For Art's Sake: Friday posts on the usefulness of art
Building Better Teams with Art: Creative Team Building
Oh Yeah, baby! It's Friday!
Fridays. Woohoo! Everybody loves 'em! It's an end of the work week! It's the start of a weekend.. Party time! But my reason for anticipating Fridays is because I write about something that really gets me psyched! The zillion ways that art - and the art-making process - can be useful.
The End of Boring Team Building Sessions
So, today's 'Friday Favorites: For Art Sake' post is about using art as a means to building teams. Over the years I've had the privilege of facilitating many events in which the creative process has been used to garner staff unity, foster camaraderie, and stimulate conversation. These type of events always come alive. There's something about getting adults in a room with art supplies that releases their inner child, even though that child may have been in hiding for many years!
Their Smiles Say it All
Team participants who join in guided group painting events are surprised and delighted with their work. Their broad beaming smiles are priceless. Staff sessions that engage in assembling collages result in an equal amount of giddy playfulness.
Brainstorming for Tailor Made Projects
In preparing for each team building event, I've always enjoyed brainstorming ideas with supervisors or department heads. Tailoring creative activities that help them reach their staff goals is my specialty. It's never a one-size-fits-all approach, but a this-will-fit-perfectly project. That's my own secret sauce and one that I truly enjoy stirring up!
I'd love to help YOU stir up some creative fun for YOUR staff. Let's brainstorm some ideas!
Thankful Thursdays: Giving gratitude all year long
Why I Love Painting Live Art Pieces at Wedding Receptions
Art Helps Create Memorable Wedding Receptions
Over the years I've used my ability to paint in so many different capacities but weddings are my absolute favorite by far! Creating a piece of art for the bride and groom to commemorate their day and enliven the decor of their first dwelling is pure delight for me!
Why I Love Painting at Wedding Receptions
There are several aspects of the Live Wedding Painting process that endear me. First off is the initial chat I usually have with the bride and groom in which I gather information and get acquainted with who they are as a couple. Since my Live Wedding Paintings are usually based on floral themes, I plan compositions around the couple's choices in wedding flowers or some other meaningful connections they may have with a particular flower. In this particular painting (above) the couple chose dogwoods to memorialize their meeting in North Caroline, for which the dogwood is the state flower.
Entertainment That Lasts Long After the Music Stops
Another aspect of performing Live Wedding Paintings that I enjoy is that of engaging with wedding guests. During the reception, they are delighted to watch the process of a painting unfold before their eyes while they are enjoying their meal and mingling about. It becomes a part of the entertainment. and is always welcomed as a unique addition to the events of the day. Long after the band has finished playing its last song, the live painting goes on 'entertaining.'
Art Helps Create A Special Bond of Friendship
Finally, I cherish the special bond that's created between the couple and myself. In the planning process and in the participation in the celebrations of the day, the three of us are knit together in a tangible way through the medium of paint on canvas.
A Great Choice for Event Entertainment
Live Paintings also make memorizing entertainment for all sorts of other events. I've performed live paintings for farewell parties, anniversary parties, launch parties, anniversary parties and fundraising events. If you're planning an event that you'd like to add some excitement, you may want to consider a Live Painting. Just let me know. I'd be glad to chat about how I might help you create a truly memorable event that your guests will be talking about for a long, long time!
The Wonder of a Tried and True Marriage
Wonderful Wednesdays: The Art of Learning to See Wonder
A Vision and a Plan
I've dabbled and dribbled in blogging. But the dribbles always dried up. because I just didn't have a clear vision or plan. NowI finally do. Watch out!
The Art of Learning To See and Know Wonder
I'm super excited about the new way I plan to use this blog! By dividing up the content into separate categories I can share much more about the things I hold dear. Wednesdays have hereby been dubbed 'Wonderful Wednesdays' and will be a fabulous silo in which to fill with things I call 'wonderful!.'
The Wonder of a Tried and True Marriage
To start things off on this first 'Wonderful Wednesday,' I've just gotta' give some 'wonder' to my husband. He is my rock. This year, we'll be celebrating 37 years together. Through the years of trying to remain sane while raising 5 kids with more than a fair share of trials and tests, he has remained my constant unwavering presence. His deep roots of commitment, his trustworthy character, his unconditional love, his forgiving spirit and his sense of humor have been a safe harbor during countless sieges of anxiety and depression. He is a voice of reason when the 'gremlins' in my head are shouting. He is a wizard when it comes to budgeting, allowing me to chase and follow my creative muse. He is a loyal friend, a safe confidant, a loyal lover, and a wonderful window washer to boot! Seriously. If it were left to ME our windows would NEVER, EVER get cleaned!
Duke Hospital's Arts and Health Art Show
I'm glad to be exhibiting once more at Duke Hospital.. This will be the third showing I've had there and I always look forward to it because I have the opportunity to speak with so many people who come by to see my work. Interacting with patrons is my favorite part of the exhibiting process.
