Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Inspiration & Links

Collage by Lani

Whew, another one of those inspiration journeys in the virtual realm! This one started with Your Creative Spark, one of Jamie Ridler's blogs. (Her other one, equally worth an adventure is here but that's another story.) On Your Creative Spark, Jamie has "Your Creative Spark; Inspiring Interviews with 12 Highly Creative Bloggers" which is a nice package of interviews with some very creative people. Jamie asks them questions like:

How do you invite your creativity out to play?
What is your biggest challenge as a creative person - and how do you overcome it?
What advice do you have for people just starting to explore their creative dreams?

The twelve creatives answer these questions and more in audio files that are designed to coax your inner artist out to play! The reason I got lost on a virtual adventure was that all of these creative women share their insights on their blogs, which is of course, one of my favorite things.

In Life Unfolds, Jennifer Lee, coach and artist writes about her art experiences in a lively, image filled way. Lots of creative inspiration. She has a coaching website, Artizen Coaching, with resources and great ideas. Can you imagine creating a "Wish Box" or a "Blessings Box" or a "Dream Box"? MMMMmmmm, I can. She's also got something she calls "Unfolding Your Life Vision Kit" which I can't describe except that it's a kind of portable vision board. You just have to see it here!

Another one of the twelve is Christine Mason Miller. She's got a blog, book, inspiration, portfolio, and a shop on Etsy, all of which can be accessed from her website.

I certainly had fun and I'm only mentioning two, saving some of the best for you all to find! Have fun and be inspired!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Altered DSM3

Altered DSM 016
Originally uploaded by rehuxley
Take a look at this flickr stream! Wow, what a great idea!
Thanks Gretchen for pointing it out. Now where is my old DSM3 anyway?

Sunday, April 26, 2009

On altered books and altered lives

Another spread for the Positive Psychology and Art Therapy altered book round robin. It's heading off to Gretchen Miller this week. Can't wait to see what she does with it on her blog!

The art therapist who works with people with eating disorders elaborated a bit on her placement and groups.
" I am always drawn to using the natural world as a source of renewal, connection and grounding in my groups. Recently in one of my Culture Jamming groups I did an experiment with the patients where I had them look at fashion/celebrity/gossip magazines for 10 minutes while jotting down thoughts and emotions, then draw a quick picture of how they felt. Then we did the same thing in response to 10 minutes outside exploring the beautiful grounds - smelling flowers, listening to the birds and gazing out on the trees. I think it was very effective in getting them to recognize the effects of both of these "environments" on their emotional worlds. Not surprisingly, the magazines stirred up jealousy, pettiness, self-condemnation, consumer desire and feelings of inadequacy. Going outside elicited awe, relaxation, beauty, etc. I've also done some groups where we've created spoof ads, looked at the various cultural institutions that profit from female insecurity and looked at cultural messages around femininity.
...the campus is gorgeous. Lots of trees and grass, a gazebo, a pond, etc. I'm interested in the idea of a terrarium! I'd love to even start an outdoor sculpture garden, but I wouldn't know where to begin!"
Now don't her groups sound thought provoking? Wouldn't you like to try something similar in your art journal: art in response to advertising and art in response to the more than human world? Here's my response:

"Often when we look at magazines and get all those negative feelings stirred up, we then blame ourselves for having such primitive feelings. The reality is that the psychologists attached to advertising are as good at their jobs as we are. Maybe better. If you want a mind numbing virtual tour of some frightening material, google applied psychology, consumer psychology, and advertising psychology!

Re: Sculpture garden... perhaps starting with something impermanent, like creating soft sculptures and dolls and doing a photo shoot in "your favorite natural spot" (most soothing, awe inspiring, etc.)."

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Here comes the sun!

We've had lovely sun all day long today. I finished my sun ATC's and they are heading to Utah. Because of all the sun imagery and fun, I've developed an earworm, but the nicest kind. Totally Beatles and totally sun related!

Here comes the sun, here comes the sun,
and I say it's all right

Little darling, it's been a long cold lonely winter
Little darling, it feels like years since it's been here
Here comes the sun, here comes the sun
and I say it's all right

Little darling, the smiles returning to the faces
Little darling, it seems like years since it's been here
Here comes the sun, here comes the sun
and I say it's all right

Sun, sun, sun, here it comes...
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes...
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes...
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes...
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes...

Little darling, I feel that ice is slowly melting
Little darling, it seems like years since it's been clear
Here comes the sun, here comes the sun,
and I say it's all right
It's all right

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

An Earth Day question...

Sun Face for ATC's for a 14 Secrets swap.

I got a wonderful question yesterday via email from an art therapist working with people who are suffering with "eating disorders". She was wondering if I had any ideas for how to create an art therapy group around the theme of learning to love the more-than-human world we live in. She has started a group called "Culture Jamming" that takes aim at the dominant culture's messages about women, body and social expectations, but that is an art group about human "culture" and its effects on us. So my thinking would be why not alternate sessions between the "Culture Jamming" themes and themes having to do with environmental psychology, healing gardens, healing environments, nature based celebrations, and nature based art directives. I would do anything to get us out into the more-than-human world in order to fall in love again. Do you remember being a tiny kid, mesmerized by clouds, bugs, trees and dirt?

I would look at the Spiral Garden website for ideas on this. These folks are marvelous! They have annual reports filled with artful photography and fantastic ideas for integrating art, play, and nature, free for the downloading. These annual reports describe the outdoor day camp for the children of Bloorview Kids Rehab and the neighborhood (in Toronto). Children from 6 to 12 with and without disabilities explore, learn, garden, and play together. The staff and volunteers foster an inclusive community for themselves and the children they work with. They attend to the whole person, the whole garden, and the whole community.

