Friday, April 6, 2012

Safe Place

"Safe Place"
Recycling is a heavy influence in my approach to art, be it recycling stories and characters or reusing canvases.

Alas, sometimes that re-envisioning can include repeating mistakes as well. I'm working on remembering what I learned in many areas of my life recently, in art and work, in my connections with people, in what I know to be true about myself and how I approach change.  

In this case, the recycled canvas, flipped and re-gessoed on the backside, began lumpy and bumpy, dented.

My first take on its uneven surface came out angry and red, a venomous self-portrait.

In art therapy (of which I know a whole lot more now as a researcher for my job), many trauma approaches start with the creation of a Safe Place. The imaginary place -- quiet, peaceful, without people -- provides a concrete image to return to should the real and recycled stories of our lives become overwhelming.

My safe place looks something like this painting. The road is actually silver (which doesn't photograph well), and the mountains are much lovelier in my head, but you get the idea.

Freedom. Movement.  Exploration. Nature. Vibrant night. The sound of rushing wind. The smell of sagebrush and lavender.  Peace with further possibilities for joy just around the bend.

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