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.

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…


Artist Website

I had an artist website, for many years and around 2016 I took it down, as I wasn’t sure it was worth it. More people seem to see my art on social media like my Facebook Artist Page, my Instagram Artist Account and Pinterest business site, for which there are links on this blog. Recently, I’ve decided to redo the website and sell art directly from the website. I even contemplated figuring out how to merge this blog and my artist website, but that seemed too complicated.

I considered a lot of different sites and then went back to the company I used  before, Other Peoples Pixels. They are smaller than a lot of the other website builder/publishers and they do exclusively websites for artists. When I read about the company being artist owned and that they give to good causes, I realized it made sense to stay with them. The other thing I found out was that the whole website from before was still there.

So now I am starting to redo the site, which involves several dilemmas. The site domain name is not available unless I want to buy it for around 300$. So what do I call the site instead? My name with .com is taken by a social worker, so I can’t use it. I could use my Instagram address, Other options are :,,,

I can’t decide whether to merge my first and last name or do something very easy to find on a Gooogle search. I defintitely come up near the top on a Google search along with a wedding photographer.

This top image is now scanned and on my website. I decided to try to go for scanning 3 drawings per day, but that may be too ambitious.

The other dilemma that I noticed once I uploaded the first three new drawings was, what do I keep from the old website and what do I “hide”, in order for the website to be cohesive? I haven’t figured that out yet. Another dilemma is photographing pieces that are too big to scan, or drawings that are already framed that I want to sell. It’s hard taking photos of framed pieces but I’d like to sell the framed ones, especially older pieces I still have from about 10 or more years ago.



I also scanned these other two drawings. Titles are another big problem for me. I don’t know how to come up with really good ones that won’t be annoying or boring.









15 Minutes of Writing

Writing is the only thing that, when I do it, I don’t feel I should be doing something else.“
-Gloria Steinem

I am in the process of looking at my old journals. I had a great writer’s notebook in high school around 1985 that I have written about on this blog. I lost it on the subway in 2016.

I am going back to writing 15 minutes daily whenever. The first notebook/journal/sketchbook I did since that writer’s notebook was started in October 1988 and ended in February 1989, right after I turned 21.

The plan for looking at all these journals is kidn of like an archeologist dig of the psyche. Who was this person and is she anything like who I am now? That part is probably only of interest to me and my therapist. I don’t know what parts of it will be interesting to anyone else, however, I am still off social media, so that experiment may coincide in some way with this experiment.

My plan for going back on social media is still forming. I was thinking of allowing a certain amount of time for posting specific things like new and old drawings on my professional page, public Instagram, and Business Pinterest. Then spending a certain amount of time, once a week 15 minutes or 3 times per week about 5 minutes each, looking at personal stuff and other people’s personal stuff. I am trying to figure out how to do my website, so once I get that going, I can feel more inspired to use all the Artist Writer social media in a way where they all go together.

So I just had a therapy session in which I looked at this journal from 1988-1989. At the end I came away with the word “earnest”, which seems to basically mean the quality of having sincere and serious convictions about things and being intense, but I seem to have associated it with something naive or immature. The journal definitely is earnest even when I see funny things in it, as I know I was very serious about all of it. I wrote and drew in it during my junior year off from Harvard, which was an aimless meandering thing, not a junior year abroad getting credits. It’s also where I see myself forming as a visual artist. It’s strange to look at old drawings in there, 30 years later.

Besides the play, The Importance of Being Ernest, which I never saw or don’t remember, my association to the idea of being earnest, is in 2013 after my friend died. I was talkign to a mutual friend who had known her almost as long as I had. He remembered a conversation with her before she went to medical school in which she said she was concerned it would be filled with earnest people, (the other students). At the time I thought it was funny given my own earnest nature; of course I have a sense of humor and can be playful, but these journals are all about things I want to improve about myself as well as silly things. The funniest thing I came across was “SEXUAL GOALS FOR RETURN TO H” (H being Harvard for junior year. They were quite amusing ranging from the idea of having sex in Widener library with someone who I would exchange no words with and never have a conversation with to seducing a friend I had a crush on and lastly, “Kiss Lena”, which seemed a perfect ending to the weird list. And a suitable end to this post, which is just me getting back into writing, thinking I may not add tags to this…

Shaping Your Story: What’s Your Angle?

I took this blogging class, Shaping Your Story, in 2016. I did the assignment “What’s your angle?” and posted it on 9/14/16. I’ve decided to edit what I wrote and repost it.

I had started a specific writing project spring/summer 2016, a kind of personal narrative/memoir… Here is the edited version, probably 4th edit!

Explanation of the assignment, What’s my angle? It’s kind of memoir but it’s about a job. It’s a loss, as this program doesn’t exist anymore. My angle is connecting with people with chronic mental illness, close to the homeless person you saw on the subway today. My angle is also about the space I get into when I’m with someone in an art therapy session making a drawing, or when I’m alone making my own drawing. This space is a kind of Twilight Zone, where 15 minutes or 50 minutes aren’t really divided into minutes and seconds; time gets stretched out like taffy. Text of this part is below:

The subway, I could go to the end of the line, the last stop; it’s where I would go if I were homeless sleeping on the subway. I’d pick the F line to Coney Island; I’d have one of those old supermarket  wire carts, the red kind, filled with notebooks, pens, a few used books. Once I took the T in Boston to the end of the line. It was a dog race track called Wonderland. I’ve never been to dog races or horse races or seedy betting places in real life but lots of times in all kinds of movies.

