Diabetes Art Day 2014

I’m so pleased to be participating in the 5th Annual Diabetes Art Day! This is my second year participating. Art has always been valuable to me in my life as a form of expression, and I love creating art with a purpose. It’s a way to express thoughts or feelings that can sometimes be hard to articulate when it comes to my diabetes, and Diabetes Art Day is a great opportunity to share those feelings through a unique medium.

This year my piece is called “The Low Journey”. It’s an abstract interpretation of what low blood sugar feels like for me using sharpie and water colors. It begins in the first picture with the realization that you are going low, that dark, confusing feeling of being disoriented and out of sorts. The feeling is confirmed with a finger poke and reading on the meter. In the next picture, the treatment of the low is depicted. I use fruit snacks to treat my lows. Then comes the agonizing 15 minutes of waiting to feel better, but feeling helpless in the mean time. Finally, the last picture shows how the dark clouds hanging over you eventually begin to lift as your blood sugar returns to normal and the sun finds its way through the dark clouds.

The Low Journey
Thank you to Lee Ann Thill from the Butter Compartment for organizing Diabetes Art Day. Be sure to check out everyone’s wonderful submissions in the 2014 Diabetes Art Day Gallery!
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Diabetes Art Day 2013

Today is Diabetes Art Day, and my first time participating. I’m so glad that I learned about this opportunity as I am quite excited to be combining my creativity and love of art with such an important part of my life, my diabetes.

Taken from the website, here is a description of the initiative:

Diabetes Art Day is a web-based initiative for the Diabetes Online Community to “tell a story” about life with diabetes though creative visual expression. It’s a way for us to tell our stories so we can connect and share with each other and with our loved ones. It’s a way to generate diabetes awareness outside of the DOC (diabetes online community) by sharing artwork on Facebook, Twitter, blogs and community websites…Diabetes Art Day is for you to show the world what it’s like to live with diabetes in that “a picture is worth 1000 words” kind of way.”

I’ve never really been one to sketch out my work before I begin. I always just start and see where the picture takes me. And that’s exactly what I did. Here is the final result:

 
Depicted in my artwork are three fishlike creatures, representing the dark and mysterious unknowns of diabetes in general and of the daily management of it. These ominous creatures are always swimming and lurking, whether in darkness or in light. They feed on the blood sugars, shown here as a school of CGM arrows. The varying directions of the arrows shows the ups and downs of my blood sugar, as they swim through and around difficulties and obstacles. The repetitiveness of the arrows also signify the repetitive nature of the disease: blood sugar testing, carb counting, bolusing, blood sugar testing, carb counting, bolusing, etc. The light and colorful background is in stark contrast to the dark creatures, showing that hope and light can and does still exist. Finally, the intermittent patches of tape say that even though there are unknowns and moments of darkness and fear, I will stick with it and take care of myself and my diabetes.
Working on this artwork was a truly positive experience. It allowed me to take some time to reflect on what it is I wanted to share about living with diabetes and how I wanted to accomplish that visually. It had been a while since I had done anything artistic and I appreciated having such a positive purpose behind my work.
I hope that you will take some time to look at some of the other wonderful pieces submitted by people living with diabetes, found on the Diabetes Art Day website.