art · art journal · art studio · art therapy · book

And then there’s a creative art journal

My flower journey is still going on. While painting flowers this month, I’m also started back to creating art journal pages.

Along with reading “the creative cure” it made sense to me to work in my journal.

This is a great way to start when you are unsure what to paint. It’s also a good way to loosen up if feeling tense and restricted about painting. And it’s a great way to paint a background.

Here’s the directions:

The brush of colors

  • Acrylic paint
  • Flat brush
  • Journal
  • Palette
  • Water
  • Paper towels

Chose 4 colors. Any color that appeals to you.

Use a flat brush and paint blobs of colors onto the paper. Fill it until the white paper is covered.

After it is dried. Choose 2 more colors. And paint on top of the colors on the paper.

That’s the first part….more to come about this painting.

Where’s my flowers? I’m working on some paintings for Etsy…will be showing them on blog soon, and posting on Etsy hopefully at the end of July.

Happy day

Caroline

book

Chapter 3 The Creative Cure

If you have been following my posts lately, I have been reading The Creative Cure by Jacob Nordby. It has been examining how a person can have a creative block caused by socialization, traumatic experiences and rejection.

Chapter 3 is about Restoring Imagination

He writes on page 38, “As we grow older, we tend to trade imagination for logic, and like any other skill we don’t use, we get out of practice using our imagination.” We must have the right answer, the right way of doing things etc. No imagination anymore when we are adults!

I love this statement on page 39. “Imagination is personal-each of us does it differently (though it can be done in groups with exciting results).”

in summary of this section of the book : Imagination is a muscle and we can practice it and strengthen it at any time.

Exercise from the book: Problem-solving with random words

Chose a problem:

my problem is: Not having enough fun and laughter in my life.

use online random word generator: grab the first word you find

My word is: Defend

write about the ways your problem might be like this word:

here’s my writing:

I have to constantly defend myself, my actions, my decisions. I felt all my life everyone watched me, watched what I was doing and had a sarcastic input about it. I have to defend my work, my counseling skills, my decisions at work. I have to defend my requests and comments. I have to defend my opinions. I have no one to help defend me. I am alone in this world fighting for my place, guarded ready to defend. I feel insecure to let go of my defense and become vulnerable while everyone is watching. I have to defend my decisions with my home, my decisions with my career and my decisions with my money and my physical health. I have to answer to everyone, but I am alone. This makes me irritated. I don’t know the solution to this. I feel happier when I am alone in my own space. I don’t want to defend myself about my decision to create art and focus on my self-care. I don’t need to defend myself to others, no one owns me. I can decide what I want and allowed to make my own mistakes. I am allowed to live and take chances with my life. I am allowed to spend my money on a vacation or my home if I want. So be it, people just have to accept that I am alive and that they don’t need to control me. They need to accept that I want things that are different than they want for me. So be it. I need to not focus on defending myself but just taking chances and not feel anxious about making a mistake and people watching me.

exercise: Daydreaming Meditation: daydream about having fun with someone

That was difficult because I had to meditate for 10 minuets. I daydreamed about having fun with my childhood friend, Kim. I miss her and wish we stayed connected.

exercise: artists dates:

Make a plan to do art stuff—I kinda do that. maybe I need to actually label it in my calendar

exercise: shoulds and should’ts: the tools of socialization

I need to start listening to when I say or hear or think “I should, or I should not.”

exercise: what if you are perfect now?

he suggests to write these down, and essentially think about them and write about it later.

What if I am perfect just as I am right now?

What if I am enough?

What if everything is just as it should be right this moment?

What if I am doing the best I can?

This was a chapter with an overwhelming amount of exercises. I definitely want to do the meditation again. I want to be able to remember the fun and creativity we had together.

I have some thinking and processing to do with this chapter.

Happy Day

Caroline

art therapy · book

Chapter 2-the creative cure

This chapter is about the joy and the art of self-discovery:

The past traumas certainly can burden anyone from “creative self-discovery.” the author explains about using a mentor-muse, he calls it Joy.

The joy we once had as children. “Joy is the essence, the fuel, and the energy of the creative life.”—love this quote from the book!

He explains how we lost track of joy, and seeking it in others and acceptance of others. As well as failure and rejection. “we try to live the life others want us to live or become who others told us to be and acquire what others told us we should want.”—How true is that?

