Mini Vision Boards and 2020 Vision Boards

I just googled Vision Boards and saw there is a video, “How to make a vision board that actually works!”

In Art Therapy, your vision board already works because you are in the proces of making it and it “works” after you’ve made it. There are not criteria for it to “work”. It would be like telling someone who is daydreaming whether their fantasies work or not, except with a vision board, you actually have a concret object.

A vision board in art therapy is not about the Law of Attraction, although you may make a board about your desires for the purpose of them manifesting. I always tell people that imagining the most “impossible things” has no side effects as long as they are in your imagination, they can’t disappoint you because their existence is what they are, not some  desire that either gets fulfilled or not. You may imagine yourself flying or turning into an elephant; this image and fantasy still works even though it is highly unlikely to happen in this plane of reality. It may be happening in the Twilight Zone.

I often present the vision board as an art therapy projects to new clients if they want to try something because the process can help decrease perfectionism and rigid ideas. You simply pick out a bunch of magazines from  my collection, cut out images and words that appeal to you and glue them together in whatever arrangement you want on a big piece of paper, canvas board or cardboard. You can also print images you like from your photos or websites to add them to your vision board. Pinterest is kind of like making a lot of vision boards and making different categories for them. In fact, you can print images from Pinterest to include in your vision board.

I find it fascinating to see how people make their vision boards. There is no one way to do it. Some people spend a few sessions cutting out images and collecting them in an envelope. Then when they are done with that part, they arrange all the images on the “board” and glue them on to it. When gluing down images/words, some people overlap their images and join them together in interesting ways. Others keep each image separate from the others and leave a lot of space on their board. It seems like the process of making a vision board somehow call to you to fill the entire space. At times people use paint pens, rhinestones and little mirrors and other embellishments or colored wash tape, artist tape , duck tape, on their vision board. The tape can be put around the edges to provide a frame.

Others start cutting images and either arrange them or glue them immediately to their vision board without creating a composition. Sometimes people cut images that will be like “wallpaper” in the background and then cut the images to put on top.

I just discovered people are having Vision Board parties to make them for the new year/new decade. Yesterday I started my own 2020 vision board while making a mini double sided 2020 vision board to carry around. It is fun to try cutting images without thinking too much about them and then the surprise is a fun factor of the project, seeing what you ended up making without a preconceived idea about it. I wil post my 2020 large vision board here as an example.

To have a Vision Board Party, which intrigues me; I’ve never been to one, you probably need space to create and a lot of materials. Some people seem to be using astrology. YOu could use Tarot cards as a starting off point, whether for a group vision board party or on your own. Pulling Tarot cards for the new year can be fun.

Speaking of the New Year, I usually post on this blog my word for the year. Last year I had a longer process figuring out my word, which ended up being “Serendipity”. This year it was obvious and quick. My word for 2020 is MONEY!

Home Yoga Practice

Lessons: One is, if I’m having a strong reaction to something, there is something in it worth learning or reframing to use and get inspired by.

I have been reading a book entitled, “Yoga at Home: Inspirations for Creating Your Own Home Practice”. I saw it on a site about yoga and got it from the library. It’s a great book, and can be useful whether you read it from beginning to end or do what I’m doing, dipping into it and reading whatever I feel like. There are lots of photos, which is great, as it’s the kind of topic you get inspired by by seeing images of home practice, not just reading. There are a lot of points of view from different yoga teachers/experts.

I haven’t gone through the whole book. So far I’ve noticed a lot of great ideas and tips. The book gives you a wide range of points of view, ideas, yoga philosophies, and people’s homes in their home practice.

It struck me that the concept of home is everywhere in the book with the concept of practicing yoga outside of a class or teacher guidance and defining/redefining what yoga means for you and what yoga “space” is.

Some food for thought that came up as a theme was, your home practice is very personal to you, and doing a home practice involves figuring out, discovering what you want from yoga at home. The “where” part is fascinating to me and ranged from people saying, wherever you put your mat and intentions can vary;  the imortance and meaning can come from what you feel and do on the mat to people who have very specific sanctuary type spaces where they do their practice in their home. Even the people travelling in an RV made the inside of the RV look like a sacred meditative yoga type space. People also lucky enough to have outdoor space showed how they practice outdoors.

