Welcome!

Introduction:


2 Corinthians 10:12-13

 

This Christian and art based website is freely available for browsing without any obligation on your part. God gave me my art, so I'm sharing it with you. I promote links for edification and also because they help me in some positive way. My goal has been to build a Web collection of works and words with Net links that reflect truth, beauty and goodness for all to enjoy!

 

Art is a celebration of God's gifts both in our minds and in the rest of His Creation.

Sleepy Morning "Cloud"

Capturing our Lord's incredible beautiful Art with the featured Scripture and Nature photos you'll encounter here has been uplifting and inspiring for me. I want my website to help you like it helps me. An Artist finishes their work, but it's an audience that completes it. God created our beautiful Universe, but its appreciation is up to us.

 

I hope you are edified in some good way with Ed's Art Net!

 

Share with your friends!

 

All rights reserved.

Credits:

 

Thanks to IONOS for their supportive website hosting and The Site Wizard for their helpful HTML management information. 
 

One of the wonderful and sometimes dangerous things about a computer is how easy it is to edit work! I don’t expect "finishing" my website will happen any time soon. It just continues to evolve as I receive inspiration and insight. A website is an ultra-dynamic medium unlike drawing and painting by hand... it’s simply too pliable to resist tweaking!

Glory belongs to God!

God's incredible Art awakens our senses and can help heal our soul, just like words can. Isaiah 53:5

God is the reason I have survived, the reason I have a loving family and is the only reason I have this art to display to the Net. God inspires and helps me every step of the way. And Jesus Christ is the only reason I will survive the new heaven and new earth

Contents:

Ed Caldwell (Bear)
Canton, Georgia USA

Photo credit: Phoebe Chen

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Casting Art to the Net

Hello!

This webpage introduces myself...

A twig is a miracle of creation. I consider its origin from a small seed and all the cosmic engines that come into play in order for it to exist. I think about my meager hands and how they could never engineer such a thing of wonder as a twig from a seed.

My last career job was designing electronic circuit boards that operate the Internet. Prior to that I worked in the defense industry starting as a guided missile electronics technician and developing into a circuit board designer. My first career job was a professional artist. During my younger years I worked many odd jobs beginning with a newspaper route at age nine. I retired January 2020 as COVID-19 was rearing its ugly head in China.

I'm happily married and we have two beautiful daughters plus the cutest and smartest granddaughter on the planet! My good friend Travis Echols, of Echols Financial Services, once asked if I thought God's purpose for me was to be a teacher... I loved the question because he knows that I have some strong opinions. But I'm just a husband, father and an aspiring old artist. Teaching is a much higher calling. My purpose is manifest in my kids and this Net art display. My family is a precious gift and so is my art. My adopted mom, also an artist, always said that the painting of the Log Cabin Church was my masterpiece. The painting hung in a place of honor in her home until she passed. This website is also important to me. It's a fun creative outlet and a practical means of sharing a little of what God has given me with you! Galatians 6

Clear Air Turbulence

My daughter took this bygone picture of me with another family member. I'm the one with both eyes closed... I must have been practicing for retirement!

Bipolar Awareness

if the moon were to speak

would it not be humbling

all our howling

rebounding

 

I have bipolar disorder, the modern day name for what was professionally referred to as manic-depressive disorder until 1980. Great strides occurred towards the end of the twentieth century in the successful treatment of this condition. New drugs became available that proved to control the emotional extremes over time.

 

Bipolar disorder symptoms are not always readily apparent to people that surround someone with the illness. And unfortunately, not every person with bipolar responds well even to the modern medications that science has provided. Treatment is trial and error and depends a great deal on the bipolar individual to communicate honestly with their doctor to set a proper dosage of proper medications. Even then, there is no guarantee that the medications will work over a lifetime. Adjustments may need to be made from time to time to keep emotions in check. Fortunately, there are now several options for doctors and patients to pursue. It is possible to lead a successful life with this condition.

 

My purpose in writing this is to share a little of my experience and hopefully help and inspire anyone with bipolar to realize that they can manage a relatively normal existence without the extreme polarizing effects. Diligently taking proper medications and a cautious lifestyle are the two main ingredients for success. Working with a doctor and their support group along with activities that do not represent episode “triggers” is fundamental. It is important to learn to recognize the mood triggers and avoid them where possible. There are some good books that help too, such as Take Charge of Bipolar Disorder by Julie A. Fast and Dr. John Preston. If you know someone that is bipolar I recommend giving the book a read, it's designed to help family and friends also.

