Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Have you ever heard of Prader-Willi Syndrome (PWS). I recently met someone who is living with this disorder. Its characteristics include an insatiable appetite, developmentally issues, and behavioral problems. I had quickly looked online to find information, which seemed to focus on the genetics of the birth defect that causes suffers of PWS to eat excessively and face life threatening obesity. Surprisingly, the husband of a friend, who is working on getting his counseling license, happens to work with a local Prader-Willi Syndrome Association, and actually did some writing about the syndrome. I believe he may have written or contributed to the booklet I stumbled upon that gives an overview of the disease and tips for managing behaviors.

This is a life-threatening illness that does not go away, and requires the monitoring of food consumption for individuals suffering with PWS. I am talking about locking cabinets, weight managent,  and not snacking infront of these individuals. There are more  helpful bits to read in the Do's and Don'ts section of the booklet from the association, the following were some that stood out for me: not arguing or nagging, understanding that logic and reasoning do not work for people suffering PWS, providing structure, including the individual in discussions of planning, since they need to feel in control and will be more cooperative, giving praise and recognize a good performance. Do not ignore bad behaviors, and do not argue because there is no winning. You make a statement, allow the person to say there piece, warn that the discussion is over, and stick to keeping the discussion closed.
Prader-Willi Syndrome Association (USA), 5700 Midnight Pass Rd., Suite #6 Sarasota, FL 34242 Phone: (800) 926-4797, Fax: (914) 312-0142, Email:
Prader-Willi syndrome is a congenital disease, caused by a gene missing on part of chromosome 15, affecting many parts of the body. Individuals suffering with this condition are obese, have reduced muscle tone and mental ability (typical IQ 70), and have sex glands that produce little or no hormones. The genetic changes occur randomly without family history of the condition. There are also issues with social and motor skills. Other characteristics include, at birth- low birth weight and weak muscles; physical conditions appear to change to one of "thriving too well” typically between the ages of two and five, sometimes later. The insatiable need to consume food lasts throughout the individuals lifetime.

 I found it interesting to read that "children with PWS have sweet and loving personalities", because that was not the experience we were having in our social education group, which may be due to our staff, of non-clinical people, not understanding the extent, or limitations of the abilities for a person suffering with PWS. Through this experience, I have been reminded that even with graduate level training, there is so much more I do not know, and there is always room to learn. It is disconcerting when a parent, used to coping with a unique illness, expects everyone else to know exactly what to do for her child. This is frustrating especially when one has never heard of the disorder. It would be help if information was shared before a child entered into a social learning program, thus making sure it is an appropriate, safe, constructive, and healthy learning environment that will provide the best experience possible for all involved. If it is not the best fit, perhaps, thinking big, a similar social education program could be developed to suit the needs of other children  also living with PWS.
Prader-Willi Syndrome Association

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Jack Perkins on Loveland Follies

Watch all the good works or fast forward to 14 minutes to learn about Venice Theater and the Loveland Follies.

Watch A Gulf Coast Journal: April 2012 on PBS. See more from A Gulf Coast Journal.

Monday, April 09, 2012

Here we go again

Obviously I am not a blog maven, but I shall try again. Does the saying not go something like,"If at first you don't succeed, than try, try again?"

The problem is I spend more time in my head than sharing ideas in this format. I have many things I would like to keep track of and to share that are related to art therapy, art expression, caring for others, protecting children, and various people or sites I find inspiring. As far as I am concerned, the thoughts, ideas, inspirations that flow through my mind juxtaposed rather nicely with each other. So my goal for this life cycle is to get out of my way, post thoughts, and share. Squirrel! Sorry, was distracted for a moment.

The first thing I would like to share is that Dirty Footprints Studio has started up the new season of 21 Secrets, Yay! The first workshop in which I will participate is Ken Robert's "Short Attention Span Journal." Something to which I can so relate. I'll try to keep you posted on my progress. Keep in mind writing this note is a great start. I think.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Faces of me, Part I

I am juggling multiple art projects from 21 Secrets. It is a great joy to have this muse of creative energy resting upon my shoulders. Just as important, I am inspired to actually make frequent posts due to the encouragement of 3 warm loving friends. Two, live far from me and send their love via electronic hugs, and one lives near enough that I can stalk, and beg attention for my ramblings. I am blessed!
Phase one of Barbar Nigg's 3 part Self-Portrait Journal project is exploration of the question, "Who Am I?" I remembered making art to this question years ago, below in a previous post, but another crack at it, as I am in a different emotional space, couldn't hurt. It is a good question as any to explore more than once in a lifetime since we are constantly evolving and transforming, hopefully, for better. Each encounter, whether a great triumphant, or a fall from a pedestal of our making, or someone else's design, allows us to become the better person we long to be, if we are willing to look into the depths of our own eyes and find the truth in the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Procrastination: One step forward find your muse

It has, obviously, been sometime since my last post. I have been working on a few things. Unfortunately, most of my ideas circulate in my thoughts, and are hesitant to come to life. Most of the time I want to create something so wonderful, amazing, and insightful that will touch someone's heart, but I know the truth. It's all CRAP. Like trying to invent the wheel, everything has been done, so why bother? As part of the art therapy training, we discuss the significance of the individual process. The uniqueness we bring to art making is influenced by the subtleties of our character, by our individual experiences in this world, and by the people in our lives. I try to remember, not everyone will like, or care about what I have to share, but perhaps there is someone who may find joy and pleasure in my little contribution.

