Monday, October 26, 2015

Playing with Pictures: Art Journaling and Murals

Words spin me and swirl through me and onto the screen or page, but sometimes the brain needs a break. That's when visual art nourishes my spirit like a hearty autumn soup simmering on the stove. On Wednesday nights I've been attending art journaling sessions with Susie Stonefield Miller at Unfold Studio near my home. Here are the first pages I made, using already spray-painted stencils, stamps, collage, a photo of me in preschool (with macaroni necklace) making sponge prints, and a watercolor cut-out from my niece.

"I want to play with words and pictures. I want to play!" is from a non-dominant hand dialog I wrote nine years ago. I remember so clearly the simplicity and quiet joy of playing with art materials--finger paints, watercolors, beads and sequins--when I was young. Entering the sacred space of the sunlit studio with soft music playing and herbal tea at my side, I can delve into a process-oriented experience and play with images, words, or themes in a more intuitive way that removes the "adult" pressure of producing a thing of beauty. You can watch Susie's time-lapse video here!

Another brain-soothing and soul-feeding visual hobby is photographing art or making art from photos. Not long ago I visited my cousins who now live near my old stomping grounds in San Francisco's Mission District. I spent a couple of hours one morning wandering the mural alleys behind their apartment. Here are some of the dozens of iPhone snapshots I took that day:

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