Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Art Healing...

I was on blog talk radio tonight with Suzi (I know, that's nothing new) but tonight we were talking about art healing. I was hoping I wasn't going to have to talk about that but Suzi asked me to, so I did and I thought it could be today's blog post, too. This is a page from one of my first journals (I don't call it an "art journal", just a journal - less pressure that way).

I almost never talk about my "process" because I don't do anything that a million other people don't do...but this page is something that I found really healing. Brace yourself, I'm going to tell you a story.

My grandpa (John Charles Timper) was 89 when he died in 2008. I was 28 and am the youngest member of my generation of the family (his youngest grandchild). My family is SO lucky because he is the first family member we've lost. He wasn't sickly, he never suffered from any kind of dementia - sound of mind and (mostly) body right up until the end.

My son was 19 months old at the time and we were just about to move across the country. Motherhood did not come naturally to me (it was not something I ever planned to do and I struggled with it) and there was NO ONE in my life who was supporting me - not my husband, not my parents (who lived next door), and my two friends (the only ones I had at the time) both moved out of state while I was pregnant. I was in a very dark place before Grandpa died, and his death was something I didn't handle well.

My uncle is a Catholic deacon and thought it would be nice to have the youngest and oldest grandchildren do the readings at the service. I agreed, but on the condition that I was allowed to have my reading in advance so I could practice it. (I have dyslexia and reading something out loud that I've never seen before - at my grandfather's funeral - is not a good idea.) My uncle had a book, someone picked out the readings, and he jotted my name on it and tore it out of the book. When I got home to Florida (from NY), I took the reading and I tore it into a million pieces. For the first time in WEEKS, maybe even months, I smiled. I like seeing it there, torn and shredded, in a pile on my table. It was VERY satisfying.

Then I used it as the background for this page. I gave it a wash of brown paint and put a picture of Grandpa on it, along with the mass card. The green blobs were my name (written by my uncle) and the fact that it smeared made me even happier. It's difficult to explain, but somehow this page made me happy. I made others - darker ones, and brighter ones. But this was the healing one. The one page that made me feel like "Hey, maybe there IS something to this art journaling thing." Sorry if I'm stupid and sappy.

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