If you are interested in the concept of creating healing environments using the arts, I'd look at Healing Environments, a beautiful website filled with lovely, soothing, marvelous ideas. These folks started out working with hospice and end of life issues, but it sure seems to me that we could all benefit by learning to create healing environments.

For some very interesting ideas which could be converted to art tasks see Joanna Macy's website. For example if you keep an art journal or visual journal try journaling around these open ended sentences:
1. Some things I love about being alive in Earth are…

2. A place that was magical (or wonderful) to me as a child was….

3. A person who helped me believe in myself is or was….

4. Some things I enjoy doing and making are….

5. Some things I appreciate about myself are…

As I started to think about these themes, I realized that all of this could be the subject of quite a few blog entries and maybe even an on-line course! Hmmm. Using art to reanimate our connection with the planet... I like it!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

More Flickr & Photoshop Fun

The images of the children are from a little eBay addiction of mine, the paper frames are from Playingwithbrushes at Flickr, and the lace textures are from Rita of the CoffeeShop group also over at Flickr. It's amazing what kinds of things you can learn on the Flickr website!


I took a peek over at the Shutter Sisters the other day and saw the idea of taking photos of hope! An extremely cool idea! I'm going to give it a shot. Here's my first image of hope, a whole field of it in East Hants, Nova Scotia!

There's also a flickr pool for Picture Hope!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Secret Joy

Too much photoshop fun is to be had over at the CoffeeShop Blog!!! I've had a delightful time collecting beautiful actions, backgrounds, and textures. I've been reading tutorials and then best of all PLAYING!!! Rita, the owner of the CoffeeShop is a very happy stay-at-home Mom to two little boys (Duke is 4 and Imp is almost 2) in Texas. She is passionate about photography and photo-editing, and who can blame her (not me!).
She spends what ever free time she has late at night (after her boys have gone to bed) creating new actions/tutorials/textures/etc. for fun, and then she posts them on her blog for her readers. She decided to give her creations away, which of course means high quality actions, tutorials, and textures for downloading, free of charge. Of course if you love this free CoffeeShop you can make a donation to Rita with a handy little paypal link! Do visit her blog and keep her working those late nights with photoshop. There's also a CoffeeShop group over at Flickr to explore. OK, I'm off for another cup of coffee and a little photoshop action at the CoffeeShop. Hooray!

Collages by Lani, Textures and Actions by CoffeeShop.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Current trades and round robins...

Over at 14 Secrets we had a recycled doll swap. Make an art doll out of recycled materials. So I worked on this little pig from a wash cloth and buttons. Simple and fun.

Then for the Art and Positive Psychology group there is the altered book round robin, mentioned earlier. This one came from Gioia and I had just found a great idea from Robert Guest about how he made secret little love notes for his kids' school lunches. Great idea. I got a hold of two examples and created a pocket for them here. This spread also has some further explanation on the right hand side. Both of these have been mailed out.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Happiness and Resilience through Art

Do you feel that you'd like to learn to use your own strengths and artistic passion to create a happy life? Do you feel as though you have answers within, if only you had the tools to find them? Would you like 3 months worth of exercises, prompts, and support that will help you feel stronger, happier, and more resilient? New round of SPRING eCOURSES are starting. Click here for course descriptions. Be sure to read them all. "Resilience, Transformation, and Art" is a brand new course. Oh yes, and be sure to read the fine print below!

More Angels coming and going from Prospect

Collage by Lani

Thanks so much Merrellee, Katie, and Erika. New angels will be flying out next week. They are going to make someone very happy!

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Home Again after ArtFest & Road Trip

"There's No Place Like Home" by Lani

This adventure started with Julie, Kim, and their friend DJi and a great meal at King Fish Cafe in Seattle! I found it by looking for the best Red Velvet Cake in Seattle. Wow, was it great, from their starters (hushpuppies and fried green tomatoes) to the red velvet cake and even their website. Mmmmmm. It set the tone of the trip. Good friends, good food, and lots of great stuff to look at!

Before picking up Ellen at the air port we stopped at Pike Place Market. A feast for the eyes! Then we roared off to the ferry for Bainbridge Island and Port Townsend. Here's our secret hide away. Shhhhhhh.

Before ArtFest began we had time to wander in the cute little shops and buy some pretty weird stuff (helping the economy of Port Townsend), had some more great food, and then back to the pad to play with our treasure.

Here's Kim through an odd little filter lens I got at the local Sally Ann. Fun.

My classes were amazing! I started this piece in Keith LoBeu's class on working with paper. He's got some wonderful techniques. Take a look at his website!!!

Then there was Michael deMeng's class. Whew, I love what he does, too. Here's my wee tiny Ganesha shrine. What fun! Finally there's this tribute to Edward Gorey.

My last class was with Carla Sonheim which was filled with whimsy and delight. Now I do love assemblage art but there's an element of competition about who has the best "stuff" which became exhausting. So I found Carla's class and approach relaxing. Very delightful. The idea was to look for whimsical creatures in the water color splashes that we put on our paper. These little creatures will be popping up in my art journaling for sure!

Then we had our show and tell night and managed to get ourselves together to take the ferry back to Seattle.

Kim and Julie looking tired but happy.
Ellen, ready to take one last picture.

We were all pretty wiped out by the festivities but very satisfied.

Then off to spend the evening with Kiki MacInnis (childhood bff from Tainan, Taiwan) for hours of reminiscing (which are continuing via email). Kiki has the most amazing memory. Long may the reminiscences continue.

For more about our adventures see Kim's and Ellen's blogs.