Another variable is, are you alone and focused simply on your yoga, or are you incorporating it into daily life involving partners, pets, children, music, etc.? Even the concept of the yoga mat and what surface you do yoga on is expanded to include the kitchen floor and rugs and grass/outdoor nature as well as more typical yoga mats one expects to see.

The book focuses on creative practice and going with your intuition in the moment, and doing things one woulnd’t expect, like listening to specific music or even playing music yourself, writing in a journal, coming to the mat and doing something, embracing the unknown, and of course, time of day and frequency of practice.

A while back, someone who knows me well said the obvious, “You want a Zen Garden, and your living space and life are not nor likely to be this perfect Zen Garden you’re imagining.” In this book, a majority of the people have created their own “zen garden” in which to practice yoga. They may think they are making “home yoga space” accessible to the average person, but the pictures in the book of course look slightly unattainable, just as the images of these yogis doing yoga are images of a range of people in different sizes and shapes, but they all look somewhat “perfect”, ie. out of reach, whether the pose they are in looks out of reach, or how they look and what they’re wearing and their physical shape seems out of reach. Towards the end of the book you get more range of physical bodies for sure, but it would be nice if they were varied throughout the book. Why does Magdaline Adhiambo get a two page spread at the end and no name in the table of contents at the beginning of the book? She should have been in the beginning or middle and be given several pages, considering how inspiring she is to many people and how she represents atypical yoga body size and shape. And the founder of “Curvy Yoga” is also near the end of the book. They do include a range/varitey of ethnicities, ages, gender only male or female so far in my flipping through the book. They should have included some of the well known yoga teachers out there who are challenged with not having legs or arms etc. There is something wrong with a book that puts the “curvy” yoga teachers at the end instead of right in the middle. That definitely is a big problem with the book, as well as excluding trans and gender variance as well as focusing on body shape/size and body limitations. If you want this book to inspire the average person who likes yoga, you need to welcome them at the beginning to see people they can identify with. Whom is this book for?

The other problem for me was they emphasize creating a “sacred” space and the diversity of that and spaces in which to do yoga, but they don’t go far enough. Yes, your dog or kid might be there, but what about having a person whose house is messy show how they carry on a yoga practice in a sloppy setting? What about considering the many people who not only don’t have a good space at home, but who have a messy home?

Since they did not include that, I am going to write a post about that concept of yoga, the idea of Equanimity, being still and grounded in the midst of chaos and mess and changing settings, in the midst of outside distractions like other people watching TV, talking, etc.

To me an important part of yoga and my approach to therapy is the idea of accepting what’s going on and being more ok in the middle of imperfect aspects of life. This involves not resolving something with another person, leaving off in the middle trusting you can return to it later, not finishing things and being ok with it, trusting in the next moment and letting go of control, that a lot of creativity involves disorder and chaos and unexpectedness, spontaneity. In this book spontaneity is important, but it is limited to what you do every time you go to practice at home, how you do it and how you sequence your private yoga or not, when and how long you do it, whether meditation is a big part or not. Those are important ideas as well.

So I will write a post of my own ideas about my personal home yoga practice which I started on August 5, 2014.

Re-Committing to Writing/Blogging

I haven’t posted since late September, so I am going to post a list of topics and try to get back to regular posting.

-Yoga Practice Book I’m reading and my own thoughts on my Home Yoga Practice

-Mini Double Sided Vision Boards as an Art Therapy activity

-Cut out poems using text threads as an Art Therapy activity

-My Mandala Project in progress and where it is

-My Still Life Revival and Oil Painting

-Paintings and Drawings, Abstraction or “Non-Objective” work and where it is

-Commitment, Focus, Discipline, Persistence with making a body of work, what distractions come up to self redirect

-Burning Bridges and Building Bridges, a DBT skill

-DBT class and what I’m learning so far

-The challenges of focuing on positive energy and reframing “problems” as challenges. The work of turning the mind towards compassion when in the midst of chaos or emotional reaction

-Daily Rituals and Gratitude Practices, Evolution


New Series in Progress

In August I started doing line drawings with fountain pens and Micron pens. Like a lot of my work, it started as materials driven; I had ordered a set of various thickness Micron pens and was playing with them during my daily drawing. At some point these images started repeating and I explored further. I started with small square paper.

