A self portrait that belongs to my Eternal Storm series, which explores depression, anxiety and other mental illnesses. A Cry From The Darkness © Sarah Allegra – a self portrait – detail
Wow, it feels like FOREVER since I finished my last piece! This year has not been conducive to creating art. I’ve done my best despite the circumstances which kept popping up (moving, medications, long ME flares, devoting a ton of time to the gallery show, stress from my recent battle among other things) but it’s felt like a very dry year creatively. All I can do is my best though, and even when the ME really cramps my style, I still manage to get pieces finished… just much more slowly than I would like.
It was in this depressed feeling of “I haven’t created anything in the longest time imaginable” that today’s image was born. When my regular creative outlets are blocked to me (by, say, solid weeks of migraines as I adjust to each new medication dosage), I become despondent and depressed. Life slowly loses its flavor and color and if I’m not careful, I’ll sink into a pit of despair just like Artax in The Neverending Story. Luckily, I have Geoff and my friends and family around to cheer me on and make sure I never sink too low, but much of it is outside of anyone’s control.
As I mentally pictured how I felt, this was it. A big, ugly cloud of despair, depression, worthlessness, swirling around my head. But this time, unlike my last self portrait which explored a similar theme, I wanted to show a bit of hope at the same time. The cloud is surrounded, penetrated and pierced by beautiful, golden rays of light. They stream in through the darkness, weaving through its thick blackness. The darkness cannot survive in the light. It will be broken up and dissipate. And while I know this will probably not be my last battle with depression, I also know that each round will eventually be over… and once again, the light will have won. That is the hope I cling to when the clouds cover me.
I’d like to mention my friend and very talented photographer Robert Cornelius’s Dust to Dust series as it provided some inspiration in my planning out of the darkness cloud. Thanks, Robert! :) He’s an incredible photographer and all-around cool dude, so check out his work if you’re not familiar with it!
A Cry From The Darkness © Sarah Allegra – a self portrait
This image belongs to my Eternal Storms series on depression, anxiety and other mental health issues. These topics are still seen as quite taboo to discuss, something I hope to help with by portraying what living with them is like openly and honestly. Silence and shame never helped a single illness get cured. We need to be able to speak openly about our experiences, without judgement or fear, if we’re ever going to healed from them.
A Cry From The Darkness © Sarah Allegra – a self portrait – detail
A Cry From The Darkness © Sarah Allegra – a self portrait – detail
Do you have depression? Try being a little more honest next time a trusted friend asks how you are. You don’t have to go into excruciating detail, but try to avoid the temptation to simply answer “fine,” unless you actually are. And if you have friends or family who you suspect or know suffer from any kind of mental ailment? Invite them to tell you about it, ask some questions, assuring them that talking to you is safe and you will not judge them or call them crazy. It is crucial that you answer whatever they tell you with love. It is incredibly hard for people to open up and talk to others about these problems, so take their trust very seriously and treat it with the gentlest and greatest respect.
A Cry From The Darkness © Sarah Allegra – a self portrait – detail
A Cry From The Darkness © Sarah Allegra – a self portrait – detail
As we approach Thanksgiving, let’s be thankful for the help and support we have. For the people dedicated to helping us win our fight. For the people who will listen to us with only love and understanding in their hearts. The people who give us hope. The inner strength we are able to find when we think we’ve exhausted it all. Those extra beams of light when we need them the most. We need more people like this in the world. Let’s try and all be them to each other. The simple fact that there are people in the world who try to reach this goal is something I am very thankful for!
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged A Cry From The Darkness, anxiety, arch, art nouveau, battle, be better, beam, beat, black, brain, bright, brown, call, cinematic, clinical, cloud, color, composition, conceptual, cry, dark, darkness, depression, despair, divine, drama, dramatized, dust, eternal storms, female, fibonacci, fine art, girl, glow, gold, golden, gratitude, head, headless, help, hope, hopeless, intervention, last, light, light is winning, magic, manipulation, mass, mental health, mental illness, mind, mythic, neutral, nikon, nude, orange, orvercoming, pallette, photoshop, portrayed, red, sarah allegra, self portrait, series, shadow, shine, shining, soul, spiral, spirit, storm, story, stream, swirl, tattoos,, tension, thankful, thanksgiving, verses, void, vs, wall, whiplash, win, yell | Leave a Comment »
Hey guys! 2016 calendars are HERE!!
