Today's technique is doodles. I love to doodle on paint, on paper, all the time anyware.
Today's technique is doodles. I love to doodle on paint, on paper, all the time anyware.
I spent the majority of yesterday reading stuff for school. I’m trying to get a lot of the reading I have due done so I can move onto the papers I have due. I finally took a break and decided to dive into something, a project of sorts that has been sitting on the back burner for awhile now. After a lovely series of emails with a friend I decided I had to get some work done.
I picked up a pair of “smash books” over the summer. If you have been reading my blog for any time you know I'm not a huge fan. They were on clearance for $4 each. When I finally started testing them out, I was disappointed in them. The paper isn’t very nice for fountain pens or liquid inks. But does okay with other things. A quick test with acrylic shows a lot of wrinkles, especially in the style that I work. Needless to say, they aren’t really for me. I have worked with worse.
BUT.I have them and I want to do something with them so I started to go through and glue in some collage elements (personal ephemera) and layering some scraped acrylic paint over the top. Any pages with words- well they have my own stuff on them, dark pages? covered in white paint. I’ll add some colors and more collage pieces in today.
I forgot to snap a picture of my drawing from the second Drawn2gether sketching event at the Gulu Gulu in Salem, MA. It was created by the lovely AJ ning member Sheryl.
It was good to get away from the computer, the books, and highlighters for a few hours to sip a beer and nom some tasty food. After llibations I got to doodle away on an automatic drawing as I got to know a new art friend.
It was good to have a small patch of fun in among writing heavy papers.
Also, I felt much more relaxed than I did with my last automatic drawing. So there is that, the power of not only art but good conversation.
But for now, back to this paper.
I focused on the feelings of making the lines. I focused on how my pens felt on the page. The stiffness of my fingers and wrist as I cramped up from not being mindful of the moment and how it reflected the stiffness of my mind and the cramped feeling of my headspace as I worked on the feelings of being attacked.
I'd like to tell you that this image allowed me to completely let go of everything. But it didn't, it made me AWARE of all of the thoughts and feelings. It allowed me to name my thoughts, give them weight, allow them to be explored. This image gave the stuff in my head form. It will allow me to continue to work on these thoughs. eventually I will be able to let go.
But not today.
This week's theme is transfers. I've love me some transfers. they are one ofthe best tools in an art journaler's tool box. They are fast, fun, and get a look nothing else replicates. So here you go!
I thought I'd start a new series of blog posts. I'm going to call them "Techniques Today." the idea is that I'll find a series of YouTube videos about one art journaling subject, and load them up here. From here, you can try out the techniques or not. Let me know what you think, tag any tweets or facebook posts showing images with #techniquestoday These posts will regularly go up on Wednesday of each week.
If you are having issues watching the video follow this link to the playlist I created.
So how do I use my notebooks? I used to take notes on both sides of every page of my notebooks. I did a little research on the Cornell method and attempted it during my summer class but it didn’t fit with my style of note taking and reflection. It really didn’t fit with the composition books I chose. The comp books were simply too small to effectively use the Cornell method. My method uses color coding, post it notes and tabs, codes, and headings.
I take class notes, reflect on my readings, and journal about classes and experientials on the right side page. Any ink color can be used on these pages, but I usually avoid red. Each page gets a “code” in the upper right hand corner to indicate what is on the page:
R= Reading reflections
C= Class notes
G= Group work
At the top of each page, in the larger line I add a subject line and date. If the class that day is a about CBT Therapy then that is the subject line. If the page is reflections on a reading then the title and author go on the top line of the page. If I’m journaling about an experiential paper, or particular idea then the name of the experiential or idea is indicated on the top “subject” line.
While I’m reading I don’t take notes but highlight. If I think something is of particular importance I will write it down on a post it note or put a tab next to the area in the book. I’ll write in the margins of books I plan to keep or of printed articles. The post it notes are stuck on the right side page opposite of my reading reflection pages. I time my reading reflections to 5 minutes and try to keep the reflection to one or 2 pages. The goal in the reflection is to get down my ideas about the article, any criticism I had, and to get a general idea of the contents. I also make note of what I think the professor is hoping I get out of the reading. This timed method was suggested during a workshop about managing the readings for class, and thus far it has worked really well for me. I’m not filling up a dozen pages per reading, and I’m not wasting a lot of time focusing on information that is not pertinent to the class.
The left hand page is generally left blank during notes and journaling. If a professor gives out specific information about an assignment, I’ll make note of if on the left side. This acts as a call out. I use the left side to reflect on things that come up during class, experientials, journaling, and readings. These are specifically my ideas and differentiated from journaling that I do on experientials. These can be spontaneous ideas that pop into my head as I read and reflect on articles. These reflections are always done in red ink to differentiate it from any specific info given out by the professor.
