Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Between the Present and the Future

So this happened last night: Holistic Health Studies Graduation Ritual. 
See the portal? 

Like all portals, it was magic. I stood in the hall on one side of it, and then when I walked through...I was someone else. But not quite, because the official commencement, where I wear a gown and get hooded to signify my scholastic achievement, is tomorrow. Last night was a ritual with sacred oil, candles, songs, poems, and more candles. We are in the process of becoming...someone else. Here I am getting blessed by my instructor/shaman. 

I really felt the completion of my Master of the Arts program at the end of our last class, which ended very much like the end of our very first class. (see the blog from October 18, 2013) 

In that blog, I published a picture very much like this one, and it had the same altar cloth, the same twinkly lights, and I put the same kippah in the circle to soak up all the vibes and good wishes of my classmates and my instructor/shaman. We all spoke our thoughts about our time in the program, and especially in the last 4 semesters of intense work. I felt joy bubble up inside me over the fact that I was really finished. Really. Finished. 

Then we walked through the portal, and during the ritual we spoke to our loved ones and each other some more thoughts from our heart about this program. 


I went home feeling not quite finished. Or...not quite ready to start the next journey. I feel like a traveler who has all the brochures and guidebooks for the trip, and I have opened suitcases all over the house but can't decide what to pack. 

There's a feeling of unreality. What do you mean I don't have any papers due? Can I make a powerpoint to answer the question I hear from those outside this program: 
What are you going to DO with this degree???

Well! I can answer that! I'm going to...um...well, I'm already...um...I'll be using this degree to...um

Elevator speech? I'll be riding up and down in that elevator for quite some time before I can answer that question with a brief soundbite. I feel like I have to cite the sources for all my thoughts.

Well here's my answer:



I need time for this all to marinate. I still have to walk in a cap and gown before I fly.

                                                            But I WILL fly.                                                                                   

 When I'm ready. 

Monday, November 21, 2016

The Guardian and How She Came to my Canvas

I have been painting since I took a course from the amazing Shiloh Sophia. My style still shows a connection to hers, but it has evolved in its own way into something slightly different.

One thing I learned from her course is to start with the background and let the final painting emerge through that portal. I have kept that technique and allow my intuition to shape my paintings.

Here is a bit of the original background that shows on the sides, top and bottom of this painting:

Lately, I've started using reference photos for my latest obsession: the female face. It helps me create faces that don't all look alike like they did when I painted fantasy faces.

 Right now I'm working on a series of women's faces to illustrate the feminine spirit. I start with a photo from books, magazines or google searches and I do a charcoal sketch. I won't be showing the photos I start with because they are not copyright free.

My sketches of strangers don't quite look like the original faces either,  so it's OK that I'll be showing my version of the female face that caught my attention. Here's one:

My sketchbook is rectangular, but the canvases I chose are square, so I squared off the area I would use for sketching to make it easier for me to reproduce her on the canvas.

I learned the hard way that if I filled the rectangular space and then tried to copy the face onto a square canvas...I kind of squashed the face into Neanderthal proportions.

NOT what I had in mind!!

I may someday use my own face, but for this project I'm using strangers. I once tried to sketch my own unsmiling face from a black and white photo.

The photo was scary, and the first sketch made me look old and tired. The second one, where I didn't put in any laugh lines or frown lines, looked like a wide-eyed young girl who had no clue.

I suspect I'm a mixture of both of those characters, but I'm not ready to publish THOSE sketches!

Inspired by my sketch, I paint a background for her to emerge from and then outline yet another version of the face and allow inspiration to tell me what to add. Including skin! Some of these women want to remain outlines to keep their archetypical power and who am I to argue with them?

This one asked for cattails and a lotus blossom necklace, even though the original photo was of an Asian woman.

 Then she asked that I give her eyes and let her background shine through. So I did.
                           She said she was the strong woman inside us all who protects us from danger. IF and when we listen to Her. 
                                                    She told me she was called     

                                                       THE GUARDIAN 

The music goes round and round and comes out here!

     My last post was at the end of my very first class in my master's degree program, and this one is being written near the end of my very last class. In fact, it's written as one of my six steps in my integrative plan for my final assignment.

                                                    Graduation approacheth.  


     So one of the six steps I planned was to restart my blog and rededicate it to blogging about arting. Arting for the sake of arting, collaging for the sake of SoulCollage®, painting for eventual showing and selling...art journaling too.                                                                                    

   This is my painting representing my thesis:

Unplugging: A Phenomenological Study of the Perceived Holistic Health Benefits of Regular, Weekly Digital Detox in the Context of Jewish Shabbat

In plain English: Is taking time off of electronic media good for us? 

Almost 2 years of research and writing later and I'm here to tell you that the plain answer is:

Yes! And might I add....DUH!

My conclusions were that unplugging leads to increased social connection, time for self-care, opportunity for immersion in nature, spiritual community and spiritual experiences.

Here is the right-brained art based method I used to find themes in my work with my subjects.

I had studied my subjects by asking for narratives and photos and organized their responses into groups out of which themes eventually emerged.

Along the way, after using SoulCollage® for my own use, I went to a training center to become a facilitator and have run three workshops so far. I intend to do more. 

     To the left is a picture from the latest workshop I facilitated.

I set up this workshop to combine wellness coaching with SoulCollage® in order to give people a tool to help them balance their lives in 6 dimensions of holistic health: body, mind, spirit, financial, environmental and social.

 To the right is a card I made for myself to remind myself that I have the training to help others access their inner wisdom with this wonderful method. In this blog, I plan to describe my process of using SoulCollageR and creating my own cards.

My plan is to write one SoulCollage® post a week and at least one extra post a month focused on my painting practice.

In my next post, I'll show you my method for painting as it has evolved so far.