Messing about with ideas around anger – using an exercise described by Cathy Malchiodi

Monika sent me a link to an interesting link through the facebook page ‘Psychotherapy Networker’

This three-part process uses the body as a foundation for exploring emotions and personal narratives: https://bit.ly/2G8EVjh by Creative Arts and Play Therapy Series at Guilford Press’s Cathy Malchiodi

The article describes how to use this process and describes examples of using it with a client. It goes into lots of detail and is a good read.

I wanted to have a go. Monika and I might use this idea with one of our art journaling groups.

The points below are lifted straight from the article

1) ‘ Show through colors, shapes, and lines what you’re feeling. Don’t worry about making it into ‘art

Wednesday Morning

I had woken up feeling very grumpy and in a lot of pain

I tried using red water colour pencils scribbling a circle really fast and then drawing squiggly orange lines- it wasn’t intense enough the colour of the pencils were a bit thin

I had a go using some gelato crayons I picked up in Seoul 3 yrs ago – I love the texture and rich feeling when you draw – it’s like spreading lipstick on to the paper ( I wish they came in more environmentally friendly packaging )

This was richer – but the paper was too small ( A4 – 10″/8″approx)

I tried A3

This was a better representational what I was feeling grumpy angry with lots of energetic pain – I worked very quickly blending the colours by only working strokes on top of each other – I missed my circles so I messed about layering the 3 photos in the Imageblender app

2) ‘Drawing the perception of that feeling in the body’.

( As I said I was very grumpy and in pain in quite a few places. I drew on a screen dumped image from Shutter Stock – I chose one that wasn’t sylph like ….)

I felt that these images weren’t expressing how I was feeling in a viceral way – my anger and the perceived pain were dissipating but I wanted a more vibrant image ……

3)  “What kind of story would that image tell me if it could talk? If it’s a worry, for example, what would that worry say?”

Initially I didn’t do this exercise, as I said my mood had improved during the exercise. I also had a bit of trouble working out what voice my pain would have. Seems a bit daft because there is a great example – I think I was having trouble making the pain talk as if it was in the first person ….

after a couple of hours doing other things this happened – (warning hubby says I am relishing my nasty vicious side in this piece , to be read with humour and a loud booming voice)

‘I am pain – running riot this morning eating into the muscles at the back of your neck,over the top surface of your brain.

You were stupid on Tuesday exercising and not warming up – I am making your back pay – shooting arrows into your hip- burning up your your muscles nipping and biting around your vertebra with every twist or turn

– for Gods sake lie down or sit still – then see what I can do after 20 mins without moving mwaaahaaaaaaahhhaaaaa

Lets bloat up your stomach until it’s so tight and throbbing you can’t think straight

– yes take that deep breath, I’ll catch your lungs and intestines on thorns as the air flows back in

I’m sewing needles through the skin of your left breast – can you feel it ache, as I pull the thread taught. let’s not forget your hands as I stick pins into your joints trying to distract you whilst you hold your phone just too long – oh yes – I feed on your internal screaming’

‘This is the three-part harmony starts the flow of embodied intelligence and becomes the foundation of trauma reparation and integration via the arts’

Thursday afternoon

Today my pain narrative doesn’t feel within me , when I re read what’s written on the page – probably because it was far too much fun making it as horrid as possible – I don’t feel that this matter’s too much , because making the art work took me out of my self and reduced the anger and pain ……


Shame monsters – Picasso, Shelley Klammer and Joseph Arthur

I am working with Monika on an 8 week course – ‘ Art journaling for selfcare’ . We are looking at running a session about shame and guilt. I have been searching for images that we could use as inspiration on line and I found Joseph Arthur. An artist who paints, writes poems and songs. He also paints as he sings ……

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=XZBj7bNltbM

I found Arthur looking up ‘images of shame’ on google – a link took me to a poem using some of his paintings as illustrations https://steemit.com/poetry/@ezravan/to-shame-the-loneliness-original-poem-accompanying-paintings-by-joseph-arthurstemmit.com

Watching lots of videos of Arthur painting faces reminded me of Picasso’s crying women

Shelley Klammer is an art therapist that I admire and use regularly for inspiration. She suggested doing an intuitive painting about shame and then ripping it up and seeing if one wants to rip it up or comfort the picture …..

https://intuitivecreativity.typepad.com/expressiveartinspirations/2015/09/healing-the-shadow-with-spontaneous-creativity.html

I loved the idea of a shame monster to attack ( not sure what that says about me …..) but, was struggling how to present it to our group without scaring them – by making them draw – I had fun having a go at making a portrait using cut out features I prepared, also using magazine faces and felt pens.

