I recently started to sketch out a figure, that seems to have pushed himself into the border of my consciousness. He’s a masked and cloaked figure and because of the mask his expression is almost impossible to read. He seems playful and slightly sinister all at once. He makes me think of the “hungry ghosts” in Buddhist stories – that wander the realm looking for physical sustenance when what they truly need is spiritual nourishment. I think this character is very reflective of the place I seem to be in at the moment…a bit restless, searching for something, but not quite sure what it is yet – in limbo really. The drawings are done in light gray marker and black pen and so they might be a little hard to see online, but perhaps this is also due to my character’s ephemeral nature…
This summer has been a very productive one for me in the studio…despite the heat (and the fact that our AC doesn’t quite reach there) I’ve been painting almost daily. I’ve been working more on my “sandstone series” and have also been doing a lot of palette knife painting. There is something so satisfying and energy generating about applying paint and thick pastes with a palette knife! Each stroke brings about unexpected splashes of color and textures to be explored. Here are some pictures of my latest work – all created over the summer months…
p.s. I’ve also added these images to my galleries: To see even more new work look under the “Abstract, Sandstone Series, and Earth Windows” Galleries:) As always, just click on the image to see a larger more detailed version if it…
This summer has been full of transitions, changing roles, new faces, and new environments. I’ve worn many “hats” as an arts instructor, graduate assistant for my school, and now as an volunteer (and upcoming intern) in Child Life at Mount Sinai. Sometimes my head spins when I wake up, and I can’t remember which job or internship I am headed to!
To be quite honest, I’ve been feeling overwhelmed lately more often than not…I have been painting and drawing almost daily over the summer and that continues to be incredibly helpful as a way to release some of my excess anxieties or give me an energy boost when I’m starting to get worn down.
I started to think about the role that my dreams have played in helping me to sort some of this material out on an unconscious level and nightly basis. While talking to my therapist about my reoccurring dream themes and motifs, we both realized that in my dreams I am usually either flying, or below ground or sea level. Many times I am diving in the ocean and surrounded by unknown creatures – or venturing into a cave that I have never walked through before. From the vantage point of flying, I am able to observe life as it unfolds below me but my feet do not touch the ground that I am observing. While talking about this with my therapist I realized that I am having trouble feeling grounded (literally and metaphorically). It is hard for me to find a resting place for my body and mind at this point in time, and I feel like I’m on a frequent roller coaster ride between flying high and burrowing lower into the earth or sea.
Do you ever feel that you are not “grounded”? How do you find that balance again in your own life?
This last year has been a very productive one for me and my personal art making. Although the first year of art therapy graduate school was incredibly intense and busy, I actually seemed to increase my studio time. I think one way of looking at it, is that I’ve been “practicing what I preach” as an art therapy student and intern!
My summer is about to get a bit busier, but all with good things (more on that later!) I know that I will keep returning to my studio practice, as it has been and continues to be an intrinsic part of who I am.
As usual, I’ve currently got about 6 different paintings going…I love being able to “dialogue” with each piece, and then switch the conversation to another one when I feel that the timing is right. Each day that I come back to them I find something new, that often leads me and the pieces into unexpected directions.
Recently I’ve been spending a lot of time developing my Sandstone Series. These pieces are highly textured, and I am using a combination of molding pastes, sand, resin pastes, paint, and sea glass that my mom and I have both collected over the years that she’s lived near the ocean. Each painting in this series, whether small or large, is built up from many layers – sometimes as many as ten. The process is incredibly meditative for me and I love combining the tactile with the washes of color. Often I will lay very wet washes of paint across the sandy surface, and move the canvas around so that the color stains and settles into the patterned textures in the same way that the ocean spills over the sand when the waves come in.
Below are a few pieces from this series…I am completing some more pieces in the series now and will post them to my blog and art site soon!
“It is in the space between inner and outer world, which is also the space between people–the transitional space–that intimate relationships and creativity occur.”
-(D.W. Winnicott from Transitional Objects and Transitional Phenomena,1951)
The term “transitional object” is used frequently in art therapy. In her book Handbook of Art Therapy, Cathy Malchiodi gives an excellent description of the meaning behind transitional objects and how this relates to art therapy:
Art products can become transitional objects which may become imbued with meaning beyond what they are in reality. For example, a drawing or painting made by a child who is dependent on the therapist for support may become a transitional object in the absence of the therapist, defusing separation anxiety. In a similar vein, an adult may make a clay figure of a parent who abandoned her as a child, symbolically evoking that person and the unresolved trauma of separation. Henley (1992) notes that art product functions as a transitional object because it supports self-relationship and empowerment and encourages connection with the therapist who facilitates the creative expression.
(Malchiodi, 2002, p.54)
When we are young, a transitional object for us may be our “blankie” that we drag with us to our first day of preschool as a “stand-in” for our parents while we are apart. When we are older, a transitional object may be a piece of jewelry, given to us by someone we love as a reminder of their place in our lives. At the end of our first year in graduate school, my supervision group worked on clay pieces for the last few classes. These evolved over a few weeks, and were left to air-dry for our last day of class so that we could take them home with us as a transitional object from our time together this year.
Our supervisor and teacher Alison gave us each a creative piece of herself – a hand-made ceramic piece that she had created – each one slightly different and unique. In this way, she gave us a transitional object that could visually and symbolically represent her when we no longer met on a weekly basis.
Both pieces are sitting side by side in my studio, and overlooking me as I create. For that matter, my studio has become filled with these transitional objects – many from clients and friends. Each one acts as a container for special memories and experiences that I have shared with others.