My muse for getting over the hump of procrastination is a great creative group I joined,  21 Secrets "an art journal playground." There are 21 amazing artists instructing through this online workshop. This group supports, and encourages you to experiment with materials and processes moving beyond your comfort zone. As I move back and forth through the 21 workshops, sampling the banquet of creative delights, I will post various phases of my creative process. Hopefully, you will be motivated to experiment with your own creativity.

Here are two more experiments turning 3 little words into something more colorful. Cheers!

Friday, April 15, 2011

ATWB International Postcard Exchange

I finally finished my postcards for the ATWB International Postcard Exchange. I worked in spurts always keeping my art materials close at hand in my tote. I would doodle in coffee shops, at friend's homes, at the beach, hanging out in the costume shop at Venice Theater, any place I felt inspired. 

Participating in the exchange was a thrill, making me feeling like I had a purpose in creating art to share. It was even more fun to see these little canvas that arrived in my mailbox. Something definitely more desirable than the usual, bills or junk.
During training for art therapy we always discussed the importance of taking time to create our own art as a part of self-care, and a deign of our understanding of this creative and emotional process. It is so important to practice what we preach instead of putting it on the back burner waiting for a "better time" to engage in our own self-exploration. It is so simple to carry a few basics in ones purse or bag and capture an emotional impression while you waiting for a next appointment, sitting in a doctor's office, or taking a breather at a park. It felt good having colored pencils and paper at the ready to capture the feelings I experienced as my thoughts wandered. I am looking forward to what happens next as I get involved in the creative activities of Dirty Footprints Studio's 21 Secrets workshop.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Seeds of Love

Seeds of Love

Last week I met with my art expression group. I asked the group to consider a gift of peace. In the form of a mandala,  as an antithesis to so much dis-ease and unrest that people are suffering throughout the world, the group created their ideas of peace.

Group members did a fabulous job sharing their images and ideas. Since this is a new group, and a first time for me running an art therapy group at church, I decided not to use any of the participants work in this post and respect their privacy.

This piece of art was the only one I created in our third session. I felt comfortable to engage, and wanted to contribute my desires for peace in the processing discussion.

The yellow heart occupying the center is the love of Spirit rooted and growing strong. The heart sends off shoots into the world for more seeds of love to take root and grow, and so on.

I remember a supervisor always telling me, "You may not see the affects of your therapy on the client, but you are planting seeds that may be the impetus for change in the future." Hopefully, our positive thoughts in that moment will translate into a ripple effect touching more lives than just the few in the room. Here's to peace.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Artist Trading Cards

Collage Unleashed
 I was excited to participate in the Art Therapy Alliance Artist Trading Cards (ATCs) Exchange this August 2010 since I missed out on the the July exchange. An opportunity to make art with a purpose and a deadline. Just the motivation I need! 

As usual, I spend more time thinking about making art than actually working on the various projects I have waiting. I was hoping this little exchange would jump-start me on my goal of a weekly art experiential. 

I can, at least, say that I am looking at art more often with little artist dates to local galleries, or taking out books and videos from the library. I am still greasing my wheels to spend more time on paper with pen or paint, and less time in my head mulling. I'll let you know how my condition of constant pondering changes to action.

Making these mini collages were both stimulating and relaxing. It was exciting getting out my supplies, deciding what to bring to the dining room table or what to leave behind, as well as setting up my work space. All my decisions were made with the gut, what felt right and what produced happiness. Sitting down to finally work was relaxing due to the fact that my mind was not being assaulted by millions of random thoughts. I focused on the task at hand taking pleasure in the quiet, the colors, the feathers, the glitter, the textured papers, the glue, and the water color. Materials that I have carried from home to home, and state to state each time I moved or traveled within the past two years. Yes, I am a closet hoarder of art materials, but who isn't?

No matter, these pieces reflect my joy and the titles reflect the stage of my current transition, getting settled into a new state and the great possibilities for planning a new life. 

Hope you enjoy these little pieces of creative energy.


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Ebb and Flow of Fire and Water

To begin with flaming red, yellow, and wood for fuel. Taking control by changing its form and adding some blue water to cool the flames. Trying to create my own balance or peace from energy so fiery. I do not want to completely snuff out the flame because that energy can be useful to propel me forward. Balance. Respect. Patience to work with the process of change.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


I am tossed about on the waves of water and air, fear in my heart, trying to maintain a sense of direction. Struggling against Great Effort to keep from drowning. Look, there is Hope. Hope has come forth to great me and look again, Hope's partner Guidance. Guidance has moved to support my back making sure I do not become disoriented and turn whence I came. I continue moving forward with the help of Hope and Guidance. I will prevail.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Sunny day keepin' the clouds away…

I decided to break out the water colors and experiment. The white lines are oil pastel. It's a little messy, but I had such a good time doodling. I love the intensity of the colors it reminds me of a fair, of childhood, and candy. I leave the picture on my desk so I have something happy to look at first thing. Hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Monday, April 10, 2006


A drawing for Illustration Friday. Spooky comes in two speeds, fast and none at all. Here is my attempt at capturing feline beauty.

Sunday, April 02, 2006