Let me share a little: When I was young, college was expected, I was told along with others in my generation, go to college and you will have anything and everything you want. So off to college. I studied art, but I had to figure out how to make art a living to not go against the norm. —the society norm. I really wanted to own an art studio, self-employed in the small town I grew up, but…

off to graduate school to study art therapy and counseling. Now don’t get me wrong I like helping others, but honesty if I can do it again, I would have spent the time and money and energy into owning an art studio. But I heard a nag at me, get a job that offers vacation days, sick days, 401K and other incentives, mainly health insurance. You won’t live a good life unless you have those. So I studied and struggled through graduate school and not to mention the torture of writing a thesis.

Then I got the job with PTO days, 401K, health insurance and the incentives. Well what were the incentives? I got free supervision to increase my licensure for practicing counseling in my state, but still have to take another exam. Another expense. I hate exams, terrible at exams, but I did it. I passed. And onto working and making money. Oh I guess at this time, I am to shut up, because I got the job with PTO, 401K and health insurance and the incentives.

Where’s the joy? I am screaming mad. Was I fearful of trying something that went against the social norms and my family’s expectations? YES! I would be a failure if I left everything and went for something that was different and no one else in the family ever did.

So I compromised. Did I? I left my job of 7 years and went into private practice. I went against part of the social norm. I am now working as a contract worker. So no more PTO, 401K, and incentives. But I had to buy my own health insurance, and anyone in American knows how expensive that is! Where’s the joy?

Let me step back a little…I worked mainly as a counselor, I did some art therapy. Meaning sitting at a chair talking and processing with clients was most of my day for about 6 hours. If I did art, I was not making it, it was the client who got to make the art for about 20 minutes, then we processed it using the counseling process.

I lost my creativity and my feeling of being creative after I witnessed something in elementary school. After that year it seemed more traumas occurred and I spent countless years of anxiety especially during school. I saw too many teachers get angry and yell at students, toss them out in the hallway and throw things. I saw too many times someone physically assaulted-even at a young age. I saw too many times health issues getting out of control. I heard too many times people teasing me. I heard too many times that I wouldn’t go to college because I am not smart enough-insert–laughter. I saw my mother’s death. I am now seeing my aging father getting thinner and weaker. I did not do art during these times to help in my healing. i didn’t know I needed healing. I had no idea I was traumatized until I started taking a better look at my life experiences. I never felt my life experiences were important, but other lives are more important. I grew that my sisters, my brother and my neighbor and cousins lives were more important and my experiences were none. Why did I get silenced from a life I should have been living and instead was living a life of a silent nightmare and no one knows what I experienced?

ART IS MY JOY.

The author included a few questions in this chapter:

Question 1: what am I feeling right now?

Tired, bored in life, depressed, sad and have too much physical health issues from having rheumatoid arthritis, my back is tight, my neck is tight and I guarantee after I finish this blog and wash the morning dishes, I will want to take a power nap. Not to mention I just work up for the morning.

The author mentions to “answer the question as it relates to your inner world.”

I really can’t stand the people who were once in my life. I am angry at them. I am angry at myself for holding onto those friendships. Once they found someone else more interesting they dumped me like I was trash. I cried for days and years over these people. I am angry at the men who acted as if they wanted to date me, but they were tied to some other girl, one was married. Where do these people get off to destroy me and my beauty and love that I can give to others? I am angry that there are people in my life today, that don’t realize how I have been lonely for decades, but they think I am fine. I have to put up a front, if I don’t everyone will “fix me up” with their choice of who I need to be with. Ughh, trust me, I was once asked by someone who wanted to fix me up. NO!

Oh and those people never really supported me with my art and my dream of having an art studio. They popped my dream. But I had no choice but support them on their dreams of marriage and family. Whatever!

Question 2: what do I need right now?

I need some paint and canvas and throw my anger out on it! I need someone who will mentor me to own an art studio, even though I have debt and need health insurance and need to still pay on my mortgage. I need to find a way. I need to find a way to show the art skills I know from being an art therapist all my life. I need to have time to write the book about art journal making that I want to self-publish in the next 5 years. I need to not work 6 days. I need to work on not wanting every expensive thing for my home renovation in order to not work so much. I want to work from home. I don’t want to work for the current private practice. I want to work for a telehealth counseling center for 4 days and them work on my book and art the remaining days. I want to go against the expectations that everyone has for me. I want to own my own art business.

Question 3: what would I love?

I would love to have an art studio that has endless storage for supplies. Has space to rent for artists to us for their personal art work. To offer art classes, no therapy. To energize the community with art and creative activities for all ages. I would love to work on more YouTube videos and have time to write my book. I would love to sell my art.

