I thought today would be a nice time to re-share some of my favorite archived blog posts about gratitude, creativity, resilience, and well-being. I enjoyed re-visiting these and I hope you will enjoy this round-up too:
These posts continue to guide me about the importance of having a gratitude practice and the role of creativity in helping support and express what we are thankful for– especially in times of uncertainty, stress, or conflict. Not just today or when times are tough, but beneficial for our well-being everyday. A wonderful opportunity for us to activate daily creative practices with an attention to gratitude. 🙂
I’ve put together a round up of recent links and posts that highlight the role of creativity in managing challenging times, finding hope, and empowering resilience. I hope you find them as inspiring and helpful as I have. As I was reading these posts over the last couple of months, they have been comforting messages about the importance of creative expression to make sense of new shifts, uncertain moments, and distressing times. They have also been amazing reminders of the power art and creative expression hold to connect us to our voice and each other.
This month the Hildegard Center for the Arts published an inspiring, free resource of art-based ideas chock full of creative goodness called Art Bridges— Definitely a great collection (over 70 downloadable PDFs!) for art therapists to use with their groups or individuals, as well as teachers or anyone interested in creative enrichment with youth!
Some of the ideas were contributed by members of the art therapy community- including myself- I was delighted to be invited to add a favorite gratitude art idea that I featured on this blog in 2012. Since this post’s original publishing, I’ve used this idea with youth & women I’ve worked with in shelter- as a creative, affirming way to explore the concept of thankfulness in their own lives. Often instead of making leaf shaped “blessing tags”, we would make different size and colored hearts to write on and hang from the mason jar’s branches. It was a great community piece– the tree kept “growing” with new additions as more people add to it. Others can also read the reflections previously shared.
The Art Bridges resource also suggests that therapists could also use the idea as a Courage or Healing Tree… a great idea that I may introduce into one of my groups!
When I was a senior in college (1994), I joined the American Art Therapy Association. As a member, one of my favorite benefits was receiving Art Therapy: The Journal of The American Art Therapy Association. As a young student getting to know this profession, reading the literature inside was always inspiring. I also really enjoyed seeing what art graced the cover. Often the very first thing I would do was open the issue and look for the masthead about the art and what art therapist created it.
This week, I was able to see and hold this issue in actual print while mine is still in route- a copy I received from the current President of the Buckeye Art Therapy Association (thanks Molly!).
Wow! A very surreal moment on lots of different levels!
Artist Statement: My Own Beautiful, but Altered Brain (2012) | A few years ago I came across the art and story of Elizabeth Jameson and was so very moved by her work, research, and interpretation of taking her own medical imaging and brain scans as a personal expression and inquiry to understanding and coping with her diagnosis with multiple sclerosis, as well as help others with the disease and educate the medical community through her art. Jameson put a call out for people living with brain inflicted illnesses to “feel how ugly it is and how beautiful it is”, and this invitation, in addition to personal communication with Elizabeth inspired me to explore my own experience with the same disease. In 2012 I started to use my own MRI films & brain imaging collected over the last 13 years to create digital art, mixed media, and altered book art as a way to process, manage, and share this health related journey.
I have been working on some new digital art, after having another MRI done this summer of my brain and spinal cord. While standing barefoot in my thin medical gown after my testing was over, I enthusiastically explained how I make art with my imaging, its purpose, showed some examples on my phone, and inquired about how to get these new images. The radiology staff was super helpful and eager to supply me with a CD on the way out of my appointment!
I was excited to start working on some new images and taking control of my illness again through this form of art making. So empowering and affirming to do in response to such an unpredictable and frustrating disease. I first converted my MRI imaging into JPGs. Then I did some digital painting using ArtRage and photo editing with PicMonkey:
My experiences with this chronic illness in the last couple of years has taught me new lessons & gifts around patience, vulnerability, openness, and to respect/listen to my body’s voice. I’m also so thankful for the kind support I’ve received in response to this series and the loving presence and understanding that surrounds me everyday. 🙂
‘Most new discoveries are suddenly-seen things that were always there. A new idea is a light that illuminates presences which simply had no form before the light fell on them.’ — Susan Langer
On this first day of the New Year, I am excited to share the new 365 project I’m about to embark on: Illuminate 365.
