Week 2 – New Sound ‘N Vision Semester!

  • We got approved for a second 8 weeks at the transitional facility this semester! I was REALLY excited to know this, as I’d been hoping for more work along these lines. Today was our second session. Last week, KT came up with the idea to take the boys on a field trip to Growing Power when we can get approval. I was feeling this, as I was trying to think of a way to get them more into art than last semester and it’d be good inspiration for a project theme.

    Last semester they didn’t like the idea of using crayola crayons and markers, so my strategy was to use non-kid branded, unpackaged supplies like cray-pas, pastels, watercolors and ink. As is usually the case, I ended up winging it the day of and decided to bring in watercolors and brushes since it’s a more fluid medium. You know, apply water and the paint does the rest. This is a new group, only 5 boys to start with, so my initial impression coming into the room was very relaxed. Not to mention I was greeted with three of them fast asleep in various positions with heads resting on tables and sprawled across chairs in the hot sunlight coming through the window. It was very funny!

    Of course there was the usual “I don’t paint”, but once we got them going on some abstract basic techniques they rolled with it for 45 minutes. We did a little drumming after that, but the majority of the session was spent painting and the vibe was pretty receptive and laid-back.

    Today, I definitely felt I got their interest by choosing to paint something from life – KT brought in an avocado plant that had a story behind it (now I wanna grow one!) and I guided them through painting the pot, stem and leaves on watercolor paper. I feel it was successful in that half of the paintings actually looked like a plant, very colorful, and aside from the negative comments initially like not being good enough, the response to seeing new colors and techniques was pretty receptive and positive. One guy who’d said he didn’t know how to paint ended up creating something from nothing – a parallel I saw to a poem KT read by the poet Hafiz called “Roots” and it tied into (my philosophical interpretation) the idea of taking a seed, a root, and color and substance growing from it.

    After that we drummed again, this time a little longer than last week. KT remarked this group seemed more like a painting group! It felt good to think that the boys actually seem to enjoy painting, one of them asking if we’d be back every week. Two of the 5 were with us last semester; the rest are new. I remember feeling very disenchanted last semester with the initial response to the art portion being lukewarm at best. It warmed up near the middle and by the last day we left feeling like they really appreciated us (we brought them brownies on the last day – one still talks about that!) I kept saying to KT how I felt it was easier for them to relate to the drumming – and it was. They all looked forward to it and rhythms came naturally and easy to them. This group though, catches on a little slow to the beats and I didn’t expect that. I thought it would’ve been in their blood. I’m sure there’ll be those moments, but all in all it’s starting out warm and open to possibilities.

    I’m trying to think of ways to keep them painting without getting bored… Week after week they are going to tire of just painting the same thing. So getting them into Growing Power to paint live will be a different experience. After that, I don’t know… what usually ends up happening is me and KT will talk the day before a class and generate ideas. It’s usually last minute for me. The space is wide open for us to do anything we want, and since the chakra mobile went flat last time I haven’t thought about bringing it back – until today. I figure, they like to paint, and it’s a quiet group, so maybe they’re open to working on something a little more reflective. Especially one guy. He really gets into the paint by himself and creates elaborate images any art therapist would love to analyze.

    We laugh alot, and KT enjoys the new art experience. I come away from it feeling really joyous and like I accomplished something. We both like working together – I get to drum and she gets to paint, something we both don’t do very often. It feels like play. It feels good just being appreciated. I know the boys get something out of it, because we appreciate them just participating and I feel like that energy we give them is something they don’t get to experience easily and/or very often. In my mind that’s the healing space we want to create.

  • colorful
  • colorful
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