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Artist's Statement: Mindways

Shahrokh, Peter MA, MBA

doi: 10.1097/ACM.0b013e318235977d
Other Features: Cover Art

Mr. Shahrokh is a commissioning analyst for the Design and Construction Management Office, University of California, Davis, Davis, California; e-mail: psshahrokh@ucdavis.edu. His work can be seen at www.pswatercolors.com.

I work in the Design and Construction Management Office at the University of California (UC) Davis, and I am also a patient of the Department of Psychiatry at the UC Davis Medical Center. I have been prescribed several mood-stabilizing medicines, which seem to set me on a more even keel and smooth out vacillations in mood swings. Painting with watercolors is a risky business because errors in judgment as one proceeds are not easily corrected, and a calm temperament is essential to do the kind of planning necessary for composition, color choices, and even brushstrokes.

As a watercolorist I have tried to convey in a somewhat whimsical way the manner in which the brain functions under the influence of such drugs. I start by studying microphotography of brain sections, and I then use some of the patterns I see within these images to begin designing my paintings. I like to use bright colors to highlight the sparkling nature of thoughts, and I add other elements, like the koi and the pills seen in Mindways, which suggest incipient ideas in the brain as the medication takes effect.

Peter Shahrokh, MA, MBA

© 2011 Association of American Medical Colleges