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My Art Therapy Journey

Posts from the Challenge Category

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I have already written this post several times in my head tonight, so forgive me if it doesn’t seem fresh.  If it helps at all I still don’t really know what I’m going to say.  I often feel that way, and not just here or when I’m writing.  It’s just me being typical me.  And being me, typically, gets me in trouble sometimes.

I’m hoping this isn’t one of those times though.  I’m never actually wanting to get myself into trouble.  (Usually.)

I’m surprised I’m seeming so chipper because I’ve actually been feeling more on the blue side.  I apologize if what I’m offering here is all really a defense mechanism against feeling sad.

Despite (or because of) feeling a lot of feelings lately, I have been super busy.

And just the other night realized I’ve completed several projects that I’ve talked about here and haven’t had a chance to share the results.  I guess that might say something about my focus.  My favorite part of any project is the process of it.  I’m always happy to complete something and actually getting something done is one of my strongest motivations, but I’m more of an experiencer.    It’s the “problem solver” part of me.  For instance, if I’m building something and it collapses under the weight of the drill I’m excited for the challenge it presents.  Even if  the “F” bomb does slip out first…we don’t have to actually tell that part, right? ha.

Anyway…Since I’m playing catch-up here I’m going to post a couple of  2 for 1 pics….

1st sewing project EVER!

My first sewing project EVER! (Because the gym bag that mean home ec teacher forced me to make in 7th grade doesn’t count.)

I finally finished my sweet stuffed cat with a likeness to me!  I posted about her several weeks ago when she was still turned every which way and outside-in.

She survived her insides coming out!

My sewing teacher did help me get her where she needed to be though.  She said she was good at getting that done because she had birthed big babies.  By the time I was ready to stuff the poor girl there wasn’t a lot of breathing room at the opening.

You might notice she’s a friendly, sociable cat, and not too afraid to enjoy life too.  She is perpetually waving her hand in the air “like she just don’t care,” because I made her that way. (Which means I had to detach and affix her arm in the finishing stages due to an error and her character comes from overcoming that obstacle.)

So here she is…and she’s sitting on top of the rolling storage cart I completed last week!

What do you think?

2 for 1: cat and storage cart creation

So this brings me to the storage cart creation!

My storage cart also gets its character due to some less-than-perfect conditions in its lifetime!  Imagine that.

Originally, there was no staggering planned.  (That’s what they all say, right.) And I didn’t have a single beer the whole time I was making this thing.

But as the actual building proceeded it was clear that my measurements weren’t exactly exact.  So I improvised!  Hence, the staggered stacking of the layered shelving units.

In the end I think the cart looks reminiscent of a beehive box and that makes me pretty happy.  Although, I think beehive boxes are a little more square….

I thought I’d include a few more views of my storage cart so you can look at it to make one of your own if you want  (and stagger the boxes purposefully.)  Or message me and I’ll make one for you and for the low price of $1,000 shipping and handling I’m make one for you and ship it, imperfectly finished and all, straight to your door.  (This thing is no lightweight and can hold its own…and should last a million years.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In further developments I also finished my “flower painting.” I put it in quotations because it also turned into something a little different from anticipated.

 

I said in my last post that I would post pictures of it and I am all about the follow-thru, so here it is.

Not all it was to become…When the flower painting was still a flower

 

I figured I would start where we left off….

The following photos show the process from this point to its end/beginning…

 

white

 

adding purple

 

etching “love me” (request)

etchings…”dear flower” (sound familiar?) and “VOICE”

 

etching “listen”

 

etching “I

 

white covering the stigma (center) of the flower

 

Painting marks on the canvas as an expression of “listening” …simply looking and responding with attention and care, not knowing the details (the whys, the what fors, or what’s this going to get me?)

 

In hindsight, I think this might have been where I could have stopped…maybe…maybe my next word should be “trust” and “listen even more”

 

adding in (and covering over) black…and pink

 

turning the canvas, adding blue and orange

 

 

 

working on bird

 

final bird close-up

 

 

In the end I am not too sure if I exactly love my “flower painting.”