Manic Depression (Self Portrait)

what actor knows

what the actor shows
well-being... (torment)
(anguish)... contentment
melting as it grows
from stealth to prose
disclose not sanity's gage
yet revealed on earth's lighted stage

1978 - Pen and Ink

 

I was not aware and had not been diagnosed with manic-depressive disorder when I created this drawing but I did know that there was something wrong with me. This drawing was inspired by the emotional extremes I had been experiencing for a long time. Fortunately I had learned over my years how to hide my emotional state enough to function successfully around others. I managed as long as the "triggers" weren't too great. I was hospitalized in 1977 after a mental breakdown but was not properly diagnosed... at the time the doctor believed I had taken LSD which was not true... all I knew was that I was not in control of my brain. It wasn't until 2003 after another mental breakdown that I was diagnosed as having bipolar disorder.

 
After my 2003 breakdown the doctors tried different medications at first but we finally settled on carbamazepine and risperidone for the mania and ultimately fluoxetine for the depression. Early on in my treatment after a few years of feeling mentally stronger I got the idea that I no longer needed to take the medications. So with the doctor's help my nurse and I began to reduce the dosages. I didn't make it to completely eliminating the medications before I had a manic episode. I'm grateful to my doctor and especially my nurse who supervises me for that lesson as I am now diligent about taking my meds. I expect I will be taking medications for the rest of my life.
 
I'm fortunate that science was able to develop successful treatments for this complex illness. I believe my father may have been bipolar but since his episodic symptoms were of a violent nature I don't feel that the doctors at the VA hospital understood this. I remember my mother saying something about "rage treatments". I don't know what all they used to treat him but I do know from my mother that they used shock therapy to calm him. He never got better for any long period of time while I was growing up so I suspect that they did not know how to properly treat him.
 
My father's sister was somewhat promiscuous and attempted suicide more than once. My five years older than me half brother commited suicide at age twenty one. They both may have had manic-depressive (bypolar) disorder but I don't know if they were ever diagnosed and treated for it. 
 
Allegorically, I wanted to illustrate the two extreme mental states that I experienced in a single image. So this two-sided "brain portrait" of a two-headed monster is the result...

The lower left end of the image (an upside down caricature of a human head) represents downward depressed thinking. The upper right end of the image (an upside up caricature of a fire breathing dragon) represents the high energetic insanity of what I eventually came to know as manic thinking. The tiny dragons inside each polarized head represent the suicidal thoughts that can accompany the two extremes. 

Mania

i moved the wind from nowhere to nowhere
cradled among heaven's bright and beautiful
unbound in uncharted abode

Sometimes manic thinking can be quite vivid, even extremely pleasant, making perfect sense to the individual but not usually to other people. Delusions of grandeur are common in the manic state.

 

thoughts of glory
thoughts with story 
oh wonderful feeling
mind is reeling
with prescription pleasure
without medicinal measure  

 

Sometimes manic thinking becomes distant. Racing thoughts can seem to have a life of their own... at its worse, it feels like someone else is controlling the brain. This can be very painful mentally as well as physically, kind of like sitting in the pilot’s seat of a jet aircraft and trying to control it with an array of external overriding remote controlling operators fighting over what direction and how fast the plane will go and each operator has a different flight plan. This extremely unpleasant condition can be horrifying and bewildering at the same time. It's like watching a suspenseful horror movie that does not make sense or provide a break in the tension. Suicidal thoughts are also possible during the manic phase. Racing thoughts can lead to a feeling of hopelessness... a feeling of drowning in thought discontinuity... drowning in the sense of being aware of the lack of thought control.

 

thoughts fly by
no blinking eye 
the soul sees
the mind leave
is this madness
where is adeptness
drowning yet alive 
as soul cries

Mania behavior is unpredictable. Creativity can be extremely enhanced or thoughts can be wildly out of control. Achieving a safe mental balance with lifestyle and proper medications is always the primary goal.

Depression

i lost the wind from nowhere to nowhere

ordered midst the dark and distant
bound firm in toxic anguish

I see depression as an evil wandering black hole seeking to devour life. It uses all sorts of tactics like reminding you in elaborate detail… over and over… any and all mistakes you’ve made in your lifetime. It also likes to tenderize you with thoughts of unworthiness, making you believe that you do not deserve to live. Another heart wrenching tactic is to take the joy out of the things that you love to do making you further feel inadequate unable to create and socialize. The most heinous of all is the life threatening suicidal thoughts that can occur. Life can seem too much to bear and at its worst, death appears to be relief. At extreme states, medical support and guidance from outside is usually needed.