Next to add some text

I like this quote from Arthur

‘You never have been young

You never have been sane

And if you say that you don’t care,

In your eyes I see the shame

Looking through the window of your mind

I see your lonely shadow running out of time’

Joseph Arthur Termite song 2002

I worked on her a bit more And then screwed her up.

And then had a go at ripping into her

I needed to stick her back together again ….. she isn’t half so scary now

redacted poems

One of my favourite art journaling methods is to use found text and make simple poems.

I first discovered found poems when I was teaching in the 1980’s, when hubby used them in his English classes. Redacted poems are not quite the same, but I use the same principles, they don’t rhyme and they don’t have to make sense. I have found when teaching art journaling they are a good tool to use if people struggle with using images.

I like messing around using different materials to redact the words ( if you want to see lots of examples on Instagram you need to search #blackoutpoems) I like crosshatching and using washi tape.

I think the cross hatching with mandala detracts a bit too much from the text – but it is fun doing it.

Yesterday Monika and I taught a class where we used text by Bene Brown and other ‘goodread’ quotes about vulnerability as the starting point.

I asked to photograph the work – but promised to just use fragments to illustrate the different techniques the participants used to make their poems. I love the variety of materials and the colours.

https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/tag/vulnerability

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13588356-daring-greatly

Living by and working with ideas around water

During my life I have lived by water. I am fascinated by how the light plays on the surface, the movement and the patterns that are created.

I grew up near the Thames at Wallingford and as a child we used to visit Abingdon where I ended up living for 25 yrs. During uni a I was in London and up in the North East at Newcastle upon Tyne. I suppose living on a small island you are never very far away from water…

Now in Edinburgh there is the water of Leith that winds its way through the city. I travel over the the Forth of Firth regularly for work and visit the North Sea at North Berwick.

Recently in Bristol I was interested to see that architects had incorporated elements of water into a foot bridge in the quay area and some railings on Temple St.

My latest ripping/ hand sewing into a mandala/ blue abstract on paper is reminding me of water this morning

I wrote into it today about mandalas, their cultural significance, how to draw them and their meditative values with Hindu and Buddhism.

I started weaving in some text from yesterday’s writing about art making

And watery concepts popped into my head. I have been making lots of layers using digital imagery this month so I needed to attack this in the Image Blender app

I attached the piece to another mandala which peeps through the gaps – I’m not sure about the text and patterned strips they might come out.

more Image Blender stripes

Sewing paper mandalas

I have always sewn things. I can remember living with my biological Dad before my parents divorced. I used to go and knock on my parents bedroom door and ask for a needle to be threaded before they were up. My parents divorced when I was 5yrs old. About that time my mum made me my own sewing basket. It’s only recently I can’t find my felt pin cushion that she made.

So I have always liked sewing. Sometimes I forget. Making tea bag quilts reminded me. I am saving tea bags to make a bigger quilt and my hands get bored of drawing mandalas so I decided to sew through one on paper.

I worked on the back- the stitches didn’t photograph well – so I dipped the paper in a tea vat that was lying around

Sitting in front of the TV I sewed some more – this time I crumpled up the paper until it felt more like fabric – it was easier to sew circles at the at the beginning in the middle of the paper.

After sewing on the teabags these seemed a bit dull – I enjoyed the sewing but the end product wasn’t doing anything for me.

I decided to see what would happen if I tore it.

The thread did fab things and the paper was so soft …..

I decided to play with the other piece too – I had sewn the second mandala with black thread.

I like the way the ripping and the thread disrupt the drawn lines of the mandala and the way you can see through it.

I attached the blue piece to another mandala. I went to bed thinking about the words I could weave through it.