I can tell from this writing, there is still anger in me about my past friends and relationships. There is fear of going against everything I worked hard for and vulnerability to do this alone. This chapter really did not hold back on getting me to think about fear, failure and vulnerability. This chapter certainly did not hold back on pushing to get me there quickly. It was a force that needed to happen.

Now what?

Today my plan is to work on a painting for a few hours. Then I will be concentrating on the cross stitch and most likely will be watching Hulu or Netflix this afternoon. I will be cooking lemon chicken in a crockpot today. And if I have the motivation, maybe do some small house cleaning in-between.

coming up in posts: more about this book and the exercise I am willing to share. And more updates of knitting, cross stitch and painting.

Happy Day,

Caroline

art · art studio · art therapy · cross stitch

Sunday Studio Day

Today was a rainy day. I started the day with writing, yoga and painting. Then I spent the rest of the day cross stitching.

Here’s the pictures of the progress of the big flower painting:

More drying time and more layers to go. I noticed my hand has difficulty to hold the brush and keep it steady. It looks like the inflammation is causing problems. I really hate having rheumatoid arthritis! Grrr!

Put I can hold a cross stitch needle. I think because I can lean my hand on the hoop and I can rest it in the fabric before I pull on it to make a stitch.

I’m almost done with page 17. Page 18, 19 & 20 are full pages and page 21 has only 2 columns for stitching.

It’s getting closer to being finished!

Happy day

Caroline

crafts · cross stitch · knitting

A little knitting

I have been finishing the knit headband for over a month. I knit in-between clients and early morning. However the past two weeks I have been suffering from an increase of inflammation and edema and chronic fatigue. So knitting was difficult to work on.

A few nights ago, the headband was finally finished.

I knitted a scarf a few months ago that goes with this headband.

Currently another knotted project has been started.

The plan is to knit an oversized scarf that can be used as a wrap.

The current stitch I am learning is hurdle stitch.

It’s rather simple.

Cast on the amount of stitch for your project

Row 1 knit
Row 2 knit
Row 3 k1, p1
Row 4 k1, p1
Repeat
Then bind off when you get to the size of your project.

The weather is decent, finally the humid muggy weather has left us. Hopefully it won’t come back. I’ll be taking a walk with my dog and heading to the store. Later today, cross stitching and Netflix or Hulu is the goal.

Here’s where I left off with my stitching

Happy day

Caroline

art · art journal · art studio · knitting

Flower #9 Underwater Bloom

Today was a day of seeing clients by video, making a good meal and starting a new knitting project… I’ll post that later.

Yesterday I finished the headband. It looks amazing. There’s a matching scarf. (Not pictured)

This evening I spent time outside. I have a brick wall around my home that needs to be repaired. My gate is rusty too. It is a project on my list. So much for earlier retirement… wouldn’t that be a dream?!

I decided this evening to do yoga, the weather cooled and my upstairs is decent to be in. (My air conditioner guy never came yesterday to inspect my air conditioner-I’m not happy) It was nice to relax and stretch my legs. They get swollen when walking and standing. I was on my feet for over an hour, then walked my dog. My feet hurt and it was difficult to finish the mini walk. Having edema and rheumatoid arthritis and chronic fatigue really is harder than people realize.

So after yoga, which I did floor stretches, I spent an hour painting. My hand is unsteady. Not sure why, might be the fatigue. My accupuncturist does a finger test and pull on my fingers and I have no strength to keep my fingers touching. He says that’s a sign of low energy.

Look at my new cat…he likes to get on the yoga mat with me. He’s a good cat.

Hope you enjoy this painting. I might add more to it later.

Happy day

Caroline

art · art journal · book

Creativity

What is creativity? Chapter 2 of The Creative Cure by Jacob Nordby

He suggests this mantra:

I am creative. I am an artist. I am creating my life.

uhmmm, Am I? That is the struggle. Do I see myself as an artist or see myself as a counselor. I certainly don’t do art daily. But I work as a counselor most of the week.

On page 4 he writes “somewhere along the way, we traded this immersive creativity for logic, predictability, correctness, and responsibility.”

That is very true in my life. Logical thinking must be present in order to establish stability for clients. Predictability, people depend on that to calm their nerves. Correctness-let’s face most of my day, I am correcting their behaviors or decisions. Responsibility, well that is part of the job, a lot of rules and laws to follow. So where is the creativity in my day?

