Art Mother

Who is she?

I want to create a blog piece for Mother’s Day without it being about actual flesh and blood mothers.

I’ve got one. A mother. I am not one. A mother.

I am, however, an Art Mother.

I create pictures.

I birth them from bits of nothing and scraps of something.

I midwife other people’s creativity.

I like that term, Art Mother. What do you think of it? Do you connect in any way?

paint collage girl

The Sad Girl has Helpers
Sally Swain

So I go

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A Trace

What is left behind?

flower paint aged care

A Trace
Red Flower of Life
Sally Swain’s Paper Towel Art

Hey folks, be warned:

This post has a high *NVUF rating.

I’ve invented something. It’s called the Art Therapy in Residential Aged Care Evaluation, or ATRACE. Pronounced ‘a trace’. I am doing the complex, detailed, organised, dynamic, reflective work of implementing this investigative tool.

I hope one day that other art therapists will be able to make use of it, in the service of ever strengthening the work we do.

Meanwhile, behind the scenes, I play with painted traces in a small experiential way. I guess you could think of this process as art-based inquiry.

paint monoprint aged care

A Trace
a bit Rorschach
Sally Swain Paper Towel Art

You might have come across

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What do you see in this picture?

Delight at the Aunty Art Cafe

heart art underwater

What do you see in this Picture?

All Ingredients of Joy are Present:

Art materials (portable)
A nice cup of tea (English Breakfast)
A nice niece (well, more than nice, really – fabuloso)

A splendid location (water views)

A breeze (the bees knees on a hot day).

watercolour art co-creation

Upside Down Waterscape

I am in love

with my new watercolour Brilliants.

They are called Brilliants and indeed they are. Brilliant.
(I hope my aquabrushes don’t feel jealous. We have a longer term relationship. We are calmly companionable, my aquabrushes and I.)

Ruby and Sal begin.

Actually, I begin. With a simple blue swooshy line across the page. We are across the road from an ocean beach, so it makes sense.

watercolour collaborative art

Beginnings

Ruby continues. Swirly seaweedy

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Tree Fern Woman

Wishing you peace, art and healing

for Easter,

Pesach,

Just-Post-Equinox,

Full Moon

and

Blue Moon.

I fell over in New Zealand. In February, I fell over in New Zealand Aoteaoroa outside Piha General Store. Just a little fall, but a pulsing ankle resulted.

How might I heal? How might any of us heal?

tree fern radiate art

Heart of the Tree Fern
Waitakere greenness

Rest,

ice,

arnica

and….Tree Fern Woman.

A bit of art and

a bit of nature didn’t do any harm.

It helped.

It helped that I was staying in a cabin amongst the treetops, able to gaze softly into the heart of the fern.

It helped that I was able to ponder the spine of the kauri.

That ankle eased up in no time.

art healing fern NZ

Tree Fern Woman
Waitakere Ranges

Finally! I

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Do you have good memories

of a poetry book from childhood?
I am lucky enough to say YES.

The Golden Treasury of Poetry
by Louis Untermeyer

illustrated by Joan Walsh Anglund

formed a substantial,  sumptuous part of my young self.

 

I confess I remember pictures and rhythms more than words. Images found their way into the innermost part of my make-up. I can’t recall specific details, but I know in my core the colour essence, the flavour, the sensory delight that fed me from age dot.

I wish to introduce to you…

A Boat of Stars.

childrens poetry book

A Boat of Stars cover

I got to experience the Sydney launch of this delicious anthology of poems. True to form, my visual artist self has mostly imbibed the illustrations, but hey – the poems are pretty damn fine too.

Margaret Connolly and Natalie Jane Prior are the esteemed editors.

kids poems

A Boat of Stars
back cover

A heap of writers and illustrators contributed.

They range from extremely experienced children’s book creators

Julie Vivas

Illustration by Julie Vivas
detail

Kerry Argent

Illustration by Kerry Argent

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Second Hand Rose

They call me Second-hand Rose….

Swain painting

Using up the Leftover Paint
acrylic on calico
Sally Swain

I never get a single thing that’s new.

Even Jake the plumber, he’s the man I adore

He had the nerve to tell me he’s been married before

Everyone knows that I’m just

Second-hand Rose

From Second Avenue.

{Lalala deedoodeedoo}

Where did that song-burst come from? 

Some quirky corner of my brain stores lyrics from 1920s and 30s songs and pops them out at appropriate or inappropriate moments. Gosh. Maybe I’m more like my clients with dementia than I realised.

There is a reason.

There is a reason the Second-hand Rose fragment emerged holus-bolus.

It’s because

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Get Your Art Eyes On

I catch myself thinking drab thoughts.

turn ugly to beautiful

A cigarette butt converses with a dried leaf
Sally Swain
Get Your Art Eyes On

I am in a drab place. I must trudge across an underground carpark and it is eternal.

Trudge This Way
Sally Swain
Get Your Art Eyes On

It is the Sahara desert and I am weary. Where’s the camel when you need it? Oh. That’d be the fully functioning car I just parked. I forget to be grateful for the privileged first world life I lead. Facebook friends post photos of exotic meals in exotic spas in exotic forests near exotic mountains. I am in a carpark.

There’s a feather if you look
Sally Swain
Get Your Art Eyes On

I snap

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Do you love driftwood?

Do you love Fiona Hall’s work?

fiona hall art

Manuhiri (Travellers)
detail
Fiona Hall

If you answered yes and yes, you might like to drop by Sydney’s Museum of Contemporary Art.

If you answered half of one yes, and you’ve not heard of Fiona, you might still want to check out the starkly beautiful Manuhiri (Travellers).

fiona hall art sculpture

Manuhiri (Travellers)
detail
Fiona Hall

I find this installation

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The Joy of Making Art Together

My sister and niece visit from interstate about four times a year.

We try to squeeze an art play session in there in amongst the family events schedule.

butterfly art glitter

Ruby’s Butterfly

We let loose.

We love our shared art-making.

We are all together, yet each working on our own piece.

We coast between silent absorption and chit-chatting or singing. Sometimes there’s a drama

when the picture ‘goes wrong’. We usually get through that, out the other side and sail to the land of art-making happiness.

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Scraps, Glorious Scraps

My friend entices me into a fabric shop. I am on a different trajectory of busy-focus and lunch-hunger, but I allow myself to be diverted.

red gold fabric flower art

Sumptuous

My friend asks if they have remnants. They do. I proceed to spend half an hour – or is it a week? – rummaging through remnant bags. The bags are organised according to colour.

fabric cloth scraps

textures and edges

I am a kid in a lolly shop. I am an artist in an art shop.

I am caught in a fabric fragment web

of divine daydreaming.

All else fades away.

It is a surprise Artist Date.

I think of the art-making potential. I love incorporating threads and tissues into paintages.

I think of my elderly art therapy client who

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