BUT…what I love about the process of my flower painting is that I didn’t stop.  I didn’t give up on it.  And I learned a lot through working on it.  I do feel that where I chose to stop is a better spot than where I started from and through all the layers and all the restarts and false finishes I stayed with it.

 

I GREW from it….

and my stem is reaching just a tad bit higher toward the light for it.

 

It did wear me out too, though.  And I’m a bit wore out now!  And I’ve told my therapist I’m working on getting to sleep at a half-way decent hour. (and it’s 1:33am now…actually early for me! 😉   Supposedly sleep helps people function better, but whatever.  What do neuroscientist know!? ha 😉

I guess this leaves me little time for reflections and commentary on the flower painting process, but that doesn’t mean I’m not open to it.  I’m sure I’ll be talking more about the stuff that comes up for me while I’m painting  as I post more of my paintings though, so why attempt to tire myself of it now, anyway…

I was actually planning on working on a rather large developing painting tonight (with a certain exciting image from last weeks photos in it,) but that’s out too now, I’m realizing…

Doctor’s orders say I must sleep to dream…so this is it for now.

 

 

There is actually even more going on and more updates to fill you in on, so the plan is to be back before another week passes me by!

 

More paintings, more photos, more life and more light to come! 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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My question today is this: When do you let a thing go?

I just want to know, is there ever a time to give up?  And is giving up -giving up?… or really just letting go? And if it is then the question is less when than “how?”

I didn’t come to this canvas wanting anything but to paint.  It turned into a flower.  But I didn’t think it was good enough so I kept painting.  I wanted more.  Suddenly I became attached.  I was so happy to see a flower on my canvas when I didn’t even try to get it there.  I was ecstatic because for so long I’ve talked about “people who paint flowers” and how I definitely was not one of those people.

There was a part of mE that has always  wanted to paint a flower.

But no flowers would ever come.

It made me sad.

Flowers weren’t for me.

But I like flowers.   Flowers are special.  They make me happy.

“Flowers come from happy people.” (That’s what I thought.)

But I was not a flower person.

Then this flower came to me.  And I wanted it so much, even if it looked like a 5-year-old drew it.  It was still my flower and I loved it.

But then…the paint-parent came out and said it wasn’t right enough, there wasn’t enough “pop,” it wasn’t bright…it wasn’t right. The background had no foreground and blah blah blah, BLAH!  It didn’t look like other people’s flowers at all.  It didn’t even necessarily look alive!  So hopeless.

So I tried to help it out.  I tried to be better.  I tried to make it work…but then….

It died.

But it hadn’t signed a DNR.

So I kept at it.

The following photos are  the journey my flower has gone through and it’s still not done.  In fact, as soon as I get done writing this post I am getting right back to work on it.  I wanted to come here first though and talk about what’s been happening and mark it as part of my journey.  I don’t know where it’s going to go….

Do I stop?  Do I give up?  Today I’m working out how to let go.

I think.  I mean, I guess.

There’s just so much I don’t know right now.

(I have chosen to not digitally enhance any of these…they just have to sit there and deal with it, boo.)

close-up

 

Where I think I should have stopped and maybe just added some black and translucent layer(s) of color. It was going to be titled…”The First Flower of Recovery”

 

close – up

 

Where it all started to go wrong…

 

and even more wrong, haha

 

“Doing Battle”

 

close-up

 

a part of the paint I liked….that didn’t last, lol

 

trying to get my orange to cooperate…We still aren’t talking

 

The “Fuck It” stage…sorry, but it’s true

 

The “I feel this is an exceptional depiction of BOREDOM” phase

 

Up now…the “Trying too hard” period

 

but at least I felt there were some successful elements…and it was good time to experiement

 

When I thought maybe the carnage was over…It wasn’t! 🙂

 

stuff I liked, but it wasn’t likable enough…and I was irritated I could only get 5″ of things to go my way

 

And this is when I came to you with my questioning….How to give up…I mean, let go…yeah, Let Go…that’s so much more therapeutic, lol

Ok, so I know earlier I said I still wasn’t done, but I lied.  I kept painting before finishing this post because all the pictures were taking too long to upload.

