Monday, April 29, 2013

Prayer Flag ARTsignment

Rice paper with stencils and spray ink over Gelli Plate monprint (acrylic)
Details of Koi and lily pads with Twinkling H2Os.

Rice paper with stencils and spray ink over Gelli Plate monprint (acrylic)
Details of Koi and lily pads with Twinkling H2Os.

Rice paper with stencils and spray ink over Gelli Plate monprint (acrylic)
Details of Koi and lily pads with Twinkling H2Os.

I am going to start blogging about  ARTsignments that I've created.  This one has to do with creating prayer flags
to fly to put your prayers "out there" to the universe.  Also serves as a great visual reminder.
In the text of the activity I've referred to "your client" but I think that this will be an activity you can do yourself.
My prayer flags, which I haven't written on yet or permanently attached a ribbon to, are about aligning with
what it means being in "Flow" for me.  I have an affinity to lovely Koi and water as well.  When you complete
this ARTsignment please leave a comment below about the insights you gained from this process.

Prayer Flag ARTsignment

Gayle Bodine April 23rd, 2013


This ARTsignment is based on the idea of Buddhist Prayer Flags and Vivika Hansen DeNegre’s
Prayer Flag Project.  Vivika was inspired by the Tibetan prayer flags that her family hung
in their home.  Here’s how Vivika describes it:

“My family has several strings of flags hanging in our home... not because we are Buddhist
or even know what the writing or symbols upon the colored fabrics mean, but because they
are beautiful and a reverent reminder that our prayers are heard and answered.  In a
nutshell, it is believed that the prayers on the flags are lifted to God and spread throughout
the universe as they flutter in the wind.  Everyone who is touched by that wind,
is touched by the prayers.  The wind spreads the prayers through the world,
extending happiness, good will, and peace”.

Vivika suggests a 5” X 8” rectangle of fabric (I used rice paper) with 3” folded over on the
short end to make a pocket for string to hang the flag.  One can use twine, ribbon, etc.
for hanging them.  The pocket can be closed with a line of stitching, hot glue or duct tape.


A person’s prayers or heartfelt wishes are often closely related to the Principles they hope
to enliven in their lives.  In this ARTsignment the client can activate what they wish to
manifest through the creation of a prayer artifact. 

1.     Talk about prayers and heartfelt wishes.  Talk and/or write about prayers that s/he would like to send into the world.  Alternatively ask your client to choose one of the ARTbundance Principle cards from the coaching room deck that they would like to explore through the making of a prayer flag.

2.    Use rice paper, paper cloth
or light weight fabric like muslin.  Cut rectangles approximately 5 “ X 8”. 

3.    Fold over and sew, glue or tape an approximately 3” pocket for hanging your flag.

4.    Decorate your flag using paint, collage, spray ink and stencils or your medium of choice.

5.    Write your prayer on your (fully dried) flag with permanent marker or fabric paints with applicators designed for a fine line.

6.    Discuss sending this prayer out on the wind as well as displaying it.  Journal about what this means.

7.    Your client’s prayer flag(s) can be a visual reminder to give energy to the Principles and goals that are of meaningful to them.  You could also suggest that your client make a prayer flag for each one of the Principles.

8.    Your client can also connect with healing community through this activity by making a flag for themselves and also one to be hung with others in the ARTbundance workshop.  The client could also submit an image of their flag to the Prayer Flag Project.

side note: the Koi images were stenciled on.  I made a cardboard stencil from my Koi drawings.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Finding Flow as an Artist

My Creativity Muse "Flo"

Detail of Flo's Teacups

Drawing with Associations (my invention) Style Mind-map

I suppose some might have wondered about the drawing of a genie that I use as my profile picture on facebook.
She came out of a creativity coaching training I have been in since July 11, 2012.  I worked on this training every
week until around September, then got distracted by changes in my job, a move, life in general.  Have decided this
week to finish up the training and go for certification as an ARTbundance Coach and Practitioner.  

I am actually already an art therapist (got my master's in 1989) but, after spending years working with women and
 children struggling with PTSD and other effects of childhood abuse, I realized I was struggling with my own
depression and secondary traumatization (also called compassion fatigue).  So I closed my art therapy office and
went to college teaching to support myself and my son.  It is now 11 or so years later and I am aching to return to
using creativity and art as an agent of healing and my primary source of income.  I kept my hand in as an artist
by making artsy scrapbooks, then artist cards (ATC).  Slowly, but surely art making has become central to my
life again.  I've taught botanical art classes for the last two years and as an art teacher and artist, in any spare
moment I have continued to connect to healing through self expression.

Back to the image of my inner creativity muse.  In the first weeks of the ARTbundance training we were
asked to "Create and converse with an ARTbundance Muse".  I was no stranger to connecting with inner
resources and the idea of an artist's muse but was eager to create a personal image related to this idea.
That's how "Flo" was born.  Of course my subconscious sprang into action to provide me with cues and 
clues for connecting with the source of my creative expression.  I love Flo because she reminds me of so
many things, one that the genie appears to manifest wishes when the tea pot is properly warmed and tea is
correctly brewed.  For me this represents mindfulness meditation, like a tea ceremony, serving others
and myself through contemplative steps.  

Once the genie appeared, in my image, I could see what she is holding in her right hand.  It is an artist's 
palette, and from it grows a body of work related to nature.  I was surprised that the books I want to write
and my ability to "fill my cup" and the cups of others comes from my work as an artist.  Many art therapists
and artists know this well, although it is easy to forget, that authentic creativity is the source of creative
expression, inspiration and healing.  

I lost my steam (ha, that's a pun) before the training ended in October of 2012.  Now I am picking up the 
missing pieces and finishing assignments.  I started with reviewing notes and making a list of tasks to complete.
In week 13 I was supposed to create a way to gauge connection to my source of core motivation. 
Marney Markridakis (founder of ARTbundance) calls this your "ultimate motivator" or "OH!" or One Hunger.
Guess one could also call it your purpose or source of passion.  The "OH!dometer" I was to create gauges how
 connected you are to the way you want to feel everyday.  

I decided that the way I want to feel every day is in FLOW.  You may also know it as being "in the zone".
I am a great supporter of Positive Psychology, the psychological approach that focuses on what works, the
gifts of individuals, and how happy and successful people respond to life.  One proponent of this approach is
Mihaly Csikszentmicalyi who writes about Finding Flow.   The assignment asked me to brainstorm the
things I can do when I don't feel connected to my OH!.  So I asked "What fills my cup"?  

I ended up enlarging the tea cup portion of my muse drawing and making it into a "drawing with associations".
I found a reminder of the activities that are essential to keep me in my flow.  They are: meditation, time in the studio 
making art, time in nature, exercise and healthful eating, seeing beauty in the world, being grateful and staying
connected to my wild heart.  I was surprised that writing turned out to be an activity right up there with
mediation in terms of fueling flow.  So I'm writing to you tonight.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Visual Art Journal Exchange

Visual Art Journal Exchange Cover and Back

Duct taped back, Wood Icing leaves with Stencil Girl Stencil, Distress Stain and Gold Marker 
Shared Art Journal inner cover and page 1

Collage, tea bag stain, Martha Stewart Markers, Tombo Markers, Sharpie Pen, Stencil Girl flower stencil

Below: pages 2 and 3

Decorative tape, acrylic paint, collage, newspaper; Sharpie Pen, Koi Watercolor, Office Max metallic pens

My friend Lisa, who lives in Nebraska, and I are going to exchange our 5 X 7 Strathmore Visual Journals.  The plan:  I fill a few pages in my journal, and hers and send both journals to her.  She fills a few pages in my journal and hers, then sends both back to me.  This way we both end up with a journal to keep.

Along the way we can inspire each other with new ideas and techniques and share some snippets of our lives.  I want to show Lisa what I'm up to and want to know what she's up to artistically as well.  

In this digital age it's great to see the work of others electronically, but nothing beats the experience of holding and looking at actual pieces that others have created.  Sort of the same, for me, as seeing great art in books and then getting the opportunity to see those same pieces face to face.

What I'm up to: embracing Spring and appreciating new beginnings and new growth.  Experimenting with stencils and Wood Icing, trying new materials.  Trying to practice compassion and grow spiritually as well as artistically.  Working from images that inspire me, working in layers.  

We are just beginning so just sending my journal off, tomorrow, for the first time.  Can't wait to see what
Lisa creates!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Urban Sketching in Denver

DazBog Coffee Shop, Tennyson Cultural District, Denver.
The block letters that I drew say "thank you" in Russian.

Reverse side of above--black marker bled through so drew again.
Experimenting with different types of pens and markers.

Had Urban Sketching class with Frederick Pichon, a French architect and artist.  We
drew at the Starbucks at REI in Denver, too cool for outdoor sketching.  Hadn't drawn
people in years.  Surprising to experience how connected I felt to individuals that I drew.

Looking forward to finding a life drawing class in Denver so I can get my figurative
chops back.  Surprised that I enjoyed drawing girders and the angles of staircases as
much (well, almost as much) as drawing flowers and leaves.  After just drawing botanicals,
for the most part, for the last two years, it is interesting to broaden my subject focus.  

On the right is the large, industrial space, then drew the piece on the left with people added.
Loved that the poster the man is looking at it a poster of Nepal and a Buddhist stupa. 

A mixture of quick studies of metal steps and girders and people.  I really like the mixed and overlapped images.

A week passed between the above REI interiors and my second, and last, class with
Fred.  We were sitting outside close to the new wing of the Denver Art Museum.  Such
a great view of the library and sculptures down a corridor between buildings.  I had
seen a set of thumbnails from Urban Sketcher Miguel Herranz (Freekhand) and decided
to make small drawings in a grid rather than giving myself the whole page to labor over.

Great to meet Cynthia Morris, a fellow Urban Sketcher, artist and life coach through this
class as well.  Hope to draw with her again this summer and plan to get together with other
Urban Sketchers.  See there is a drawing and urban sketching group through Denver MeetUp.

Got an an additional unexpected treat.  Turned out to be first Saturday "free day"
at the DAM and got to see the wonderful Georgia O'Keeffe exhibit I had been wanting to see for
free as well.  What a great day!!  My Visual Art Journaling Group, Colorado group met in
the morning, then went to Tenn Coffee to hang out and sketch, then went to U. S. class.

Happy with my drawings, in general and pleased with my Urban Sketching experience.
As an art therapist I could not avoid noticing that my recent concern about my teen aged
son not wanting to talk about his homework showed up in my drawing of a huge calf and
cow sculpture near the museum.  Mom cow looks anxious and son calf has no mouth at
all.  I talked to my friend Sandra whose son is my son's best friend and laughed about this
image popping up.  Sandra's so great!  She just laughs and reassures me that my son will
be fine and not to worry.  Somehow I know she is right.  Hmmm, maybe I should take
the tag out of his ear and just let him grow up the way he will.  All I can do is make sure that
he knows he is loved and that I want to help him succeed in the best way for him.
Calm Down Bessy!