First, let me quickly update those of you who are regular readers. You may remember my Preparing For Battle post where I talked about… well, preparing for the big battle I was about to face. I was sick with stress and worry about it; it was honestly one of THE hardest things I have ever had to do.
But guess what? I WON!!! I’m afraid I still can’t give many details about the nature of the fight, but this is a huge, wonderful victory for me and will help make my life a little bit easier. So thank you VERY much to each and every one of you who said a prayer for me, lit a candle, sent Reiki or good thoughts… they all melded together and produced one hell of a win for me!
Now, with that’s said, let me tell you about my calendars!
Sarah Allegra 2016 Calendar
These guys are always a favorite; they’re probably my single best-selling item. And with good reason! Red Bubble packs a ton of quality into these babies with thick paper, almost like a heavy cardstock or watercolor paper. The pages have a subtle sheen without being shiny. The daily squares are big enough to make notes in. I still have calendars (both my own and from other artists) from years ago which hold up beautifully, even after years of flipping through them to see the lovely pictures!
Sarah Allegra 2016 Calendar
This also brings something else up: getting this calendar is like buying 12 small prints of my work! Each year’s images are different, making each year a unique and collectible item. And if you want to keep the calendar after the year is over, like I do, to enjoy the images whenever you want to pull it out? That’s fine! Red Bubble does a great job at printing the images and making them look the way I want them too; this is a solid buy! You’ll get images which span across my series, from my DreamWorld, Enchanted Sleep, Eternal Storms to self portraits, which feature Katie Johnson, Dedeker Winston, Travis Weinand, Noemi Regalado as well as the beloved author of The Last Unicorn, Peter S. Beagle!
Also, while I was uploading a diptych of Travis for one month of the calendar, I noticed that it made a really awesome pattern for Red Bubble’s leggings. So get your Travis-printed leggings now! :D
All of us independent artists and craftmakers REALLY appreciate your purchases, whether it’s for Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, regular holiday shopping, something for yourself, or any other reason you might have! Please keep shopping small in mind during this holiday season!
And remember if you want to support my art with your purchases, there are always museum-quality prints of my images that you can buy, my online self-discovery-through-photography class Introspective, the Peter S Beagle e-books that have my images on their covers (but buy his other books too!), along with Red Bubble which has a myriad of other items with my images on them. Everything from stickers to leggings to mugs to laptop/iPhone covers. There’s really something there for everyone :)
A smattering of offerings from my Red Bubble shop
And don’t forget to check out my friend Jessi’s Etsy shop, The Hopeful Spoon, full of beautiful, hand-made earrings (and other jewelry pieces coming soon!) full of lovely semi-precious stones at very reasonable prices.
One of Jessi’s many offerings!
She also has a section dedicated to raising awareness about different illnesses, which would be perfect for the spoonie in your life!
The Hopeful Spoon
Thanks to everyone for your patronage! Artists like myself could not survive without help from people like you :)
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged 2016, Amazon, anxiety, archival, art, artist, battle, black friday, blank, buy, calendar, card, case, christmas, class, cobweb, composite, conceptual art, costume, course, cover, craftmaker, cream, cyber monday, dedeker winston, depression, drawstring bag, dreamworld, dreamy, ebook, editorial, enhanted sleep, eternal storms, ethereal, etsy, female, fibro, fibromyalgia, fine art, gift, girl, glow, gypsy vanner, hand made, handcover, high, holday, hoodie, horse, idea, independent, introspective, invisisble illness, ipad, iphone, ipod, jewelry, journal, katie johnson, kindle, lady, laptop cover, leggings, local, los angeles, magic, makeup bag, male, man, ME/CFS, mental health, mental illness, model, mug, museum, myalgic encephalomyelitis, myth, nikon d5100, Noemi Regalado, notebook, notecard, one of a kind, online, OOAK, original, pencil bag, Peter Beagle, Peter S. Beagle, phone cover, photoshop, pillow, postcard, present, print, quality, red bubble, reusable bag, sarah allegra, scarf, SEID, self discovery, self portrait, shopping, skirt, sleeve, small business saturday, spiral, spoonie, stallion, sticker, support, the last unicorn, tote bag, travel, travis weinand, tshirt, underwater, unique, victory, white | Leave a Comment »
Actually, they were available to download on the first, but I’m just posting about it now. My neurologist changed my medication again which led to the longest string of migraines and general barfiness and feeling awful yet. I’m just so glad I can edit again. The lack of outlet was REALLY driving me crazy.
