Art for Therapy Bridges Collage

art for therapy collage - stage 7 - found objects added for more 3D effect - simple dry objects collected from nature - egg shell, leaves, dry berries and grasses, even a small piece of bark with an "eye"

[Haven't wanted to write lately - lots of pain - almost got divorced even - just wanna share myself through art right now, and otherwise hide myself away and lick my wounds.  -- SynthGirl  :cry:  ]


I haven’t had much time for my Little Ones lately, but one night when the urge to drink myself to death seemed overpowering, they all kinda spoke up and pointed out some different things I could do INSTEAD.  I went with Jo’s urging to try some art therapy.  I pretty much just let her have the reins, and followed her lead – kind-of a joint project…  [ Hope this isn't tooooo boring -- it's all I really have to offer right now. ]

art as therapy collage - Bridges - stage 1 - bottom layer of torn papers

First Jo chose some papers she liked – ones that felt like “her message”.  Tore them up into random pieces and glued them down on a 12″ x 18″ piece of 140 lb. watercolor paper – mostly randomly on the page.  There are two places where she made penile representations, to gain a little power or sense of control over something which once we had no control over and were abused by.


art as therapy collage - Bridges - stage 2 - uniform wash over bottom layer of torn papers art as therapy collage - Bridges - stage 3 - key papers and black and white photos pasted on, key words from the healing heart drawn on in symbolic manner

Then I just did a watercolor wash — black and sienna watercolor in much water — over the whole thing to provide a little unity and “aging”.  Glued down five bigger torn sections from some of the same papers first chosen, including one (top left corner) which has somewhat of a storybook feel to it.  During this time I had stopped to wash dishes and Jo had composed some simple lines to write on the collage, which I wrote down.  She had already selected the black and white photos/drawings, and the words of her “poems” definitely went with the photos:

May Day Harvest — Under the bridge — Never let it happen again

Sisters — in the basement — under the barn — Only 1 brings harm


I could feel the healing in these words, especially while we went over and over the “Never let it happen again” part, adding little flares and such to each letter.  Wow, that “vented” out some nice therapeutic steam, haha!


art as therapy collage - Bridges - stage 4 - gold paint mixed with texture medium stenciled on and brushed lightly around edges and upon highlights of photos and papers art for therapy collage - stage 5 - comfort object photo and drawings glued on in key symbolic places - this collage uses animals - cats, foxes, and a squirrel - as comfort objects

I mixed some texture medium with gold paint (actually a mixture of 2 different golds) and painted this sandy stuff over 3 different stencils, then brushed some of the leftover paint around the edges of the paper and in key places on the photos.

Next come the comfort objects — foxes and cats and a squirrel in a tree.  I will never show it, but under the large fox in the bottom right corner, there is actually a picture of me as Jo, kinda curled up at the couch, hugging a pillow.  The fox is hiding her & shielding us all from harm.  The larger cat above the key phrase “in the basement” signifies my sister who buried me alive in our basement (after I confided to her my ordeal of being buried alive by the Druids on Samhain, and my inability to stop feeling its terror).  The smaller cat sits near the left edge of the page, a safe distance away.  She looks sweeter and more content than the big cat.


art for therapy collage - stage 6 - oil pastels surrounding edges of photos and painted objects, rubbed into boundaries to create a 3D effect and to soften hard lines art for therapy collage - stage 6 - closeup of texture of cross - definitely not precise, just simple and effective

This is one of my favorite media to use: Oil Pastels!  Sure you can “paint” with them (I never really have), but what I like to do is use them around the borders of pictures in my little neglected art journal to soften the edges and create a blending effect.  Since I had the textured paint on there, I also tried my hand at creating a bit of a “shadow” effect below them, going for a 3D effect.  The closeup of the cross shows how imprecise this is — just laying down a dab of oil pastel and rubbing, rubbing, rubbing.  The texture on the paper threw it off a bit, and my favorite rubbing finger got sore from hitting the sandy texture, but it was fun and definitely therapeutic in its own way!  I like how it made the cross and leaf-thingies “pop” — this small success made my heart lighter than it had been in days.  :D


art for therapy collage - stage 7 - found objects added for more 3D effect - simple dry objects collected from nature - egg shell, leaves, dry berries and grasses, even a small piece of bark with an "eye"

The final stage was to add some truly 3D “found objects” to add more dimension and fun.  For me, nature items do the trick.  There is part of a robin’s egg shell in the top left corner, surrounded by bits of grass and dry berries, and there are some other dry grasses and leaves I’ve collected on my little therapeutic walks over the past year or so.  A huge burr found its way in — again, gaining control over an object that causes pain when left to its own devices.  My favorite wild herb shows up here, too — there are two dry Yarrow leaves near the two foxes.


art as therapy collage - Bridges - finished project after overnight drying

The finished project, this morning – after letting it dry overnight.


This is only something like my third attempt at using art for therapy.  I would recommend this process to anyone and everyone.  This one simple project, spread out over about 48 hours, helped me stay alive and sane and in touch with the stronger parts of myself, through some time which almost saw the undoing of my physical life and my blessed marriage to my I-think-he’s-still-awesome Soul Mate.  :O>



Every little bit helps - thank you, kind friend! :D

8 Responses to Art for Therapy Bridges Collage

  1. I love your creativity with this collage: the colors and the way you blended it all, and the found objects. I now feel a twinge of homesickness for my own creativity, for which I haven’t much time these days. I suppose caring for grandkids is creative in its own way.

    I’m sorry you’re having such a hard time of it but it’s good to see you expressing your feelings through art.

    Have your financial difficulties eased at all?

    • SynthGirl says:

      Hi, BD, and thanks. :)

      Some parts of it are better for the moment (we got some help paying rent from a community help agency), while others are worse (no job despite multiple interviews). Other parts are just plain painful… Worked my tail off finishing a book project and getting it published on Amazon’s CreateSpace — and haven’t sold a one. Hubby got scared, started talking about getting money illegally – that coupled with a pre-existing point of contention between us… I came very, very close to leaving. Things are SCARY. But at least there are little ups among the downs. :)

      Thanks for caring — and I truly hope you find some time for your own creativity — this time WITHOUT the pressure of making something you can sell. :O>

  2. Out of the Ashes says:

    I envy your artistic talents. Mine are nil. I don’t even try. I am sorry things are still so rough. Still praying for you all.


    • SynthGirl says:

      Thanks, Ash. I consider myself creative (cuz I love the Creator soooooo much!!), but definitely not talented. I bet you could make something just as nice, or better! Me, my greatest hangup is the “fear of being wrong” as in, “In order to live the creative life, you must lose the fear of being wrong”.
      Working on that one. :P
      Thank you so, so much for the prayers!!

  3. Sorry things have been so tough lately, This is a lovely post about art therapy, I have shared it in the The Dissociative Initiative Open Group on FB, please let me know if you’re not comfortable with that. :)

    • SynthGirl says:

      That’s fine — I love the potential to help other people through art!! Thank you for your interest & sharing, Sarah. :D

  4. Out of the Ashes says:

    Thinking of you!

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