depression fading away

Winter is here – with its gifts

The gifts that Santa didn’t have in his big sack

But first: apologies. I’m sorry some of you recently had trouble navigating my pages. I got rid of my old theme (Arte). I liked the look of it but it caused too many problems. Most of them have now been resolved. Thanks for your understanding! That was an extra gift of winter 🙁

Even if it’s difficult to predict something these days and even if a lot doesn’t last: my winter depressions are as certain as the back taxes. Nearly. The tax-back payment is more reliable in terms of time. My winter depressions usually start in mid-January and go away again in early March. They struck earlier this year.

But, and that’s gratifying, over the years I’ve managed to cope quite well with it. I think one of the reasons is that I’m getting better and better at drawing them down. A joke. No, I pick up my brush and let whatever comes. On the one hand, it is a very Taoist approach to keep thinking away from painting. Above all, I am in the here and now when I paint and don’t have any gloomy thoughts. Depression can have a variety of effects, and some of us have experienced it. As long as they don’t get the upper hand, it’s not all that bad to me. Like driving a car for 1-2 months with the handbrake slightly on.

Making music, writing or painting are very helpful tools to get through this time well.

First try

About 2 years ago I painted, probably for the first time, for “therapeutic reasons”. I introduced this picture: “Paint away the pain” (#1). For whatever reason, one day I suddenly had a terrible headache – which then largely disappeared while I was painting. It probably works because you shift the focus of attention.


My earlier attempts to artistically treat the subject of depression were rather dark and heavy. But they were never destructive though. (#2)

painting depression way out

Even with a rather “difficult” picture like this one from 2021, there is a way out, “a light at the end of the tunnel” so to say.

painting depression details
#2 details


This year the works seem a bit more forgiving, even more playful. They are probably not pictures that one likes to give grandma for the 90s, but works that invite you to take a closer look, I hope.

These more recent paintings also reflect my most recent attempts to incorporate calligraphy – or, as in these cases, strokes reminiscent of calligraphy – and thus underline the poetic note. (#3)

dark wood

An image like this reflects the initial stages of depression quite well. Colors and shapes begin to change, and reality is distorted, like an enchanted forest in a dream. Gradually, however, one begins to feel “alone in the forest” and it starts to get a little uncomfortable. As before, in this picture, too, the light brings relaxation.

And then there’s the depression that hits you like a club in the head. The gentle-knock-out variant. (It was intended as a study. But now that I’m looking at the picture again, I think I just need to work a bit more to get it as a finished work. So it’s still a work in progress).

At some point there comes a stage where you are surrounded by it: the surround version. But everything clears up again, the sun starts to peek through the black clouds and you know that the magic will soon be over. At least the one with the winter blues, not with the tax arrears. (#5)

depression fading away

related: watching the night



57 responses to “Winter is here – with its gifts”

  1. aparna12 avatar

    Wow. Very beautiful ❤❤❤😊😊

    1. Zettl Fine Arts avatar

      Thank you for your kind words! Enjoy your weekend 🙂

  2. Edith avatar

    Echt, ich bin überwältigt. Die Fülle der Emotionen ist grad ein wenig zu viel. Ich muss einfach für jedes Bild Zeit haben, kann nicht einfach so drüber scrollen. Da gehört mehr dazu, mehr Zeit, damit man auch die Tiefe spüren kann.
    Herzlichst, Edith

    1. Zettl Fine Arts avatar

      Vielen Dank, Edith! Manchmal braucht es das, um sicher zu gehen, dass da noch was schlägt, in der Herzgegend.

      1. Edith avatar


  3. jeannette-paterakis avatar

    Sehr ausdrucksvolle Bilder ,so intensiv,voller Kraft. Ich wünsche dir das Allerbeste. Liebe Grüße.

    1. Zettl Fine Arts avatar

      Vielen herzlichen Dank! Das freut mich sehr! Auch von mir liebe Gruesse!

  4. goodbyedepression avatar

    You are blessed to be able to express your sadness and depression in art. I love this!

    1. Zettl Fine Arts avatar

      Thank you very much! I’m glad to hear that my depression isn’t entirely in vain 🙂

  5. Nemorino avatar

    Fascinating pictures. I certainly do feel ‘invited to take a closer look.’

    1. Zettl Fine Arts avatar

      Thank you so much! Hereinspaziert! 🙂

  6. swabby429 avatar

    Creativity and doing physical activity are my go-to activities whenever I feel a depressive episode coming on. Successive overcast skies, regardless of the season, are my triggers.

    1. Zettl Fine Arts avatar

      Many thanks! Yes, of course you are right. It seems I need sun. Our winters can be very cloudy. Yes, exercise and diet are also very helpful.

  7. Ashley avatar

    Brilliant! It must be good to be able to walk into the studio and PAINT, to create, there in those periods of darkness! For me, I have to have to prepare first as I don’t have a studio, just my writing desk! This allows laziness to overtake things, a “do it later” approach which simply ends in frustration. I like that you refer to winter’s GIFTS! Even depression is a gift.

    1. Zettl Fine Arts avatar

      Yes, depression is a gift. Though my painting is often less “good” I get a new impulse. As for laziness – I have been working out a ritual – a bit complicated to explain. Good luck!

  8. balladeer avatar


    1. Zettl Fine Arts avatar

      Thank you very much 🌹

  9. LAWET avatar

    Happy new year sir. God bless you

  10. Michael avatar

    Very impressive! Thanks for sharing! I wish you a Happy New Year, and a beautiful weekend! xx Michael

    1. Zettl Fine Arts avatar

      Thank you very much! A wonderful year of 2023 to you too! May it be one of your best ones!