This will be a short post, I just wanted to let everyone know that they can now download Peter S. Beagle’s magnificent works to their Kindles and read them to their hearts content! And, of course, that six of the said book covers proudly bear my images, which you can see below :)
Go get yourself one of these titles from the Amazon-exclusive release! You’ll thank me profusely when you discover how magical Peter’s writing is.
I have to say that it’s magical, wonderful, fulfilling, surreal and fills me with overwhelming joy and gratitude that I and my art get to be a part of Peter’s art. His work has had such a deep influence on my whole life in a way that I will never be able to properly put into words, but it is something I will cherish forever. Thank you, Connor Cochran, for making this happen!!
Special thanks to Katie Johnson, Patrick Reid and Bryce Rankins for their modeling in these images!
Also, I wanted to let you all know what my friend and fellow spoonie Jessi has been up to! While traditionally, she’s been a painter, her severe fibro symptoms are not allowing much of that right now. Thankfully, she discovered that she can make jewelry even while laying in bed! She just opened an Etsy shop filled with beautiful earrings, suitable for every day wear as well as special awareness ribbons and colors for various invisible illnesses. Do stop by her shop and pick up a pair! They’re very reasonably priced and make gorgeous gifts. The holidays are almost upon us :)
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged Amazon, arches, artist, book, Bryce Rankins, chirstmas, conceptual, conlan press, connor cochran, cover, dreamworld, e-book, earrings, ebook, edition, etsy, exclusive, fantasy, female, fine art, gift, girl, handmade, holiday, illness, invisible, jewelry, katie johnson, kindle, lila the werewolf, magic, mirror kingdoms, new, patrick reid, Peter Beagle, Peter S. Beagle, photographer, photography, release, sarah allegra, self portrait, shop, sleight of hand, smeagol deagol and beagle, spoonie, the hopeful spoon, the line between, two hearts, underwater, unicorn, utah, we never talk about my brother, werewolf, wolf eye | 1 Comment »
Before I get into this post, I wanted to again thank EVERYONE who prayed, lit candles, sent me good thoughts and energy about my battle on Wednesday. I don’t have an answer yet, and most likely won’t for a while, but it did go quite a bit better than I was expecting. I am guardedly hopeful for a successful outcome. And regardless, I went in, faced a terrifying situation and did my best. Whatever happens, I can take comfort in that. So thank you all, from the bottom of my heart; I’m sure all that good energy truly helped. For those inclined, I wouldn’t mind your continued blessings until I hear the outcome! And I’ll try and let you know what the outcome is as soon as I can.
Now, on to this post!
I’ve had some exciting news that I’ve been quiet about for a while, but I can finally spill the beans today! You guys all remember how I’ve been working with Connor Cochran from Conlan Press, publisher of Peter S. Beagle, one of my two literary heroes? It’s all coming together :)
LILA THE WEREWOLF AND OTHER TALES by Peter S. Beagle. Conlan Press 2015 ebook edition (Kindle exclusive). Definitive author-approved text combines 6 classic Peter S. Beagle stories with 10 new ones collected here for the first time. Cover photo by Sarah Allegra, processing and design by Connor Cochran. Click here to be taken to Amazon!
Amazon is releasing an exclusive bundle of 13 of Peter’s books, in e-book editions for the first time ever! As of the time of this writing, you can go to Amazon and pre-order as many titles as you’d like! They officially go on sale on November 1st, but you can make sure you’re first in line to get your digital hands on them.
THE LINE BETWEEN by Peter S. Beagle. Conlan Press 2015 ebook edition (Kindle exclusive). Definitive author-approved text of Peter’s 2006 story collection. Cover photo by Sarah Allegra Ashley, processing and design by Connor Cochran. Model: Katie Johnson. Click here to be taken to Amazon!
And, the most exciting part for me is that six of these shiny new e-books have my images on their covers!!
MIRROR KINGDOMS: THE BEST OF PETER S. BEAGLE by Peter S. Beagle, stories selected by Jonathan Strahan. Conlan Press 2015 ebook edition (Kindle exclusive). Definitive author-approved text reprinting 2010 Subterranean Press limited-edition hardcover collection. Cover photo by Sarah Allegra, processing and design by Connor Cochran. Click here to be taken to Amazon!