And this is where we (me and this damn flower!) stand now.  I don’t really love it.  I feel like it’s so wrong and not doing anything for me.  But I’m learning…just not at the pace I would like to and I think I still just want my first flower back because it was the truest and I should have just chilled out and sat with it a while before destroying it in my haste to make it something it never could be anyway…perfect.

I love you not, flower!!!!

Sometimes I really hate my issues.  Stupid damn fucking issues, AURURRURURURHHHGGGGG!!!!

There.

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My therapist told me  he was hoping this can be, even if just kind of, like a mini vacation from all my responsibilities.  (We’ve just been talking in sessions about how I need a break and some space in life ; )  I am always wary of what I wish for!!!   If this is vacation, this is a destination in a little corner of hell I do not foresee myself wanting to visit again anytime.  I would finish that sentence up with “anytime soon.” But I’m sure I’m never going to want to return to this place. EVER.

 

 

 

What you see here (above) is an abstraction of a rather large hematoma (except I don’t know if this was actually a hematoma as I’ve read it described…there was no clotting going on.  It was, in fact, profuse internal bleeding!  I think they called it a hematoma so I wouldn’t die on them on-the-spot.) I acquired as a parting gift from a small surgical procedure I had on Thursday.  A couple little blood vessels called arteries! got loose and had their way with me. It required some quick emergency surgery to round-up and zap the boogers into submission, so I’ve been slightly set back on my spastic project line-up!  I’ve basically been in bed lying low since Thursday evening.

And just a little tidbit I learned: If a doctor ever says to you, “This might feel funny and “tickle” a bit, you can be pretty sure it’s going to hurt like hell.  Surgery with the smallest amount of local possible is not really something I was looking to add  to my toolbox of experiences to express in art!

I was told my risk factor for this experience was, out of 100%…. half of a percent. (.5%).

Clearly, proof that I defy the odds.

Let’s have the next defiance be a little more in my favor, can we?

**

I am not a very good mattress dweller.  I’m not supposed to be raising my blood pressure too much for the next week, so I have to stay somewhat detached from all the excitement elsewhere in the house.

But I actually have slept a lot.  Dozing here and there, waking up every once in a while to peruse Pinterest or read an art book or watch an instructional DVD.  And of course, in the evenings, I’m still getting my fix of Breaking Bad!  So it hasn’t actually been all, well…bad.  A mini-vacation after-all, maybe.  Nothing a little Valium can’t complete.

And today I actually found some energy to play around with my new Photoshop App on my iPhone.  I’m not sure if I like it better than Instagram’s  selections, or if I just haven’t figured out how best use different apps  for the effects I want.  I’m definitely in at a pre-K level, doodling and drawing accidental circles and squares and sometimes thinking they’re pretty awesome.

I have NO IDEA what I’m doing!  There is a certain freedom in that, I guess. But the results may be something only a very good mother could love!  Once I’m back on my feet I’m sure I’ll drive myself crazy until I understand all the functions better.

As far as my painting goes…I may be dancing around in the same realm as Photoshop.  I haven’t actually painted in several years.  It used to be my main love.   I’ve actually just come out of a dry spell and if you’re familiar with monsoon seasons, that might give you an idea of where I’m at with my creativity.  It’s coming in humongous downpours, but the drainage system that directs the flow  might not be entirely sufficient. These bursts may lead to some messes before it all starts to sink in and some grass starts to grow and flowers bloom.

I’m just rolling with the journey…(and trying not to totally roll into the sewer, even though I feel pretty poopy at the moment.)  (Forgive me!)   I’m so out-of-sorts.

Luckily, I do have some comfort in the midst of this wild process.  My old cat, Sammy.

Oh, Sammy-Sammers…Old Faithful I call him.  He’s been through the last decade with me through many storms… divorce, loves, breakups, hospital stays, new marriage, new jobs, loss of jobs, new baby and  too many moves to count.

