Old Artwork, New Meanings
The packing up/moving stuff process has taken me a long time. As we try to get the old place ready to sell, I continue to find things tucked away that I had forgotten all about.
A recent find was a painting I did in class while teaching at Mt. Mary. Through teaching the internship seminar class I learned about the process of staying with the same canvas, week after week, watching it evolve, creating a relationship with it.
This particular painting was created while moving through a divorce that made my trip into the future feel very alone. One of my students pointed out to me that the boat had no oars. How would I steer it? Had I given up hope of having any control? A student, now a colleague, gave me a beautiful little wooden boat. For me it is such a good metaphor for the gifts of growth amidst the constant changes around me and within me.
Huge gratitude is the response I have when I look at it today. I am grateful for:
1. Having the opportunity to understand myself on a much deeper level through studying and then teaching at Mt. Mary. That deep work continues for me at Southwestern.
2. Making art alongside my students (and usually my clients). I get to practice vulnerability, healthy boundaries, and transparency while sharing myself through my images.
3. I’m not alone in that boat anymore. I feel supported and understood by my partner. Because of the time I spent alone, I know that I can be alone, so choosing not to be, is truly a choice.
When the fall quarter begins again, students who finished practicum will be moving into internship. I suspect that some will question the need to dive into this process. Interns are such busy humans! I think they’ll find that this class is kind of a beautiful validation of “trusting the process” in art therapy. We trust that whatever they’re experiencing as they form their professional identities will emerge honestly and at the right time, within their paintings.
It was good to speak again with my painting after so many years. If you keep your art it might have something new to tell you someday.