If I am going to use a particular page for a paper it gets a blue post it tab. These are removed after the paper is finished. My current page gets a green or yellow post it flag mostly so I can flip to it quickly when I get to class or I need to reflect on a reading.
Occasionally when I have a paper coming up for class I’ll sit down and do a mind map of all the ideas that come up from the questions the professor asks, I will then use the mind map as a launching point for any journaling I do for the paper. The mind map will span the left and right side of the pages.
On the inside front cover of each of these notebooks I’ve made a pocket so I can stuff in any handouts or art made during class. This has been working pretty well so far. Though most of my classes do not have hand outs but a few of the workshops I’ve attended have. The pockets have proved useful.
This is an evolving method. I’d abandoned some things- like highlighting within my notes and simply moving to whatever ink color I’m using that day and red. In some of my notebooks I remembered to leave a page blank at the start, and wish I’d done it for all of them, this will allow me to index the notebook when I shelve it. When I do shelve it I add a label to the spin indicating what class the notebook was for and what dates I used it. The idea is that I’m able to quickly go back to class notes and refer to them as needed. The other really positive thing about this method is that it is cheap. I’m using a 50 cent notebook, a pack of colored post it tabs, some post it notes, and several colors of pens. It could be done with only 2 ink colors if you really wanted to pair it down.
Now that I take the train to work I have a choice of drawing or reading. It's pretty evenly divided as to what I pick. I more often then not decide to draw on the way home. It's also a great way tot get uppity type people to not sit with me. Automatic drawings seem to weird those people out.
This is where things get complicated. I have drawing stuff for at home and drawing stuff I take with me to school. I’ll write about the stuff I take with me for use on the train and T. At home any pen or pencil is fair game. I use 3 brands of gel ink or gel hybrid ink pens, all of which are water resistant,so that I can add watercolors when I get home. I don’t like using a fountain pen on the train because of the bumps, shakes and jolts. I don’t want to crush a nib.
Zebra Sarasa 0.7 This has been my go to pen. It’s not scratchy, the ink flows perfectly on every paper I’ve used and when I layer watercolor, watercolor crayons, and acrylic paint over it, there is NO LIFTING. This is very important in my current work. If I’m layering bright clean yellow over black I can’t have black lifting into the color and turning it muddy or green. Occasionally this pen grays out or doesn’t make a perfect black line. The one detractor of this pen is it’s cheap feeling body. Awesome ink in a cruddy pen body. If I have to write standing up I’ll use a Sarasa, as the clicky pen is easier to use than a fountain pen.
UniBall Signo in a variety of sizes. Again water resistant or waterproof ink that doesn’t lift. I find this pen to be a little more scratchy and not as smooth on all papers thrown at it. It is a great dark black ink that never grays out. It’s just not quite as smooth as the Sarasa. The pen’s body is better than the Sarasa.
Pentel Hybrid Technica I have 4 sizes. I like these but they do have a slight tendency to lift, so I only like to use these when I’m going to leave the page black and white. I have reviewed these in the past.
I also carry one of my many technical pencils in 0.5 with me, usually with HB leads loaded. It varies from day to day depending on what I want to use.I also carry a wite out pen and a clicky eraser.
Everything gets shoved into a pen roll I picked up at Staples for $5 at the start of the school year. It is padded and offeres some protection for delicate points.
Grad school requires that I write, a lot. I’m not a computerized notetaker, I prefer pen and paper because it helps me to learn and remember. I thought I’d write up a post about what I’m using for notes as well as drawing. Yes, drawing! The great thing about getting a graduate degree in art therapy is that art is part of the program.
I’m almost exclusively using Staples brand composition notebooks that are made in Brazil. I purchased a bunch of these when they were on sale for 50 cents. 20 of them to be exact. Why so many? After being burned on the Staples Sustainable Earth composition notebooks, I really didn’t want to get into the depth of the semester and have to search out another decent composition notebook. Once I did the work in figuring out what composition notebook I liked with the inks I planned on using, I didn’t want to be frustrated with notebooks. It looks as though I’m going to fill one per class and more for classes where I’m doing more reflection. I’ll have to write up a post about how I use my notebooks, because it’s different than how I thought I’d use them. I also carry a no name sketechbook from Artist and Craftsman that I need to review at some point. It's heavy, but the paper is great.Writing Pens
I’m almost exclusively using one of 4 pens, depending on my mood, color desired, and what I’m writing.I take 2 of these with me to school as well as an assortment of pens to draw with.
First I have a TWSBI 530 medium nib, I change the ink up as I feel like I want to change it. Right now it’s loaded with Diamine Chocolate. I love this ink and pen combination. The flow is just amazing, the color is like writing with semi-sweet chocolate, and it has lovely shading with this nib. Awesome.
