Journaling, Workshops, and Sketching, Oh My!

May 19, 2013

Filed in: Uncategorized

Well, there are days and then…..there are days. If you know me personally, then most likely you know some hint of my medical journey, my miraculous medical journey. One day I will write it out, the craziness of it, the unexpected miracles along the way, but for today, I just chose to spend some time journaling about it, or at least about the spine. 

The amount of x-rays I have filed on my computer would convince someone that I was studying to become a Radiologist of some sort. I ‘collected’ my own, used them when I taught Science, and have a folder of them on my FB page so that home school friends can show their kids what fusions, joint replacements, and screws look like. I even have a plan that when this body decides to kick the bucket, it will go to a local med school so I can leave the world teaching. 

This morning, after choosing the next page in my book, which just so happens to be a chapel, I decided to sketch two versions of my spine, the lumbar and cervical, but not anatomically correct. I basically wanted to get a combination of the screws and plates combined with the hips and brain, but in a really loose, Sharpie sketch process. I then decided to write out some thoughts on living with chronic pain and my journey of kicking 14 meds a day down to one. Life today looks nothing like it did 5 years ago. Yes, there is always pain, but I have come to understand it now, not fight it, and that has allowed me to create, share, teach, and go places I truly never thought I could go again. Oh, and to the doctor who said once upon a time….you are looking at paralysis in both legs….boooyah. I know they have to tell us worst case scenarios but really, tell us with less excitement next time.

Next step, after ghosting the text with gesso, I began to sketch other figures, float in some transparent colors with Golden Fluids, and used my new, neon paint pens to highlight and isolate the screws/pins. I then collaged a few pieces on top, added some more juicy tidbits, and let the page rest. I am considering creating an entire series using my own spinal anatomy, we will see. 

As part of Juliana Coles ‘Field Notes’ workshop, we are sketching the world around us every day. I have incorporated the sketch practice as part of my daily pages, and am finding that it is transforming my artistic style by leaps and bounds. I doubt I would have pushed myself to sketch as often if it were not for this workshop so I am totally loving the impact it is having on me! These are a few 5-10min sketches I have done with my mini travel kit that stays in my purse. It makes riding in the car or sitting in waiting rooms the perfect time to sketch. 

Yesterday I was able to go and teach a fantastic  torn paper collage workshop in Ocean Springs at the Mary C. O’Keefe Cultural Arts Center. It was lovely, the students were eager, pushed their comfort zones a bit to loosen up, and I do believe everyone was thrilled with their works when they headed out. This type of workshop does my heart good. We talk tips, shortcuts, impact, intent, and products, all within the context of having fun, slinging paint, spreading glue, and ripping paper. What could be more fun? 

I will be teaching other workshops at the Mary C. as well as in Mobile this summer and fall, so if you are looking to attend one, you can visit my website for all the details! 
Hope your Sunday is full of love for yourself and others, and hope the bones of your serenity stay strong as ever. 

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