Wednesday, August 31, 2005

The Artist's Box

Suppose you had a box, and in it you kept your favorite art supplies, tools, and inspiration. What would it look like? Would it be open for new ideas and inspiration?

Here are some good drawing links and ideas:
Kerri Smith's Blog is full of information about drawing:

Danny Gregory has a great blog, Everyday Matters, and you can search through it and find good drawing instruction. Try Step-by-Step comics.

I may have mentioned Access Art before but here you are again, nice little art workshops:

Curry's art supplies has some free on-line workshops:

And for some digital collaborative fun:

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

"So tell me about your life..."

There were two things I REALLY liked about Unless, a novel by Carol Shields.
There was Reta Winters' daughter, Nora, who drops out of college to live on the streets of Toronto with a sign which had the word Goodness hand lettered hanging around her neck.

I wanted to know more about Nora's life, what's it like to live on the streets and devote your life to Goodness? What did she think about all day long? What was goodness like in her life? Did she find it? Did she embody it?

The book also has a pedantic, New York literary editor character who seemed to never listen to others, never lets anyone get a word in edgewise, who suddenly for some unknowable reason asks another character to tell him about their life.

"So tell me about your life..."

I really liked that. I could imagine asking all sorts of people to tell me about their life. Couldn't you?

"So tell me about your life..."

Do you know Maggie Taylor's work?

Maggie Taylor has a book just released by Adobe, and they let you preview a bit of it in an article on the Adobe web site. This article gives you some great photoshop technique, as well as some of Maggie's amazing art work.

And of course she has her own website which is really beutiful!
  • Maggie's website
  • Monday, August 29, 2005

    more links

    Here are a couple more links for you:

    This is the Arts and Healing Network. They have a free newsletter with a lot of inspiring stories. One was about the artist Lila Graves who has written a book about healing cancer through her art work. The book is White Wings, and I was intrigued so I got ahold of a copy and was delighted.
    The story is wonderful and miraculous. The art work is a wonderful
    mix of southern folk art and photographs. In it she tells the story of moving to San Miguel, Mexico, where she learns that her cancer had returned. Lila decided if it was her time to be an angel, she didn't have to die to be one, and so with the help of friends she crafted white wings from palm fronds and wore them as a backpack through the streets of Mexico everyday. She asked one friend to help her photograph herself in the wings throughout the city. It was a “photo-exorcism,” a way of letting go. She painted each day as if it were her last, wearing her wings. In doing so, she experienced an epiphany: the value of each moment lived in love. She said that instead of dying with cancer she allowed it to teach her how to live. I would recommend this book for all of our art rooms.
    This self-published, softcover book sells for $30 and comes with a cd made by her husband and can be ordered by calling Lila Graves in Alabama at 256-234-0072. For more information about Lila and her artwork, please visit
    For Book Arts enthusiasts here's an amazing round robin idea:

    For self nurture, relaxation, inspiration, stress relief, self discovery, spiritual journaling, goal tips, life tips, inspiring stories - this is your portal to over 650 articles and daily positive tips.

    For pictures of Spirit Houses which incorporate personal mementos that celebrate people, places, and events which are important to artist Carol Owen.

    You can read about her new book Crafting Personal Shrines, which describes how to craft these unique, three-dimensional assemblages here:


    On finding and living a life that is flourishing.
    Just stumbled on Positive Psychology, the study of happiness. (Try that in your google search) Whew, what a topic, what a field. Now to create Positive Art Therapy!

    Here's a summary of what happiness is by B. Alan Wallace of the Santa Barbara Institute for Consciousness Studies, happiness is studied from the dual perspectives of modern science and traditional Buddhist meditation practice.

    Genuine happiness can be seen as a kind of “human flourishing,” which is a translation of the Greek word eudaimonia. The term flourishing gives us a sense of happiness that’s beyond our constantly changing emotional state.
    What would that happiness entail? A meaningful life.

