I was looking for a white dress to represent stated the unformed planet/blank canvas to attach the matter/ideas from the first part of this assignment process (Hinz, 2009, p.3). The blank dress will have a gravitational pull, to bring clarity in exposing the patterns and big picture to address “Why I am studying Art Therapy?” I had to calm my anxiety that is often felt when looking for a blank canvas and I also had limited time and could only visit one op shop to find my dress/muse. Opening myself up to the concept, that whatever appeared in all the other people’s junk, would be perfect for the start of this second stage of the process. Feen-Calligan (1995) stated “giving up notions of how images should look and instead allow the healing images to come from within.” This is my intent throughout this process and letting the installation appear naturally rather than trying to fulfil some ideal. I know this will not always be easy for my artist’s identity. To my joy, two things appeared at the op shop: a wedding dress with train and nine hard-covered old books in the free box about ancient civilisations. These read like a poem to me about myself. I am blind feeling my way through a door into somewhere unknown and hidden. Knill (2004) found that “Imagination is not totally controllable: it is predictable only in its unpredictability.” (p. 84)
The wound or schism, as I like to call it, has been a recurring symbol throughout my life’s work. Ever since as a teenager I heard about the Centaur Chiron the wise healer with the incurable wound of Greek mythology. This guided me to discover, through Joseph Campbell’s writings, that this character is common in many cultures’ myths to represent the healer (Campbell, 1949). So, I have started with making wounds and a portrait of my wounded child. While making these works, I noticed that right now I’m not emotionally identified with myself as a victim or even a wise healer due to my art practice, they just are a part of me and I care for them and don’t ignore when they speak out or need to go slow and there is treasure now in those wounds. The gold represents love, acceptance and kindness around ones wound. The wound can be a valuable resource and the ability to have compassion with one’s mangled dark bits truly gives you the ability to be present with the suffering of others (Bager-Charleson, 2010, p. 44). The little guy looks a bit like a monk!
This is the first drawing about some of my ideas for the installation piece. I plan to incorporate the metaphors and considerations that have occurred in this self-reflective process in past and future weeks.
This sardine can is pointing a finger towards the light/stars in the dark which happens with more ease and joy when you have a wise guide travelling beside you into uncharted seas.
Here I am as a Bush tracker looking for tracks to find the information that will help me solve some presenting issues. My head is represented as a termite mound where all of the small synapses in the body and brain are unified and work together to transform things from one state to another. When one has integrated and made peace with the majority of the parts of the self then one is able to step into the role of a therapist and hold space for the other and mirror their journey towards integrating aspects of themselves.
The visual diary for me is a space of reflection and introspection. It is more natural to my dyslexia being, that is aligned to the image much more than the word. The drawings have a voice of their own and we enjoy an ongoing chat.
This work is reflecting my concepts on my gender, marriage and parenting. The sardine can is filled with soft bird feathers which surround a shell which holds a wedding ring. These are questions I have had to ask myself. To marry or not? To have children or not? There is no right or wrong answer to these questions but a calling to look honestly at your constructs about your parents in your eyes. This is important work and a gold mine of healing can happen in this work, gently chipping away as you move through your own life span.
In oil pastels, here I stand a flamingo dressed reflecting on myself. Then on the other page, I contemplate the internalisation of the mother.
The perceptions I have created about my mother and father have book-ended my personal metaphors: My mother as trapped Rapunzel in the outback, wishing to be saved by the prince. My father as lonely orphan sailing on his boat on the arid dirt sea. They clung together and soothed each other but never acknowledge their wounds that they wore as cloaks around themselves. My brother and I became animated representations of their hidden wounds. I’ve spent much of my life creatively dismantling and cutting free from the maternal tower and paternal fishing-net. A dedication to self-work through my art practice has enabled me to plod along my own path towards the self.
As I have gained distance and perspective such imagery became mirages that reappear at random times when triggered and are compassionately accepted. Yet most of the time they are nestled and shrunken down into golden empathic resources that I keep in my pocket as a testament to my own human story. This process has been the foundation on which I have created a codex for my own world of self-metaphor.
This sardine can is focusing awareness to the fact that everyone wonders if they really measure up, as a loveable being and that’s OK. Self-compassion equals non-judgement.
Jung (1964) “stated that all persons show a tendency to grow towards wholeness, bringing to light their uniqueness and individuality.” (Hinz, 2009, p. 12)
The narrative created by these objects represents the space that clear boundaries and a support system create.
This shows the importance that I give to spending time in self-reflection and care in my “hermit’s cave”.
Daily life considerations always have to be juggled in everyone’s life. The essentials like family, job, food, shelter, education, health and finance.
This image is an assemblage of found objects in a sardine can that I collected on the farm where I grew up. The sardine can represent for me, food for thought. The bones are my metaphor of intergenerational patterns. The lock and key represent opening myself up to looking directly at that which has been kept hidden. I am not afraid of the dark anymore I have grown a parent.
In this oil paint and charcoal image, I stand strong and naked except for a cape of kangaroo skins and a Bungarra lizard around my neck. The kangaroo has the ability to move swiftly over rough terrain and the lizard is comfortable spending most of its day laying and dreaming in the shady shadows. My arms are outstretched and calling out to that which has become a part of my identity that I have not acknowledged. I call forth these fragments to rise and make themselves known to me by jumping into the fire of illumination and realisation. I enjoy the lack of control I have over the drawing as the charcoal moves over the oil paint background. “Only a love affair with materials can lead to a wedding of felt experience and formed expression” (Agell, G. 1982)
I juxtaposed the previous portrait with a mixed media image of a stitched wound shimmering with gold. This represents that which is hidden and disowned by the masked dancer but is always following closely behind and ever-present. The gold points to the treasure that can be found in gently and respectfully with golden scissors opening the wound in safe space and exploring that which has been hidden and is ready to be seen. It’s important to be able to contain and stitch the wound back together again so these energies don’t bleed all over the place and hamper healing for scar wisdom to happen. There is connectivity we all share in the acceptance of the blood and guts of life. Scars can be beautiful; it’s all about your attitude. The chalk pastel summer sky blue of Australia is a call to be playful and grateful even when nothing appears to be working or happening. My wound also has a symbolic backdrop of sheet music that represents my belief in the power of art to heal.
This year I have started a post-graduate course in Creative Arts Therapy and Counselling. This course requires a lot of self – reflection because, in order to work with others, one needs to know one’s self. I began the process of self-exploration to investigate why and how I’ve ended up in this art therapy course with a spontaneous self-portrait that draws from my past. At the age of eight, I stumbled across a book of “Tutankhamun’s Treasures” and my love of art and metaphor began. I carried this book around for months reading about the strange rituals and practices of the Ancient Egyptians. I drew, chanted and dressed up in an isolated arid landscape on the family farm in Marvel Loch, at the edge of the Wheatbelt. My dance with creativity became my friend and confidant. I was alone but not lonely from that time forth. I can see the strong influence of Ancient Egyptian Art forms and themes in my work.
The dense creamy colours have me lounging in my 70’s sunken lounge listening to Donna Summers in my synthetic cocktail dress or in a folk-moment dancing barefoot to Linda Perhacs in a cotton mini. xx
These works are made on a ground of reappropriated cardboard we discard in our daily food rituals and held together with glue. I like to group them under the title of “The Pantry”. As a mother my pantry is the heart of the kitchen where sustenance’s can be found. These works are very much a starting place for ideas that I am chewing over for art food. I don’t feel precious about the cardboard grounds like I can when using expensive paper. I have the freedom to play and layer to my hearts content. My studies for the Renovator and Director started with a cardboard works as I felt my way around the subject matter. I have some of my hero’s and general everyday occurrences being expressed in the pantry. Like coffee with friends and what to make or buy for a family members birthday cake. The every parents nagging thought of “ What’s for dinner”, then there are the “Grief cases” that express the death of things and beings in my life. The largest work “My mother’s apron”, resides over these creations providing nourishment from the past as the food basics of every creative persons inner pantry.
I love it when the weeks play makes me excited about making more next week. xx
The Feisty Finch has become an Australian Spring Goddess. xx
This was a fun job with a limited time restraint. I due inspiration from the buildings around the cafe and the colours that where already there, which took me straight to medieval stained glass and Gauguin’s power popping black outlines.
I continue to peel back the layers on the illusionary self.
I will let the paint dry and explore more.xx
This is a quick small oil sketch that became the prototype for a larger painting I finished at the end of last year. It was inspired from the view that I have of our city from the community of South Perth where I live and the idea of resurrection and healing for us all who live in Perth.
I also remember as a child coming to Perth at night from the country and the wonder and exhilaration I felt when I would first see the city lights from Greenmount Hill in Mundaring. One time my parents told my brother and I about the first astronauts returning to earth needing the people of Perth to turn on all their lights to help them navigate their way back home and they named us their city of light.
It just needed a bit more atmosphere.
This illustration has been influenced by two loves of mine. (Comic illustrations and Mythological stories.) These were my obsessions as a child and inspired me to start drawing and dreaming. The story is from Greece and is about Danae who was imprisoned in a bronze tower by her father because he feared a prophecy that he would be killed by his grandson. Yet, even hidden away in her tower, she was still accessible to the god Zeus who came to her as a shower of gold.
This illustration was inspired by Botticelli the Pop Art painter of the 1500’s painting “Venus and Mars”. Here Mars is displaying what the French call (La petite mort – the sensation of orgasm as likened to death.) There is also a influence of simplification and stylisation that touches on the formal approach of the Art Deco movement.
Having a lot of fun in Loveland
This is a commissioned work for a newly married couple.xxx
I really love the point when an image is appearing yet falling apart. This reminds me of those moments in life when you feel formless and eternal such as when you kiss someone you adore.
I found myself in the studio doing this drawing just before going to the funeral of 9 year old Tyreez Mundroina who has been at school with my son since kindy. I cannot grasp the pain that his family are going through at losing such a beautiful and vibrant son.x
This painting is for my son’s principal who is leaving after six years. In that time she created an amazing nature play land that kids love. This is my boy in year 1 when he spent playtime h hiding in the garden eating herbs. xx
I have made this apple paintings as presents for my childrens teachers to say thanks
Apples became associated with teachers due to poor families in Denmark and Sweden giving teachers baskets of apples and produce in payment for lessons.