He stays by my side through everything, even when he’s been cast off and lovingly tossed across the room in a  hormonal moment.  He  always, always loves me.  Or at least he loves how warm and cozy I am to snuggle up against…and my pillow.  But whatever, I’m just going to believe that he loves me because I’m just that cool!  (And definitely not just because I feed him well and keep his water bowl fresh.)

So when I went in the basement to paint (and get started on my new painting class which I’m going to go into more detail about one of these days when I’m feeling like I’m actually more in the process of it) it should have come as no surprise to me that he was my eager mascot.  It was just like old times.  Oh, I do love him!  He’s not really a cat to me, even.  I have known for a long time that he is a reincarnated  superhero especially for me.  ; )

Since I’ve been laid up, and since unidentifiable, abstract photos of large hematomas are not all that bloggable (even though I blogged it anyway) I thought I’d share some photos from earlier in the week when I was a lot more “me”, painting in my studio with my faithful friend, Sammy…until I can get back to my more “normal” self…SOON 🙂

Ps. You’ll see I also have a white cat named Jack.  His nickname is Houdini…He slips into the scene every once in a while.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I’ve been pretty busy, but not too busy to think about Life With Light.  In fact, I guess I’ve partly been busy because so much of my attention has turned to this “life with light.”    Sometimes the days just seem to slip away…and the day becomes more like an inhabited friendly oasis rather than the harsh desert island I’ve been accustomed to in the past.

My Friendly Oasis on Wednesday

This week me and one of my best friends began a woodworking/building project together!  You can see there are 2 sanding blocks there.  We “turned our doing dials up a notch” ala Home Depot, lol.  My friend gave me that line 🙂  She always makes me laugh.  She’s the kind of friend I can laugh with and cry with in the same day…or even within the same minute.  I count myself pretty lucky, fortunate, blessed… (take your mix n’ match of the assortment,) to have her in my life.  We’ve known each other since we were kids…have been in each other’s weddings…that kind of friends.   We’ve been through a lot together, even during times we were apart, often living sort of seemingly parallel lives.

So I have this to share…a great big burst of light in my my life if you ask me!

This week we bonded over the cut-off saw in my garage…

We got as far as sanding and painting these boards which I was pretty proud of!  I’m hoping to work on the completion sometime this weekend.  The weather outside looks good, so as long as the weather indoors stays as calm then I will hopefully have a storage cart on wheels by the time Monday rolls around…complete with victory pics to share!  (Crossing fingers, toes, and a few hairs.)

**

If you’ve been reading my blog you’ll probably remember me talking about my euphoric discovery of Instagram  and my reformation of the repugnance I once had for digital photography.  You won’t believe what I’ve uncovered now!   I am forever humbled.  My former repugnance is regrettable.

Another thing that has had me busy this week is this!

The Art of iPhoneography: A Guide to Mobile Creativity

And!

iPhone Obsessed: Photo Editing Experiments with Apps

And I was even more humbled when I learned there are even people who consider themselves to be  iPhoneography Purists!?  iPhone purists!  I never knew!

I am SO SLOW.

My husband laughed at me because he tried to get me into digital when we were dating, but I would have nothing of it.  I’m too embarrassed to even admit to the things I said about “lowly digital.” LOL.  And now I’m begging him to go to Photoshop World with me!  I have had to swallow some pretty big words and eat a lot of humble pie.

I haven’t actually even had the chance to experiment with any new apps.  I was thinking Instagram was the schizz, but I guess there’s more out there to explore. haha.

It’s a bit hard to not have all the time in the world to traverse all these extraordinary ventures.   These discoveries have  kept my mind going at a good speed, which is necessary because I apparently I have a lot of catching up to do.  But when it comes to all this newfangled stuff  I have to approach my discoveries more as a section-hike and not a thru-hike for now…(hiker lingo)  Oh…and just to think of all the photos that could be unearthed on this hike!

I cannot wait to dig into digital and see how I can pal around with it in the area of art therapy!

Patience will be a personal challenge on this one.

**

And an update on the rest of life…well, what is the rest of life anyway?

What if the rest of life was just like all the above…happy to be alive?

What if…something to think about.

And maybe something to feel.

