Processing the overwhelming world

Sometimes ugly thoughts, disappointing feelings, overwhelming emotions get stuck in me. They come in from social media, from conversations with friends and family, from the radio, standing in line at the store, at work, holding space for others, my own mind. I try to let them rollover me, to hold my own space, and to remember who I am. But it doesn’t always happen automatically.

How do I process these feelings? What do I do with them? I felt frozen. I stayed with those feelings for a while and tuned into where they were sitting in my body. My heart felt constricted. My breath was not flowing. My throat was closed. The message I got was. “Express and release”.

I decided to paint but cleaning a space on my studio table would cause more stress which I didn’t need right now. So I went outside and set-up a place to paint on my fence. The action of creating a new painting area felt positive. The sunshine felt good.

30042982002_f4d167c671

I selected large leftover packing paper and red and black colors to work with. As I stood back to look at the painting area before I began, I thought it looked like an archway and seeing that, I felt curious and hopeful.

The paper was hung like on a clothesline and as I painted  them they moved around, floating up with the breeze and moving with each 30043019542_dc6d9d1562_zbrush stroke. I thought about how life is sometimes – how thoughts and information float and move – it is not always easy to be steady and still in the midst of what’s happening in the world. I liked making the large black strokes – moving my body up and down the length of the paper.

30122263406_d0fbac5686_z

 

Next I added the vibrant red with slashing brushstrokes. The way the color stood out from the black was satisfying. I then splattered a mixture of the black and red and it looked like purple flying color. For me, purple is a sacred color and it came about serendipitously.

I noticed my emotions were shifting as I was creating. My throat was no longer clinched, I breathed as I worked, my heart felt open again. I no longer felt heavy and weighted down – as if I had purged what I had been too full of and what I did not want to hold and carry around anymore. I could see it was outside on me now and in the painting.

30157211775_435ba9e943_z

 

 

I looked at the paper archway and realized I had created a portal to travel through to the other side of where I was and to another place. I took a big breath and felt free.

 

 

 

 

 

30043006302_73e0459a05_z

If you are interested in learning more about creating in this way and would like to work with me one-on-one or in a community class please go to my website for more information:

http://www.judykitsunestudio.com/

 

Something so nice

There is something so nice about a red bowl, and a red bowl made by a friend. Holly Himes made this lovely vessel. She has the pottery studio near my Kitsune Community Art Studio.

I enjoyed eating my homemade lunch in my new bowl – quinoa with spinach, caramelized onions, yellow squash, and a few pomegranate seeds for accent. It held the meal like a special sacred feast!

Spinning Joy!

“Spin Joy” conjures up memories of bicycling, wheel of fortune, playful pinwheels. It offers the viewer a chance at fun, a moment to smile, a little escape.

This newest piece of mine in totally made of recycled materials. The colored disks are plastic lids for drinks! I painted them with acrylic and they glow when the sun shines through them. I got a case of lids from a place for free because they are defective. I’ve been using them a lot for kids art. We’ve made sun catchers and used them for scales on a giant fish. I’ve also been putting them in the windows at my studio and they are like stained glass.

I hope to make a bunch of them for a public art space.

Beauty and healing with art mandalas in India

The 16 women, all students of art therapy, have been quietly helping ease the pain of cancer patients, differently-abled children in schools, substance-abuse victims, and the homeless and mentally-challenged women of The Banyan. And they do it all with nothing more than pots of paint, and handfuls of clay. Read more by clicking here.

Vision Quest

Here is the stained glass piece I was working on last month. I call it Vision Quest and I’m pretty happy with how it came out. It is currently on exhibit at Art at the Cheese Factory in Petaluma in a wonderful show called Journeys. This is really the first time I submitted a show proposal for an art piece before it was created. I found that to be an interesting process, to create a piece for a site, for a show.

My intention was to make art around the internal journey. The glass in the rungs correspond to the colors of the chakras. In the natural light the top lavender glass is more visible. I will be nice to have it in a location where it can look it’s best next.

Colorful valentine kids’ project

multihearts

Maybe this would be a perfect Valentine Day project to do with your kids today. I came across this lesson “Heart Rubbings” on this wonderful site, everything preschool.

First I scrounged up a piece of recycled cardboard and cut it into boards about 7 x 10″. Then I hot glue gunned bunches of hearts on each board. I introduced the project to the kids as “invisible bumpy hearts”. They each felt the texture of the raised glue hearts (dry and cooled of course). I taped the boards on the table and then taped recycled white computer paper over the boards. The kids scribbled and excitedly the crayon rubbings revealed the hearts. They had a blast and most of them wanted to do at least 2 rubbings.

Learnings: texture, drawing pressure, movement.

I’m thinking of other subject matter to use for rubbings for more kids’ projects and in my own art. This would also be great for wrapping paper, collage backgrounds, etc.

invisiblehearts

kids

black-and-blue

Elders create eco mandalas

I enjoy facilitating an Elders’ art class in San Francisco every Friday. For the past 6 weeks we have been focusing on mandalas. I discussed the sacredness of the circle symbol in many cultures, in nature, and in religion. We designed rose window mandalas based on the cathedral stained glass windows of Europe. We made shield mandalas to give us strength.

For the eco mandala inspiration, my two high school aids presented a report on Andy Goldsworthy and showed how he used things found in the environment, nature ,to create installations. I scavenged materials for the mandala creating: rose petals from the flower place on highway 92, rocks left over from Carla’s landscaping job, different kinds of rocks and colors from Home Depot, and fallen ginkgo leaves in front of Judy Johnson-Williams house. The biggest score though was from Alena Jean’s Flower Shop. Her dad had just finished pruning and I grabbed beautiful plum branches, geranium leaves, lily flower petals.

The only instructions I gave the elders were to think about: balance, color, texture, placement, and the centers of their mandalas. The elders went right to it and came up with some beautiful designs. Some of them left a lot of black around their materials, so the shapes of each petal and leaf was defined. Others piled the materials on.

I found the project to be very successful for the many different issues that the elders have: hearing loss, stroke restriction, language differences, memory and cognitive variation. Everyone was able to create the mandalas and they enjoyed seeing what their fellow students had done.