Easin’ the Season

red gold fabric flower art

Sumptuous             Sally Swain © art

How to name this time of year?

The season is Festive or a Holiday for some, but not for others. Do you say Happy Christmas to those in deep grief? Do you falalala about prickly green and red plants and ruddy-nosed caribou?

(Indeed I do. I find myself hosting Arty Hearty Parties in an aged care facility, singing and strumming ukulele. Anything to bring a smile to a sorrowful face.)

How to communicate swift positive wishes to all, sundry, those who are traumatised; those who give no hoots?

Swain painting

Using up the Leftover Paint
acrylic on calico
Sally Swain

It can be a

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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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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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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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You do not have to be good

I’m not one for quoting poetry. I’d kind of like to be, but I’m not.

Using up the paint on the brush
Sally Swain play-in-progress

My Dad was, but I’m not.

Some people have a perfect, poignant poetic morsel for every occasion, but

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Flying by the Light of the Moon

Art Therapy and Attunement

The phrase ‘Fly by Night Work’ appeared to me in a dream.

It spoke of intuitive aspects of the art therapist’s journey with clients, in particular, clients living with deep dementia.

bird moon art Sally Swain

Night Flying Work
Sally Swain © original art
excerpt

The client might no longer be

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How to Grow a

Delicatree.

tree art painting Sally Swain

Delicatree
Sally Swain © original art

A PAINTAGE RECIPE

Ingredients:

  • a palette of squodgy leftover paint from your residential aged care art therapy clients
  • patterns, textures and colours from magazines of any era
  • a cup of expressive slapdashery
  • a cup of order-making quietitude
  • a black felt pen
  • a goodly dose of tenderness
  • a slug of love
  • immeasurable commitment to creative process

Method:

 

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