    What makes for a meaningful life? Wallace considers each day, not just his life as a whole. He looks at four ingredients. First, was it a day where he successfully avoided harmful behavior of body, speech, and mind; where he devoted himself to wholesome behavior and to qualities like awareness and compassion. Second, he’d like to feel happy rather than miserable. His role models exemplify extraordinary states of well-being, and it shows in their demeanor, their way of dealing with adversity, with life, with other people. And third, pursuit of the truth—seeking to understand the nature of life, of reality, of interpersonal relationships, or the nature of mind. But he could do all that sitting quietly in a room. He doesn't exist in isolation, though, so there is a fourth ingredient: a meaningful life must also answer the question, “What have I brought to the world?” If Wallace can look at a day and see that virtue, happiness, truth, and living an altruistic life are prominent elements, he can say, “You know, I’m a happy camper.” Pursuing happiness does not depend on his checkbook, or the behavior of his spouse, or his job, or his salary. He can live a meaningful life even if he only have ten minutes left.

    I like this guy!

    for free downloadable chapters of Wallace's book.

    for research on Cultivating Emotional Balance

    Sunday, August 28, 2005

    Links and information:

    If you are in NYC October 27-30, 2005 you might want to check out the Great American Art Event
    Sponsored by Pearl Paint. It will be at Skylight 275 Hudson Street New York, NY 10013.
    Here's the link:

    I came across this website:
    which is all about playing a game of random acts of kindness but with serious community building intent.
    What I really enjoyed was the page of ideas. Some free pdf files here with wonderful stories about random acts of kindness in schools, hospitals, care facilities, and communities.
    Reading these stories is guaranteed to bring a smile to your heart!

    I know I just sent an email but my friend Savneet Talwar of Washington, DC just sent this to share.
    A gorgeous website full of very inspiring travel-art-journaling.
    Do take a look:
    Look at "Travel Here and There" and "Around the World".

    This body image idea comes from Emily W Foster of Halifax. She has a basket of blank muslin dolls in her art studio for painting, embellishing, decorating, and learning to care for. The adolescents she works with use tempera paint and do and undo with layers of paint. All kinds of issues can be seen in the paint, and things can be expressed symbolically rather than acted out, but the thing that strikes me is the care which is taken for these little figures.

    Here's a web site that caries very reasonable blank muslin dolls.

    I also read the following interesting proposal in Eric Maisel's Creativity Newsletter (

    Every day I get several emails of the following sort. Someone will
    write, "I was feeling desperate and then I read [sometimes it will be The
    Van Gogh Blues, sometimes Fearless Creating, sometimes The Creativity Book,
    sometimes Coaching the Artist Within] and I’m feeling better. Thank you."
    As you can imagine, this is a bittersweet email to receive, sweet because I
    feel good to have been of some help, bitter because it reminds me of the
    tremendous pain that so many creative people feel so much of the time.
    Equally difficult is the following sort of email: "I can’t take it
    anymore. Can you help me?" In response, I mention the free creativity
    coaching I make available, my books, my services, referral possibilities,
    and so on. What I would love to say is, "Check in with me every day about
    your creative life and the progress you’re making on your creative projects
    (or, yes, the lack of progress) and you’ll start to feel better." I’ve
    discovered in my work with clients just how powerful a tool the daily
    check-in is and I wish that everyone could check in with me.
    Unfortunately, I can’t invite thousands of people to check in with me
    on a daily basis. That’s why I would like to suggest that each of you take
    on the personal responsibility of forming a small group of five to seven
    people and using that group in a particular way, as a vehicle for sponsoring
    and supporting daily check-ins. The intention behind such a group is that
    each group member post a single check-in every day, no more and no fewer,
    whether she is happy with what she’s accomplished creatively that day,
    unhappy, indifferent to her creative life, or in any state whatsoever.
    The check-in can be as simple as "Worked on my novel today" or "Wanted
    to work on my novel today but didn’t." It can be as elaborate as a full
    paragraph (but no more) about what it felt like to work, what it felt like
    not to work, what characteristic obstacles or special challenges arose that
    day, and so on. I am having participants in my current Coaching the Artist
    Within class check in on a daily basis and within days of starting they are
    already finding that they are paying far more attention to their creative
    life than they were without such a practice in place. It is a good thing to
    The goal of this practice is to attend mindfully to your creative life,
    which you must do on blue days as well as on beautiful days. If you don’t,
    months and years of non-mindful time pass, much to your disappointment and
    mortification. Committing to the daily practice of a check-in does wonders
    to put you in touch with what you need to know about your creative life and
    with the rest of your life as well.
    This isn’t a group for lots of cross-talk and noise. Rather it is a
    quiet, calm, and disciplined group pursuing a real practice. It is a place
    where each person takes pride in naming her intentions, announcing that her
    creative work matters to her, and checking in each day with the happy news
    that the work progressed or the sad news that the day was lost. A lost day
    is less lost and less sad if you are paying mindful attention this way,
    because, by being mindful, the odds are great that you will not lose
    Form a check-in group and try it out. I think you’ll love it. One way
    to begin is by sending this newsletter to some of your friends and see what
    they think about the idea. How simple is that?