Second I have a TWSBI 540 fine nib that I have loaded with my Scribal Workshop blend of Siren Blue. Now that I have this ink flowing well, it’s just awesome. It flows well, looks great and has nice shading, plus it’s not a boring blue. I also use this for margin notes on my readings.
Third I have my Kaweco Sport Classic in clear with a medium nib. I’ve converted it back to eyedropper since the sack conversion left it leaking into the cap, which it doesn’t do when eyedropper. I’ve got it filled with Private Reserve DC Supershow blue. I love this ink, even with it’s long drying time. I use this for my short reflections on my readings.
Fourth I have a Platinum Preppy medium converted to eyedropper loaded up with a 50/50 mix of Noodler’s Nikita and Red Fox. The Nikita lends it’s bloody red color and the fox gives some water resistance. I use this for reflections for classes on the opposite side of the page. (This is where I need to explain my note taking and reflection method. I’ll get a post up about that soon.) I also use it to reflect on my reading notes, again on the opposite side of the page. I will also use it to circle or underline stuff in my notes.
I exclusively use refillable highlighters. I’ve written about my Platinum Preppy highlighters and my mix of ink previously, so I won’t here. I’ll just point out I have 2, one that I take to school with me and one that stays on my desk at home, so I always have one filled.
I’ll get to the pens I use for drawing tomorrow.
This is a begining list of instructors that have technique based instruction. If you know of another person who does online technique based instruction, add a comment and I'll check it out and add them to the list. Just because someone is on this list does NOT mean that I personally endorse them. If I've seen their instruction before I'll make note of it.
Daisy Yellow Clear easy to follow instruction, bright photos, interactive online, thriving FB group.
KellyKilmer Has done a lot of classes. Friendly online, what instruction I've seen is clear and easy to follow. Does reasonably priced online and in person classes.
iHanna Loads of online instruction, clear easy to follow instructions, pretty pictures.
The Land of Lost Luggage I have taken 2 classes with Julie. Instructions are clear, easy to follow and technique based. Videos are a little long and and include every step of the image made with a voice over. It can get boring. BUT the instruction is clear and understandable. After you finish a LoLL course you will know how to recreate the technique.
Joggles (I know nothing of this site, just when I looked it's all technique based mixed media classes.)
ArtJournaling.ning.com This is my site. There are free and fee based workshops run by a variety of instructors. These are all technique based. The forums are loaded with artists and journalers sharing their personal techniques. Lots of pictures of art journaling.
Diana Trout Her blog is ful,l of arty goodness and I love her YouTube videos. Her book Journal Spilling is one I suggest to many people when they are looking for a good place to strat with art journaling.
Roben-Marie Smith teachs many technique based classes. I have not personally taken her classes.
What can we as instructors do to help potential students make the proper choice? After all happy students mean more happy students.
#1. Accurately describe classes.
#2. If you say you are going to cover something, do it!
#3. Don’t confuse potential students with a lot of fluffy descriptions. A concise description will tell us more about the class than a lot of TV infomercial style writing.
When I was teaching my supervising teacher had me write lesson plans. These plans included a brief statement of what I wanted to accomplish in the class, how long the class was going to last, what I’d cover in the class, and what part of the school and state’s learning goals I was going to meet. Then I’d do a step-by-step plan of the actual classes. I’d include notes on what I would say to students and when. These were serious business, it allowed me to maintain my licensure. If I skipped on these, she’d make me do them again. They were a lot of work. The thing is, they were so important and helpful for me to be able to accurately teach my students. It was so useful I have made them for all my online classes and classes I hope to teach one day.
If #1 and #2 are too hard, maybe a lesson plan would help. Summarize each lesson into a brief description. If you can’t summarize it, break up the class, add another day. A class can’t be all expansive. Teaching everything is impossible. This was the hardest thing for me to learn as a young teacher. I had each class for about 50 minutes each day. I had to be able to summarize my lessons into something my supervisor could figure out in a moment.
What I’ve learned from this discussion is that there is a viable and lively group of people looking for honest, in depth mixed media and art journaling instruction online. What this group wants is safe classes with art and no diving deep into the subconscious, no mind-body connection, no promises to jumpstart creativity, just honest-to-goodness mixed media and art instruction.We can all hold dear the idea that art heals, but we can all also find that in our own personal practice of art journaling if we want it.
I also get why some teach the healing they have learned. It’s natural to want to show this thing you’ve learned with everyone. It’s awesome and we should be proud of the deep internal work we’ve done. That is some powerful stuff. When we have spontaneous healing of wounds we’ve dug out of “the deep” of our subconscious, it’s mind blowing and even life altering. Personal revelation does not necessarily make a good class. Nor does self healing qualify us to take others on that journey. We need to modify what we teach so that it is safe for anyone who takes a class with us. I’m advocating for us to care more for each other, and with that to be careful with the possible hurts that people may feel.