  11. luisa zambrotta avatar

    I love your paintings! They are fascinating 💙

  12. The Sicilian Storyteller avatar

    “The Winter of Our Discontent” by Steinbeck. “In the Bleak Mid-Winter” by Christina Rosetti and Gustav Holst. Two pieces that immediately came to mind when you mentioned “winter depression”. Call it what you will: cabin fever, the winter blahs, etc. It’s very real and definitely no fun. What is fun and a lovely way to pass some time is by looking at your art; for me #5 is an awesome representation of winter.
    I am very familiar with your WordPress woes, as we discussed earlier. I hope your problems get resolved. Mine seem to be slowly resolving themselves. If this comment goes through then it will be proof that my WP glitches are going away. We shall see in approximately 5 seconds. Good luck, Freidrich! Lovely artwork as always.

    1. Zettl Fine Arts avatar

      yeah 😊. I am happy to see that it works now. Thank you again 🌹 Also thanks for the book recommendations! Gone are the days when I read Strindberg then. I hope your WP woes are history!

  13. graham mcquade avatar

    I do like number 2 it has a mood of anticipation. When you said you had changed your theme, I thought that I could give you a like – but it still isnt loading for me.

    1. Zettl Fine Arts avatar

      Thank you so much, Graham! Very strange -all should be fine now. Do you use a mobile or PC?

      1. graham mcquade avatar

        I use a PC, Friedrich.

      2. Zettl Fine Arts avatar

        Thank you Graham! It may be that your cache still has the old version saved. Everything should be fine again. I checked in different ways.

  14. Cre8sound avatar

    Beautiful work, so powerful. Thank you 🙏

    1. Zettl Fine Arts avatar

      Thank you very much! I am happy you like it 🙂

  15. annieasksyou avatar

    Fascinating, Friedrich! The excitement mounts. As you subsume your depression into art, this question may be unnecessary: have you ever tried a light box? I know several people who have benefited from light boxes during gloomy winter months.

    Kind regards.

    1. Zettl Fine Arts avatar

      Thank you very much for your helpful tip! No, I have not never tried it. A long-distance journey towards the sun works wonders for me. But that’s not the best solution at the moment. All the best for 2023!

  16. Rosaliene Bacchus avatar

    Thanks for sharing your paintings during a “winter depression.” The darkness in painting #2 is quite oppressive but glimmers of light offer hope for better days ahead. Sending warm wishes that you make it through yet another dark winter into the playful light of springtime <3

    1. Zettl Fine Arts avatar

      Thank you very much for you kind words and wishes! II’m surprised that #2 resonates with some people. My audience is more receptive than I thought. 🙂

  17. Goff James avatar

    Stunning post My Friend.
    Darkness’ whispers cling
    Painting heartache’s memories
    Love’s words forgiving.

    1. Zettl Fine Arts avatar

      Thank you very much, Goff James! All the best for 2023!

      1. Goff James avatar

        Thanks for a great post and inspiration. Scheduled the poem for February.

  18. Mike and Kellye Hefner avatar

    Only a true artist expresses his deepest feelings through his work. I hope your 2023 is wonderful!

    1. Zettl Fine Arts avatar

      Thank you so much! All the best for you 2 for 2023! May it be one of the best ones ever!

  19. CaptivAzn avatar

    I like it. Personally, my imagination decided that #3 looked as though there were dark ninjas running amok so fast that they were mostly a blur.

    1. Zettl Fine Arts avatar

      Thank you very much, I am very happy! I didn’t have ninjas in mind, more like norns, but the comparison fits quite well.

  20. abbasmehar avatar

    Thank you so much for sharing unique information in your blog post I really like it.

  21. Martha Kennedy avatar

    I’m sorry you have to contend with this. I have and, honestly, it looked a lot like these paintings.

    1. Zettl Fine Arts avatar

      Thank you, Martha! Half as bad. Everything goes a little slower, that’s ok. But unfortunately I always start to question everything. Including myself as an artist.

      1. Martha Kennedy avatar

        I understand. Those questions are so — I don’t know. The only answer to them is in the work we do but it can be difficult.

      2. Zettl Fine Arts avatar

        It’s probably like a marriage: Don’t ask questions, do it.

      3. Martha Kennedy avatar

        It’s definitely a complex love relationship…

  22. Belladonna avatar

    I love your paintings. I sure hope this outlet wipes away all depression.

    1. Zettl Fine Arts avatar

      Many thanks! Yes I think it helped. I then painted another picture that I will present soon and since then I’ve been in the green again 🙂

      1. Belladonna avatar

        Can’t wait to see it! Green is great!!!

  23. Dana at Regular Girl Devos avatar

    If I were to put an image to what goes on in my head, it would be #2. Amazing how your paintbrush captured my feelings! Thankfully now I am closer to the light at the end of the tunnel. Thank you for sharing your work.

    1. Zettl Fine Arts avatar

      Thank you for your kind words! I am happy you like it 🙂 We always need to make sure that the light at the end of the tunnel is not a train heading in our direction 😂

      1. Dana at Regular Girl Devos avatar

        So true! I think I have been run down a time to two. 😳

  24. Graham McQuade avatar

    Friedrich, your next post is unavailable (getting rid of the blues). I have now twice got the message: page isnt working

    1. Zettl Fine Arts avatar

      Thank you so much, Graham, this is very kind! I contacted tech support – seems I should downgrade my server. Not easy so it will take a couple of days.

  25. Wilson avatar

    Thanks for your honest and open thoughts and sharing your Art!!

  26. Elizabeth Ann Johnson-Murphree avatar

    Your works of art are fascinating. I understand the need to paint, although I have been painting “forever”, It does put you in a healing place. Elizabeth

    1. Zettl Fine Arts avatar

      Thank you very much! Yes, ist definitely does. I had balance problems for a while. I started practicing calligraphy again and a few weeks later everything was fine again.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: