Indigenize!

Rekindle Your Wild Joy and sense of deep Belonging through spiritual ecopsychology and the arts, incl. bioregional awareness, animistic perspectives, strategies for simple living, & low/no-tech DIY fun.

Art Therapy Marathon Paintings November 15, 2011

Filed under: Arts — BrujaHa @ 10:41 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

The Painting Marathon put on by Naropa University’s Art Therapy program was a rousing success. 48 hours of nonstop work by 75 volunteer students, staff and faculty on three large paintings netted over $15,000 in donations. The money will support a service-learning project in Cambodia with Transitions Global to help girl victims of sex trafficking. Participating in this as part of “Team Tutu” was a fun way to get to know some of my new community.

Here are the final lotus paintings, photographed where they are temporarily hanging at Naropa’s Paramita Campus in Boulder, CO.

They are big, taking up most of each wall. I often walk the long way round to the copier or the water fountain just to look at them. Those who offered the three highest donations will get the paintings. Lucky stiffs! That sure beats those Xmas card packs other charities offer as thanks.

*

Team Tutu

*

The “A” Team

*

Vibrant Vortex 

*

As you might imagine, the paintings underwent tremendous transformation over the 48 hours, as teams of painters came and went and added their own vision and flair to the works.

*

Team Tutu in progress

Grad student Stephanie Andres (the sketcher above) held Team Tutu together in a way that was a masterpiece of skill, strongly holding a coherent vision for the geometrically layered work while still allowing individual creativity.

Those pomegranate seeds in the middle – my contribution, which then virally spread coral colors throughout the piece as other tutu-clad painters came on board – are an illustration of this.

*

The “A” Team in progress

(look back at the final to marvel how much this one changed just over the final 5 hours!)

This lovely beetroot heart still remains, shining forth from within the new lotus.

*

Vibrant Vortex in progress

*

Here’s a video by Meg Hamilton that documents some of the paintings’ changes through photos taken by many participants, myself included.

*

There was also a wall-sized piece done by visiting teens. Here’s a small part of it that I particularly liked:

*

Local musicians came to play for the painters, which made the event even more fun. I love how music informs visual art. Long ago when I used to paint a lot, I’d sometimes make a list of all the songs that went into each completed work. You know that the piece was different due to its influence.

At one point during the marathon, these guys called for guest singers, and I got to sing St. James Infirmary with them!  Best coffee break ever.

*

Some of Nalanda Campus’ 7 cute prairie dog coteries sang along outside.

——————————————————————————————————————

I feel fortunate to teach at Naropa, where I get to work alongside such inspiring colleagues as Sue Wallingford, the Art Therapy faculty who is spearheading the project along with her dedicated and talented students.

Who could resist painters in tutus?

Thanks to all of you Indigenize readers who supported this project.

Brava all!

Advertisements
 

Painting Marathon Fundraiser September 30, 2011

I’ll be participating in a 48-hour relay Painting Marathon this Sunday, helping the art therapy dept at Naropa University raise $ for students to provide supportive, empowering art interventions for victim survivors of sex trafficking.

All money raised will go to fund this service-learning project in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, done in partnership with Transitions Global. My vibrant new colleague Sue Wallingford is heading up this largely student-driven project. project.

Want to sponsor me?  If so, please go to: http://www.crowdrise.com/ncas-i and select Team TUTU to donate to my team. (And let me know you did that.)

Thanks!

For more information about their mission and Transitions Global, check out their blog at ncas-i.tumblr.com.

 

Art Car September 2, 2010

Filed under: Adventures,Arts,Do-It-Yourself — BrujaHa @ 1:29 am
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

The Leafy Wonder! Owned by Tom Devlin. Head Car-tiste: Tina Fields.

How does an art car get born?

Like a lot of interesting things in this world, this one came about through a series of events which culminated in serendipitous beauty, but originated in what could reasonably be seen as small disasters.

Act I

Hanging out playing music in the back garden at a friend’s harvest party, several of us were suddenly disturbed by the sounds of a car screeching and crashing. At first the sentiment of most was that we shouldn’t go out there, since that might seem invasively gawking, even ghoulish. But since I have a bit of emergency medical training, I went out to the street to see if anyone was hurt – and discovered that one of the cars that had been destroyed was mine. An elderly gent had had some sort of stroke and lost control of his car. First he glanced off the side of one parked car on the side of the road, then embedded his Prius into a second car further down. The impact pushed that car (which turned out to be our fiddler’s) forward, where it whacked into a third car – mine. My mind later reveled in the oddness of this: a four-car wreck with only one driver involved. While safely parked in a suburban residential neighborhood, my beloved Jeep Wagoneer got “totalled.”

The word is in quotes because that Jeep was a 1987 model and thus made of steel, so even though the Prius that did the deed crumpled up like an old aluminum can, the only real damage to my Jeep was a tightly fitting front fender with a slight hunchback, a mushed-in back fender, a hatchback that would no longer stay shut, and broken left tail lights.

***

Jeep, “After” repair. (Note the foreshadowing here.)

***

However, due to its age and the little detail that it had around 276,000 miles on it, the insurance company reckoned it would cost more than the car is worth to restore it to pristine condition. But it was still in beautiful condition and ran well. So while I agreed that trying to bring back its flawless youth was silly, I still wanted to be able to drive it awhile longer without getting a ticket or asphyxiating.

So I bought my own car back from the offending driver’s insurance company (!) and with the money, purchased the needed replacement parts online from a dedicated Jeep junkyard. All I needed now was skilled mechanical help to put it back together.

Act II

My friend and former colleague Tom offered to do the repair work. Because our place of work had closed down and we were both pretty broke, he generously offered to do this labor for trade.

My trade would be to turn his VW bug into an art car.

***

Tom Devlin with his bug, before…

***

This car was one ugly beetle. Its exterior was half a sickly jaundiced yellow with some primer sections and some black spots and some old reddish patches that looked for all the world like old dried blood. And to top all this off, it had a smattering of enormous black rubber spiders glued to its hood. I wish I had a close-up – wait, no I don’t. Major creepy!

***

***

I figured I was doing a public service in catalyzing this vehicle’s transformation to beauty.

We talked about a leaf motif.

Tom had the idea of covering it with REAL foliage, like a moveable jungle planter! Imagine driving down the road on your daily commute. Getting hungry while stuck in traffic? Simply pluck a fruit from the vines growing on your fender! Ahh. While amused and somewhat enchanted by this idea, I was thinking that there is no practical way for such a thing to endure the windspeed of car travel.

But it turns out that others have dreamed the same dream.

***

***

In the end, however, we decided that painting was the way to go.

Act III

We did some research into materials and wound up buying regular semi-gloss outdoor house paints, albeit the most eco-friendly sort we could find. I chose the hues. In preparation, Tom sanded and primed the bug, taped the windows, and gave it a base coat of the light yellow. Meanwhile, I drew leaves in three sizes and shapes, one for each color, then cut out foam stamps of them for folks to easily use.

Then we held an art car painting party.

The invitation to Tom’s friends and family read:

Invitation to Join In on the Creation of an Art Car!!!

Tom Devlin’s Bug will transform into a Leafy Wonder under our hands

Sun Sept 14

11 am – done

[address]

All art materials provided.

Beverages & munchies welcome.

Wear paint-friendly clothing.

rsvp/questions beforehand to the head car-tiste Tina Fields, [phone #]

[Directions to site]

***

***

We were too busy to take many photos, but here’s one of the car in progress. It was a real community affair. Tom’s mom is stencilling on the hood. I’m placing the flow and hand-painting in leaf edging details on the driver’s side. Several other car-tistes also had a hand in it. When the day’s work was done, we all enjoyed a table laden with celebratory potluck goodies.

Tom later completed the fenders and worked his wizardry on other details as well, including juicing up the interior some.

Act IV

Here’s the final product on the streets!

The Leafy Wonder! Owned by Tom Devlin. Head Car-tiste: Tina Fields.

***

Tom’s renovated bug received many hearty resurrection welcomes, transformed as it is from the decaying insect underworld into the Leafy Wonder, a lovely Art Car. He gets comments about it everywhere he goes – and now, they’re exclamations of appreciation.  Plus as a bonus, he can always find his vehicle in the parking lot.

