Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Art therapy

I think it was in 2012, perhaps before, that I accidentally stumbled across Tammy's Daisy Yellow blog about art journals.

I'd always enjoyed art at school, but didn't pursue it beyond GCSE. I used to sketch and have still got a few of my old sketchbooks, full of horses mainly, and my pencils and paints. But things happened. On a college trip I was ridiculed for my delight in finding and buying a tin of Caran d'Ache aquarelle coloured pencils and made to feel a fool and childish. So drawing was 'not cool'  and something that I should hide and not tell people about. In the meantime writing took over. For my writing I got heaps of praise at university and then a job as a journalist and a short story I wrote got published.

So writing was my 'thing' apart from a brief dalliance with pottery, which I very much enjoyed, with a brilliant teacher who had an art degree and was happy to share tips about sketching and art in general.

My art materials lurked in a cupboard, along with tins and boxes of pens, and coloured pencils and pastel pencils that my husband had acquired while working for Schwan Stabilo. I had children and art became something they enjoyed while I watched and encouraged and supplied art materials.

Then there was sewing, which I had always enjoyed and was such a normal part of my life I took it completely for granted, but quilts are art too, and gardening, which is undeniably art, using plants as paint. But my own efforts (and I still drew, all over the place) remained secret.

Koi 2013, thread sketch
And then, on Pinterest I think, I started seeing pictures of art journals, beautiful pages of swirling colour and exciting texture alongside inspirational quotes. I googled 'art journal' and found Daisy Yellow. I devoured the pages of her blog and discovered a thing called 'altered books' too. Adults, grown-up women like me, were doing art. I didn't need telling twice! I dusted off all my art materials and, to cut a long story short, I now draw all the time, everywhere. I paint, I collage, I make pictures with my sewing machine too, I sketch on holiday instead of just taking photographs, I fill lovely Moleskines with all kinds of arty messes, I alter books and now I paint on canvasses too.

 Last year, when H13 faced her Big Operation, I knew art would help me through, just as music helped H13. Tammy of Daisy Yellow also runs a yearly art challenge, ICAD - a challenge to make art on an index card every day between June 1st and July 31st. This last year neatly covered the period from signing the consent form for the operation, to having it, staying in hospital, and recovering at home.

Hospital 3

During the very worst times, when my brain was in full panic mode, I just filled in patterns on a squared index card, creating fantasy quilt patterns in black and white. It's amazing how such a simple, repetitive thing, just making marks with a pen on a 5"x3" card, can quiet the mind and pass difficult time. I'm delighted to say that I finished the challenge and of course I'm doing it again this year.

July 27th 2014 Carousel

All of my ICAD2014 pictures:

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