Monday, September 30, 2013

Fun Monday Challenge #21 - "Your Place"

Photo of Prospero in Prospect by Lani, textures by FlyPaper.
This one comes from the art journal "Chill and Spill"

Think about a place that is special, a place where you can be safe, a place full of the "best things" or "precious things".  It can be a real place or it can be something you make up right now!  Take some time and create an art piece based on this place.  How do you feel when it's done?  Try a neuropsychology technique, put your hand over your heart as you examine and appreciate your art work and "Your Place"!  Give yourself some "taking in the good" time.   Ohm!

Have fun and as always feel free to share your work or play on Instagram by adding #14SecretsChallenge to your description, or by adding your photo to our Flickr pool

Monday, September 23, 2013

Fun Monday Challenge #20 - Eudomonic happiness (I know, read on though)

There's a great (short) blog post on how our genes respond to different kinds of happiness.  It mentions a study, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, which looks at patterns in gene expression within the cells which fight off infection etc. (Fredrickson et al., 2013).  They also looked at two different types of happiness:
  1. Feeling good or hedonic happiness: the kind we get from a good meal, or buying a new car.
  2. Doing good or eudemonic happiness: the kind we get from working towards a "noble" goal and creating a meaningful life.
What they found was that people experiencing different mixtures of both types of happiness felt equally happy. For conscious experience, neither type of happiness beat the other.  But quite a clear difference emerged at the genetic level. In those with higher levels of ‘doing good’ happiness, there was a stronger expression of antibody and antiviral genes, while people with higher levels of feeling good happiness had weaker expression of antibody and antiviral genes.  Interesting no?

The lead author, Professor Barbara L. Fredrickson, suggests that:
“We can make ourselves happy through simple pleasures, but those ‘empty calories’ don’t help us broaden our awareness or build our capacity in ways that benefit us physically. At the cellular level, our bodies appear to respond better to a different kind of well-being, one based on a sense of connectedness and purpose.”
So I thought why not make this an art challenge.  Create an envelope or container of some sort that can fit in your bag or purse, and in this keep ATC's (there are a few posts right here on ATC cards), simple moo cards, or even simple inspiring quotes on card stock.  Then when you are in some public place you can leave a gift, a bit of guerilla art, or a random act of art kindness.  You will be creating the happiness of doing good art, AND you can create genetic changes with your Eudomonic Happy Art (Guerilla Art).

For some major inspiration, see Keri Smith's Guerilla Art Kit  and also Gretchen Miller's blog is full of awesome, artful, generous ideas and in particular the post on Operation Random Acts of Creative Kindness is super inspiring.

Have fun and as always feel free to share your work or play on Instagram by adding #14SecretsChallenge to your description, or by adding your photo to our Flickr pool

Monday, September 16, 2013

Fun Monday Challenge #19 - How do you grow your wings?

"How do you grow your wings?" collage by Lani, textures by FlyPaper.
This was from another favorite round robin from 14 Secrets Yahoo group.  We altered some children's board books picked a theme for them and sent them around.  I was looking for new ways to "grow wings" or to feel the "flow" that happens when artistically everything falls into place.   When my altered board book returned to me, it was full of artistic inspiration and advice on the growing of wings.  Perfect.

So here's your challenge, create an art piece about how you grow your wings or get into an artistic flow.  If you want to do this with others, create an art exchange or round robin, and make this the prompt or theme.

Have fun and as always feel free to share your work or play on Instagram by adding #14SecretsChallenge to your description, or by adding your photo to our Flickr pool.  See how others responded to this prompt and collect new ways to grow your wings.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Fun Monday Challenge #18 - A Scavenger Challenge

"Happy Feathers" collage by Lani, textures by FlyPaper.

This fun challenge is from Keri Smith's very fun book, The Pocket Scavenger.  (I do love her books and will enjoy posting some more challenges based on her work!)  So in this book she has us search for specific little everyday objects which we can then add to our book; things like feathers, circular things, leaves, transparent things, currency.  She has a page for you to adhere your objects and a page to write about these objects, and finally at the bottom of each page there's an additional art directive.  So here's your challenge.  Choose an object to find from the A list and choose a directive from the B list.  Combine them in one art piece.
A Found Note
Something That Was Part of a Tree
Something That Was Discarded
An Image of an Elephant
A Postcard
Turn it into a Pattern
Make it REALLY Funny
Add Tape
Add Eyes
Turn it into a Funny Character

Have fun and as always feel free to share your work or play on Instagram by adding #14SecretsChallenge to your description, or by adding your photo to our Flickr pool.

For an additional Scavenger Challenge see the Art Therapy Scavenger Hunt Art Challenge.

Post Script - If you are working with a group you can create your own "Pocket Scavenger Book" with a blank book, art directives on each page or two, and suggestions for alterations on the bottom of the pages.  Keri suggests you flip through the book and take a alteration prompt that suits you.  There are simple book structure instructions on my blog here.  We created "Wreck This Journal" Journals just like this in our 14 Secrets Yahoo Group and mailed them in a round robin.  That was definitely one of our favorite round robins.  It was lovely. 

Post Post Script - This collage was created with found feathers and the prompt to turn what I found into a funny character.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Fun Monday Challenge #17 - Bravery is...

"Bravery is..." collage by Lani, textures by FlyPaper.
This challenge came partly from Alison Fox's blog Art For Health, Julie M. Elman's Fear Project 
and the magazine BIG.

Alison says that everyone deals with some kind of fear, and gives us two examples of artists who get fear out of the mind/body and onto the page. She gives good reasons why making art helps, and also suggests some simple ways to use art as a way of shrinking fear and making it easier to face.  Very nice!  Thank you Alison!

Julie Elman illustrates other people's fears. She works with and from their words, trying to visualize how those fears might look.  She lets her intuition point the way, and then posts her pieces no matter what she feels about them. "It's a good way to get over any fears I have about the creative process.
Fear not, I keep telling myself. Fear not."  Take a look at her project, really neat!

Then there's issue 4 of BIG Kids Magazine, Into the Dark.  The magazine is all about Bravery, Imagination, and Generosity, BIG.  It features collaboration between big and little artists and is absolutely awesome.  Anyway, in issue 4, there's this art challenge about fear.  All of our fears live inside of our bodies, so why not create a portrait of your fears within a portrait of yourself?  For example, suppose you have a fear of the unknown?  What would it look like?  (maybe a murky monster?) and where would it live (maybe in your stomach?).  The cool thing they suggest as the next step is to help your fears go away by drawing new sweet little homes for them and an nice path from your body to the new home.  Cool, right?

But I was thinking as a general topic for a "Fun" Monday Challenge, maybe fear by itself is a little heavy and not what you would call fun.  So what if we started with moments of bravery, our own, or someone else's?  These moments would include fear but would also speak to facing fear, which of course I like a lot.  So here's the challenge, try any of the suggestions of ideas you find above if they sound like fun, or create a piece based on moments of bravery, your own or someone else's.  And appreciate the bravery you find in your work!

Have fun and as always feel free to share your work or play on Instagram by adding #14SecretsChallenge to your description, or by adding your photo to our Flickr pool.