This is what I wrote this morning. I was thinking it would be more poetic about being stuck drawing mandalas ( lol)

‘Sitting still art making my back seizes up drawing mandalas my safety net protecting my stomach from stress watching the tv Round and round in ever increasing circles trapped in the patterns sewing and drawing until my hands ache trapped in my endeavour my art evolves through making experimenting – what happens if I do this how does that material react if I do this which ink is water soluble try fountain pens they are better for the environment what happens if I crush that paper, sew with black rather white stamp that paint through a new stencil

sew that tea bag on to this fabric carve that stamp change that pattern dip that paper use that floor wipe that colour run panel use that as a substrate collect that bumpf stitch that teabag read that book go to that conference hear that seminar write some words drink that cider think about that concept’

Has

Visiting emotional triggers

2 years ago my son was in a road accident in South Korea – this week my daughter was poorly with asthma and flu and had to go to hospital. I am doing an initial counselling course and found it very difficult to do an empathy exercise with another student.

My irritable bowel has also been playing up, so all my emotional stuff is roiling around my stomach. I wanted to see if I could work through all the rubbish visually to see if that helped

I started off having flash backs after Face book reminded me that I was in Korea 2 years ago. My son was not really in any critical danger but he did fracture his skull in 3 places. So I went to Korea. It was a difficult time as you can imagine.

I came up with this image as a starting point after searching for flash backs in google images

https://www.writermag.com/2015/11/19/dos-donts-flashback/

Thinking about PTSD – which I don’t have, but being a visual animal and sensitive to being over stimulated – I thought it would be interesting to have a look at what images came up for PTSD

I love this one but it didn’t resonate with me at the time.

https://becomingsoldiers.wordpress.com/

Here are some more I found interesting

https://themindsjournal.com/

https://agileleanlife.com/emotional-flashbacks/

I decided to start messing about digitally with a couple of these to see what I came up with – this is how I usually work. I liked the scribble and the spiral

Unfortunately when I worked in my journal I didn’t do a step by step, but after a series of layers this is what I came up with.

You can’t really see the resemblance to the original images. I started off with a spiral clock doodle and then added layers of pattern, text , and a big loose scribble. I tried adding a lady in the middle but it didn’t seem to convey what I was feeling. however I liked the phrase ‘in the eye of a storm’ so an eye seemed more appropriate.

After lunch I doodled while waiting in a cafe, for a friend. Typically I forgot paper, but I had a pen. A few companies produce nice weight paper advertising leaflets which were on display at the cafe, so I decided to appropriate a diary to work on.

It helped to situate the doodle in a time frame of Feb/ March to anchor my thoughts. I like the look of asemic writing – what I use is technically not that – I write on top of my words a couple of times to hide the meaning from the reader – so I write out all my feelings but you can’t read it.

Asemic writing is a wordless open semantic form of writing. The word asemic means “having no specific semantic content,” or “without the smallest unit of meaning.” With the non-specificity of asemic writing there comes a vacuum of meaning, which is left for the reader to fill in and interpret’ (Wikipedia)

Reflecting on my Soul Restoration process

I have been working on the ‘SoulRestoration’ course by Melody Ross since the 12th of January. I am enjoying the process of art making regularly in my journal. The art seems to get looser and looser.

I have always been messy. It has been great using my stress protector mandalas as back grounds and finding a more natural ‘Tess’ process.

I am still drawn to blues and am working through the stack of gelatos that I acquired in Korea. I love them ,but won’t be replacing in-kind because of all the plastic.

Debbie Howard introduced me to them when I complained that I didn’t like working with oil pastels in my art journal. They are water soluble, highly pigmented and deliciously squidgy, the consistency’s almost like lipstick or face paint.

It’s been interesting progressing through the stages that Melody has designed . Debbie is a mentor and sounding board after training as a facilitator with The Brave Girl University last year. I think it is important to feel supported through this process. I feel held

There is a lot of industry – internal processing and sitting with how you feel. My stomach is tightening just at the thought of ‘it’.

I journal and write notes as I watch the videos, text Debbie and use Instagram and Face book to show and tell. I wanted to do this because of the regular journalling. There is less built in art journalling than I thought there would be. I need to process the ideas and feelings through art making.

My group of friends in Oxfordshire are meeting once a fortnight to do the course with Debbie whilst I am in Edinburgh.

There is an isolation from the group but I am enjoying the space to create my own ideas and images. I did go back to bed one day and hide because I didn’t want to work through some hard issues. I felt much better after I plucked up the courage to just get on with it

My pages over the last few weeks

I added a mandala sticker by Emily Lagore a long term friend on Instagram