 

I have dealt with the evil of depression on and off over most of my life. I have used alcohol to self medicate but that creates another set of problems. I take my prescribed medication for bipolar, try to get good sleep and constantly work at controlling my thoughts. I know the black hole is starting to move closer when I begin to reflect on my history of mistakes. To combat, I tell my brain to think of something good that I did to change focus. It’s an ongoing mental battle that must be fought because the black hole wants to consume me. Writing this is an example of fighting the fight. It helps to focus on what I have learned in my experience. The most important thing is to remind myself that it DOES NOT LAST FOREVER and will subside in time. I repeat this many times in my head until I’m feeling better. Also important, is exercise and healthy eating habits including vitamins. Things I do play a big part in helping my cause.

 

I usually just tell my wife that I don’t feel good. I explain that it’s like having a virus in my brain. I let her know that thankfully my medication helps so it isn’t as bad as it could be. I’m blessed to have a loving family that cares about me. I'm blessed in so many ways. Since I take meds that actually work, the depression usually doesn’t last very long. Bipolar depression stems from malfunctioning brain chemistry so there isn’t necessarily an outside stimulus or tangible reason for it. However, there are certain triggers that help feed depressed thinking. Even a simple negative comment can help trigger an episode under certain conditions. I have lots of good reasons to be a happy person but sometimes I'm fighting a battle.


darkness creeps

the soul creaks
writhing wormy things bask in the dim 
i shudder, i sicken, i'm sightless
when will this end... 
this eclipse amidst the day
stealthy demons lurking in the shadow...
laughing insanely in its playground 
more than a thorn in the side...
a black hole slowly devouring being
i linger coveting death...
but take heart... have patience!
relief has always been time away
hold on to the rim
you know darkness seeps... 
only 'til light casts it back to the deep...
until darkness comes again

 

The simple answer is there isn't a simple answer. Dealing with depression is a battle of the bad thoughts with good thoughts AND deeds. Depression is a stubborn greedy evil black hole. PLEASE ask for help from outside when you first sense your depression is heading out of control. It is very important that seeking help from outside be part of your battle strategy when the black hole gets too near.

Stable

i ride the wind from nowhere to nowhere

residing in God sheltered creation 

reflecting science in earthly expectation 

Currently, there's not a cure for bipolar disorder. However, science has developed several drugs that can help the brain operate without the extreme manic and depressed conditions. Having a caring and stable home life is also a great advantage. Managing bipolar can be difficult at times but it is more so without people around you that want to help. I'm blessed with a wonderful caring family. Thankfully my regiment of medications and lifestyle are working very well. I've been episode free for a number of years and have never felt mentally stronger than I do now. I also know that doing my best to listen to God, through His Word and the World around me drives my success. I am very blessed and I am very grateful to God for everything, especially my family and the people that He surrounds me with.

Mental Health

Bipolar therapy... The folks at Georgia Behavioral Health provide excellent care designed for my specific needs.

Writing therapy... Art is a celebration of God's gifts both in our minds and in the rest of His Creation.

Spiritual therapy... Scene from Pisgah Inn, Blue Ridge Parkway. God's bridge between darkness and light painted with morning color... His Art is infinitely the most inspirational!

Family therapy... Home is where the mind can rest and the spirit can soar! 

Porch therapy...This is a Fall season photo... one of my favorite times to enjoy our front porch!

Wind therapy... Beautiful spirit machine, Yona!

Craft therapy... Playhouse I built for my daughters in Spring 1990 matching the basic style of our home. It sports a Dutch door with a heart shaped peep window. Inside I incorporated a fold away table using my Starting Lines era drawing board.

Let Go therapy... This LEGO dragon specializes in the eradication of a stressful day!

Art therapy... This pencil drawing was a representation of my rebellious youth. Now, for me, it has become representative of the China plague.

Cloud therapy... This God's Art picture is from one of the Blue Ridge Parkway overlooks. I was riding alone on my motorcycle and God grabbed my attention out of the corner of my eye with this lone Little Cloud that reminds me of "Yona". I felt Great Love as I always do when I'm feeling exceptionally grateful. God loves us and is always telling us! 1 John 4:16

Leaf pile therapy... My granddaughter basking in a warm Fall wrapping. One of life's many special and precious and thoughtful moments.

Send a message to Ed

Me with the cutest and smartest granddaughter on the planet enjoying vacation at Florida's Saint George Island beach.

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