This is so incredibly fulfilling and amazing to me! I began creating images inspired by Peter’s work long before I’d ever met him or had any personal interaction with him. I just genuinely LOVE his work and it made me want to create images based on how his writing made me feel. It’s a little surreal to now have my work on his covers, but absolutely wonderful :)
SMÉAGOL, DÉAGOL, AND BEAGLE: ESSAYS FROM THE HEADWATERS OF MY VOICE by Peter S. Beagle. 2015 Conlan Press ebook edition (Kindle exclusive). Brand-new nonfiction by Peter — a collection of original essays exploring the roots of his own voice as a writer, and the people and works that have been his greatest influences. Cover photo by Sarah Allegra, processing and design by Connor Cochran. Model: Bryce Rankins. Click here to be taken to Amazon!
So please click on any of the above images to be taken to Amazon where you can see what titles are being offered and pick up your favorite ones! And if you’re new to Peter S. Beagle… well, you’re in for a BIG treat.
SLEIGHT OF HAND by Peter S. Beagle. Conlan Press 2015 ebook edition (Kindle exclusive). Definitive author-approved text of Peter’s 2011 story collection. Cover photo by Sarah Allegra, processing and design by Connor Cochran. Click here to be taken to Amazon!
If you’re liking the idea of this but don’t own an e-reader, don’t worry. New hardcover editions of these titles will be available in the near future and the plan so far is for at least most of the covers to remain the same.
WE NEVER TALK ABOUT MY BROTHER by Peter S. Beagle. Conlan Press 2015 ebook edition (Kindle exclusive). Definitive author-approved text of Peter’s 2009 story collection. Cover photo by Sarah Allegra, processing and design by Connor Cochran. Model: Patrick Reid. Click here to be taken to Amazon!
Many, many thanks to Connor Cochran, Charlie Petit and Peter S. Beagle for choosing to use my images and working so hard to make the covers look so beautiful. I am truly honored. Thank all you, my dear readers and friends, for your support, any purchases you may make and extra special shout-out to Katie Johnson, Bryce Rankins and Patrick Reid for their modeling in their images! We’re all on book covers!!
Did I mention I was excited about this? :)
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged 13, a fine and private place, Amazon, art news, battle, book, Bryce Rankins, Charlie Petit, color, colorful, conlan press, connor cochran, cover, drama, e-book, ebook, edition, ethereal, eyes, female, feminine, flowers, girl, glowing, good new, grateful, intense, katie johnson, kindle, lila the werewolf, male, mirror kingdom, model, new, novel, patrick reid, Peter Beagle, Peter S. Beagle, photography, release, Rhinoceros, salt wine, self portrait, sequel, short stories, sleight of hand, smeagol deagol and beagle, smoke, thanks, the last unicorn, the line between, THE RHINOCEROS WHO QUOTED NIETZSCHE, two hearts, underwater, unicorn, we never talk about my brother, yellow | 3 Comments »
Let me start by saying that I’m sorry I can’t give you more actual details about what’s going on, but I’ve been advised to continue to keep them under wraps. Those of you who follow me on social media have already heard that I’m going through a difficult time right now. What I can tell you is that I am about to do something on the 14th which is absolutely terrifying to me and has incredible, life-altering implications. For me, Geoff and the fur-kids. And while I have lots of people (like all you dear, lovely folks reading this) who are loving and supporting me, it’s all going to come down to the words I speak and actions I take on the 14th. I will be alone at the critical moment; the pressure feels crushing.
I feel like Louis Zamperini in the POW camp holding his wooden beam. I feel like Aerin facing the giant dragon Mar. I feel like the unicorn standing up to the Red Bull. I feel like one of Leonidas’ 300. Frodo off to Mordor. Rosie and Pernicia. Lissar and her father. You get the idea.
One small, anxious girl going up against something far, far bigger than she is; ill-equipped for the job. The higher the pressure, the more my brain feels scattered and forgets important details. And it’s crucial that I remember everything, no notes allowed. The outcome of this will have a huge impact on my financial state, which is currently pitiful. I need this win.
To say this has been stressful would be a huge understatement. This sincerely feels like one of the single hardest, most frightening thing I have ever had to do. But there’s no getting around it, I HAVE to do it. And I will do my best.
The stress is causing giant waves of discord through my body, mind and soul; causing mayhem and destruction. For weeks now, every night, I either have stress dreams or I dream that I’m dying… the dying ones are the worst because, in my dream, it’s wonderful, beautiful, the most peaceful, joyful thing I’ve ever experienced. And then I wake up and remember real life and it feels like a glorious gift has been snatched from my hands while the weight of life crushes down upon me again.