At first I was limiting to the square format which I really enjoy. When I returned from vacation with a bunch of small squares, I decided to try to pick one and “copy” it to larger square wood panels, hoping to then follow that with larger scale oil paintings using the same image. I’ve been interested in using oil paints again all year and had a few forays into it.

It’s always interesting when you’re into a repeating type of line work what happens. Do I get more limited in repeating certain shapes? Do I cover the whole space? Do I discover new line work to add to the box of tools? All of these things happened. Color also became part of it through use of fountain pens.

There are plans and ideas you have as an artist and then the interesting left turns you take that are unexpected. How did I go from these:

To do hat happened the other day with a totally separate project, my Mandalas?

I had been making these mandala collages that were all chaotic and pieces together based on an old series from over ten years ago. On Wednesday I started adding ripped up tape and ripped up drawings to a blue mandala as shown above. The next day, I had this breakthrough where I had to follow an instinct to cover the whole piece in light blue oil paint. As I always do with mixing color, I didn’t mix it all first to keep the whole thing uniform. I’m not patient enough for that. So the color varies but it had the effect I needed of simplifying the piece that was feeling “too out of control”. I was inspired by discovering a British painter’s simple compositions, William Scott. While reworking the circle I planned to add linework similar to my drawings. As always with going from thin pen to oil paint, there is an adjustment. If you’re not waiting for the paint to dry, your lines will pick up the lighter color. And the lines are thicker. Depending on the brushes and nature of the marks, the quality of line changes and you have a kind of interrupted built up line.

The piece is called, “Find Your Center”, at least for now. I had added stitching work to the edges and inside which I don’t want to completely cover. I’m not sure yet if I want the stitching completely around the edges and how to make stitch marks as part of the line work, but it’s exciting to jump into this totally new territory that changes the nature of the pieces.

A client saw the drawings up in my office and said they were soothing. I’m hoping the circles will take on a soothing sort of simple quality, which is definitely a big turn from how they started. It makes sense that under this still blue circle, there is chaos and upheaval, symbolic of the meditation process for me where one starts with a “loud” mind and ends up with at least a slightly quieter one.

For sure I am feeling more inspired and excited about this work than I have been about anything for quite a long time…

The Fifty Minute Hour, or Thanks for the Clock, Kasa

I just wrote this piece that is mostly not about Kasa’s clock, but maybe all of it kind of is. She brought the clock to my studio when she was seeing some clients there and left it there and forgot to ask for it back.

The 50 Minute hour. That’s what they used to call it. Now most people do 45 minute therapy sessions. When I started private practice, I did hour long sessions; in art therapy often you take time picking out art materials and settling into the rhythm of the session. At some point I switched to 50 minute sessions, where I am now. 45 or 50 minute sessions, time still works like the Twilight Zone, where it gets stretched out like taffy. You can fit a lot of intense stuff into just 15 minutes.

There are many jobs that involve watching the clock. I can speak for mine that it is a strange aspect of the job. On the surface, any therapist will tell you that the built in boundaries of psychotherapy are an important part of the experience, the earthy reality stuff like price, session times and frequency, even the office itself. I had a client years ago who started with specific requests, it has to be every two weeks, and you have to not judge my alternative approach to romantic relationships. I had someone with a strong reaction to the studio space, saying it felt like a garage full of old paintbrushes and if we could meet in a clean space with comfortable chairs, he’d rather work with me there. He had to accept getting his therapy in a dirty garage. This was before the options of Facetime/video sessions were an option.

When I started private practice, I didn’t think too much about the clocks and placement of them until a client told me she needed to see the clock and be the one who announced the end of a session. When you’ve had a traumatic loss as she had, having control of the time is important. I brought in a second clock and placed it where she could see it. It was back when I still used a digital alarm clock with a loud radio alarm to wake me up. When I worked at a day treatment program and was doing an art group, a client pointed out that in all watch ads, the time is set as 10:10. It makes sense. If it was the visual opposite, 8:20, the hands would look like a sad face. Working at that program, I appreciated the stretching of time and the Twilight Zone of serious chronic mental illnesses like schizophrenia, where time is in quicksand. One of my clients spent the whole day in a chair in the big group room. Another one had no complaints sitting in a dentist waiting room for 3 hours not even reading magazines.

