This month I taught and experienced a variety of art processes. I thought about how the different materials brought up different emotions and feelings.
For the first time I worked with mosaics and cement in guest teacher Jennifer Clark’s classes. I was surprised how placing the stones and tiles into cement felt so satisfying. It was similar to putting my toes into mud and enjoying the cool squishiness. Working this way brought out the playfulness in me, and a grounded sensation filled my body. There was a meditative quality too - in another mosaic technique of smoothing mortar and then wiping the mortar off of the mosaic pieces, the process of wetting the cement, and letting the pieces dry slowly.
Later in the week I experienced painting in different ways. In the painted mat class I facilitated, we applied acrylic onto treated fabric. We worked with the canvas flat on the table, creating a decorative and functional mat with a specific design. There was a communal feeling as if we were in a sewing circle, talking about our art and sharing stories of life.
The second painting experience was done standing up and on paper in a class in San Francisco. I created 4 fluid paintings with tempera in a couple hours. It was a more internal process, bringing up hidden emotions and deep feelings.
Lastly I made art with kids outdoors, collecting flower petals and grass to create mandalas. What a process of discovery and play - such a joyful energy!
I'm reminded that art is an endless way of exploring ourselves through play and introspection. I love offering an abundance of different creative experiences to my students at my studio and everywhere I teach.
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Judy Shintani is an artist, mentor, guide, transformative art facilitator