I'm going to make a brief list of the instructors that I know who only do technique based classes but I'll post that in another day or two. If you would like to shoot me an email with a class you tink should be listed feel free. You can also add it in the comments of the post tomorrow.
Anyone who is my twitter friend knows I love me some yelp. I’m a second year elite member and review every new place I go to eat. I love it.
Well, I was thinking, Yelp let’s us review any business. This won’t put anyone who hosts a review site in any possibly legal hotwater. Yelp is a big company and they can handle all that.
So, what you can do, is sign up for a yelp account, you don’t have to use your real name if you don’t want to, or you can tie it to your facebook or twitter account. Once you do that, you can then load up any business. you can also search to see if anyone else has loaded them up. From there you can rate them with a 1 to 5 star rating and then give a narrative.
From there you can share the ratings on blogs, facebook and twitter.
Anyway, follow this link, read some of my reviews, check out what yelp is like, and consider if you'd like to "yelp" about online classes.
What do you think? a good palce to review online classes and instructors?
Other people in the group concurred.
I loaded up links to online help and hotlines people in the US could call.
We kept it up for about 6 months before the workshop kind of quietly died.
Had I worked through the book before I started the workshop I never would have done the online workshop. The information is simply too deep and too much able to expose a raw nerve ending, leaving people in crisis. While I wasn’t prepared to be there for someone in crisis I am (and was) in a place in my life I am able to do so. That is also not a place I should have put people into. The work was too deep for the medium.
That is my failure- to not see this before I started. Leaping before I looked. It sucked that the group died out and that it was really too much for the online medium but it clarified tome why I had (and will) always do only technique based workshops online, the deep stuff doesn't translate well, SAFELY, in this medium.
Failure is part of the process. But it's what we do after we fail that changes us.
I've had the fortune to discuss this series with a number of online instructors. Two said that after review and reflection they either scaled back, scrapped or revamped some of their healing classes. Why? It didn't feel right for them to be offering stuff that went so deep as quickly as online allows us to go.
For us as instructors we have to examine our motivations as to why we offer a course. Is it to share a technique, to make a living, or for our own healing? These are questions instructors must ask ourselves, before a class ever comes to light. before we commit time to it's creation. Especially if we are going to consider offering something that is healing, deeply reflective, or therapeutic.
From a few of the FB message I got the feeling that some readers felt I might be writing these posts with a direction at one person. I think ti's really important that people understand that this isn't about an issue I've had with one particular person, this is about pervasive issues I've witnessed as online teaching of mixed media and the arts gain some ground. I see people throwing about terms like therapeutic as if it means the same thing as healing or spiritual healing. This is not a one person issue, this is a pervasive issue in mixed media and online teaching.
I fully believe that this conversation is needed for so many reasons. First, I think there need not be any shame associated with being online bullied or treated poorly in a class. Secondly when someone is unethical it should come to light, and will, eventually. Third, we need to talk about this, without conversation about bad behavior, and activities, shame will perpetuate and we'll never get rid of these things poisoning our community.
Next Installment, Part 5,
I just want to let everyone know that I'm hoping to respond to some of the comments to the last few blog posts in a blog post, but I've got school tomorrow and that means I'e been reading all day adn I'll have to get to it after school. So be patient with me. :)
I'llleave you with a quote from my readings that pertains to art journaling:
The amazing Catherine Moon suggests that we not talk "about the artwork behind its back." (p. 177)
I think that's a perfect quote for how we shoudl treat our art journals.
So, how does one pick a safe online art journaling course? That’s the $64,000 question isn’t it? This will be highly personal and different for everyone. I’ll give what I think to be some guidelines, add more in the comments. I’m interested in what works for you and what you feel has kept you safe online.
#1. Does the person offer therapeutic or healing classes? If so what are their qualifications? Are they a certified life coach or registered Mental Health Counselor or Social worker or Art Therapist? If you email them and ask about where they got their life coach certification do they tell you? They should be happy to tell you where they got it and how long they studied. In fact this should be somewhere on their website.
#2. Is this person willing to interact with you? If you email them asking a question about the class before you sign up, how long does it take them to get back to you? Do they answer all of your questions? Do they answer them completely? 24 hours is a reasonable wait time, many online instructors don’t answer email on the weekends.
#3. How do they portray themselves online? Will this be a good fit for you personally? Google them. Look for past issues with students. Read back in their blogs. Are they dramatic? If so, you can probably expect that in their classes. If their blog is full of accusational blog posts, even without naming names? If they are drama filled now, imagine what that will be like behind closed doors.
#4. Is the class offered as an art course or self help? In this case you have to ask yourself do you want just an art class or do you want self help. If you want just art you might find yourself less than happy with a self help styled class.