Recently my clients and I noticed in the second room of my studio that the clock was not working. It’s an analog on the wall above shelves, meant to be placed for clients to see. I found a new one at Ikea this weekend, that even has Roman numerals. I also had a cool sun ray clock with actual pointy gold rays radiating from it that also stopped working recently.

I have a very small silver clock with the bells on top that I “inherited” from a friend. When she died in 2013, I realized I had her clock. It was so silly and obvious that time had run out for her and I better be enjoying as many minutes as possible myself. It had a loud ticking that one of my clients requested I put it in a drawer. It eventually stopped working, but I have it out on my desk with my stuffed “studio bunny”, a reminder of the well know rabbit with an anxiety disorder where he keeps looking at his pocket watch and freaking out. A little stuffed animal that I had lying around. Years ago a patient brought in her dachshund and the bunny was a great chew toy distraction for him while the client was working on a huge piece on the floor. He got pastel all over the bunny’s white body, and she then really was broken in as a true art studio bunny. As an art therapist I can get away with having a lot of stuffed animals in my office.

My Dad has been into clocks, watches and their workings since childhood. As a kid, really wanted his dad’s clock and got it, nothing fancy and had it a long time. My grandfather knew how to fix clocks. When I was growing up there were antique clocks all over the house that went off on the hour and my dad would take one of those old clock keys and wind them. They are still there. Last I counted there were at least ten antique clocks in their apartment. One’s entirely covered in gold, and has a cupid figure with a bow standing next to the square of the clock part on a pedestal. He has gold wings and is holding fruit over a bowl of fruit on top of the clock. Another one has marble columns and the pendulum is a gold sun. In the library there is a clock with a rooster on top. My favorite is a clock in the dining room, It’s a harp but symmetrical with a gold sun at the top and the clock part is the body of the guitar shaped harp. A few years ago, my Dad gave me his gold Omega watch and a pocket watch. He was giving his watches to his kids, not waiting for death. He used to wear suits with vests where the pocket watch would go, complete with bowtie and hangkerchief. I took the Omega to the guy below my studio who fixes shoes and watches; it’s a shoe repair, barber and make your own nailpolish shop all in one. It turned out the watch did not need a battery and is the kind you actually wind. Growing up I loved watches and my Dad would bring Seiko watches from Japan. I went through a phase as an adult where I stopped wearing watches and just wore watch rings. I collected a whole bunch of different watch rings and found it easy to look at the time without clients realizing because you see your hands more easily than having to move your wrist to check the time. At some point I went back to watches and started collecting watches again. I have a very large square one with a silver band that was the first fancy one that I got. It has Roman numerals on it.

In my own therapy which is five minutes less than the 50 minutes my clients get, I look at the time often. This is the first time I have a therapist like the white rabbit except he is not anxious about arriving late. When he is late, I set my timer to get my exact 45 minutes. One time I was on the way into the subway and he texted that he had to cancel as he wasn’t going to get to his office on time. As some other therapists, I tend to enjoy hearing about other therapists messing up as it makes me feel better about my own mess ups.

Time is also weird for me as an artist. People ask, how long did it take to make that drawing/painting. I now write the date on the back of my work as soon as I start it or restart it to know what date I did it, and I set 15 minute timers for drawing, but I never know exactly how long anything takes to make.


I tried wirting a post about my unfinished projects yesterday for 15 minutes but it got too complicated. I’ll try the more organized approach. THis is a list of projects I’ve started in no particular order.

