The past year has been an incredible journey, but it has also been a personally challenging  and difficult time. Training as a therapist means noticing and thinking about my own psychological defences, as well as thinking about clinical theory in relation to others. Being in my own personal therapy which can be uncomfortable and frustrating as well as helpful in the long run.  Training and continuing my work at the hospital was exhausting, I was so tired that the summer break was about resting and healing. I hoped to do some making over the summer but truthfully I felt uninspired, I allowed myself this time. Speaking to a friend I said that I felt I needed to withdraw for a while. In the last few months I have moved house and changed job, but now things feel more settled I hope to start making again.

In the moving process I decided to let go of some of my old sketchbooks, many of them were full of memories of studying my first degree. All of the fun we had and the passion I felt for art. I realised however that in order to make something new, I needed to downsize my sketchbook collection. I felt that keeping all of them was like keeping older parts of myself, it was time to renew and let go. A scary but exciting thought.

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I managed to fit the sketchbooks that I am keeping in this box.

I also went through the art work that I made in the experiential group as part of the course and photographed it. The group was important to me and helped me to think about difficult issues over the year.

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Untitled

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Being an Island

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Feeling Fragmented

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War and Racism

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Feeling Ill

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Fluid Boundaries- Feeling Overwhelmed

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Therapist Trying to Reach Their Client

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Untitled

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Therapists Touching on Depression

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Heart

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Tiara of Qualified Therapist

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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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Dreamlike States

May 31, 2015

Being off work this week has left me with a lot of extra time on my hands! Hence my increased productivity! I did some ink and water colour experiments a few months ago (working from my imagination rather than from life) after visiting the recent Marlene Dumas exhibition, these new drawings are a kind of continuation on a larger scale. I also found an older mixed media piece which I have added more collage and drawing to.

The images are partly abstract, partly figurative and include figures as I have tried to convey human dreamlike experience and altered states of consciousness. The figures are surrounded by flowing shapes and are without detail to create a sense of ambiguity.

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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