Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Experientials Vol. 19

Sometimes I feel like the boy from American Beauty... you know how he videotapes the plastic bag in the wind and talks about the beauty in it. Well I see things that captivate me for their beauty on a daily basis, but when I try to tell people about them I feel strange, or like they will never quite understand just how beautiful it is to me. I had just this experience the other day. I was driving along and was at a stoplight and I saw this white bird and black bird in what appeared to be a dance. I was memorized. They were twisting and turning and flipping and twirling through the air. I initially thought of how poetic this was, the dance of good and evil. But then it became apparent to me that this was not a dance at all. The little white bird was chasing off the black bird. And it appeared that he had chased off several others as the little black bird joined a small flock of other black birds. Victorious the little white bird flew off. I then continued my metaphor of good being victorious of evil, even when outnumbered.

With that little story being told, today in class we were asked to do a drawing in response to what we are learning in our multicultural class. I still had this image of the birds and their dance, and so I realized that the metaphor could be modified to represent race issues. This makes it take on a more rather sinister tone with the one white bird being able to push out several of the little black birds... but here is the image none-the-less.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Detention Center

So I survived my first day at the detention center. I was more worried about the paperwork and the idea of the first session with the client more than anything, what to say and what not to say; how to introduce myself and art therapy. It is a little easier with the 3 and 5 year olds... But it went well, and I don't think that I did any permanent damage... But anyway, we did the experiential (sort of though it got modified as we went) that I learned yesterday abstracting emotions. And I decided to draw with my client since their was some apprehensions with using the materials. And this is mine...

So this experience was interesting for me because it was the first time with a more adult (though still an adolescent client) and because I was making art beside them, and not just scribbles. It was an enlightening experience and I am looking forward to working with them again tomorrow. I am going to try to get in the habit of making an art reflection every day when I come home after seeing clients, in order to process the joys and frustrations for myself. We'll see how that works and how much I get to share. But I definitely felt that working with the client allowed me to not show my anxieties as much...

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Experientials Vol. 18

These weeks just keep getting longer. This week is no exception at all. We have been so busy. Today we had child art therapy which is a really great class. We talked about our anxieties with the detention center and starting work with a new client. We then did an experiential that Gussie suggested was good to work with adolescent clients on abstraction. I am excited to try it out. And then in the research class we talked more about our thesis and then were taught how to speed read and were given our advisors for the rest of the program.

The first part of this experiential Gussie would randomly say emotions and asked us to unconsciously pick a color and make a mark on the paper that represented the feeling. And as it progressed we were asked to shout emotions out as well. And then in the second picture we were supposed to think about one or two emotions represent it with only line and color. The goal is to be able to recognize your emotion. I am not gonna tell you what mine was ;) Maybe you can guess!!

And this is for Tamara! So we made tissue paper circles for our Venn Diagrams to help us narrow our thesis topic. Here are mine. And for next week we are making completed Venn Diagram watercolors to discuss... Yes I am in an artsy (err hippy as some people would say) program!! :)

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Experientials Vol. 17

Well off to another week. What a busy day today, we were non-stop from 9 to 5 today. First was Multicultural class, then the detention center tour, then the SATA (student art therapy association) meeting and elections, and lastly group art therapy. It didn't start out so great. I overslept... I am supposed to leave my house by 8, but instead I was getting up at 8. I still made it in time and was able to even grab a bagel before class. Things got better, but it was a long day. The detention center tour calmed some of my anxiety, and I am sure that it will be a great experience. In the SATA meeting, I was elected (or in some ways appointed) PR/Newsletter chair, I think they thought I had graphics experience or something ;)

In the multicultural class we were asked to take little bits of paper and write things about ourselves on the pieces of paper. About our culture, beliefs, likes, wants etc... Then we were supposed to separate them into what we would share with the class and what we wouldn't share with the class. All of mine I felt comfortable sharing, so here is an assortment just laid out.

In group class we were supposed to use scraps of paper again and write some emotions that our group session evoked. We then all anonymously displayed them on the bulletin board. But here are mine, they were pretty non-specific.