Sadly, I have not been spending many hours trying to figure out Photoshop, or even messing around with Instagram.  BUT, I have been busy working!


Yesterday my “night job” duties (the time after my daughter goes to bed for the night) consisted of painting the basement….because!  Because it’s in the process of transforming into my studio! Yay!

I’m so excited to have a designated place that might be large enough to become a holding place for the art I crave to do.  I have a lot of plans for it, but mostly the plans are open and evolving as I speak.  I think I have an area picked out for metalworking and another corner space picked for painting…

It’s exciting to think about, but for now my most used studio supply is elbow grease!

Speaking of, I better get back to it since my daughter is down for nap and time does not hold back!

 

Some picks from the journey… 🙂

 

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As promised, my photo of the day…from this day of Life With Light.

(I did not create this sign.  ROCKART SIGNS & MARKERS created this sign, which I merely took a photo of to share my appreciation for it as a prompt along my journey.  ROCKART and it’s subsidiaries are in no way connected to, nor do they endorse,  the content of this blog.)

So, as promised…my image of the day!

I went on another walk with my daughter this afternoon…along the same path we walked yesterday.  Again, I brought my phone and Instagram by default.    We retraced yesterdays steps, (even though I was the only one actually walking,)  and managed to come up with new material.

So, I considered my efforts a success.

“OPEN TO”

It’s just so…so…Open..!  

I am taken by this sign’s existence along the path I travel…

 

I was sitting, thinking the other day which doesn’t happen very often…sitting.  Of course, I’m sitting here typing now, but it’s a luxury called naptime that also seems to be very short-lived.  I was thinking, wondering how in the world there are so many blogs written by so many women with children…mother artists, mother writers, mother seamstresses, mother crafters and cookers and bakers and sellers of creative wares.

What the heck!?

That’s what I was thinking.  How on earth do they do this and all that too!???

And then I was thinking about my blog and thinking…ok, so I collaborated in making a baby.  Is that not creation enough for a good long while?

Of course, no.  Babies are a whole other topic.  But still…

I feel sick if I’m not  thinking about making, prepping something or flat out creating (my favorite.)

 

I was so sick of sitting there.

So to make myself feel better I got up (even though I’d just had  (minor)surgery less than 48 hours earlier) and started to build me and my husband a bookshelf/dvd/xbox shelf for our bedroom.  The cords have been all over the floor and even though it’s great that it’s been an aid in teaching our 10 month old the meaning of “No cords.” it’s getting a little worn out now!

 

It’s time something be done.

 

Magic Wand...my style

 

And did you know…Home Depot is open on Easter Sunday!

God knows me so well.

And my husband was home to hold the baby while I got down and dirty.

Hopefully, if all the rest follows in my favor I will have a completed project in the next day or two!

But I still am on a mission to figure out how those other mothers get so much accomplished…because my baby just woke up!  How do they do it!???  There will be no time for editing today! (And definitely not photoshop.)

Painting 2 x 4's ...Anything is possible with some 2 x 4's and a little paint...and someone to hold the baby!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dremel Baby!

Look at what showed up on my doorstep today!

I’m pretty sure I love power tools more than my husband, considering he had this sitting around his office at work for two years and asked me today if I was interested in having it!

Are you kidding!  If the way to a man’s heart is food then the way to my heart is a multi-functional power tool.  Hell yeah, bay-bay!!

I’ve looked at knock-off Dremels for at least a year, debating on buying one, trying to find a convincing enough reason I just had to have it.  So now that I have this sweet one in my arms I am convinced I have to put it to use ASAP!

I wonder if he’ll find any metal fabrication tools sitting around anytime soon!?  And maybe a nice welder?  Oh, a pottery wheel and kiln wouldn’t be bad either.

Anyone up for a Dremel Challenge!  : )

This recent addition is definitely lifting my spirits.

 

Edit: oh no, I hope this is not something subconscious coming to the fore.  I just read what I wrote and I did not mean I love power tools more than my husband.  I meant, I love power tools more than my husband loves power tools, ha.  Whoops!  Freud, get lost!