because the pancreas doesn’t produce any insulin, or not enough insulin, to help glucose enter the body’s cells – or the insulin that is produced does not work properly (known as insulin resistance).

  • Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)  is a condition in which a woman has an imbalance of female sex hormones. This may lead to changes in the menstrual cycle, cysts in the ovaries, trouble getting pregnant, fatigue and chronic pain.

  • Anorexia Nervosa (Restricting type) – individual does not utilize binge eating nor displays purging behaviour as their main strategy for weight loss. Instead, the individual uses restricting food intake, fasting, diet pills, and/or exercise as a means for losing weight.

  • Chronic Erythema nodosum – is a type of skin inflammation that is located in a part of the fatty layer of skin. EN results in reddish, painful, tender lumps most commonly located in the front of the legs below the knees. With chronic pain and tightening of the skin.

  •  Depressive Psychosis – refers to a major depressive episode that is accompanied by psychotic symptoms.

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The Struggle

With these unseen illnesses it is hard to explain on any given day why I can’t do what I need to do, or why some days I am able to do these said things. As someone who as had these issues longer than not, I am unaware sometimes that people take me at face value and as I appear “well” or “normal” to a certain extent people can often disbelieve if told or just can’t understand as I am not in a straight jacket, rocking in a corner, dribbling or fit into any other misconception or stereotype people have about mental illness.

So this can prove to be very distressing in our world. As a survivor and someone who will not give up, I am left with only one option and that is to share my story, educate and break down these rigid ideas of what mental illness is. Mental illness does not mean you cannot have a life, friends, family and a career. However it does mean you may need to alter your opinions on what social norms you wish to follow or like myself hope to create a diversity in our society that will accommodate us all better. Such as attitudes towards work, money, health care, relationships and appropriate behaviour. These are all areas which may need to be reinvented and philosophised to draw the best conclusion for your life.

You will still be met with certain attitudes and archaic beliefs.

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TOP 10 WORST THINGS SAID TO A PERSON WITH MENTAL ILLNESS

  1. “Don’t tell people you have mental health problems, they will not understand.”

  2. ” You always seem so happy, confident, well… I can’t believe you have a mental illness.”

  3. ” Everyone feels like this sometimes.”

  4. ” Why can’t you work in proper job?”

  5. ” Stop focusing on the past, negative, bad times…”

  6. ” Get over it!”

  7. ” You would be fine if you just went out.”

  8. ” Your illness is a state of mind.”

  9. ” Stop mentioning your illness it brings people down and makes you seem like an attention seeker.”

  10. ” I don’t believe in mental illness.”

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Final Thoughts

Living with my unseen illnesses everyday is just a fact of life. I don’t feel bitter or unlucky. All I wish for is that the world would see us and accept us. We are here on this planet and we deserve a voice and consideration. My wish is to stop negative associations with unseen illness, to break down the separation between mental and physical illness, to allow people the freedom to speak of their illnesses in social and work settings without the fear of stigma and unfair treatment.

My unseen world is not unseen because of shame or fear. It is unseen because many choose not to see it. It is unseen because people don’t listen and it is unseen because I gave up explaining. However now I am not giving up, I shall explain and speak up and I shall not hide the truth. This will not change things over night but it will be my change, my contribution. I am a warrioress and my fight has just begun.

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Freeing oneself from negativity to let the creativity flow…

I have recently encountered some negative energy from some not so friendly friends. They seem to have taken issue with my facebook pages success as I reached over 15,ooo likes a few weeks ago, which is an achievement I am proud of especially as I know how hard I worked for this!

I can’t lie it did hurt me and confused me as I have supported these people with their lives and especially their art! I helped with setting them up and gave them my time and experience out of love and wished them only well, but unfortunately I was given negativity in return!

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Since this realisation I have had to say goodbye to these people and try to forgive their nature and pray that they will find positive energy and move on to better things.

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As I am writing this post I have received yet another message full of abuse from this person, if only they knew how much I have cared for them and valued them, but especially how much I was willing to give!

I have received lots of positive feedback from my page fans today as I shared with them this misfortune. To my delight they rallied round me with support and proclaimed their likes had “NOT BEEN BOUGHT” this helped me to put these feelings into context so that I could release this bad energy and move on.

I plan to be far more active in my blogging next year and ironically I bought this very person a beautiful book on ‘how to blog for artists and creatives’, as she is a fab blogger who displays so many talents. But as I wont be giving her this present any more I shall turn this into a positive and use it myself. I have struggled with blogging as I am not usually one to log my emotions and daily activities in such a public setting but I understand how much it helps with getting my work out there, so here goes! As from next year I plan to write a blog at least once a week, watch this space….

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So this is my release  I hope if you have ever experienced this yourself you will be comforted by these quotes and feel less alone. I wish all my followers and fans of my work a massive thank you for your support. ❤ 🙂 And I hope that we can build a community of artists and creatives, who support and encourage one-another.

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I believe that I will thank my haters as they have encouraged me the most!

You can’t be envious and happy at the same time

 Frank Tyger