Then we were supposed to draw what those thoughts/feelings evoked in us. I read one on the board that said the St Louis/Edwardsville divide was difficult. This particularly hit home for me since I am really feeling it, and I am losing my St Louis friend :( So I drew this group of circles representing the class. In the center you have a couple of yellow circles that are the core of the Edwardsville group, with several orange circles surrounding them. And then there is the green ones that are one the outskirts of the group, and the two blue circle represent the two who live in St Louis. I have a bit of yellow in all of them, because we are still unified as a group, just divided by location. And my St Louis friend who I am losing, still retains her blue in the green. It was very symbolic for me, and I think helped me work through some emotions that I have with her moving away, and I know that we will stay just as close.

And now off to complete some assistantship paperwork, read and do some Venn Diagrams.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

One week down :)

So the first week is done and I survived, but man am I feeling overwhelmed!! There is so much to do this semester, this summer. I don't know where to start. I had my research class and child and adolescent class today and they both seem very challenging but exciting. Plus, for the child class I will pick up a client from the detention center. This is causing a little bit of anxiety, but at the same time I am really excited about the experience it is going to give me as well.

This piece we did in the child class. It was supposed to be about what in our adolescence influenced us in art therapy. I began to think about the holding environment that my family provided and hoe that gave me a good foundation for life in general but also for art therapy. So I began with that idea but the piece started to evolve into something similar to a cross-section of a tree with each ring representing times in my life—particularly in adolescents.

These pieces that we did in our research class go together, the first is the outside and the second is the inside. The outside was supposed to represent how we see research and the inside was supposed to represent our hopes and fears about our own research. I felt research started with a blackness, or something unknown, the research sheds light on this and builds on top of one another in a sort of spiral. My hopes and fears had to do with tackling a project that seems so large and threatening at this time.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Survived the First Day

So, survived the first day of classes...It was long, but I knew that it was going to be. I am excited about this semester now. I think that we are going to learn some really interesting things. The multicultural class and the group class both sound really interesting.

One of my teachers did ask me if I was a type J today... which in the Myers Briggs personality test is Judging. And yes I guess I can be judgey judgerton sometimes ;) I found it really funny that she said this... I guess maybe I am.

So these pieces are just some that we did in my group art therapy class in an open studio format. I used oil pastel on tracing paper, and really liked the effect that is gave me...

Oh and I forgot to tell a story about Headstart the other day. One of the kids said "Ms Kelley, why you making that sound?" And at first I didn't know what he was talking about and then I realized I was sniffling (like I always am) and that must have been what he was talking about. And so I explained that I had allergies and all that and he said "Well you kinda sound like a monster when you do that!" I died laughing... what a cutie. So yep, now I am a monster too!!

Monday, January 14, 2008

New Year, New Semester

So it is a new year, and a new semester. Wow, 2007 was a big year. I was accepted into grad school, met someone special, moved to st. louis, started grad school and so much more. And 2008 is starting out great already. I can't wait to see how this one turns out, I am sure there are lots of great things to come.

So this semester promises to be a good one. I continue to work at Headstart but will also have a client at a juvenile detention center. I am taking several classes that will prove to be interesting I am sure... Multicultural Issues in Art Therapy, Group Art Therapy, Child and Adolescent Art Therapy and Research Methodology (where I will be starting work on my thesis EEK!). And wouldn't you know, before classes start tomorrow, we already had homework!!

For our first assignment of the semester we were to view House of Sand and Fog, which is a really great film—albeit depressing as hell, and then make an art response and writing response to it. In the movie there is a quote "In my country, there is an old belief that if a bird flies into your home, it is an angel who has come to guide you . . ." and I found it to be one of the central ideas in the film. However this angel did not bring peace and harmony, but death. And so my art piece was centered around these two themes.

And this piece is one that we did before break that I never posted. It was the last day of clas and we were talking about growing old. This whole experience was very emotional for me, but not because of the piece. As a group we bonded immensely over the course of the semester, specifically in the last several days... I have to admit that I chose collage because I did not have the creative energy to do anything else. But the symbolism in it has to do with growing old graceful and always learnign and always being beautiful and who you are...

I am sure that there is much more to come, I can only imagine...
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