Are you a Worry Warrior?

I mean someone who worries well and worries often.

Worry is my Special Power. 

Did you know that about me? Many people don’t guess. They think I’m calm and confident. That’s maybe because do my special intense worrying in the sleepless night and in hidden crevices of the day.

I work at being calm and confident. Do you relate to this?
{Let me assure you I will worry bigtime about sharing my vulnerability here. Especially as I’m about to be away from the internet for a few days and cannot swiftly respond to your response.}

However … as with other revealing blog posts (see How to Tend a Hurt Heart, for example) , I share my Worrisome Worrywart status with you in the hope of validating our humanly flawed experience and thereby feeding creative connection. So. Gulp. Allow me to continue.

If you need assistance with Worry-development, just ask.

Allow me to teach you the Inner-Furrowed-Brow Transmission ritual.

I can guide you through It’s-Possible-to-Worry-about-Absolutely-Anything 101.

{Declaration of worry seems to be a fitting topic for the last scraps of Mental Health month. And I have a question for you. What do you perceive is the difference between Worry and Anxiety? Are they the same thing? Does it matter?}

The opposite of worry? Trust. 

{Of course, I’m worried about whether that’s the right answer to my own question}

The opposite of Worry – the antidote –

is trusting the flow of life.

Creative practice can help.

{You knew I’d say that at some point, right? That’s my thing. That’s why we’re here together in this momentarily joined cyber zone. Because I love to sing the praises of creativity in all its miraculous, bendy applications.}

water goddess painting collage

The Water Goddess Says: Trust the Flow

I stayed in a bush

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How to be solid and airy

at the same time.

It’s a good elemental combo, don’t you think? Groundedness and lightness; earth and sky?

earth angel watercolour art therapy

Grounded yet expansive
Sally Swain © art

Dramatherapist Joanna Jaaniste and art therapist Suzanne Perry offer an experiential presentation to our SaAT (Sydney area Arts Therapists) professional peer group.

Ooo – I do love a bit of experiential work and play. Getting wholistically involved in interactive, participatory learning really suits me. As opposed to say, having bucketloads of facts hurled at me while I sit stiffly, bottom-jammed and angular, attempting to ingest it all.

I prefer to be

a living part of the feedback loop,

with an opportunity

to breathe both in AND out.

I prefer to be actively making meaning;

not treated as a passive receptacle of knowledge.

Talking of learning styles and preferences, I’m aware that some art therapists are hesitant to step into body movement or anything resembling the D (drama) word; while some dramatherapists are scared of the A (art) word; busily believing they can’t draw. I get it.

If I were placed

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Sea of Compassion

aka Keep Your Feet on the Ground and Your Brush on the Page

*thank you to last fortnight’s 3 poets

Last week, politicians stirred up a nasty brew of disruption and destabilisation in the nation’s central cauldron.

I was blessed with downtime. I kept my ear to the radio, my feet on the ground and my brush on the page. Still besotted with my near-new ‘Brilliants’, I self-soothed in the pleasantly safe, contained space of a small Art Journal. I followed the brush, the play and flow of watercolour. I did not plan my pictures. I stayed open.

I had a cuppa and chanced upon a Hugh Mackay article about compassion as a form of love. Compassion. Possibly a missing ingredient from the approaches and actions of the country’s main destabilisers. He says,

‘It is normal for humans to show compassion towards each other, because, in the end, we are each other.’

compassion sea art creativity

Sea of Compassion
with Heartfish
Sally Swain © art

Hugh Mackay is not the first or the only person to express such a sentiment. Poets, philosophers, religious guides have said the same thing countlessly. However, his words spoke to my bruised brush, my ailing spirit. His words spoke to my dismay that those who dehumanise and brutalise innocent asylum seekers are those who ruthlessly engineer to rule a country.

‘Although we like to think of ourselves as independent, we are more like islands in the sea – separate on the surface but connected to each other deep down.’

We are each other
Sally Swain © art
inspired by Hugh Mackay’s words

My bruised yet bountiful brush, my ailing yet

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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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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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What keeps me awake

I promised the Big Art Heart Reveal last week.

I promised to explain the abundance of hearts leaping out of my paintbrush.

watercolour heart art

Unusually Zen Heart
watercolour
and white pen

My Dad taught me to always keep a promise, so here’s the story behind the hearts…

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What’s with all the hearts?

Hearts

are just about the only thing coming out of my brush at the moment.

art heart paint Swain

Musical Swirly Heart
layered, acrylic paintage

Fat,

thin,
pink,

lopsided,

gold,
bosomy,

blue,

pointy,
busy,
small,

large,

soft,

squishy,

protected,

exposed,

alone,

companioned

supported
hearts.

Why the hearts?
Ah, she says mysteriously,

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Which Way Round?

Make art, even if it’s upside down

This way?

Which Way Round?
One

I am loving felt pens plus water. I’m not sure why it’s taken me fifty-something years to discover the joys of such simple ingredients, but it has.

Or this way?

art felt pen round

Which Way Round?
Two

Felt marker pens, particularly at school, were something you didn’t want to get water on. You drew or wrote with them because of their precision. You admired their clean lines. You were in control. You didn’t want to lose all that nice neatness to a soggy mush-ball.

Water brings with it an unknowing.

It brings an unpredictability and a, sometimes scary, lack of control. What joy!

This way?

Sally Swain art therapy aged

Which Way Round?
Three

Felt-pen-plus-water art-making is just the ticket for debriefing from an art therapy session in residential aged care. After

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The Art of Yes

Is this too political?

Yes Vote art marriage equality

Art and Soul says Yes
(as does Sally Swain)

Here at Art and Soul Space, I try to not be issues-based, barrow-pushing, brow-battering political.

I wish to create a breathing space of spark and light; an honouring of human creative life force. I aim to cultivate beauty and authentic expression amidst the hurly-burly of haranguing horridness that many are faced with daily.

But hey.
Sharing my Yes Art fits with these desires AND it’s political. So I will stick my neck out, publicly proclaim a passionate opinion and risk whatever flak might arise.

And hey.

I’ve been political before here at Art and Soul Space blog, and it seemed to sit well with a few of you fine folk out there.
(see Art Heart Resources for troubled times)

Here goes, then…

We are

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