#5. Do they proclaim special or magical abilities, mystical help? Do they offer a series of other add ons you can buy as part of their class? Is a skype “counseling” session you can buy from them? Again, with this one, go back to #1 and ask yourself, “Is this person qualified to help me with my issues?” If they are not a licensed mental health care professional or life coach (depending on your issues and need) then it is likely illegal for them to offer a phone based counseling session for money. This is a safety issue, not just a legal one. It is one thing for someone to offer advice to a friend, it’s another for them to pose as a counselor or therapist and take money. Not only is it likely not legal it won’t feel right*.
#6. As SusanJane suggested in her comment on part 1: Ask some of your online friends and past instructors about their good experiences. Recommendations are a great way to get a better idea of course content, the teacher’s methods, and how the teacher will interact with you. It might give you an idea of if you will like the person. I asked a friend of mine what she thought of a class I was thinking of taking and she told me, “Girl, I love her, but the cray cray is dripping off her and she’s a nutbag.” She then went on to describe all kinds of woo woo frou frou stuff I knew wouldn’t be right for me. So, I passed on the class.
#7. Money. Can you find a local class for less? Sometimes you can find an in-person drop in art center run by real honest to goodness art therapists with a sliding scale fee, or set lower cost classes. the Artful Life Counseling Center and Studio (in lovely Salem, MA) offers $20, $30, and $40 classes depending on length of class, they go from 1 to 2 hours. They also offers $10/hr of drop in open art studio time. That is real value for your money. (from their current brochure 2013) Now, if someone is offering an e-book for $100 with no one-on-one time is that a value for your money? If someone is offering you a class with no one-on-one time that will take you 4 hours to complete for $300 is that a value? If you don’t have access to a Place like Artful Life, then yeah, it might be. Again, I urge you to be aware of the monetary influences going on behind the scenes of these business. How much of this can you find on youtube?**
Now after reading these questions you’re thinking, “Hey so-and-so fits some of this… But, Less, they worked with this good person and this good person, and they are pretty famous. Shouldn't that tell me they are okay?”
Sadly, no. I’ve noticed that in several of the “big name” art journaling and mixed media circuses that there are many instructors who claim to be healers, offer therapeutic classes, and are downright horrible people***. The people who run these large grouped offerings are lending legitimacy to these horrible people because they bring in money, and a lot of it.
Let’s be honest for a minute, when you are paying $80, or $100, or $150 for a group offered series of classes, so are 400, 500, or 1000 people. The math is simple, it’s big bucks. When an art instructor can bring in an additional 200 or 300 people the fact is, that’s a lot of money exchanging hands. Am I suggesting that these group offerings aren’t worth it? Nope, in some cases they are absolutely worth the money. But I think you also have to be aware and understand that this is not only a class it’s also a business and sometimes when money changes hands perceptions change.
When you venture away from the big group classes, you need to be careful and know that some of the people in the classes are not safe people to take classes from, they may have been on their best behavior in the group. Even if they are involved in multiple big classes or have been involved in several over the years. You need to decide what classes are for you not let someone else decide.
Keep in mind that art is powerful medicine in trained hands. With the right help it can push you into uncharted areas of healing, make you feel better, and yes, even, soothe your soul. Art is one tool that can be used to assist you in healing. If you suffer from anxiety, depression, or other mental health issues, use online classes as a supplement to in-person therapy from a qualified person. Someone licensed who has devoted their life to healing. Art will make you feel better but you also need a safety net. If you are dealing with minor stresses an art class may be all you need, but again, I look at online healing classes as something you can do along with a therapist. If an online art class is your gateway therapy which will lead you in person therapy, try it out.
I can attest to the power of my initial training in mental health counseling and art therapy. I am evolving as a person, and my mindset and beliefs about people are changing. I’m learning more than I thought possible in a very short time. Graduate work in mental health counseling and art therapy is immersive and life altering. My life is better than it ever has been before, and I will be a better art therapist for it. Please expect more for yourself than people who claim to be healers who haven’t done the work. You are worth the time and effort of real therapy, or a drop in art therapy inspired workshop with a real art therapist.
Therapeutic implies therapy implies therapist.
Part 2 of this is about art therapy, art as therapy, and art as healing.
I had a lengthy discussion on FB about this subject. it was in reference to Oprah’s new art journaling class. Which I won’t link to here but you can find it easily. The class is $80 and on OprahTV. This will be hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not millions. I don’t know Brene Brown nor have I read her book. Some of my reaction is not about her class but to other groupings of classes available in person and on the internet. These classes are portrayed as ways to heal yourself, fix what ails you, and as therapeutic. I’ll get into why I dislike art journaling teachers throwing around therapeutic as a label for their classes.