My intention with this new daily creative practice is to capture images throughout the year that reflect variations on Illumination. In 2012 and 2013 I started regularly taking photos of light with a project I called Through a Grateful Lens. The last few months, I’ve been thinking about how much I’ve missed this practice and the special connection to gratefulness, hope, and comfort these light captures helped inspire during this time. I am curious to discover what a whole year’s worth of captures each day sparked by the expanded concept of light, insight, and understanding will reveal or offer. Bring on Illuminating 2016!
My plan is to use digital art making through fun apps and programs to get creative with the images that I take in the spirit of this project and share them in quarterly round ups here on this blog. Daily captures will be shared on Instagram.
How would you like to illuminate 2016?
Here’s to a Happy New Year to us all full of art and creative goodness!
The Thanksgiving holiday will soon be here, which encourages me to reflect on & share this collection of new quotes I’ve gathered that embody the act of giving, creating, and gratitude. These musings of thankfulness, graciousness & the power of art are wonderful to remember no matter the time of year! I believe this lens can also help offer some creative counteraction to fear, judgement, and shame during times of distress, suffering, and sorrow.
What creative quotes or practices help ground you in gratefulness & generosity?
The essence of all beautiful art, all great art, is gratitude. ~Friedrich Nietzsche
All art arises out of gratitude, a deep pervasive feeling that you are glad something exists outside yourself, that something can complete you. ~Dorothy Koppelman
I have walked this earth for 30 years, and, out of gratitude, want to leave some souvenir. ~Vincent van Gogh
Artists are among the most generous of people. Perhaps inherent in the appreciation of creativity comes a deep, underlying love of humanity and our Earth. ~Kelly Borsheim
Gratitude opens the door to… the power, the wisdom, the creativity of the universe. ~Deepak Chopra
I will draw as much as I can for as many people as I can for as long as I can. ~Keith Haring
I am filled with gratitude for the ability to live the artist’s life. In my studio. Being an artist. Everyday. ~Mickie Acierno
I’m very grateful for an entire lifetime spent involved in this creative process. ~Ron Howard
Those works I have most profited by are the ones I have given away. ~ Joseph P. Blodgett
Music and art both spring from a grateful heart. ~Katie Wood McCloy
Make a gift of your life and lift all mankind. ~David R. Hawkins
I want to thank anyone who spends part of their day creating. I don’t care if it’s a book, a film, a painting, a dance, a piece of theater, a piece of music. Anybody who spends part of their day sharing their experience with us. This world would be unlivable without art. Thank you for inspiring me. ~Steven Soderberg
Picasso said that the sale of every one of his works was like having a little piece of himself taken away. In this sense, he could be regarded as a very generous person. ~Marvin Humphrey
Gratitude is a many-colored quality, reaching in all directions. It goes out for small things and for large.” ~Faith Baldwin
Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow. ~ Melody Beattie
Art is the giving by each man of his evidence to the world. Those who wish to give, love to give, discover the pleasure of giving. Those who give are tremendously strong. ~ Robert Henri
There is no better opportunity to receive more than to be thankful for what you already have. Thanksgiving opens up the windows of opportunity for ideas to flow your way. ~Jim Rohn
The essence of all art is to have pleasure in giving pleasure. ~ Dale Carnegie
An artist gives. Gives visually, gives through courses, or with free advice, through generosity of spirit and through a need to share. ~Veronica Roth
The act of giving something to others is an art of flowering your heart. ~Vinayak
Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours! Many thanks for your interest and support throughout this year of Creativity in Motion and its creative adventures!
3×5 day 365 is here! Yay! To help celebrate the completion of this year’s creative daily practice, I put together a short video with all the index card art I created over the last 12 months:
I feel a deep amount of gratitude and appreciation to everyone who has helped support my 3×5 creating efforts…. Thank you! This has been in the form of generous encouragement, interest, & feedback via social media, this blog, and 6 Degrees of Creativity Paper Stash Swappers who helped provide some of the collage material I’ve used. And a big thank you to Tammy of Daisy Yellow, who has been such a huge inspiration in all things index card art related! One of the highlights of this year’s project was finally being able to participate in Daisy Yellow’s ICAD this summer.
This has been a fun, creative adventure! As I review the video and each of the days, weeks, and months from this project, it’s awesome to see the year come together and end in this way.
Looking forward to new creative adventures in 2015!