Wednesday, August 31, 2011

There's a lot going on around here!

Collage by Lani, with help from  FlyPaper Textures

New eCourses that combine art and positive psychology, resilience, creativity, photoshop and collage are ready to go, starting September 12.  You can read about them here but don't forget to come back to this blog to get your big blog-reader discount (just look at the column to the right).

Six Easy Lessons for a Happy Artist's Life

First of all, have you heard about the 6 Degrees of Creativity?

This is a 6 month on-line group of workshops starting October 10, 2011.  It includes 6 different workshops, offered by 6 instructors from the art therapy community.  We have created workshops which will explore practical and useful hands-on concepts, techniques, and ideas relating to themes about transformation, social change, collaboration, and using art for good.  All these ideas and techniques will work in your life, your art room, and your creative practice.

My workshop is Six Easy Lessons for a Happy Artist’s Life and the little video above may give you a flavor of the material to be presented.  I believe the simplest and gentlest things really are the source of creativity and happiness. I'm sure of it. Those moments when you are actually in your own skin, feeling, being, enjoying your life, those are the deepest moments of happiness and they are free for us to access at any time.  Have you ever felt that sense of possibility and excitement of a magical day unfolding like on the first day of a vacation, or on the first day in a new place when you have no idea what is around the next corner? For me that feeling is a clue to creating a happy artist's life.  If you are interested in how to take the "least thing" and make up the "best happiness" check out "Six Easy Lessons for a Happy Artist's Life" where you will receive one lesson per month.  Each lesson will have a positive psychology principal at its base, and will be easy to replicate in any art room or even in the privacy of your own art journal.  What could be better?  Come join us and start your happy artist's life today!

The other workshops include Examining the Everyday, Creating Gratitude and Affirmation, 6 Degrees of Creativity, Altered by Art: The Transformative Media of Beeswax Collage, and Sock Monkey Therapy!  Yes, you read that right, Sock Monkey Therapy!  I knew it, I knew it was therapeutic and loads of fun to make sock monkeys!!!

Oh my!  Spots in these workshops go on sale here, starting September 1!  Oh boy, oh boy!!!

Come Visit My New Secret Annex

I will be storing my current eCourses here, along with Happiness, and Joy, eZines, 
certain secret techniques to counter artistic emergency issues.
There will be plenty of Self-Help, Art & Play.

Come visit Lani's Secret Annex, a virtual
garden and oasis for web wanderers, artists
and art therapists looking for
ways to create more
play and wonder in their lives.

Monday, August 22, 2011

We Collect Joy

Collage by Lani
I have a subscription to One Thing Today, Michael Nobb's podcast, in which he examines his life, creativity, work, and tea every morning.   If you don't know Michael Nobbs, he is a very inspiring artist in Wales who is using his art work to live his life more fully, to live with joy (in spite of it all), and in a most sustainable way imaginable.  He's got a blog and eBooks and newsletters and of course his podcasts. On a recent podcast, Michael was wondering what people do with their free time. He was trying to construct a sustainable work/play routine which would include some attention to free time and wanted to work on a list of things to do in his free afternoon.

Well, coincidentally, (I love how these things weave themselves together in our lives if we let them) over on 14 Secrets, Bill started working on a Zine for all the 14 Secrets folks to  contribute to, a zine called We Collect Joy.   It struck me that perhaps in my free time I like to collect joy, create joy, and document joy in a variety of ways. 

So if you had as much free time as you could use, and you were able to share some joy with others, what would it be that you would share? 

Here are some ideas from the 14 Secrets folks (I can't wait to see this zine!).  If I could, I would share
scenes of Nature's beauty, faces of children and pictures of animals, mountain moments poetry, nature photographs of the mountains alive with color, words and art to celebrate the joy of life, as much color and light filled joy as possible, a world filled with light and rainbows, laughter, music, the ocean, being surrounded by trees, small children being free, and a walk on the Escarpment where you can experience glorious fall colour, the wide expanse of Georgian Bay and smell the forest and the humus, feel the breeze rustle their hair and know that all is well within Creation.