I dislike people fiddling around with “my” art form and possibly polluting it with an interpretation that I find to be false, or watering down the art journal. My interpretation of art journaling is not the only interpretation, there are many, and I'm open to those, but I'm not open to seeing the corporate interpretation. Art journaling, like scrapbooking before it, has reached a point where it’s even more likely to be noticed by bigger and bigger corporations. I predict that some of the scrapping aisles in the box craft stores will give way to art journal aisles and we’ll see more specific art journal products. Art journaling is the next BIG thing.
I am extremely wary of teachers throwing around the term therapeutic. When someone uses the word therapeutic it implies that therapy and healing will be part of the course. It also implies that they are trained in either therapy or counseling. People don’t think enough about their words and the implied meanings. Therapeutic implies therapy implies therapist.
I’m wary of people suggesting they can magically tell you what your painting or journal page means. I’m wary of people offering a cure for what ails you. Frankly I’m very afraid of the people online who are offering healing classes or that you should go DEEP when they do not have training to help you once you go deep.
What happens when you go deep in a class, you pull something out of the sticky darkness of your subconscious and you melt. Suddenly, you are a ball of raw exposed nerves. Is the teacher holding this class qualified to help you in this moment? Will she brush you away telling you that your hurt is, “Old news” and follow that up with a chaser of, “get over it.”?
Here’s the thing, art is powerful medicine when it’s used properly. In the hands of a skilled and trained person it can put you onto a path of healing. Art deals with hurt on a level that is deep inside, it’s rooted in the subconscious. It allows you to explore the stuff you can’t talk about. It allows you to make sense of the stuff in the deep of your head.
That person needs to be able to understand what is going on when a person exposes those raw nerves. They need to know what to do when that person shares the source of her raw nerves. The instructor can’t be squeamish when this happens, rather they must deal with it. they must help the person to heal.
Frankly, many online instructors are not able to do this. I can say that I, as a teacher (fancy degree and everything) was not qualified to handle this sort of mental emergency. This is why I focused on ONLY the art aspect of art journaling, not the healing aspect. I was not qualified to heal nor did I have the skills to help someone who had gone into the deep and had raw exposed nerves. Now that I'm learning more about what can happen to people in the hands of an unskilled person, I know that was the right decision.
This is directed to all online art instructors: I think that if you are not a trained therapist you should not offer a therapeutic course. You can offer a healing or spiritual course but must be aware if you ask your students to dig into the deep they need a safety net. Make sure you suggest a therapist. Be aware that if they don’t deal with their issues that they will get worse. This can lead to depression, anxiety, and yes, even death.
A few weeks back someone with an email address from a large corporation joined my site, AJ ning, I allowed her in but carefully watched to see what she was doing. I have a zero tolerance policy for advertising. As I watched, she did nothing, no interactions, no uploads of images, no content, nothing. She didn’t add one comment or idea to the community. I forgot about her until the other day.
She loaded an event for approval.
A big corporately funded shindig.
It set me off.
I don’t blame the marketer for doing what she did, that’s her job, but I’ll be damned if I allow corporations to advertise on my site for free.
These corporations think they can trample anywhere and they’ll be welcome.
Corporate entities are not welcome on my site.
I’ve worked too hard and long on art journaling and art journaling ning to allow these corporations to make a quick buck off the community that has been built by people who share willingly and for free their ideas, their art, and information with one another for the sheer love of what we do. No forget that, forget the corporations that want to blunder in, make some money while people are interested. After the co-opt and sell MY art form and turn it into something that its not, for a few dollars, and when they lose interest and the paycheck isn’t big enough for them, they’ll move on. I’ll still be here slopping paint into my journal, glueing in garbage, and torturing a page.
Because this isn’t about money for me, it’s about passion, authenticity, and life. Art journaling isn’t a job for me, it’s something I DO.
Why do I so dislike these corporate things?
One of the things I’ve been learning about through school is the true power of art for healing, in the right circumstances and with the right help. The right help could be a licensed art therapist, experienced healer, or self directed, depending on the needs of the person. What I’m trying to reconcile is this with the proliferation of people online selling “art heals” and fearless art exploration of the psyche. Some of it worries me. I’m frightened of the gurus selling something they don’t fully understand.
I’m frightened of artists who have healed themselves and teach that method without learning of the damage they can do to others.
I’m frightened of the massive amounts of money that exchange via the internet for these services.
In particular an online acquaintance has aligned themselves with someone I’ve personally known to be destructive, manipulative, and harmful to the well being of others; though this acquaintance knows these issues she has chosen to work with this person.
A great deal of money is on the line with online healing art classes.
Art heals.Art saves.
I don’t know how to reconcile what I know of this online acquaintance and this new business partnership. Part of me wants to cry foul and sell out. Part of me is simply worried about the false help they will give to people, and perhaps the bad name they could give art therapy.
