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Friday, 15 May 2015

Drawing or Painting : repost from Lellie Loop

[Just a quick note. I, Diella, am reposting this from my other Blog Lellie Loop because I thought that this was something that you might find interesting too.]

I posit a question today. Is my art classified as drawing or painting?
I ask this question, to myself mainly, because I submit my art to a few websites and most of them ask for me to classify which it is that I am doing.

Instinctual I think, pencil crayons are not paint so it can't be a painting. Simple. But then I begin to feel troubled again as I look up the words in the dictionary.
The OED says that the definition of draw is
" [to] Produce (a picture or diagram) by making lines and marks on paper with a pencil, pen, etc.he drew a map".   
Now this doesn't suit me much. Yes initially I draw, that is I draw with an HB pencil and then I ink it with some fineliners.... but my use of pencil crayon is not to make lines on paper. In fact I work hard not to produce lines. I work in small little circles to cover an area with colour without having lines!

 So lets see what the OED says about painting.
"1Cover the surface of (something) with paint:[WITH OBJECT AND COMPLEMENT]: the ceiling was painted dark grey"
"Apply (a liquid) to a surface with a brush." 

Alright so the verb is a little tricky here. The first iteration is ambigous because I am covering the surface of the page... but not with what I would call paint. Another iteration of the verb is even worse as it requires paint to be understood as a liquid and that is certainly not my pencil crayons. So I shall look at the noun.
"1[MASS NOUN] A coloured substance which is spread over a surface and dries to leave a thin decorative or protective coating:" 

Again slightly troubling... My pencil crayons do not dry but they are spread over the surface of the pace and they do leave a thin decorative coating.

To be honest at this point I feel that whether one chooses to call my kind of art drawing or painting is totally up to personal preference as neither definition fits perfectly. However I have chosen to define mine as painting as I feel this is the better fit for me.

I hope that you found my little exposition into these terms insightful or at least thought provoking. I mean that purely in the sense that the statements are meant to provoke or stimulate thought. I do not mean that they are supposed to be shocking. Heehee.
Anyway that's enough from me for today.

Diella :)

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

The path of devastation; be it fire or anger

At the moment, here in Cape Town, there is an incredible fire raging through the Cape Peninsula mountain range. It seems to be unstoppable and just when one thinks it has died down in one area it seems to reappear. It has taken many firefighters (300) to try to control the fire over the last three days – and with difficulty. They have been brave. Some say that it might continue burning for the rest of the week. There is an unpredictable quality about bush fire; it rages, it is fearsome, it keeps on burning whatever is in its way. So it is devastatingly dangerous to humans and animals. On the other-hand the bush fire is necessary for the germination of the new seeds of the vynbos but controlled fire burning, over time, is what is needed.

For most of us onlookers we feel a little helpless when we see the devastation it is wrecking. 

Anger is like the bush fire and can be dangerous: when you finally express it, or pin-point what or who is provoking you, anger flares up in unpredictable ways. We can’t be sure where it will take us -both the reactor and the recipient. Once it is fueled, anger rages through your mind and body; sometimes flaming high and hot; sometimes smoldering steadily for days causing internal and external damage.

For those who express anger in a flammable manner it may feel like it is over as soon as it starts but for those who smolder it can continue for days and months as they harbor offenses, frustrations and irritations. For the recipient, or the onlooker so to speak, who experience the flammable wrath of others, it is not over so quickly; they are left picking up the pieces of the devastation of those angry members who have moved on. They land up holding the pain – just like seeing the path of devastation of the fire. 

It is also difficult to live with people who smolder. Smoldering people try so hard not to offend and keep their grievances to themselves. It doesn’t work. You know the saying “where there is smoke there is fire?” well those around the “smolderer” see the smoke and intuitively know there is fire. The "smolderer"  might have shut down to their outer world but their mind is working overtime. Body language, facial expressions, sullen or grumpy moods and passive aggressive actions are some of the tell-tale signs. What feels uneasy for the onlooker is they don’t know where the “fire” is or where it is going to. 

It is important to keep the communication channels open – like controlled fire burning. If you make it a habit to keep short accounts and own your feelings you will find it enhances your relationships; after all you never know whether it will be you or your friend, a family member or partner who needs to air difficult feelings. 

Keep on communicating.
A warm smile,

Friday, 27 February 2015

Expressing anger, a personal example.

Some people show their anger.

Some people stuff the anger down and hide it.

Some of us feel ashamed of feeling angry or frustrated. It makes us feel sad and we land up crying instead instead of showing our true feelings.

In some families people find it difficult to express what they feel and patterns of non-communication have evolved. They find it easier to separate, each person preferring to withdraw, and keeping to themselves. they keep quiet about what they really feel. Parents might role model what they have learned from their parents and perpetuate the cycle because they don’t know any other way. It is difficult to role model something you haven’t experienced, such as the expression of feelings or vulnerable thoughts, if you haven’t had the chance to learn how to do it.Some people decide to try a different way, without knowing how.

