Play of

Allow me to

glass reflection photo Swain

I love this.
I cannot recall what it is.
Rocks and glass and floral reflections? Oh. And me photographing the mystery.
What do you think it might be?

inspire you with

Reflections photo indoor outdoor

Reflections Too
The kitchen window at a friend’s place. You see through it. The wooden dresser with little flower transfers. You see off it. The wonderful calm confusion of reflected ambiguity.

the play of light,

Inside outside reflect Swain

Reflections Three
That same friend’s house. Inside/outside become one.

reflections

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Where does a bunch of Art Therapists

working in aged care

go for a collective artist date?

Hidden exhibition

Hidden exhibition
Drops, (for Eva Hesse)
Rox de Luca

Why. To a cemetery, of course.

Hidden exhibition
The Storyteller (detail)
Teffany Thiedeman

Not just any cemetery.

Hidden Rookwood Cemetery Sculpture Walk

commemorates 150 years of ‘the Sleeping City’.

Hidden exhibition

Hidden exhibition
Mandir: Shrine
Lee FullARTon

‘HIDDEN is an outdoor sculpture exhibition that takes place amongst the gardens and graves in one of the oldest sections of the Cemetery. The exhibition invites artists to ponder the notion of history, culture, remembrance and love and allows audiences to witness creative expression hidden throughout Australia’s largest and most historic cemetery’,

Hidden art exhibition

Hidden exhibition
Meditation Forest
Peter Hardy

says the website.

Was it morbid? This art expedition to a place where members of my very own family are buried? Was it creepy? Melancholic? No. None of the above. It was actually lovely to go to Rookwood NOT for a funeral.

(The exhibition is viewable til 24th September.)

EAT.

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Responsiveness Fatigue

Is this a thing?

Have you heard of it?

No, I haven’t either. Compassion fatigue, yes. Outrage fatigue, yes. But these terms don’t describe what I periodically feel.

I have decided to call this species of ennui: Responsiveness Fatigue. I manage it by allowing myself to completely tune out here and there, when I can. Some do it regularly. It’s called ‘the Weekend’. That’d be your normal person who works nine-to-five Monday-to-Friday and chills out on Saturday and Sunday. But I am not normal.

tree root photo

a wise old tree with vertical roots
ahhh

My art, therapy, coaching, caring way of life has forgotten what a weekend looks like. I choose to live a not-normal life, which has multiple benefits and generally, I’d rather be ensconced in a quiet frenzy of paint and paper on a wooden dining table than be out on the bright harbour water-skiing.

It’s just that sometimes I require a particular type of downtime, which involves

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Sister Pools

A Creative Support Partnership

Swain art watercolour

Rosey
a Sister Pool picture
by Sally Swain

Last week, we looked at the Handala – a small mandala with carry-handles.

The Handala arose while I waited for my sister to ring for our creative conversation. An Art and Soul Space blog reader (thanks, Gallivanta) loved that my sister reads me her writings. Inspired by my dear reader, let me tell you about … ta daa … Sister Pools.

For the past year, whenever we can, my sister and I form an interstate telephonic dual Creative Support Partnership. We read each other our writing-in-progress. We talk about current glitches, hitches, joys and successes in our creative process. We divide the time fairly equally.

I paint while she talks or reads.

She writes (or doodles) while I talk or read.

I might paint a preliminary shape on one page of the art journal, then squish the pages together, forming a Rorschach-type mooshy print. (Squish and mooshy being highly technical hoity-toity art terms).

I develop each page differently. Intuitively, spontaneously, I listen to her words, thoughts, feelings and to my own art desires and intentions. It’s a type of Response Art.

Here’s what emerged

in our very first meeting.

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Good Grief Cafe

Sally Swain original art painting

Here Am I
Swimming in a Teacup
Sally Swain © original art
purchased by a lovely member of Sydney Threshold Choir

Let me tell you about the Good Grief Café.

I rarely report on workshops or playshops in this here blog.

But I wonder –

Might you find it useful to read about bringing Art to your experience of Grief?

Good Grief Café is a one day workshop hosted by Sydney Threshold Choir.

(Link to this Brave, Big-Hearted Bunch of Women Here).

I was thrilled to co-facilitate along with the amazing Trish Watts and Beate Steller.

(Look for a bunch of groovy website links down the bottom of this page)

I was responsible for the Art thread of the day, weaving it in with other offerings.

Let’s take a glimpse at the Art thread:

Safe Space for the Holding of Grief

I led

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Middle-Aged Crazy Art Lady Strikes Again

This time, she’s more like Late Middle-Aged or Early-Old Crazy Art Lady.

She’s just turned fifty-nine. Fifty-nine.

How can that be?

Her Inner (and often Outer) Child

is seven.

art play beach

Beach character
What could his or her name be?
Sally Swain crazy-art-play with driftwood, feathers and seaweed

Two years ago

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Making Art Palatable

Swain small art

Even If It’s Tiny, Make Art
Sally Swain
play-in-progress

Or Should I Say Palette-able?

How to approach art-making when you’re daunted?

Chunk it down.

The vast blank canvas smirks at you. It might look innocent enough, all pure and fresh, but when nobody else is in the room, it snarls,

‘What makes you think you can paint on me? You’re not good enough. You’re not an artist and never will be.’

What to do?

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How to heal a heavy heart

(at least for now)

  1. Wrap your arms around the heart
Swain art paintage

Even if you’re sad, make art
Sally Swain © original art

2. Plant your strong feet upon the earth

3. Sit down

4. Know that the moon is there behind you

5. Sing mournfully

6. If you can’t bring yourself to sing, then hum or simply breathe.

That’s how to heal a heavy heart 

(at least for now).

On a day I felt sad, I

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