Finding Solace In Art

Art by Mike Arbor

Quite simply, I found myself to be a college graduate (BA in Economics with minors in Mathematics and Religion) and unable to imagine a life where I could be comfortable.  During my senior year of college I developed significant problems dealing with my studies while attempting to find a career path and I, eventually, found myself on a psychiatrists couch for the first time at age 21.  I never felt comfortable at school even though it was less than an hour away from my parents.  Going to college did mark the first time my twin brother and I were away from each other and I’m sure that affected my comfort level.  I never put much thought into school and it was simply what we were encouraged to do, so I went.  I worked for my uncle’s roofing company after graduation and lived at home until my former soccer coach and high school English teacher called and offered me a job teaching Calculus.  As the year wore on, I knew I was not a high school math teacher, but a student, that had become a friend, gave me a painting and that changed everything.  I sought her advice on how to paint because I hadn’t taken an art class since middle school.  With her guidance as well as the enthusiastic support of my godmother, with whom I was living, I spent all my time sketching and painting and thinking about art.  I have never looked back.  For many years, I worked only to buy paint supplies, ignoring creditors calling and a mountain of school loans way past due. 

Now, thirteen years later, I find myself with Lily and Lucy (4 and 2 respectively) and nurturing their creativity with art, song and dance.   I have always lived in Maine and I feel most at home in the Western Mountains of Maine where I am now part of the wildlife.  I am a maker of things, both silly and substantial.  Lately, the majority of my creative energy has been invested into sculpting trees and shrubbery.  The idea of letting go and letting things grow is a valuable experience for all of us and makes this type of sculpture truly enjoyable. 

Sink In Man: 36” x 48” acrylic on poster board, 2004 This was painted after my first shift washing dishes, knowing I was capable of much more.  This composition marked the first time I entered the abstract expressionist realm, even though I didn’t even know what that was at the time.  The work drained me.

Sink In Man: 36” x 48” acrylic on poster board, 2004

This was painted after my first shift washing dishes, knowing I was capable of much more.  This composition marked the first time I entered the abstract expressionist realm, even though I didn’t even know what that was at the time.  The work drained me.