I saw a good racetrack scene recently in a shitty movie. This 10-12 year old girl goes to the horse race place because someone told her to put her money on a certain horse. It has only 3 legs. She knows the place; its where her grandfather bets all his money, where you get betting tickets, like raffle ticket stubs, for your money. There are small old TVs the guys crowd around to watch their horse. It’s always a kind of shabby place filled with all these down on their luck people who bet all the time. Of course she wins the one time she places this bet; she went there to get back the rent money her grandfather bet on and lost. He shows up and gets so excited when she wins and this great feeling that she has the betting blood in her. It’s a great moment because he doesn’t want her to be a gambler but let’s her give him the money to pay the rent. It’s a very sweet scene. I think he probably returns to the place later and loses their winnings…

I am reminded of this guy I worked with a long time ago at Rockwell on Jay Street, the day treatment place for people with chronic mental illness to go to and have somewhere to be during the day as they can’t work at jobs. You could even eat breakfast there, so you woulnd’t stay in your room at your residences/SRO just staring at a wall.  A place much better than hospitals and not a place you had to leave after two weeks or a month or a year. It was a place to find and stay at and make your day home and that’s what the clients who stayed long term did.

You could have a great moment with anyone, usually in the hallway or waiting for the elevator or in the kitchen helping the lunch expert clients with lunch. The clients all had time cards and clocked in when they arrived, old school style.

This one guy, more of an old fashioned gentleman I worked with was a gambler. He was quiet, quiet like you know he is there but nothing can come out really. Very dignified, Latin American, thin gentleman who didn’t meet your eyes, looked down, hidden somewhere nobody could get to. He has no words; he’s in a very small room in his head. I don’t remember him in groups at all, I just remember sitting with him in my office or the art room.

I liked to watch him draw; that was the one thing he had that nobody could take away from him that he could do it and keep doing more, not like losing on a gambling ticket. I feel the same way. Put me in an empty room with no pens and I will use my shoelaces to create line on the floor. I can’t even remember what he gambled. It was the kind where you use any money to buy a lottery ticket and scratch off looking for a few dollars. He just spent all his money on these little gambles. Maybe he had a secret life where he went to some racetrack. I wasn’t really checking in with him at all about the gambling. I didn’t want to take it from him. I knew much had been taken from him though I knew very little about him. We had a different kind of connection. I don’t believe in taking away people’s rituals; it’s even hard to work with skin pickers. There is no good replacement for digging into one’s skin. Maybe poking holes in paper with a pencil but then you don’t get the satisfaction of taking something out. Flossing repetitively, a client recently shared that discovery. You take out, dig out the pieces of food hidden in the gums.

He drew with a regular pencil and then used colored pencils. He drew these buildings and trucks. He had a particular style and was very orderly with making his lines. Everything about him seemed contained and held in. I’ve always been fascinated by very quiet contained, deliberate people, something about that energy. There was nothing sloppy about him but there was some softness.

Those drawings were of a city but it felt really peaceful; you could step into one of his drawings, and all the noise would be gone, all that noise of the world that made him sick. Very simple and quiet spaces with no people in them. I was amazed I was there with him it was like being in a church with him, his own mind’s church.

I hate when people tell you to put something in your painting. Like I’m outside in the park on a beautiful day, and I’m drawing, filling a square with shapes. Someone says I should go outside and draw the landscape and I can’t draw landscapes: of course what I’m doing will not have anything to do with the park and the sun; it might even be a lot of black. I can do dots forever and a day in a park and the picture will not have the sun or park in it.

Yesterday I did birds on a large piece of paper. I copied my birds from an IKEA tray, except I made two tracks so it’s like it’s outside, but you see birds on the first and second floor. I love the birds on the IKEA tray; it’s black and white and the line work is great. I could get crazy wondering who the hell drew those birds because I know I’m connecting to that artist. It was already the kind of road on the way there where you stop and sit in a field with stuff in it not too much and you take a quiet nap there. Sometimess I just fill the paper with so much in there it just becomes patterns, and I don’t care; it’s a drawing.

Like for the guy I worked with. He didn’t care when he was done. He had to draw the shapes that were the building and cars, so he wouldn’t shut in too far, when you get tuna out of a can and the top doesn’t go all the way off so you make the tuna come out the sides. You can’t get rid of the tuna smell. The water leaks out with bits of tuna like when you floss and the bits come out on the thread. You can’t go back in right then or those bits might crawl back into some space in the gums.



Feelings Cards

The last bunch of posts are scans of the Feelings Cards I described and elaborated on in the post about them. You can use these scans to print out and cut up into cards to use with yourself and/or your clients. They are not grouped in any particular way, so they have nothing to do with the groupings I wrote about where I put together similar types of feelings.

Another interesting point about these cards to look at is which of these are emotions that you feel in your body? Are some of these feelings just about bodily feelings that are pleasant or unpleasant, like Hungry, or ones that could be bodily or mental such as Uncomfortable, Relieved?