Thursday, January 28, 2010

Returning Home


I love how art can become reincarnated. I created this piece above with Ms. Artist B at her home studio many months ago and now it reappears with some new elements for a new purpose.

Creating art has been a back-burner activity for me lately because I am teaching a community college reading and writing class this winter quarter. It has been a blast teaching this class -- challenging yet invigorating. I bring aromatherapy to every class, have my students move their bodies so they can learn and write better, and pretty much put on a one-woman show. Who knew I could do this?! Not me for sure.

With little time or room for art making these days, I still try to carve out time for a gesture of artiness here or there or a spontaneous collage right before bed. The piece above, though, reflects an assignment I recently gave my students: to create a visual depiction of/response to an essay from This I Believe II (our text for the class).* I told them I'd create an art piece, too. As soon as I agreed to participate, my body felt a little lighter and my heart said "Courtney, you get to create art!"

So I resurrected a piece I made in Ms. Artist B's workshop and added elements that reflected themes from the essay. To even play with an old art piece gave me such pleasure!

Try this:
Resurrect an old art piece that doesn't feel "done" yet, or doesn't seem to have a purpose. Give it a new intention for a new life, letting go of what it once was (this part can be challenging if you feel emotionally attached), and play with its colors and textures, images and gestures, until you have given it a new way to be in this world. And maybe you'll feel somewhat renewed, too.


*If you're curious, the assignment was to respond to this essay.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Art as Salve for the Soul

The Beginning is the End is the Beginning, mixed media, 6" x 8"


Sometimes art cannot be helped. It relieves a deep ache. The salve for this ache is color and image; the analgesic is paint-stained fingers and sharp-edged paper scraps. Messes create an opening for breath in the chest, make room for self-forgiveness.

Tonight, I sit beneath the dining room's water-cracked ceiling as I create. I watch for water to drip from the tiny cavern of slit drywall and apply the antiseptic of art over my heart. I hear a thrum-hum inside me calming the tendrils of loss just a bit, just a very little bit.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Catching Your Own Eggs (Or Listening to Your Own Hunches)

Egg Catcher, 6" x 8" encaustic


"While others may be able to offer and interesting and even insightful perspective on the possible meaning behind your imagery, it is still only their perspective. If what someone says about your imagery or artwork doesn't feel right to you, then trust that it isn't. Your own instincts will be your best guide when it comes to understanding the messages your imagery carries. Remember, your body-mind wants you to know what it has to say, and it will give you the answers, if you ask for them, in the form of intuitive hunches and flashes of insight. Just trust the notions that come to you as you ask your body-mind for the answers."

--Barbara Ganim, Art and Healing: Using Expressive Art to Heal Your Body, Mind, and Spirit