  • Graphic Novel, I(3) (meant to read as “I Cubed”), memoir. Started in 2000. Stopped finally in 2017.
  • Children’s Book: The Flying Poodle, done in late 90’s, abandoned and lost
  • Art Therapist Made Activity Book for People with Airplane Flying Anxiety/Phobias, including: “Facts About Flying”, Word Searches, Coloring pages, Doodle and writing prompts, maybe crossword puzzles. Could be made like a journal format. Got to the idea point.
  • Memoir in form of Picture Book for adults, inspired by “Depression, A Picture Book” and another one. Got to point of using Word Search cutouts to make limbs on characters, did 2 pages, recent idea
  • Books: Using Altered Books in Art Therapy. Plan to edit the book. Got to the point of inviting some other art therapists to author chapters and emailed with Jessica Kingsley Publishers. They reached out to me last August about possibly writing some kind of book.
  • Poetry and art therapy with/as case study: book with a client’s poems written in session and between sessions and my response poetry. Tried to start with categories of poems and with client going through her poems and picking out ones she likes.
  • Possibility of trying to incorporate pages from abandoned graphic novel into some sort of other book with multiple media
  • The Art Box, a book also personal narrative, about my creative process and using pieces about work as an art therapist, artist and personal life to do with creativity. Memoir of Creativity
  • Some kind of compilation of my comic strips from my art therapy Instagram account, comic strip, “The Daily Grind
  • Website for my art, with newest work and prices to sell directly from website
  • Spreesy an app to use to sell art from social media, getting organized and trying to sell through it.
  • making this current website more organized, going through the “Pages” to make it more coherent and look better

It’s interesting that I almost “forgot” about “The Art Box” project, as it is supposed to be something I’m working on now. That was the idea in spring of 2018, to use some time weekly to work on it.

These projects are all in category of “Other”. The main projects are my art projects that I need to finish to sell the work on the website mentioned above. Current art projects:

  • Mandala collage paintings
  • Cityscapes
  • Abstract square drawings, made bigger on wood boards


Pride Weekend Post

This year there is a Queer Liberation March happening today in protest of what the Pride “Parade” has become. I thought of a lot of different topics to post as my Pride NYC Post, and I think the link to this YouTube video explaining how Queer Liberation is reclaiming Pride is the best thing to post, to hear it from the organizer, about how the Pride March has been co-opted and turned into something that doesn’t honor the real people who’ve been oppressed for more than 50 years. Slapping rainbows everywhere can be a kind of “Wag the Dog” way of obscuring what the real issues and challenges are.


Here is a video of queer people talking about their experiences and the importance of reclaiming Pride:


HEre is a video of queer people talking about their experiences and the importantce of recaliming Pride:


HEre is a video of queer people talking about their experiences and the importantce of recaliming Pride:

Everything Old is New Again

The above image is the only remaining Mandala from 2003 that I recently painted over, literally an old piece in process of being made new.

This is what the piece looked like before I changed it, in an online gallery aptly called Something Old Something New:

Old Mandala

Here we go again. That’s a constant in my art making, at least the past ten years or so. In the past ten years, I have circled back to old work numerous times. The one theme I continually return to is the “cityscapes”. I used to call them “Inner Landscapes”. I really started them when I started a different series, “The Moveable Studio” a reaction to the events of 9/11, using oil pastel and black ink. I ended up making a bunch of tiny images of heads and buildings and eventually connected it to 9/11 and the loss of the twin towers and the people in them.

When I started my Inner Landscapes around 2006, I didn’t make a connection to the city or 9/11 and called them “Inner Landscapes” because the concept was about making a picture of a landscape of my mind and they felt internal. However, people’s reactions to them tended towards seeing them as “real” cityscapes and would ask if it was NYC or if it was supposed to be a city.

Anyway, those pieces went through several successful versions, starting with just using caran cache crayons and pencil on paper, then moving to inks and mixed media, paint, and collage and even a few oil painting/collages.

The above one is a favorite from November 2008.

At some point in 2009-2012, I started adding a lot of collage to them, making them on canvas and wood boards. At that point I feel like I lost something from using too many materials. Then I moved on to other things. When I came back to them I was making drawings with bright colored pen, mostly Sharpie, and I made a lot of those, which are not my favorite.

I made a ton of ones like this above drawing which I don’t like compared to other moments in the series…

From there I wandered off into other work and came back to the Inner Landscapes in late 2016 through 2017, when I started using tape and pens to make new ones and made a whole Sketchbook Project featuring them. Here is the link to that Sketchbook:

Inner Landscapes Sketchbook Project

At that point I was feeling excited to re approach the whole concept, and then I lost the thread again. It wasn’t until last year, May 2018, when I started doing daily 15 minute drawings that I returned to the cityscapes and started writing little stories about the drawings on the backs of them.

This is my favorite one from last year that will be in the Wall Online Gallery…

Then I sort of dropped that after destroying a bunch of the drawings. I managed to ender a few of them into the Organization of Independent Artistst last online show, with the writings. Here is the link to that online gallery:

OIA Salon Online Gallery

Then I got disctracted into repeating another project or thread of old work involving faces, drawing them, and that went into mushrooms and adding beards to the faces and turned into my “Cabinet of Unnatural Curiosities” Series that I’ve put aside for now.

I recently became frustrated with the drawings, probably because I submitted 3 of them to the 440 Gallery for a show with the theme of “Light” and got rejected. The positive thing of the rejection was that I destroyed some more work and then wrote about destroying my hugest creation, a big mandala, which resulted in my revisiting the Mandala project from around 2003 and starting new ones. At the same time, I started in my 15 minute drawings after feeling lost and all over the place, again resuming sort of where I left off last year with drawing the buildings, partly due to the 2019 OIA online show theme of the “Wall”, a better theme to work with than “Light”. Light is involved in all art and is too broad a theme.

The idea of walls on the other hand is broad enough to allow for interpretation, but will yield something more focused and specific for a group show, online in this case. Another wall taken down is the whole concept of the Online Gallery, which has grown out of the usual mainstream art problem that breeds new formats – money and exclusion. Gallery space is too expensive in NYC in any borough for OIA to use, so the online gallery allows for a show that can be unlimited in many other ways.

The big goal is to make bigger pieces in general. I’ll end with a small drawing from last week made during 15 minute sessions that I like:








I’m in the OIA, Organization if Indepwndent Artists. I must have joined before 9/11 happened. We used to have a gallery in Tribeca. We moved to another one near Duane and West Broadway. I remember being in a group show of Refrigerator Magnets in the space. I had art in their group shows for years.

Eventually OIA moved out of Tribeca to – nowhere. We lost our space but not the website. Then there were shows in temporary spaces, a cafe in Brooklyn. An animals show at a college lobby and a few others.

After that there have been online group shows where we submit images of our art to be displayed on an internet gallery. There will be one soon on the theme of walls. I think it’s a great theme.

Anyway one time the call for work was to pick an old piece and a new piece to display side by side.

That’s partly what I’m doing in this post. I made huge circle collages I called Mandalas in around 2003 I think. It could have been 2005. Two of the main ones were the huge ones I destroyed a few years ago. I guess writing about old work stirred something up in me. I got the idea to do this series again in terms of form and materials- to collage together mostly pieces of watercolor paper in the shape of a circle.

In the past week or so I started 3 of them. Then I made

I’m circling back to last post about destroying my art work, the huge mandala. After writing that post, I got inspired to start making another big mandala in a similar manner, using a similar process to build the circle. I started a big one but then stopped and started a different one. The first one I only used piece of white watercolor/thick paper. With the next one, I took old drawings I had ripped up and glued pieces of them together. Eventually I had three starts, so I took two of them and connected them to start a big circle. Then I figured out the diameter of the circle, 36 inches.

Once I know the diameter I can map out the circle on the floor. My floor is not real wood and is a studio floor, meaning a mess, so I’m lucky in that I can draw a circle on it with a sharpie and it doesn’t matter. So I took out the ruler and mapped out a basic circle, not perfect, as the edges of the piece are never perfect so the circle isn’t an exact circle. Then I had my supervision group and started a small circle in there. I actually did the small circle first and the day after, last Wednesday, I did the bigger one.

Art Homicide: Is it Common?

We rolled it to the point where it was a 7 foot paper taco and carried it down the street home like that. It was too thick from collage to roll up completely. Once home we put it on top of the wood bed posts on the frame around the posts. Every time I lay on the bed I could see the underside of my masterpiece slowly crumbling from the weight in the middle that wasn’t supported.

Having it there along with another big round mandala piece was not a great idea psychologically. If we had stashed it somewhere it may never have met its gruesome end and the other piece wouldn’t have been collateral damage.

Most people don’t get angry at their apartments to the point of feeling like destroying stuff, but I never was” most people”. One day or week I got so frustrated with the chaotic state of my house, that the feeling kept building more like a fire when it catches on to something and the next minute the whole building burns down. As I couldn’t burn down the building, I decided it was time to destroy the mandala. I’d been eyeing it for weeks wondering how and if I wanted to fix it as it was getting damaged.

Suddenly it was clear how to solve the problem. This huge piece used to hang in my old studio on one wall and took up all the wall space. It was up there so many years I remember looking at it and thinking, “What will I do if someone buys it or if I have to move it? Maybe it will be here until I die.” It felt that permanent. Fast forward to me ripping the whole thing apart and destroying it. I don’t remember it well even though it was probably only 4 years ago. After that, I took on the piece that was my height in diameter, like a lion after a kill who finds an extra dead animal baby and eats it just because it’s there.

Do I regret doing it? Do I miss the piece that I still consider one of the best or at least most ambitious things I have ever made? I don’t know because I had forgotten about it until I recently destroyed something else that I liked. I guess if I could have it back I would and it might be in my studio now or  I would have sold it and been happy it had a place. It did serve a purpose in its short life of being on that studio wall because my clidnts faced that wall when they sat in the chair across from me. I remember one client seeing a person in a wheelchair in the middle of it. It was a completely abstract collage. I can probably find a photo of it to post with this. So when it was alive on the wall, it was serving a purpose and beign seen by lots of people. Back then the Tribeca Open Artist Studio Tour still existed, so for those few days in April annually, I had crowds of people come through my studio and see it as well as the smaller piece.

I know a lot of big deal artists have destroyed their work, but in a very calculated way, not in a sudden fit and not something they thought was one of their best work. Part of the delight I took in murdering my big mandala was that it was really one of my greatest achievements, so it was a really crazy meaningful kill.

I have destroyed many peices before and since which I will write about in another post…

The House of Dream Memory

This post is dedicated to the memory of Elaine Rapp, who died on June 15, 2019.

Taking the paper off the straw, I would just pull and krinkle it and then remove it. Some people are more dedicated and methodical even when unrapping straws. I was in a rush to try out the inks. It was a huge piece of paper and we had partnered up. We poured on the thick black ink and started blowing on it with our straws. If you blow short and hard, you get strands of ink, spider web-like around the blob of ink. If you blow longer and less fiercely while moving the straw over the ink, it looks like the waves of a lake moving out.

That was in Elaine Rapp’s “Materials” class. I only had her for one class but it was a magical experience. Her approach was hands on and encouraging creativity and exploring through using the materials ourselves, like a kind of lab for art therapy. She was kind and very approachable and encouraging/validating. I still have the final project I did with hair from my dog on the cover about home and body, inspired by Louise Bourgeois’ drawing, “Femme Maison”.

Another memorable aspect of the class was the use of “I am”, when talking about our art work. You become the art work and speak as it, a technique of play therapy, art therapy and Gestalt therapy. Elaine was a Gestalt therapist as well as Art Therapist and it informed her teaching. I see the inside of the book with the title, “I am Your House of Dream Memory”, that I turned the book into a live creature as well as a house. She was definitely comfortable being in the metaphor, something that drew me to her teachings.

This is the  cover of the book with my dog’s hair glued on top of the white cover in a blob in the center. I added the yarn to the wire on the right side. I will post more of the book in another post. It was done in December of 1997. The featured image at the top of this post is a cropped page from my book.

“Free Play”, assigned reading in Elaine’s class, is one of the few “textbooks” that I have returned to numerous times over the years. It’s written by a musician scientist, not an art therapist, and definitely influenced my making this book as a final project. I wish I could remember the assignment. Above and below are pages from the book.


I am including Elaine’s comments and grading of the book because back then we didn’t even email professors. If it were now, I would have photos of class work and of her. All I have is in the comments she wrote here. I include the grade because I don’t remember getting an “A” with a double plus from anyone else. I definitely got disappointing grades in grad school at times, as it was very different from high school and college. You can also see the beautiful stationary she used to write her comments on it. You can also see her sensitivity and validating and encouragement, which is often rare from professors. I can say she really loved teaching and valued and cared about her students in a very warm, sweet and authentic way. She had a full life of creativity and died at 91. It feels happy to celebrate a teacher who touched me deeply and was part of my path on the art therapy career road that kept me in touch with my passion for the work…