The Process of Art

Did you know that creating art can be therapeutic? Well, of course you did. There is even a branch of therapy called art therapy, and of course you knew that, too. I learned recently that the art created for the purpose of therapy, is often referred to as “process” art (versus “product” art which is the kind of art you create to sell, or turn into a product of sorts).

I did google process vs product art, and it appears in my (very brief) investigation, that the interwebs use this term primarily regarding children and their free wheeling creation of art vs children given a structured art project to make, complete with the right colors, etc.

So. When I think of art therapy, I think of someone going to an art therapist and art is used in their therapy. Imagine my surprise to learn that much of the art I’ve been creating this year has been very therapeutic. Sometime this spring this began to dawn on me, starting when her therapist made a comment about wondering what is really going on in my blog header picture.

My own therapist went crazy (well, not literally) when I showed her these insightful creations I’ve made. I’ve written about some of them here, but I haven’t really gone too deep here in blogland about the meanings behind them. Hell, I was unaware at first that there even were meanings behind them, but it turns out there are. The ideas for the paintings are often triggered by family photos, but the feelings behind these ideas often don’t show themselves until some retrospection has taken place.

Sharing these paintings can be intensely personal, and some I’ve made may not be shared at all.

This is all a very long introduction to my latest painting that is part of the Baby in a Raft series that I introduced here and here. I’m relatively certain that you’ll figure out the meaning of this one. I did not write the poem and traced it back from pinterest to this blog on tumblr.

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Making Ice Cream

aka, my new hobby. There could be lots of pictures.

I’ve had one of those cuisinart ice cream makers for years, and I’ve hardly used it at all. Until this summer. I decided to give it a whirl, and when I mentioned it to Roland, he had just seen this “Master Ice Cream” recipe in the New York Times.

This is our 3rd flavor, and one that will demonstrate just how easy and how hard this process can be. For the record, our first 2 were basic vanilla, and toasted coconut. I decided to skip from ice cream 101 to the advanced course when we thought up caramel chocolate chip.

I started with the master recipe, using her instructions for the salted caramel version. Of course I made changes. Duh. Starting with only 2/3 cup of sugar to make the caramel. Ta dah! I think it looks like it’s supposed to.

 

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Then you proceed with making the custard, in the same pan, with the hot caramel. Adding the cold milk and cold cream onto the hot caramel meant serious potential for disaster. The caramel hardened instantly and started cracking. I had 2 choices…  throw it all away, or hope that once the cream started heating up, the caramel would remelt and all would be well.

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That mostly worked, but you know, watching and stirring can get kind of boring, so I increased the heat, and I may have been distracted by the new Two Dots game app on my phone, and, well…

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Oops. At this point, however, the caramel was melting pretty well, so I just turned off the heat, stirred a little more, and then took out the remaining clump of unmelted caramel.

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I should title this hard lump, “how to make caramel candy the hard way.” Of course I ate it.

Shortening this already long story, I finished making the custard, chilled it as directed, and proceeded with the ice cream machine, adding some chopped up chocolate chips near the end.

It probably should have processed just a little bit longer because it came out very soft serve, and even after a stint in the real freezer, it was still pretty soft.

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That didn’t stop us from eating it. Duh. Totally worth it.

 

 

The Journey

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“Little by little, one travels far.” says JRR Tolkien. That was one of the inspirations for this new painting. This was Roland’s other birthday painting, and one I’m really proud of.

Since April, I’ve been joining him on his weekly hikes which are mostly taken in the Chattahoochee River National Park. Being in a beautiful setting like this area, the hikes have a very calming and healing effect on my anxiety, and are, of course, great exercise. We bring our 3 dogs, so it’s both an upper and lower body workout!

The painting is of one of the paths. At the bottom of those steps is a deck area where you can stop and look over the river. Admittedly, we’ve had so much rain this spring and summer, that the foliage is very lush, and blocks much of the view right now.

Everyone should have somewhere that restores their soul.

On Full Moons and Birthdays

What a happy coincidence! As luck would have it, last Friday (claimed by some to be the luckiest day in the year), 7/11, was both Roland’s birthday, and the appearance of the full moon, which just happened to be a “supermoon”.

This year, Roland said that a soon to be taken trip to visit our daughter, Laura, was the only gift that he wanted. Well, yeah, I still wanted to have something for him to unwrap on the actual day. So I painted. Two paintings.

The first was directly inspired by him and his comment about the trees vs. the dancers.

