Lost and Found in the Forest

Sally Swain art painting collatge

Lost and Found in the Forest
Sally Swain © art

Welcome to 2019

I wish you a sense of foundness

at this moment of early January,

when some folk can feel lost in the wilds

of New Year, loneliness

or out-of-routineness.

Let me tell you a story straight from the Creative Love Exchange.

(Creative Love Exchange description here)

Some years ago I went to a Playback Theatre retreat in the Blue Mountains. I stayed in a little ex-train carriage in the bush. I couldn’t sleep. This is not unusual for me and my restless, anxious night-mind. I rose up, out of bed and walked away across the earth. It was a very not-city scene. There were trees and trees and crackly gum leaves underfoot. Careful, Sally, careful to not get lost wandering off the beaten track in the middle of the night.

The thing is, I felt completely safe. The moon was full. I didn’t walk far into the thicket of things, yet was wrapped in beauty; surrounded by a cathedral of moon and tree. I returned to bed and slept.

The next morning I saw a sign.

Caution: Do Not Walk in the Bush at Night. Do Not Stray from the Track.

Timid, urban, physically unadventurous me had done both those things, yet I felt safe.

I created a picture: Lost and Found in the Forest.

And…lo. Thirteen years later, an art therapy friend asks to purchase this painting for her sister who is turning sixty. At first I am unsure whether this work is for sale. Then I say Yes. I embrace the loop of giving and receiving.

You experience something. You receive the benefits of making art from the experience. Astoundingly, someone else would like to give you something in order to receive the medicines of the art you’ve created. There is an exchange of heart, of art, of goods, of services. It’s win win win.

In this case, several sisters club together to buy Lost and Found in the Forest. Apparently the girl in the picture resembles the twelve year old version of the birthday woman. I wait. The gift is presented. She loves it.

Lost and Found in the Forest.

Sally Swain art painting collatge

Lost and Found in the Forest
Sally Swain © art

Do you have any stories of the Creative Love Exchange?

Of being in the flow of giving and receiving via creative expression?

with love, art and soul from Sally

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The Creative Love Exchange

What is it? It’s when you stand in the flow of giving and receiving, feeling creatively alive. And it’s win-win-win.

You do something you love

You share it with others

They benefit – sometimes way beyond your reckoning

You receive the glow

You do more of what you love

One Leaf is Many Leaves

One Leaf is Many Leaves

I was sorrowful. It was the week of the Anzac centenary, destructive storms around Sydney, the execution of two of the Bali Nine and… the Nepal earthquake. Working as an art therapist in aged care, I see more Nepalese people than I ever did before in my sheltered Sydney world. They offer intimate personal care to the frail elderly here, while their families are suffering severely back home in the hills. A tough call.

I gave myself creative space – art-making time. I reached for the grey, allowing paint and tears to flow. I gave myself permission to not know, to not know how these pictures would turn out or IF they would turn into anything in particular.

grey wash of paint and tears

Painting, weeping, following the brush of my heart …. eventually, I noticed shapes and forms emerging.

A guitar appeared in one picture. Wraith-like figures appeared in another.

a wraith there

The paintings became more defined, more present. Crying stopped and thinking began. What if I were to bring gold and white decorations to the images? What if I could put them for sale on Facebook and donate the full proceeds to earthquake survivors?

But what if the paintings are no good? I don’t usually show my raw work so soon after creating it. What if no-one likes this idea? What if it’s crass to mix money and Facebook friends? Continue reading