Let’s look at anger as an example as I think that this is a common problem. To be quite honest I didn’t learn how to express anger because in my family my father, an alcoholic was a gentle person when sober but, when drunk had a violent temper. We found it safer to keep the peace so as not to trigger his anger. Challenging him would have been dangerous. It was like walking on eggshells. I, in turn, became afraid to express anger partly because I had grown up with a bad example and because I wanted nothing to do with it. I rejected anger. Also because I had not seen a healthy way of expressing anger I chose to bottle it up for about 40 years of my life.

I became afraid when anyone (teacher, boss, husband or friend) expressed anger - even legitimate anger, almost expecting the worst kind of violence. I perpetuated a cycle to some degree, not by expressing anger in violent ways but by becoming silent and stuffing down my anger.This I think of as the "keeping the peace" cycle. I would say nothing, only cry, but inside my anger grew and grew. I did this because I didn't know how to express anger in a healthy way.

 I also didn't know how to teach my children how express it in a healthy way; for example, if my child slammed the door I would reprimand them for slamming the door (and making a noise). I was inadvertently giving them the message that anger is wrong. Let’s say I said “we don’t want you slamming doors” or “it is bad to slam doors” I shut them down without finding a better way of expressing their anger or frustration. They ended up thinking I didn’t want them to express their anger.  In actual fact the comment was made recently by one of my grown up children that “We were made to feel that anger is bad.”

Transformation is possible, as I have found out, transforming from a fearful person to courageous person in the face of anger. I have learned how to express anger in healthy ways. And I have learned how to stand my ground in the face of anger – not being threatened by it - but being able to listen to what the message is behind the anger. Slamming doors, shouting, hitting the wall etc. are often ways of showing inner frustration at not being heard; or acknowledged; or feeling threatened.

A much better way of helping your child with anger is to tell them, if they have just slammed the door, that slamming the door (or any other destructive behavior) is not going to get what they want and THEN encourage them to use their words to tell you what they need or want. This will go a long way to mutual understanding and discussion. Discussion needs to be respectful – both towards the adult and towards to the child. It is up to you to be able to listen without reacting. Sometimes it is helpful to take a break when things get heated. You might notice that your pulse rate rises – and you find you begin to say things you regret. It is better to come back to the discussion later when you have both calmed down. We all want to be heard: so listen, and really listen. Emotion is a signal to ourselves and others around us. When tempers flare up the main goals are, not to stuff them down, but that both parties get heard; that everybody’s needs get expressed and a solution is worked out so that everybody concerned is satisfied.

Remember if you have never tried this before, and you are breaking an old pattern, it takes time to learn new ways of communicating but with practice you will become better at it. Be patient.
This post is just scratching at the tip of the ice-berg. And I have given just one personal example. There is a lot more experience and information around you. Watch and listen and become aware.

A warm smile,

Friday, 20 February 2015

What are you feeling today?

What are you feeling today. Stop and think about it. Often we are rushing and so involved with what we are doing that we don’t take notice of how we are. The four main categories of feelings are: sad, mad, glad and scared. If you have grown up with people that don’t articulate their feelings, or when they do express their feelings, destructive things happen.  At times you might struggle to pin point what you are feeling. Developing a vocabulary of feeling words can help your awareness of different feelings. Keeping a journal about your observation of your and other’s feelings will help you recognize them; as well as the responses and reactions that follow. Often actions against us or towards others have emotional impact, such as thoughtless cast away comments made – we don’t intend them to hurt but they do. You could try to record as many different words that describe your feelings though out your day in your journal. At the end of the day or week you will find that reviewing them could be quite informative.

 It is a good idea to learn to recognize different feelings so that you can begin to anticipate your reactions. Being forewarned is forearmed. You can then begin to practice expressing them in constructive and positive ways. As you become more aware you might even spot different patterns of behavior that are triggered by actions and feelings.    

Today I have sketched nine faces with different expressions and clustered different words with the expressions to illustrate and stimulate you to think about different emotions that you might experience. 

Regretful, embarrassed, ashamed, guilty, inferior, incapable, vulnerable.

Glad, confident, proud, happy, content, kindness, love, open, understanding.

Bored, confused, worried, lonely, discouraged, suspicious, powerless, upset, sorry.

Disgusting, detestable, miserable, crushed, very sad, abandoned, disowned, rejected, grief.

Grateful, excited, impulsive, thrilled, ecstatic, hopeful, amused, amazed.

Quiet, calm, peaceful, content, empathy, cautious, shy, smug, aloof, arrogant, preoccupied.

Shocked, panic, hurt, humiliated, surprised, afraid, scared, alarmed, terror.

Sad, disappointed, unhappy, stressed, overwhelmed, frustrated, depressed.

Angry, mad, bitter, jealous, hostile, enraged, irritated, annoyed, aggressive .

You can look up a comprehensive list on the internet here.

I hope you have found this post thought provoking and encouraging. Keep observing and journalling and I'll be back with the next post.

A warm smile,