Judy Shintani and Healing Art

Anyone who has lost his home to a climate of fear has a deep understanding of mankind’s capability for blind betrayal. The father of artist Judy Shintani was an American teenager when he and his family were interned at Tule Lake Incarceration Camp during WWII. Click here to read more.



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.


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.



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.




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.







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:



It is my fault, and the scissors come through again!

Why is it that when I am at the end of my rope trying to find something and I start blaming my mate for putting it away where I can’t find it, that suddenly I find the item and it is exactly where I put it?

I got my computer back on Thursday! Hurray! My brother Jeff fixed it for me by reinstalling the whole thing – thanks bro! I am so happy to have my very own machine working, even though it is a Dell laptop and I know almost everyone wanted me to chuck it and get a brand new MAC. So what does this have to do with the lost item? I’m getting to that. You see what I lost was my camera USB cable. The very thing I needed to download all the new photos I took this weekend to upload to my blog – my poor blog which has been lacking color, visuals, life for the last 3 weeks!

So after having a major argument which resulted in not so nice words on both parts and a slammed door, I went back search the storage shed, his studio, and my studio, looking for the maroon backpack that I thought contained the cable, but no such luck.

Then it hit me, try the Mallory scissor trick! What you do is hang the scissors by one handle and you are supposed to find the item pretty quickly. You will never guess what happened. I looked around for a nail or someplace to hang the scissors and then spied the coat rack hook to place it on. That is when I saw it, hanging right next to the scissors was the backpack – right where I put it of course. Boy did I feel dumb, but boy did I thank the universe!

Of course the cable was NOT in the backpack, but I thought, well if the scissors worked for that let’s try again. So I took the scissors off the hook, closed them and opened them and hung them on the hook again, this time with the intention of finding the cable. I thought about where I would have put it, especially since I have been extremely careful to not lose the thing.

In the meantime, my guy came by to see how I was doing and I had to sheepishly say I was sorry and give him a kiss. Then I went back to search the basket next to my desk that has a pile of stuff in it that I did not want to lose but had not put away. Under a plastic bag, was my cable!

So I guess if I learned anything, it is to try the scissors first, before trying to blame anyone else and looking like a loony gal, AND most likely, where my stuff is, is right where I put it.