Art Therapy Group Session 5 of 7 – “Finding a safe place within!”

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This week’s Art Therapy Group Session consisted of a well attended group of 5, plus the Art Therapist and the assisting facilitator.  We commenced our session with a light physical stretching set of exercises for approximately 10 minutes.  Just to get us loosened up.  We were then asked to sit down and close our eyes and concentrate on our breathing, clearing our minds of other thoughts, relaxing our body and bringing ourselves right into the present.  From here we were asked to think of a space we felt safe in; it could be a real space or it could be an imaginary space.  We were asked to image ourselves walking through this ‘safe space’ and to think about what it was that made us feel safe.  It was a very relaxing process where I could feel my mind and body totally washing away other thoughts and emotions and truly being in the moment.

From here we were asked to open our eyes, take up our desired art materials and commence an art work that represents our ‘safe space’.  I gathered up a sheet of butcher paper, paint brushes of varying sizes, some acrylic paint, soft oil pastels and some ink paint and got started…

After completing our paintings, we were asked to place them in a line across the floor.  Each of us in turn talked about what our painting said in relation to painting about our ‘safe space’.  It was interesting to see and hear what others had painted and said about their ‘safe space’.  A number of the group had ‘imagery safe spaces’ and others had ‘real safe spaces’.

My painting was based on a ‘real safe space’.  It was my home garden which my husband has worked on for over 13 years to create from bare soil.  Every room in our home has a view of our garden.  The garden its self is full of well established bushes and trees where wild life flock to rest, feed, drink water and go about the daily lives.  Over the seasons, the leaves on the trees go golden brown, yellow, orange and drop; in spring they flower and in summer they provide us with must needed shade to protect us from the strong Australian sun.  In my painting about my ‘safe space’ the golden-yellow represents the soft warmth of the sun in spring, when it warms my cheers and reminds me of the summer to come.  The blues remind me of our beautiful clear bright blue sky, we as so fortunate to have here in Australia.  The planting represents a plant my husband has used to line each side of our garden leading from the road to our front door.

Our garden has been a treasure over many years, offering both my husband and myself a form of refuge during difficult times in our lives.  My ‘safe space’ is my garden where nature kindly cares for my soul…

NB:  Please click on the below links to view Nos. 1, 2 & 3 Art Therapy Group Sessions:

Whilst you are here – please check out my home page!  My Art Therapy JourneyA window into the soul of an Abstract Artist through art therapy and storytellingby Karen Robinson

I Do Art Discussion No. 12 – “A Bird of Paradise”

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‘I Do Art Discussion’ series features and discusses in-depth, particular abstract paintings produced by myself.  Previous ‘I Do Art Discussions’ can be found here.  My goal/desire is to give the viewer of my art work the back story; meaning an artist’s reflection on what was the inspiration behind the art work itself; and hopefully help guide the viewer to a place of deeper understanding and appreciation of the art work featured.

This particular abstract painting no. 38  I titled “A Bird of Paradise” – acrylic on canvas, as shown above was completed in September 2009.  It is 100cms in length and 115cms wide by 3cms deep.  The painting was inspired by the ‘Bird of Paradise’ Strelitzia Reginae that my husband had planted out into pots and then placed on our back paving garden area, as featured in the image of our garden below.

When we first moved to this home, there was no garden, just bare soil and it is to my husband’s credit that over 10 years he has created this garden wonderland.  Much of it was created from cuttings and plants given to use by my husband’s father. Sadly his father died suddenly in 2008. The pots of bird of paradise were from his father’s garden originally and are now growing happily in our garden.

During my husband’s recovery from Chemotherapy in 2009/2010, he spent small amounts of time in the garden planting; which helped him feel better about life.  This featured painting titled ‘A Bird of Paradise’ represents the beauty of my husband’s gentle inner soul.  He has been and is – a wonderful soul mate over the course of our 30 years plus of marriage.  Our garden is a place of peace and hope.  A quiet place to potter and tender to mother earth.  My husband has been my “Bird of Paradise” in my life and the source of my inspiration for this painting…

Footnote:  The Bird-of-Paradise (Strelitzia) are native to South Africa and are much-loved in Australian Gardens and in our home garden Melbourne, Australia. They are a tough plant that can withstand our Australian droughts. The variety grown in our garden is called Strelitzia Reginae and features striking orange and blue flowers with tropical looking leaves.

Kew Royal Botanic Gardens states “the bird-of-paradise flower, or crane flower as it is sometimes known, was first introduced into Britain in 1773 by Sir Joseph Banks, then the unofficial director of the Royal Gardens at Kew (as they were known at the time).  He named the exotic-looking plant Strelitzia in honour of Queen Charlotte, wife of George III and Duchess of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, who lived at Kew for many years” (Kew Royal Botanic Gardens. 2014).

Whilst you are here – please check out my home page!  My Art Therapy JourneyA window into the soul of an Abstract Artist through art therapy and storytellingby Karen Robinson