Thursday, August 28, 2008

My workshop schedule (links) and Katrina's Children (inspiration)

Playing with gradient tool as per Amanda Rockwell's design class.

Montreal -
For those of you who can get to Montreal in September (September 18th - 20th, 2008 Montreal, Québec), the Canadian Art Therapy Association along with the Quebec Art Therapy Association and Concordia University are hosting a conference: "Art as Witness: Art, Art Therapy and Trauma Resolution International Conference." The program looks very exciting with lots of familiar faces, friends, and former students (bravo). Do take a look if you are interested in trauma resolution and art.

The pre-conference courses also look very interesting but I can only be in the one I'm giving which is "Discovering Resilience Through Puppets and Storytelling". In this course we will be creating paper puppets and resilience narratives andn simple book structures, an excellent format for group or individual. I will also present my experiences of resilience and puppet making workshops with folks traumatized by hurricane Katrina, so you will get a clear understanding of how the workshop actually works to resolve trauma.

Also today is the last day of the Early Bird registration.

eWorkshops -
If you are interested in resilience, positive psychology and art but can't make it to Montreal, don't worry. The next Artist's Happiness Challenge course and the Artist's Healing Journey course will be starting September 15th and 29th respectively. If you are interested in art challenges based on current positive psychology research then take a look at The Artist's Happiness Challenge. If you are interested in art challenges which are geared to build resilience and are combined with the creation of a healing narrative, then you might want to take a look at The Artist's Healing Journey. Folks who take this course will have the opportunity to create a character and journal filled with images of hope and resilience woven into a healing narrative.

Katrina's Children -
Finally, there's a timely film coming to the Atlantic Film Festival in Halifax September 16th, Katrina's Children. I've got my tickets! Do you want to see a clip?

For more visit Katrina's Children.

And for an interesting interview with the director, click here. Thanks to Cathy Malchiodi for pointing this film out in her blog.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

What I'm learning in my eCourses...

Playing with hue and saturation for Amanda Rockwell's class.
Another class I'm taking is Suzi Blu's Les Petite Dolls. Wow, I love this class.
We are supposed to be working in pencil, but while on vacation I forgot my pencil and eraser, so I went ahead and played with brush and ink. I'm delighted. Can't wait to see what I can do when combining these two classes. Whew! It's exciting to play with color, line, and collage!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Prospect's Lobster Dinner

For the past five years Prospect has had a lobster dinner to raise funds to support our local dock. You can read one happy diner's experience here. It's always a great time and local artists can set up a booth with their wares so here's my little booth.
Doll, bracelets, & pins.
More bracelets and a driftwood sconce.

Journals & boxes.
Art books, baskets, & driftwood wall hanging.

I'm back...

I'm back from the Bergamasco Boys' vacation. We visited our friend Mary in Cape Breton and she welcomed Prospero and Bruzzi. Friends like Mary are a blessing, the boys say.

One of the many amazing things we did was visit an artist/dollmaker/quiltmaker Anne Comfort Morrell Robinson.
She lives way up in the Margaree Valley and has this terrific space in a totally beautiful environment. AND she can give workshops in her basement for 8 - 12 people staying in a neighboring inn with all room and board included for almost $500 per person. Check the above link for happy workshop participants. What do you all think, sounds good doesn't it?

I found crows in the rafters. Anne said they came from Michael's. I must look for them next trip for art supplies.
I fell in love with this one and brought her home.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Design Class - Lesson 5

Wow, did I have fun with this one! Playing with my paint can tool, dodge and burn tools, and brushes. Whew. I'm really enjoying this class!

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Dear Lani

Collage by Lani
I got a note from a visitor to from Cherry Hill, NJ, and I thought the questions were pretty universal, so I thought why not put the question(s) and answers here.

Here's the note:
Dear Lani,

I have just finished visiting your website and want to thank you for the inspiration.

I am a 46 year-old, married, mother of three from Cherry Hill, New Jersey who is finding it hard to start anything artistic at the moment. I have an interest in assemblage art, collage, journals, fabric art, sewing and numerous other crafts. And I have so many ideas, but it is hard to get anything done, both with art and housework. I go to do something creative, then look around, and the housework needs doing.

An internal wall suddenly rises. If I am creating, the only time I realize where the time went is when the children get home from school or I look up and realize it's time to get the dinner on.

I would like to be able to enjoy both my art and home. I have found in the past that when I am creating, and then I go and do something in the house, that the housework is actually more enjoyable.. But this does not last long. And I find myself getting irritable if I am interrupted when creating.

My questions are:
1. Is there such a thing as taking on too many projects at once? I have a few unfinished projects that I work on then leave and come back to. Other artists seem to manage this very well.
2. How do I get rid of the internal critic?

3. I have tried to just block everything out and go for it, which is okay for a time. How do I sustain the euphoria of creating?

I was hoping you could shed some light on these questions.

Kind Regards,
Married in Cherry Hill

And here's my answer:

I am so glad you asked these question. I love these sorts of problems! What I love most about them is how close we are to the answers.

I suspect that carving out time for what sustains you is really what this is all about. Folks that study the link between health, happiness, and creativity point to a minimum daily requirement of 20-23 minutes a day of creative, quiet, reflective time for optimal health. So it's no wonder that you feel happier when doing house work after art. Art gives you energy and good health.

To approach things in an organized manner would probably mean eliciting cooperation from your family. Sit down to a family meeting and state your intention and need to work on your creative projects. (This is what families do when they need to make changes that involve everyone's help.) You will be getting them involved in finding solutions to the issues of running a household while maintaining personal interests and pursuits. If they are helping with finding solutions they will be quite invested in good outcomes, which helps you a lot.

There are many folks out there with great time management ideas for you to take a look at. You can go through these few links here and make notes before you sit down with your family. You could also do a google search for websites devoted to time management for artist/moms.
*My good friend Marney Makridakis has a wonderful time management booklet in the Artella Shoppes.
*Blue Suit Mom is a website devoted to time management for mothers.
*Organizing Network had a great article in their archives, just click here.
*And here's a link for an article from one of my favorite websites, All Things Frugal.
Give yourself permission to enjoy the things that feed your soul like assemblage art, collage, journals, fabric art, sewing and other crafts. By doing this you will feel more complete, healthy, and happy and you will have so much more to give your family!

As for question #1, I think that having more than one project on the go is essential for many of us creative folks. But it can get confusing, so one way of keeping this clear is keep things as visible as possible, keeping projects in clear plastic tubs, bags, and containers, so that things are tidy but you still see them.

As far as inner critics go(#2), my idea would be to give your inner critic a helpful job to do. Julia Cameron suggests getting up before your critic, doing your morning journaling (and I find art journaling works quite well) before you are totally awake, before you've had a shower or started thinking of all you have to do. Once you have a small body of work accumulated, let your inner critic find ways to improve your work. This is what your inner critic is for, to help you do your very best. Make your inner critic an editorial assistant.

#3. "How do I sustain the euphoria of creating?" I'm not sure that euphoria is something that can be sustained really. One of my teachers, Edith Kramer, is very fond of the "second wind" idea with art making. She's observed that artists have an initial euphoric feeling that things are going well but then like runners, they hit a wall. Edith feels that it's very important to push beyond that wall, to get the "second wind" effect. She says the best art making happens after the artist pushes through the wall and finds the "second wind" phase.

I hope that answers some of Married in Cherry Hill's questions. I sure hope she doesn't feel alone with all of this because she isn't!