Find inner peace.
These damaging people do a disservice to real art therapy and art as therapy. They make a mockery of the statement “Art heals.” They further damage people through incompetence and money grubbing ignorance.
Don’t be deceived, when you are paying a premium price for an online service there are hundreds of other people also paying a premium price for that same service. Thousands of dollars are wrapped up in these online services.
I've been doing a lot of reading these last few days. I had a paper due that I think I totally over thought... I did a lot of reading for that and then I have a lot of reading for the actual clas parts of school. One of the articles I just read was by a woman named Catherine Moon. It was a very interesting piece and in it she writes about the "critical eye," aka inner critic.* So I did an automatic drawing and as I was doing the drawing I was moved to add an eyeball above the face. Interesting. the drawing was automatic but the eyeball less so. I tried to NOT add it but my brain kept screaming at me to ADD the eye. I gave in and did it.
Here is the image without water added:
I also hung an art show this past weekend. I got an email froma guy who knew someone I met up with to talk about art (yay! for meeting up with other artists in the area!) she sent himn a link and my work got hung on the wall. Well, it went something like that, there were a few back and forth emails and such. So I sent out an invite to some friends via facebook and we got together to look at my weirdo drawings aka automatic drawings, drink coffee and eat cookies.
My art, on the wall!
THIS is a chocolate chip cookie with an Oreo baked inside of it. Also, the Oreo was in fall colors, so once I bit in, ORANGE! It was every bit as tasty as it looked. Also, Jonathan made me one of the best cappuchinos I've had in a long time. If you want to see my weirdo drawings in person head to Atomic Cafe in Beverly, MA. Get yourself on of those Oreo stuff cookies!
*Apparently I now have to cite everything when I write, so here you go:
Moon, C. H. (2002). Studio art therapy: Cultivating the artist identity in the art therapist. (pp. 156-196 ) London: Jessica Kingsley.
I'm a huge fan of watercolor crayons I've tried a number of brands but keep coming back to Caran D'Ache. Why? They are creamy, loaded with pigment, and move with water excellently. They are however pretty pricey at just over $1 a crayon that can add up. When I saw the Sargent Watercolor Crayons I wanted a pack immediately. I couldn't decide between the 8 or the 12 pack. Eventually I went with the 8 pack. They were reasonably priced at $6.67* at Artist & Craftsman.
They are in a cardboard matchbox sliding box. No fancy tin here. You'll haveto excuse the paint that I got on the box, I had to use them to review them, and that included doing some of my usual watercolor crayon techniques.
The crayons themselves at first are a little stiff, I think the outer layer of crayon has dried out a tad. Once I used them for a few minutes and wore off the outer layer these crayons perform really well. I was really really surprised at how well they performed for inexpensive watercolor crayons. After the initial dried layer the crayons goes onto the page smoothly and looks like any crayon. The color is nice and deep so long as you put enough crayon on the page. The darkness of color can be controlled by how much crayon you lay down on the page. Color lightly- get light color; color heavily and get dark color. These really surprised me in how well they lifted and moved around with water and a brush. They really needed very little water and brushing to move around well and blend with one another. Really really impressed with their ability to move once wet. Unlike the Staedtler watercolor crayons these moved while wet like Caran D'Ache. I'm very impressed with this realtive newcomer to the watercolor crayon market. They perform really well for any art journaling need and are signifcantly less expensive than the Caran D'Ache. Are these archival and lightfast? Probably not. I've not yet tested them. But like any student watercolor it's not likely. They do match the Sargent Watercolor magic liquid watercolors. So color-wise they match, allowing easy mixing across materials.
While I didn't purchase the 12-pack with a "free" brush I did look at the brush, flopping around loose in the cardboard box... It didn't look like it was a very high quality brush, but it would be useful for washes. It certainly looked like whatever point may have been on the brush was long gone. I don't know why manufacturers that include a "free" brush in a box of something haven't learned to put a small dab of rubbery glue to hold the brush in place to prevent damage. Common sense might cost the manufacturer some money.
A new addition to my review will be looking at the material's potential for use in my future art therapy practice, I'll keep it at the bottom of my reviews so people who aren't interested can ignore it, and those who are can find it easily. These watercolor crayons could be used with children or adults with success. They work as well as the "big" brand but at a much lower cost. Meaning, they can be purchased in a plentiful quantity that the client will never feel they are running out of materials and lending a sense of freedom to their use. If giving a client a new box is important, that can be done because the cost of these crayons is low. The crayons are non-toxic. There is, of course, the typical concern that one might have when giving "children's" supplies to adults.
