Community Art Projects

September 6, 2015

I have volunteered the last 2 Saturdays with a local mental health charity, last week I led a workshop that involved decorating masks, but this week I was able to take more of a back seat and make some of my own art along with others who use the services. The Art Psychotherapist that ran this week’s group got us to focus on the theme of Aboriginal Art. Indigenous Australian art or Australian Aboriginal art is art made by the Indigenous peoples of Australia and in collaborations between Indigenous Australians and others. It includes works in a wide range of media including painting on leaves, wood carving, rock carving, sculpting, ceremonial clothing and sand painting. We used cotton buds to create our own dot paintings, I enjoyed building up layers with dots and using both bright and earthy colours together.

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Here are some masks that I made to bring to last week’s session as an example. I used both fabrics, wires and paper mâché to give the masks more interesting shape and movement.

   
   

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Paper Weaving

July 21, 2015

In my job working with psychiatric patients I am always on the look out for new ideas and arts and crafts projects. After experimenting with paper weaving at work last year, I did my own paper weaving at home using old envelopes, magazines and wrapping papers. I later added paint and collaged onto the surfaces before cutting the paper into thin strips. The effect is quite interesting, and the possibilities of combining weaving with mixed media are vast and exciting. I will have to try some more of this soon.

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Art Therapy Groups

July 10, 2015

As part of my job as an occupational therapy assistant with psychiatric inpatients, I help to run  Art Therapy groups every Monday with an art psychotherapist. While patients in the group are encouraged to use art to think about themselves or their current feelings, I also make art work to model to others in the group and to encourage others to try different art materials. Many of the adults that we work with may not have engaged in any art making since school, or even in any art making at all. At the end of the art making time patients are invited to share how it felt to make the art, and to discuss it as much as they feel comfortable to. I however, use the art making time to doodle and to think about group dynamics. My own work is not usually shared with the group, but if I am asked to share it, I discuss my enjoyment of using different art materials as well as their therapeutic and mindful qualities. I made these doodles in art therapy groups over the last two years but only recently thought of sharing them, some of my doodles are probably still at work somewhere, while others may have been thrown away. I like that they were made in a short amount of time, and that making ‘good’ art work was not a priority.

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In last night’s life class we were asked to avoid using line and to focus on tone on the figure through squinting and using charcoal. I found this challenging as the way that I usually draw is very linear, I was inspired by the way that some of my class mates were using the material and tried to use different approaches in this drawing. I remember once being told by one of my university tutors that charcoal is the closest drawing material that you can get to paint. At the time I remember scorning my charcoal, I had never been a fan – mostly due to my lack of confidence and practice with it. A few years later and I am happy with my progress, I still have a lot to learn but I’m finding it quite exciting!

Today I finally went to see the Richard Diebenkorn exhibition at The Royal Academy of Arts. I have always loved Diebenkorn’s amazing use of colour, layering, and blurring between figurative and abstract forms. I made the most of my time at the exhibition and did a few colour studies in oil pastels. I could not find my yellow oil pastel however, so I later added some watercolour and acrylic to my studies (as Diebenkorn without yellow is impossible). 

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Berkeley 57, 1955 Oil on Canvas