Are you feeling overwhelmed by technology and underwhelmed by sincere communication these days? Today we will explore this growing predicament. Please find some real paper and a real writing utensil. Think of someone important in your life and carve out a chunk of time to write this person a real letter. As you write, maybe even take a risk and share personal feelings in the letter to this person, or just recount your day, current activities etc. How does it feel to communicate this way? Can you find a stamp, the person’s address and mailbox and follow through these tedious steps to communicate? Before you mail it, hang on to the letter for a day. You might want to add more or just admire this form of communication before you send it away. Be aware of your feelings as you do this exercise… How does it feel to use your time to acknowledge someone else? How does it feel to reveal your handwriting to a loved one? Are you anticipating how the recipient will feel to find this letter in their mailbox? Good Luck. Maybe you will receive a hand written letter in return!
Yesterday’s project: How is your attitude these days? What type of inclement weather did you place yourself in and how did it feel? Did you draw yourself with things for protection against the elements such as an umbrella if it was raining or gloves if it was snowing? This art exercise can reflect our attitude of how we drew ourselves in the situation. If you created yourself unprepared and then complained about it, is there something you can do about it to alter this by adding some protection and thus improving your attitude? Can you take responsibility of the person in the image or do you blame someone or something else for the predicament of being outside in inclement weather. Does this image reflect your attitude in your life? Art making is often quite revealing because we have no experience of putting up our “defenses” in what we create, so the truth is usually right in front of us when feelings and attitudes are drawn rather than spoken. If this exercise revealed a part of yourself that needs further exploration, please find a loved one to share your feelings with whom you trust.
Today we will be exploring the topic of boundaries which are essentially connected to love….a topic fitting for February 14th. Please find some paper and a pen or pencil. Draw an outline of a human form, amorphous and large enough to write in. Don’t worry about any details beyond limbs, a torso and head. Write some messages inside the body reflecting your current feelings connected to a relationship. On the outside of the body, write or draw words, messages, feelings, that a person or people on the outside world are expressing to you or about you.
The body outline serves as the boundary, and our experiment is to explore our physical, emotional, sexual, and/or verbal boundaries with the outside world. Try to pay attention to the feelings that come up as you focus on the interior and exterior of the body. As you work, ask yourself some of these questions: Are you happy with your boundaries? Are they too high, not allowing others in? Are they too low, letting everyone in at the expense of harming yourself? What can you do to better defend your boundaries? Do you see a connection between your level of self-esteem and your level of personal boundaries? The topic of boundaries is a very large one which will be covered numerous times in this blog’s art exercises. Please check tomorrow’s blog for more questions to help you explore the artwork you created.
Yesterday’s blog: What does your tree look like? What season did you draw around this tree? Do you feel that your tree represents aspect of yourself? Would you like to have deeper roots, or more extensive branches? Can you add anything to help this tree flourish in its current environment? Is your tree safe? Does your tree need other trees nearby?
A tree can be symbolic on many levels spanning cultures and much of human history as a motif used to represent people and societies. Drawing yourself as a tree can be a powerful exercise to describe personal things that are difficult to put into words. Putting this image away for a few days or weeks and then returning to it can often be insightful, as if reading a diary entry.
One of the first posts on this blog requested that readers create a thankfulness list. That directive was done close to the New year, and following vacation time for many people. Now that we are deep into January, please think about how your day has unfolded today, and create a small list observing the things in your day for which you are thankful. Please take a few minutes to think of the seemingly mundane aspects of your day which can be appreciated if viewed from the right angle. Write or draw about these on a paper and tuck it away somewhere.
Yesterday’s Project: Did you think of something you would like to share with your loved ones? This topic of communication is one we will cover extensively over the year, because lack of communication is often the source of most conflict in relationships. How did it feel to write your statement on the page? Did you feel the urge to hide this art or destroy it? Could you share your information with somebody? Is there a fear of disappointment? Could the information you are withholding enhance your relationship, even if it is not something positive? Sometimes honesty is appreciated even when it is painful. It can deepen a relationship and be a relief for the person who has been withholding their feelings.
In honor of today’s focus on freedom of speech and the internet, many large websites are protesting by blocking their sites. Wikipedia has gone blank, and Google has covered up their name for the day as an outcry to the discussion taking place on Capital Hill about setting limits on the internet. For today’s art project, we will explore our own freedom of speech through a small art exercise. Draw a stick figure ( or a more elaborate version if you are feeling creative) of yourself and a word balloon above it. Can you write something that you have wanted to share but haven’t felt comfortable doing? Feel free to write it and then tear the sheet up if you are still not ready to share this information, but please be aware of your feelings as you write the words you would like to share.
Yesterday’s drawing: A Mandala is a Sanskrit word for circle, but incorporates an idea of wholeness and our connection to the world. This brief paragraph is not enough space to truly define the meaning, and if you are interested, please research Mandalas on your own. The powerful symbolism of creating art within a circle can be found in many cultures. What did you create in your own circle? What kind of mood does the image convey? Were you able to add words to the outer part of your Mandala to make better sense of what you created on the inside?