Art as Therapy

Prismacolor markers and pencils

I’m a runner.  Two years ago I fell on my face.  As you can guess, the experience was pretty traumatic.  My friend, a nurse, said it would be considered a head injury.  My world changed in an instant.  My front tooth was bent at an odd angle.  My husband and dentist (both angels) helped pull it back in place.  In those first moments, I lost my ability to communicate.  For a Gemini, this is a problem 😉

The recovery was emotional.  One of the things that helped me most was art and prayer.  These two things go together more than people may realize.  I started by writing about it, but the experience was hard to put into words.  Working with images can be more intuitive.  Here is a sketch I did when I was trying to facilitate the healing of my tooth.  Many times we feel powerless.  The best thing of course is to go with the flow and give up control.  But working through difficult situations by creating art is also a beneficial tool for becoming empowered.

I’m a big advocate of positive thinking.  I think it keeps us relaxed and helps promote healing.  If we can visualize change (through art and positive thoughts), we can make it happen.

You may not consider yourself an artist, but don’t let that stop you.  Art therapy is more about the process than the end result.  Focusing on color imagery might be one place to start.  You can make it as detailed or abstract as you want.  Check out this art therapy blog for more information.

We may never learn the reason why certain things happen to us, but we can bring a sense of peace and closure  to these events.  In literature, we call this catharsis.

So where am I two years later after this event?  I’m running outside again.  I’m also finally pursuing my lifelong dream of becoming a published author and illustrator.  I’d like to think art and prayer/positive thoughts had something to do with it.  What will you do when life gives you lemons?  Please comment and share!

Need some comic relief?  Here is a new favorite quote of mine:

“When you’re falling on your face, you’re actually moving forward.” — from Friends: Lovable, Livable, Laughable Lines

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May Flowers

I just got a new scanner for my birthday.  Come see what bloomed!

Everything from traditional to modern.  Enjoy the garden 🙂

watercolor and pencil

watercolor and pencil

watercolor, watercolor pencil, and ink

watercolor, watercolor pencil, and ink

watercolor and watercolor pencil

watercolor and gesso

SCBWI: WWMW Conference 2013

Mixed Media

Howdy partners!  I’m back from the Wild, Wild Midwest conference in Fort Wayne, IN.  One word: inspiring!

Above is the piece that I submitted for the art show.  I consider it an exploration of style, one of my goals for this year.  It’s a combination of my favorite mediums right now: collage, watercolor, and ink.  I really enjoyed the hands-on aspect of it, even as I hoped the glue would hold 😉  And I also got the salt trick to work!

“The Queen of Spades” was inspired by my very own Philodendron.  I promise that no plants were harmed in the making of this piece 😉  My plant did have a few adventures away from its usual tabletop spot in the living room…  I’m just glad it survived!  It’s my only plant.  I credit it to my best friend who gave it to me.  She’s like mother nature when it comes to plants.  I, on the other hand, am known for having a “black thumb.”

In Japanese culture, everything has a spirit, including trees.  Here is my representation of this concept.  In this case, I wanted to capture the spirit of my own plant.  If I were to pitch this piece as a story idea, it would sound something like this:  What would you do if you found out your plant was truly alive?  One illustration concept that art director Laurent Linn mentioned at the conference was the idea that everything in a scene is a character.  I really took his idea literally 😉  He also said that the difference between children’s illustration and other types of art is storytelling and emotion.  You should shape your portfolio around this concept.  Good advice!

Check out other great entries from the Michigan chapter here.

Event photos!

Dinner with illustrators at sushi restaurant: Who could ask for anything more?

One of the best parts about conferences like these are the opportunities to network and socialize with friends 🙂

Jane Yolen and the Naked Mole Rat, unlikely friends: One wild Midwest party brought them together

I’m sure you all know Jane Yolen.  She’s considered ‘The Hans Christian Andersen of America.’  BUT, did you know she teamed up with the Naked Mole Rat, star character of Mo Willems infamous book: Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed?  It just goes to show, friendship develops in unlikely places, including the Wild, Wild Midwest!

All good things must come to an end.  Kathi Appelt, author of Keeper and The Underneath, left us with some great parting thoughts.  She said that all the best words, all the ingredients needed for a great story, start with the letter P.  Brilliant!  Think about it…  Can you guess the final word she mentioned?  POSSIBILITIES!

My friend Katherine Carver challenged me to come up with one word as my theme for the year.  Can you guess what word I came up with?  I mentioned it in a previous post.  Hint: it’s not serendipity, although that is also a great word.

To see how this challenge works, go to her blog.  What will your word for the year be?  Please share!

Coming Out of Your Shell

Turtle

This drawing is based on a poem I wrote several years ago.  I owned a couple of turtles as pets growing up.  They’re actually a lot more entertaining than you think.  Especially when one gets loose under your sister’s bed 😉  I don’t think they’re meant to be pets, though.  They’re better off in the wild.  Still, I’ll always think fondly of mine.  They are a great symbol of both longevity and, surprisingly, strength.  I encourage each of you to take a step out of your shell today and do something you wouldn’t normally do but secretly always wanted to… 

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