Postscripts:

* Tom is all fired up about this and now wants to make more of these. If you want to have an Art Car Party too, write me and we’ll set something up!

* Postscripts to Act I:  Aside from a couple of bruises, the elderly gent did not seem hurt by the accident, which had taken place at a very slow speed. We found out his address – just a few doors down – and fetched his wife, who hadn’t known he was out with the car. The ambulance came shortly thereafter. His Prius, which took the blow for him, was *truly* totalled.

* My Jeep wound up lasting one more year, then I traded it off in the Cash for Clunkers program. The gummint gave me $4500 in trade for it. (Woo-hoo!) I was quite sorry to see it go to its death – it still looked beautiful, ran well, and might have still had another year left on its transmission; but then again, it might not. It would have been better, I think, to put those old cars to some limited use, perhaps with a special “clunker” license plate, rather than destroy them. But this Jeep was exactly what the program was intended to bring in. It had been a good car that served my family and others well for 22 years.

RIP, beloved 4-wheel drive and hello, new Honda Fit in the appropriately named hue of ‘Revolution Orange.’ This is my first new car, and also my last. By the time “Acorn Squash” is 22 years old like the Jeep was, I figure we’ll not be using cars any more.

But for the time being, along with walking and biking and train riding, etc., when we use our cars, we may as well enjoy them. It felt great to extend the life of a beloved old car like this VW bug, and through simple and inexpensive artistic means, to help others appreciate it too. It was also great to barter time and skills, thus enhancing both our lives without the need to involve money.

May the Leafy Wonder enjoy many more springs.

 

Power of Raven (Good Wish) May 21, 2010

Alexander Carmichael 1900“Good Wish” is one of the many lovely blessings and magical invocations collected in the Scottish Highlands by Alexander Carmichael (pictured here in 1900) and compiled into his 6 volumes entitled Ortha nan Gaidheal or Carmina Gadelica.  (“Good Wish” appears on page 282 of the edited single mass market volume. No, I don’t currently own a full set: only the first two of six. My birthday is in December… 🙂 )

I like that “Good Wish” starts out by conferring “power of raven.” Ravens so often get a bad rap – in fact, all of the Corvidae do: ravens, crows, magpies, and jays. Those smart, big-mouthed birds are the avian equivalent of theater people, anarchists, feminists, culture jammers – a bit trickstery with their sense of humor, a bit wiser than you might expect, unafraid of death or gory weirdness, with one eye out for anything flamboyant and interesting; not subtle business-suited or cute-plumaged boop-boop Paris Hilton-type chirpers at all. Viva la Raven!

This invocation attempts to confer the great powers and riches (“goodness”) of nature on its recipient. Along with these, it also confers the blessings of two great human leaders, Christ and Fionn; and to top it off, it confers three valued internal qualities: honor, compassion, and love. There is evidence that in pre-Christian Irish society, maintaining one’s personal honor, including integrity of word and deed, was extremely important. Ah, for the good old days.

My favorite part of this Wish, though, is “death on pillow.” This is not something we ordinarily think of as a positive prayer since we’re so alienated from the realities of death in this culture, but by considering the many hideous alternatives, we can understand how it truly is.

By request, I like to sing an original variation of this poem to participants in my open singing group EnChantMent! while they collectively hold a single drone note, like a sung bagpipe; in this way to end our sessions with a blessing for them.

May it likewise bless all reading this now.

Drawing Down the Moon (painting by Tina Fields)

Drawing Down the Moon (painting by Tina Fields)

*

Power of raven be thine

Power of eagle be thine

Power of the Fiann.

Power of storm be thine

Power of moon be thine

Power of sun.

Power of sea be thine

Power of land be thine

Power of heaven.

Goodness of sea be thine

Goodness of earth be thine

Goodness of heaven.

Each day be joyous to thee

No day be grievous to thee

Honour and compassion.

Love of each face be thine

Death on pillow be thine

Thy Saviour’s presence.

***

I made the watercoloured drawing on the right a looong time ago!  It’s very fun to be letting these old pieces fly into the world now, here.