Last night, after reading for hours, and then watching some junk TV on Hulu I decided to do my "evening" mandala riff. I'm still figuring these things out. I'm digesting a huge quantity of info in a short period of time. I'm immersed in this stuff. So anyway. I started to work on mandala riff. I had an idea I really liked. I've been working with a combination of Pentel Hybrid Technica, Zebra Sarasa, and Uniball Signo pens. This idea simply flowed from the pen tip. I added some lines and more lines, i had some patterns and the mandala bit came in and I liked it a lot. Some of the mandala riffs I'm doing are staying black and white and some are getting the color treatment. I couldn't decide if I wanted color or if I wanted to leave it as is.
I forged ahead and added color to the image and now I hate it. The dark shade I chose detracts from the sensitive patterns and lines I created with my pen work. The colors don't work well with the image I'd created. Immediately I was filled with regret for my color choice and for "ruining" my drawing with watercolor crayon. This isn't a feeling I usually have as I art journal. This is a completely foreign feeling. I've always thought of my art journal as a no hold barred playground. So to feel that I've "ruined" an image is new. Immediately, I started to question the "why" and "hows" of what I was feeling. Why was I so disappointed in myself? Why did I hate this image so much?
I realized that this feeling was what I was meant to explore. Maybe not last night or even at this moment but over the next few days I'm going to be exploring all those questions.*
I've started to start and end my day with a modified mandala type of image. I start with a center of one of my automatic drawings and build out from it in a somewhat circular pattern. I do not attempt to create anything perfect. Occasionally I'll break out of the circle with shapes. I draw these with an inexpensive but water-resistant pen, usually a Zebra Sarasa or Uniball Signo in 0.7 and black ink. After I finish the drawing and pattern making I work back into the image with watercolor crayons and watercolor.
While I start with a core of my automatic drawings these are different in that I don't add to them in the same way. Rather I work in patterns around the central image.
Anyway, here's part of last night's closer, before I added water.
And one from my train ride home a couple nights ago. If you draw something like this, none of the high falutin' business people will want to sit with you. So on a very crowded train you can end up sitting alone, which is a luxury. Color was added when I arrived home.
Holy moley, it's been awhile since I did a blog post. In case you missed my post about it, I started graduate school at the end of August. It's been a whirlwind non-stop awesome ride. I'm learning an incredible amount about art therapy and meeting some awesome people interested in the same stuff. Basically, I'm learning that all these things I've been spouting off about here about art being a powerful tool for healing is true. But I'm also learning about the psychological theories behind the powerful healing tool. I'm also learning how music, movement (dance), play, and other expressive arts can be used WITH art to heal.
This is powerful stuff.
Honestly, I'm sitting in a place of extreme gratitude that I'm able to now devote my life to this thing called art therapy. My past has given me a lot of tools to use with what I'm learning but I'm also seeing how I can use those tools in my future.
Oh, part of my course work is art. So that's awesome. I'm going to try and get better about the blog again. I've got lots of school related things- pen reviews, paper reviews, and new art materials that I want to review here.
Welcome to the September 10, 2013 edition of carnival of pen, pencil and paper.
Cheryl presents How to Flush a Fountain Pen using a Monteverde Mini Converter posted at Writer's Bloc Blog.
That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition of carnival of pen, pencil and paper using our carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.
I decided to pick up a few more composition books while they are cheap at Staples. I noticed the made in Brazil books are fewerin numbers and mixed in with the Made in Egypt books. After digging through the stacks I noticed something.
The made in Brazil books are on the bottom and the made in Egypt books on top. The Books made in Brazil have a rounded spine. To find the Made in Brazil books I ran my hands over the spines of the book stacks and was easily and QUICKLY able to find the made in Brazil. Within seconds of figuring this out I have my stack of books and I was in line to pay. It took me a good 5 minutes or so to find the first made in Brazil book.
So all you fountain pen users who lova a cheap notebook, look for rounded spines. Please note this may only be the case for the Staples branded notebooks as all my other composition notebooks- Mead and Norcom have rounded spines and are not good with fountain pens.
I used to love driving. Really, really loved it. I loved it until I started to commute over an hour each way on I95/128 here in MA. Driving 128 is enough to make the most seasoned driver anxious, adding to it a significant stretch of I95 and well, hell on earth. Leaving the corporate world means I get to leave the hellish commute behind.
Now my commute is about the same amount of time, but by train. I sit on the commuter rail and read books for school or write my papers out longhand. I sit and reflect on my class I just took. I watch the sparrows fly in and out of weeds and chainlink fence. I look at rusty poles as I wait for the train to pick me up. I talk to fellow passengers or bury my nose in my book.
I don't worry that someone will be distracted by their cell phone, drift over the line and sideswipe me. I'm not on high alert waiting for the other guy to almost kill me. I havent' had to call 911 when I've witnessed an accident.
It has been glorious and peaceful in a way.
This is just one view of my commute: