Day 2 of Writing Class: List

These are the choices:

  • Things I Like
  • Things I’ve Learned
  • Things I Wish
  • Things You’re Good At

I wrote a whole draft of a list of Things I’ve Learned, but I decided to do something different with the same topic.

Things I’ve Learned about My “Writer” Identity:

  1. I’ve been hiding in the writer “closet” for years, at least 30 years.
  2. I was struggling with this beast back in 1985 in my writer’s journal for an English Creative Writing class in high school.
  3. It’s always been, “What do I write about?”, “What do I have to say that people will want to read?”, having this urge to write but not having anything to write or write about, least of all fiction.
  4. I try in every way possible to destroy my thinking of myself as a writer or at least place obstacles in my pat. I left the 1985 writers journal on a subway two weeks ago. I was terribly upset and angry at myself. I had lost a big clue to who I was, not as a teenager, but as a budding writer back in 1985. When I first discovered that journal in the spring, I felt like I had been given a time capsule to this person that had been me, at least, what she wrote and how she thought about writing. I found it at this point where I had started writing a lot more again, so it seemed so just right that it fell into my lap.
  5. Did I lose that journal to tell myself that I can’t write or to make things hard for me, did I lose that writer in me, or that key into my mind as a 17 year old, or, did I lose that journal because I don’t need it and have already incorporated that writer inside me and need to focus on what I am writing now or my writing process? the Maybe both are true. The reason I was carelessly carrying around this old green covered Meade notebook was that I brought it to my therapy session that morning to show my therapist. This is a new therapist I am working with after several years hiatus from therapy. One main focus of my therapy is my struggle to be ok with being a writer and with my writing. It seemed even more of a message from the universe that the last event with that journal was for that very purpose. I texted my therapist about it right after I lost it. I seemed to need for him to know that he was the last person to see it and hear it.
  6. The more I write, the more I delete my writing and sometimes edit it but no longer just look at a first draft as finished. I used to write posts for this blog and fling them out there. Now even for the blog, I write many drafts I never post.
  7. I started writing something new in the spring that was a new kind of writing and a new sort of genre I tried out, some kind of  personal narrative. I did not know until then how much my work as an art therapist from the past especially was going into my writing. The other thing I discovered was writing and my daughter, writing about being her mother and writing with her. I already considered her a good writer back when she got excited by writing in second grade.
  8. The whole writing issue, beast or monster is intricately connected with my  GraphicNovel, started in 2000, which is a sort of memoir of the mind. This graphic novel has been torturing me for the past 16 years, most of which have been “writers block” years. It was started with the goal of publishing it; that goal has always been there despite my success in squashing it.
  9. My writing and my art have been coexisting with my Graphic Novel illness. I only realized it with writing recently when I saw that the more I write the more likely I am to get back to the graphic novel, and that whatever I’m writing somehow seems to be an act of avoiding working on the graphic novel, but sometimes seems to get me back to it. The art coexisting has been going on since the beginning. This last project involving cartoons, Bathroom Art Only, is the first series of work where my art directly connected to the graphic novel and sort of spilled into it and the art work threw me back into it after a long block. Then the door closed a few months until my writing flung me back at it. At other times, my art has seemed to focus on being as different and far away from the graphic novel as possible, as if it is trying to keep me away from it.
  10. The graphic novel has become a strange realization of my personal “Pictures and Words” struggle. More on that another time. End of list!

 

End of month Journal Images!

Today while on a long bus ride, I took photos of recent and older drawings in my current journal which is finished. Time to make a new one!

Most of the images are drawings of things and some are talking. I just visited friend with baby chickens so I tried to draw some of them. 

This is the front cover:


Below is the back:

Some drawings…

From this weekend:

I was visiting friends who just got chickens! Hard to draw!


The one above- there was only one salt shaker, so one must be fake!


I’m rereading a great App about DaVici’s dissecting bodies and figuring out anatomy, so I found a basic drawing of a heart and copied it….

Drawings below: I’ve been inspired by Edward Gorey Fantod cards, and tried ideas for my own..,


This last drawing below is a favorite, not done by me… I love when kids get into my journal and do their thing!

Wednesday: Image Post Day

I started doing “Mindfulness Drawings” at the beginning of this month, February. I got the idea from a patient who showed me their journal and how they were trying to write down the time and do something to get them more in the moment doodling things.

It’s a great idea and has brought me back to drawing in an observational way. It’s also a great way to draw everyday things without judging your drawing harshly.

It started like this one below in my journal, done on Feb. 4. I wrote down words that were either in my head or observations of the environment or conversation if I was with other people.

I was thinking about mindfulness principles in this one here, like “Observe and Describe” from DBT Mindfulness. In DBT there is also noticing when you’re in “rational mind”, “emotional mind” and “wise mind”.

Some of these drawings are layers of time, where I did some one evening and added more the next day.

The drawing below shows the heart hole puncher I drew as I was using it to make Valentine’s. I drew most of it during a phone session. My communications expert friend had told me recently, “Communication creates reality.” and I shared it on the phone. It was resonating for me and my patient.

This image below is the other side of the page posted as the first image, with the words “Observe and describe.”  I was looking at my watch and a clock so I drew the hands of my watch as well, and the song quoted was going on in my head about time…

The image below from Feb. 9 is in my journal. I started drawing scissors a lot because they were there. I hadn’t yet gotten inspired to make the objects talk.
  This one above is the other side of the journal drawing from the same day/time.

This one below is from yesterday afternoon during another phone session, and the tea pot is talking…

The one below was done last Friday, when I discovered that the heads or objects on the page were talking to me and about me. It started with the objects saying whether I drew them right or not and kept going. I had been drawing these heads from the coffee mug I made out of my images. The heads are from a collage piece; I noticed I was thinking about posting this picture of this drawing on Facebook which I do a lot, so the heads made a bet about when I would post it!  

This one above is from earlier yesterday. I had been drawing pens a lot and hadn’t drawn a bunch of pens in a cup as it seemed too hard. I was thinking of Morandi’s still lives and looking at post cards of them. I think I’m also thinking of Morandi as he mostly did still lives of everyday objects, and this series is starting to be about objects which are used, mostly basic office materials or art supplies, cups, etc.

This one above is on a piece of drawing paper and done last night as the date shows.

These drawings have become a way to be reminded to be mindful, in a different way than the bracelet. Drawing things you see often does get you into a different level of discovery, of looking closely at things you see every day.

This morning I drew the keys on my keychain; I’ve been challenging myself to just draw things, which get rid of judgment, another aspect of mindfulness, which is to be neutral about what is going on right here right now.

The added discovery of the objects talking to each other or saying things is partly thanks to my reading more this year, and thus reading more graphic novels, which inspire me to make my own talking pictures…

Final Coloring Pages Done!

Side comment: I am terrible at deadlines and in January I had at least 2 big ones, both for parts of books, so I am excited I met both deadlines.

Here in the first image is the final Piece: I took the first image and cut out the letters and glued them on a piece of paper and then added drawing with gel ink pen! I really like the result. I was still working on it during the meeting! 

Below is the final version of the second page, with more drawing and embellishment added. I like the scribbly lines added to the outside of the “frame”!

Here is the first piece collage, still in progress.  

Below is the second one not done yet…

two more images from this past Saturday…  

End of month Art Post

Slow down and breathe: evolution of a Coloring Page:

I am very happy to announce that I made two coloring pages that will be published in a book of Adult Coloring Pages, all made by art therapists. I have been interested in coloring pages as a tool for art therapy for a long time, and the more I work with people making them, coloring in with my patients, the more  I am convinced of how magical it is.

I am of course not talking about the big phenomenon of adult coloring pages you can find everywhere from Whole Foods to book stores to airports. They are marketed as “therapeutic”. Some even use the words “Art Therapy”; those ones are really a law suit in the making. Art therapy has nothing to do with buying a coloring book and sitting at home coloring to calm yourself down. It would be like saying that filling out a self help workbook is the same as going to see a therapist specializing in Cognitive or Dialectical Behavioral Therapy. IT’s nonsense.

Luckily the people at New York Creative Arts Therapists are putting together this special coloring book to educate the public and bring awareness to the field of art therapy.

About a year and a half ago, I actually had a fantasy about finding an investor to open a “Coloring Bar” in Manhattan, NYC. I envisioned a cool lounge like space where people could go and sit and color pages provided that they could choose. Like going in a bar but instead of ordering beverages and snacks, you pick out coloring pages and art materials to use and sit alone, at a table or at the bar to color…

I shared this idea with the people making this book when I found out about it, and they are planning to have a launch event that will be like the Coloring Bar, and perhaps, a few other events of a similar nature. Kind of using the “Pop Up Shop” idea, and perhaps it will end up somewhere that there might be a permanent Coloring Bar. One can dream! I always say you can’t get withdrawal from dreaming high.

So, The Real Art Therapists of New York Coloring Book. Here is the link:

https://nycreativetherapists.com/buy-coloring-book

In addition, I was invited to color in my own coloring page to be sold as a piece of art and reproduced on postcards.

Here is a little of the process I went through. I started one and it went into a place where I didn’t like it, so I began an other. As with all my art, I surprised myself in the end by going to a place I’d not envisioned. I ended up with two finished pieces.

Here is the first image of the first page I colored that I almost threw out and ended up cutting up to make a collage with:

I was imagining that I would maybe start painting on it, messing it up to make a statement about coloring in the lines. Instead I got it so full of neon that I tried painting white over the background to tone it down, as you can see below in this second picture. I hated it and started a whole new one and put it aside…  

This third photo below shows who it was going before it got to that place. This is still the first one I was trying out:

HEre’s another photo of the first one when it was getting crazy with the colors…  

After I painted white over it, I took a photo from the back to show the neon that I covered, as I for some reason never took a picture of it right before the white paint…

The photo below is blurry. It’s a stage of the second page I made, trying not to use neon and just use glitter and metallic colors.

Here is another photo of the one I “messed up”. At this point it looked really cool. That’s how art is, you take things too far and that’s the way it goes, at least for me. The point of coloring in my own page was to illustrate the inventive things you can do with a coloring page: that the limits of what you have can open up creativity and be a way to experiment and have fun…    

Below is the first one with the paint covering up the background, and the start of the second one…

Below is the second page on the way to being finished, or so I thought at the time! Actually, I finished both final pieces while at the meeting for the Coloring Book Event planning at New York Creative Arts Therapists in Williamsburg this Saturday, Jan. 30!

I will post the final results in another post…

These aren’t in time order…