    © Eric Maisel, 2005. All rights reserved.

    I'm going to be moderating a yahoo group for an amazing e-course on goal setting. I have taken this e-course myself and just loved it. It really does help folks who get lots of great ideas, so many that you don't know where start and end up going shopping or watching a video. This course (Goaler-Energy) helped me look at all of these ideas with the landscape artist's eye, looking at the bigger picture, seeing how there can be a lot of diversity in that one landscape. Of course. This was exactly what I needed and I would recommend this course to everyone especially since I'll be moderating the group. Familiar "faces" would be great.
    You can take a look here under "Stretch your Soul Workshops and E-courses."

    Here's a great site with various kinds of art workshops. The drawing workshop seems to be the most practical:

    Also Bill O'Hanlon has some interesting free download on various brief therapy techniques:

    And finally, big puppet sales and free stuff here:

    I couldn't ignore this one. WNBC has two downloadable e-books for kids on the story of Owen, a baby hippo who becomes lost and orphaned in the Tsunami last December, and Mzee a very old male tortoise that befriends it. The e-books tells their story of resilience, strength and survival. There is also a parent teacher guide that you can download that speaks to tolerance and diversity.

    This page gives you the news story and the above photo on the left (click on it and they give the sweetest slide show you have ever seen. I want to adopt these two!) and there's also a blue box on the right of the page with these items in it which you can click on to down load:

    Download The E-Book

    Owen & Mzee E-Book (large, 44 pages)
    Owen & Mzee E-Book (small, 22 pages)
    Owen & Mzee Parent and Teachers Guide
    Tribeca Film Festival
    Lafarge Ecosystems
    About Our Kids

    Here are some interesting ideas and links:
    Art With Heart
    Art with Heart connects volunteers from the arts with children in crisis. Through workshops, books and art children are empowered and encouraged to find their own creative expression. In this website you will find interesting books and workshop ideas.
    Oodles of Doodles
    The idea was a simple one: give the gift of creativity and self confidence to children who are hospitalized due to life-threatening illness. Through art and humor, the book transforms a difficult time into what it should be: a childhood. The project is a testament to the power of collaboration. Art with Heart invited 97 illustrators and designers from around the world, including Mary Grand Pré (Harry Potter books) and Gary Baseman ("Cranium" games). Then 6 printers, 3 pre-press houses, 6 paper mills and one bindery house made the 100+ page book possible.

    Since 2002, over 10,000 Oodles books have been given away to hospitals and other non-profits who serve hospitalized children. You may order Oodles books for the children you serve and pay shipping and handling only.
    One on One
    Art with Heart hosts a Self Portrait Workshop to inspire kids affected by cancer. Through self portraits, kids learn about artistic expression and storytelling through paint, texture and collage. Great idea. Have a look.
    Healing through Creativity
    This innovative art therapy journal in the making is designed to help teens and 'tweens dealing with heavy emotional burdens caused by PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder). The journal features artwork from 20 contemporary illustrators and has many blank pages for the kids to explore their feelings on. The book will be available Summer or Fall 2005 at our online shop.

    If you work with foster kids or kids who have been adopted from other cultures, there's an interesting website:
    Sharing Attachment Practices Across Cultures: Learning from Immigrants
    and Refugees
    Here you will find ideas about serving immigrant and refugee families, whose attachment relationships may be based on differing beliefs and values related to parenting, as well as different goals for each stage of a child's development. They have a pretty comprehensive "tool kit" for you, please see the web site.

    On a related note, David Henley has a good article in the current Arts in Psychotherapy on "Attachment disorders in post-institutionalized adopted children: art therapy approaches to reactivity and detachment"
    You can read it here:!&_cdi=5900&view=c&_acct=C000050221&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=10&md5=d41f552a6c4a85ac56dd818fd90709f8

    I know, I know, you might think I would be the last person to recommend a video game, but this is really interesting. McGill University Psych department has come up with some video game that they believe will improve self-esteem.
    There's quite a bit of information here, plus the games themselves which can be down loaded.
    Have fun.