Moondancing
Moondancing

And I did not even know about the moon until last Thursday, when I noticed that the full moon was near.

Sunday Signs

Living here in the southeastern U.S., there is no shortage of churches. “Marketing” signs are often seen, and these 2 are from churches, one liberal, the other conservative, that are a half mile from each other in a residential neighborhood.

I’ve cropped out the identifiers, and based on the sermons for this Sunday, July 13, if you had to pick one, which church would you be more likely to attend?

Can you tell which one is conservative and which one is liberal?

Or would you rather come to the church that I attend, where you would be hearing the sermon entitled “Birthright”?

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Or none at all. Let’s talk.

Happy Sunday! Have a great week!

Changing Perspective

 

The Forest
The Forest

Can’t see the forest for the trees. This little saying was my inspiration for the painting above. I’ve been wanting to try painting some abstracts, but really, abstracts confuse me. I’m more of a literal kind of girl, hence my first foray into abstract is a fairly literal interpretation. You know, green background = forest; black, lumpy tree shapes = the trees. Yep.

But then Roland came in and turned my world (erm, my painting) upside down. Do you see them? The dancers?

The Dancers
The Dancers

Going from a negative feeling to a positive, joyous feeling? I love it!

It just all depends on your perspective.

The Socks

Before my last 2 most recent posts, it had been about 3 months of non-blogging. Life and some fairly serious anxiety happened, and I wanted to follow up with a report on my semi-anxiety-reducing sock project.*

Socks
Socks

I finished the socks! Yay! They aren’t perfect, far from it, but I don’t care about that. And they fit. In fact, there are some fairly serious issues with them, though the issues aren’t readily noticeable to, at least, a non-knitter. I haven’t worn them too much (or even with shoes yet), but mostly because it’s summer here in Georgia, and the only socks I wear this time of year are athletic socks with my running shoes (um, not that I’m running in these shoes).

And I do have another pair planned. These should be easier and better looking now that I have the hang of it (more or less).

If you are interested in knitting your own pair of socks and don’t know where to start, this is a good place. Kristin hosted a “knit along” last year, supplying the pattern for the above pictured socks, and instructions that really walked you through the process step by step, allowing you to produce an awesome pair of socks, just like mine!

*I say semi-anxiety reducing, because while knitting can be an anxiety reliever (and addictive, but not the kind of addiction where you need to go to rehab), occasionally in the last 3 months xanax had to be my xanax.

 

Sunday Signs

Living here in the southeastern U.S., there is no shortage of churches. “Marketing” signs are often seen, and these 2 are from churches, one liberal, the other conservative, that are a half mile from each other in a residential neighborhood.

I’ve cropped out the identifiers, and based on the sermons for this Sunday, July 6, if you had to pick one, which church would you be more likely to attend?

Can you tell which one is conservative and which one is liberal?

 

Or would you rather come to the church that I attend, where you would be hearing the sermon entitled “Whose Yoke are You Wearing?”?

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Or none at all. Let’s talk.

Happy Sunday! Have a great week!

Blog for Mental Health 2014 – The Time Has Come

I have been meaning to write this post since, well, since the beginning of this year when I first discovered the A Canvas of the Minds. It’s not hard to be a part of the Blog for Mental Health, but I was “what if I don’t do it right” kind of person which has stopped me all of my life from trying things that I was not 100% sure I could do. More on that later (as in, a different post, not yet written).

Without further adieu, here is my pledge:

“I pledge my commitment to the Blog for Mental Health 2014 Project. I will blog about mental health topics not only for myself, but for others. By displaying this badge, I show my pride, dedication, and acceptance for mental health. I use this to promote mental health education in the struggle to erase stigma.”  

That wasn’t so hard now, was it?

Why am I doing this? While I do not have a diagnosable mental illness, perfectionist tendencies aside (see above), I have spent my life around those that do. Of course, through childhood and young adulthood, I was not fully cognizant of the mental illness that was swirling around me. I am certain by adolescence, I was at least marginally aware that there were some irregularities going on with my family. But we didn’t talk about it. We were taught at a very early age that if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all.

And talking about something being mentally wrong with anyone in the family definitely fell into that “not nice” category. Shame. Stigma. How it thrived.

And how we’ve all suffered for the silence.

The time has come to speak up.

If you want to join me, and learn more about the Blog for Mental Health 2014 project and A Canvas of the Minds, please click here or on the picture above.