Wait! He writes about the enemies of creativity: there are three types of areas that cause out block for creativity:

Socialization, traumatic experiences, rejection-pg 5

Socialization: There is an influence from society that causes the creative to not feel welcomed. The social norms seem to rob us of our youth and creative spirit. I conformed to a full time job with benefits and all the perks. I couldn’t life that way anymore. I went into private practice. I work better with a flexible schedule. When I started working with a flexible schedule, there were doubters, saying it will be hard to pay my bills. It hasn’t been hard, in fact easier! They said that I wouldn’t like having to work in the evening. wrong I prefer late afternoon and evening times, I feel more energy then. What do social norms know about me anyway?!

Trauma: I have witnessed and listened to trauma experiences for all my life. Trauma I believe has caused my flow of creativity to stall. It has caused intense anxiety, social anxiety and feelings of depression. I work with clients with trauma and have heard things that will never be able to unhear again. I feel a sense of sadness about people’s trauma. I never acknowledged my trauma until this year. I will never forget witnessing my friend being physically abused by her brother at her birthday party. I never wanted to go over anyone’s home. I still feel that way today. I prefer my place and I prefer quietness. I will not watch anything with abuse in it as it causes me to have anxiety and flashbacks.

I have experienced trauma of my mother’s death. It is something I don’t share, as there are parts of her death that will remain hidden and only me will carry them. I accepted her death, but the sadness of watching my father age is traumatic for me.

Rejection. Definitely happens to me all the time. I was rejected my the first boy I had a crush on. I was rejected by men that pretended to like me. I say pretend because it was simply that, they were dishonest with me and the woman they were dating. I was stood up my a man for a date. I was in the middle of getting ready, that I double checked on the time and he finally replied an hour late. And I was rejected for a job that I really wanted: I was more of an art job working with mental health. I was upset.

Here’s a few paintings about my grief and trauma:

More to come

Happy day

Caroline

book · meditation

The creative cure-the book

I found myself at the check out with a book titled The Creative Cure, by Jacob Nordby. It drew me to it, simply because I have been feeling drained in all aspects of my life. Upon picking this book up I was doubting my own self-expression and creativity and skill. Since art school, I stopped doing art on a daily basis, I ended up in a career that is highly stressful and in relationships that were toxic and unfulfilled. I have no joy and feel my soul is dead.

I attend counseling and I was just talking about this with my counselor a few weeks ago. That was when I made a vision board. I really want to live my life based on this vision board. But… as the book describes: on page xviii

“I now knew that I had created a life based on acquisition of stuff that was fueled by an inner fear of rejection, all in a futile attempt to live up to society’s definition of success. I also knew it was quite literally killing me and that I couldn’t do it much longer. Yet I was stuck, afraid to destroy what I had built. how could I walk away from my house, job, wife, or kids? I felt I would rather die.” (Nordby)

There it was in black and white staring at me, the words I have been thinking and feeling. I now have no choice but continue to read this book and continue with the exercises in this book in hopes the creative cure will greet me as it did for this author.

exercise one: Journaling

what?! that is something I tell my clients to do. But me, you are asking me to journal. Yes, I don’t feel like I am a writer, I don’t want my vulnerability out there for others to find and I have no idea what to write about. He mentioned that journal writing can help let go of the traumas, sadness and anything stopping the creativity. I do believe that, so I must start writing.

exercise two: Meditation

okay you got me Jacob Nordby. Yes I meditated, but never was consistent. Yes I do yoga, but no I never connect it to a meditative state. So now I need to fulfill my time on the mat with more focus on a meditative state to connect with my mind and body than simply doing it to feel better with my physical health.

I will be posting more about the exercises in posts to come as I explore this book and find my way back to creativity.

where’s my flower paintings: glad you wondered: my studio has been extremely stuffy and hot. I am unable to safely be in there for a few hours without overheating and having my legs and feet swell. So the air conditioner man will be coming tomorrow and hopefully it can be repaired. But if I have to replace it I accepted the expense it will take on me. I really need air conditioning. My acupuncturist told me yesterday I need to eat cool meals and stay in a cool room, because my blood vessels are expanding causing edema to get worse.

A little doodle that I can do away from my studio ….

Happy Day

Caroline

art · art studio

Flower #8 The Large One

July 3, 2021 a quiet day working in the morning from home.

Worked a little on the journal book I hope to finish writing sometime in the present future.

Then later in the day I spent a few hours in the art studio.

I had a migraine for the past few days. And I have a slight headache again..let me just say the stress in my life is too much for me to handle. Unfortunately I have to handle it.

Here’s the first layer of this flower painting. It will look nothing like this when it is complete!

I am using acrylic paint. Late I will be using dot painting and painting with acrylic markers.

Happy day

Caroline

Shop open on Etsy: 4pawsartstudio