Despite numerous antacids of all kinds, I’m having persistent heartburn, often in the middle of the night. My pain levels are all elevated. And as you can imagine, my sleep is suffering in quantity and quality.
I’m not writing about this to simply throw myself a pity party. I am asking for your support. If you pray, please pray for a quick and overwhelmingly successful outcome. If you do Reiki, please send as much as you can. If you light candles, please light one for me. Please send all the love, good thoughts and energy that you can spare, whatever your system of faith may or may not be. I will gladly take it all!
I am determined to win this battle. And while it traditionally takes a while to hear about the exact outcome from the fight, I am equally determined to get an overwhelmingly positive answer, right then and there. I am visualizing myself being victorious. As much as I am afraid, I am doing my best to catch myself when I start to go into a spiral of worry over what will happen if I fail. When I notice those thoughts, I actively change my vision of the future to one that I want. I don’t need to open myself up to attracting any negative energy!
One thing about all the metaphors I listed a few paragraphs ago; despite the odds, they all succeeded. Thinking about others who have overcome incredible trials is deeply comforting to me. If they could do it, I can do it too.
I can say one thing: this is not about a new turn in my health or anything else along those lines. My health is fairly crappy right now, as is usual, but I have not taken a turn for the worse… other than the spiked pain, non-stop migraines, constant tension in my whole body, wildly increased anxiety, panic attacks and depression as well as extreme exhaustion brought about by all of this. It’s stressful to the point where I don’t even want to edit or create many days, which is an almost unheard-of low for me. But these are clearly responses to the weeks and weeks of stress and worry. I don’t want you guys to worry that I’m hiding some terrible new diagnosis from you.
I know I will get through this. And I know that with Geoff, I will deal with the outcome, whatever it is. But more than that, I know I will win. I have to. Knowing that doesn’t take all my fear and anxiety away, but it does give me hope to cling to.
I feel incredibly fragile in every way, but I will battle and I will be victorious. Still, your prayers, well wishes and love would mean a great deal to me right now. I can use all the help I can get.
I promise that I will try and let you guys know exactly what’s happening just as soon as I can. I appreciate that you’re all being very understanding about that and respecting the fact that I simply can’t divulge much right now.
This self portrait felt especially appropriate for this post. It serves as a reminder and inspiration to me to keep fighting, to get up when I’m knocked down, and most of all, never give up. Thank you all so very, very much for all your support! I cannot thank you enough.
With that said, please wish me a miraculous victory as I go into this battle. Now, let me go find my suit of armor.
We Rise Again – © Sarah Allegra
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged 300, Aerin, anxiety, battle, beaten down, chronic migraines, chronic pain, deerskin, depression, don't give up, enchanted sleep, eternal storms, fear, female, fight, Frodo, girl, good energy, good thoughts, health, help, hope, inspiration, Leonidas, Lord of the Rings, Louis Zamperini, magic, Mar, meditation, miracle, not giving up, overcoming, Peter S. Beagle, photograph, positive, pray, prayer, pressure, Red Bull, reiki, rising, robin mckinley, self portrait, Spinlde's End, spoonie, spoonie problems, strength, stress, the hero and the crown, the last unicorn, thought, triumph, unbroken, unicorn, victory, visualization | 17 Comments »
This is going to be a quick, short and sweet update. But it’s vitally important to get the word out about this!
It was announced a few days ago that the Senate has completely SLASHED TO ZERO the meager funding allotted to ME/CFS research in next year’s budget. ME/CFS is the ONLY disease to have its entire budget taken away. But, it is possible
to change this if enough outrage is heard.
We only have a few days to turn this around. So, I beseech you all to send the attached graphic to the following email addresses asking them to stop this. Every ME/CFS sufferer in the world will thank you, as will I.
Laura_friedel@appro.senate.gov; Chol_pak@appro.senate.gov; Alex_Keenan@appro.senate.gov; Lisa_bernhardt@appro.senate.gov
Please save this graphic and send it to the email addresses above!
You can read a little more about the issue here: http://www.cfstreatmentguide.com/blog/federal-government-slashes-mecfs-funding-to-zero You are also more than free to spread/post this around wherever you’d like to get the word out more!
Thank you deeply from the bottom of my heart.
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged #MENotSEID, brooke shaden, budget, chronic, enchanted sleep, fatigue, federal, fibro, fibromyalgia, fine art, funding, government, IOM, ME, ME/CFS, money, myalgic encephalomyelitis, pain, photographer, photography, research, SEID, Senate, series, syndrome, zero | Leave a Comment »
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