How it's going to work is Bill will create a digital "We Collect Joy" zine for everyone in the group to have.  What will go into the zine?  Our favorite poems, photos, pieces of art that we have created that gives us joy, essays on what "joy" means to us, or a new digital collage all about joy.  Bill has already created the cover for this zine (which he may still revise), but hopefully it will inspire you to want to join this digital collaboration.

We Collect Joy cover by Bill.

 So to answer Michael Nobb's question, "We Collect Joy!"

Monday, August 08, 2011

Hugging Meditation and Other Inspirations.

Hug Sandwich from Guerrilla Hugs
 Have you heard of hugging meditation?   I first read about it here and thought what a wonderful idea!  And while looking for good hug images I came across the Guerrilla Hugs website.  It's lovely, just raises my feelings of well being reading about their activities and looking at all their great hug imagery.  These folks are raising oxytocin  levels in London, one hug at a time.  Very sweet.              
So here's Thich Nhat Hanh's "hugging meditation" from Chanting from the Heart: Buddhist Ceremonies and Daily Practices.
“You can practice hugging meditation with a friend, a child, your parents, or even a tree. To practice, first bow to each other and recognize each other’s presence. Then, enjoy three deep, conscious breaths to bring yourself fully into the present moment. Next, open your arms and begin hugging, holding each other for three in-and out-breaths.
With the first breath, become aware that you are present in this very moment and feel happy. With the second breath, become aware that the other person is present in this moment and feel happy as well. With the third breath, become aware that you are here together, right now, on this Earth. We can feel deep gratitude and happiness for our togetherness. Finally, release the other person and bow to each other to show your thanks.”
Now isn't that lovely?  But the thought occured to me that we don't always have a friend, child, parent, or even a tree close at hand.  Is there any way to increase our sense of well being without the actual physical hug?  And of course there is.

I got Jill Badonsky's newsletter and she "makes stuff up" and suggests we go make stuff up too!  Well of course, we can make up hugs, why not!  She's got this crazy idea that you can imagine yourself into a wonderful vacation spot, and get all the lovely brain chemicals involved in that imaginative exercise and you save yourself a big packet of money to spend on art supplies, etc. 

So maybe we could take the idea one step further and create art around this idea.  Imagine the best hug at the best vacation spot you can think of and create art about it.  Make it real in your imagination and in your art and let the oxytocin levels flow.

What could be better than this?  Thank you, Jill.

Want one more inspiration link?  Over on Art Therapy Alliance buzz is starting to build about the 6 Degrees of Creativity workshops.  It's an amazing offer, six wonderful creativity and art workshops for $49.  Wow!  Read about all six workshops here!  

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Chester Art Fair

Shipwrecked Doll by Lani
Back from the Chester Art Fair which was a lot of fun.  I had new Shipwrecked Dolls and Pirates Loot (jewelry) featured and enjoyed looking around at all the other artists work.  Shared a tent with my good friend Joan from Tide Dancer Jewelry Designs.  The sun was sparkling and the temperature was lovely.  It was a beautiful day. And it got better!
2 Shipwrecked Dolls by Lani
I met Gilbert van Ryckevorsel who had a booth with some beautiful stone carvings and under water photography. He seemed quite interested in the Shipwrecked Dolls and then told me about some real shipwrecked dolls he had found near my home in Prospect.  They are living quite happily in the ocean with rock algae and coral, and the occasional monk fish.  After the show he sent photos of his underwater dolls and said I could post here.  I can imagine all kinds of possibilities for stories about how they got to be where they are and who they belonged to.  I can also see I need to work a little more on my dolls to get the authentic look.   Have a look and let your imagination play!
 Gilbert van Ryckevorse's photos of real shipwrecked dolls!
 Gilbert van Ryckevorse's photos of real shipwrecked dolls!
 Gilbert van Ryckevorse's photos of monkfish which is guarding the dolls!