For women who have experienced sexual abuse or family violence. Seaford group 2014
This week was an introduction to working with acrylic paints and learning how to work with a limited palette to create lots of variations in colour. We are using groups of cool, warm and earth colours for this exercise. In these paintings women start with the theme of pattern, and use some of my photos as inspiration to get the creative juices going.
Women were invited to select a few pictures and take elements from the photos into their own design. I suggest this so people new to painting aren’t going to feel overwhelmed by having to learn about the paints as well as come up with an idea that they can manage with this very limited colour range. I also wanted the painting to be fun and flowing – to help them get away from an ever-present voice that demands perfection, and the ever-present voice that suggests you will never achieve it.
This concept of perfection can hold someone back from trying, enjoying and improving in the things they most want to do, such as painting. I am often left wondering about where these ideas come from, what makes a painting, or sculpture for that matter, ‘perfect’? Is it that it looks real? or like a photo? does it communicate something of meaning, or take us to a yet undiscovered place or feeling?
One aspect of these arts groups is to expose participants to a range of art forms, artworks and artists, and to open eyes to notice how differently individual artists see, interpret and communicate about the world. Gradually this hard and fast idea of perfection shifts as we talk more in terms of creating, expressing, materials, and of course enjoying. But in order to get to that point, we start here, learning about colour, pattern and paint.
Week One 16 June 2014
This wintry Monday morning was well spent drawing and painting with a group of women at the SECASAs home at Seaford.
The new group is the first we have run at Seaford – but there is lots of art here from the many projects we have run in the old offices in Frankston I was thrilled to see the Earth Air Fire and Water mosaics beautifully placed, mosaic mirrors brightening up little nooks and corners, garlands from the Parents and Children’s art group adding a sparkle to a corridor – everywhere are reminders of the many creative people who have left a little piece of hope behind for new victims of abuse who are seeking help at SECASA.
We were a small group of six women to start with, plus Natasha, the SECASA Counsellor and me. Other women will join us next week. Immediately there is a warmth amongst the women, a caring that makes it easy for even the most nervous new participant to feel relaxed and comfortable.
We always start gently. For this project we are going to be exploring a range of materials … it’s a bit of a creative taster. We worked with oil pastels and watercolours; just exploring colours and the natural repelling of oil and water of the pastels and the paint. In future weeks we will be making artist books, and working with clay … and then we will see what the group would like to do for the final weeks.
The time flew. The conversations are easy and general. The beauty of these groups is that women are invited to spend three hours together simply creating and being part of a community. We tend to chat about things we enjoy and share stories that are uplifting. Natasha baked fruit muffins for the group and there was fruit to enjoy as well. We try to nurture the body as well as creativity!
I have taken the art works home and sewn them together like prayer flags, or bunting, to brighten up one of the interview rooms at PenSac. It was a perfect start to a wintry week.