Live in Love
When we choose to live in love we choose to live more nobly. To live in love is to put another before yourself....It’s a choice to be made- continually. We are constantly faced with circumstances that confront and challenge. It always seems to feel better to put ourselves first- to insist on our own way. But when we make choices to open up and surrender our clinch-fisted demands, we find there’s grace, light, hope and life. Love is so much more than some random, euphoric feeling. And real love isn’t always fluffy, cute, and cuddly. More often than not, real love has its sleeves rolled up, dirt and grime smeared on its arms, and sweat dripping down its forehead. It can get messy. Real love asks us to do hard things—to forgive one another, to support each other’s dreams, to comfort in times of grief, or to care for family. Real love isn’t easy—and it’s nothing like the wedding day—but it’s far more meaningful and wonderful.
Love Means Receiving as Well as Giving
About receiving. It’s just as noble, if not even more, I think, to be the RECEIVER as it is to be the GIVER. To be the one receiving requires a humble mind. Receiving requires that we acknowledge we have need- that we have a lack... I don’t think we’re so good at that. I know I’m not. I’d much rather be the one dispensing mercy than be the one admitting I need mercy.
Learning How to be Me
Learning to be o.k. with who you are is a hard won life lesson. “It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” E.R. Cummings. One of the greatest things about growing older is that you just stop caring so much about what people think. You come to really ‘get’ what Eleanor Roosevelt said, “You wouldn't worry so much about what others think of you if you realized how seldom they do.”
This is a hard-to-learn truth. Some of us get there sooner. Some later. Some of us have more mental obstacles and hoops to navigate. It just takes time. I was definitely a 'late learner.' Having been born with some bone abnormalities that necessitated the amputation of my right thumb the summer before first grade set me up for a long uphill climb to try to reach the plateau of 'I think I'm ok.'
Empathy. Now THAT’S real power. “Humans aren't as good as we should be in our capacity to empathize with feelings and thoughts of others, be they humans or other animals on earth. So maybe part of our formal education should be training in empathy. Imagine how different the world would be if, in fact, that were 'reading, writing, arithmetic, empathy.” Neil deGrasse Tyson
There's a memory I hold dear as a beautiful demonstration of empathy. It was some years ago now, and I was sitting at the kitchen table chatting with my mother-in-law, (Yes, I'm blessed to have a sweet in-law relationship.) I remember trying to straddle that 'safety' line between being transparent about a challenging situation and not coming across as a total wimp.. She quietly stood, stepped towards me, bent to embrace me, and gently said, "Oh, I understand. You feel pain there.' Here empathetic words were like a doctor's prescriptive assessment and it had the wonderful affect of making me feel heard, seen and understood without any judgement. I hold it as a precious memory and an example I want to emulate.
What about you? Have you ever experienced being on the receiving end of a particular display of empathy?
This is Me
We all have ‘protective shells’-every shape, color, size and texture.
We’re comfortable in them. But we’d do well to remember that the turtle only makes progress when he sticks his neck out. When he’s hunkered down, safely tucked inward into his shell, he could be mistaken for a bump on a log. Movement happens to the vulnerable.
"Purposeful hand use enhances well-being in a technologically saturated culture
Research has shown that creating or tending things by hand enhances mental health and makes us happy." Dr. Kelly Lambert
Creative ways to heal.
For several months now, I've been intentionally playing around with the concept of 'creative healing.' as laid out in the book, The Creativity Cure, by the amazing husband and wife team, Carrie Barron and Alton Barron. They lavishly dish out a clear case that creative endeavors can increase one's sense of wellbeing. Anything from gardening to woodworking - even stir frying can work. The authors eloquently weave their combined expertise into a theory. There are restorative properties in the simple act of committing to a plan of creative action.. To be specific, they reason that committing to a focused sizable project that has a measurable scope with of a beginning and an ending promises the greatest emotional benefits. I decided to test the theory. No, to be more forthright, I needed to test the theory!
Big pain. Big Project.
As a natural-born creative, I'd always intuitively known that creating something made me feel happier.. But recently, while wrestling with some sadness from a painful family situation, I decided to put The Creativity Cure theory to the test. I knew I needed a big focused project.Because I had some big pain.
A plan of action.
An old bedroom from one of my grown kids had become a kind of default catch-all room without much beauty or intention to design. I'd haphazardly added a sofa and a chair to fill up the space but that was the extent of it. Blah was the best way to describe it! I decided to create a visual focus by making a wall mural. I loosely sketched out some ideas. I knew I wanted flowers! They always lift my spirit. And I knew I wanted to pull out the grays and yellows of the pieces of furniture to try to make the room have a more cohesive look. So I dove in.
Up and over turbulent waters
The Creativity Cure's theory that states there's power in committing to a project that involves a course of time proved spot-on true for me. The wall mural project took about two weeks - working on it a few hours each day. It gave my mind a place of solace. It gave my emotions time to settle. It's as if it carried me up and over the turbulent waters and gently set me down again on a more peaceful shore.
My wall mural project!
(Sorry! The photos aren't the greatest. I was a little too focused and just grabbed my willing-but-not-too-great-of-a-photo-taker-hubby!)