There’s so much to say I could do two editions but I think I will focus on art today.

1. I’ve now gone to three sessions of what I am going to call art workshop though our fearless leader Lori Krein bills it as a collage class. It’s exactly what I needed, a slightly structured, caring and nurturing artistic environment. The group is small, I think there are seven of us, just about right for introverted me. We come to class to work on a variety of collage, decoupage or assemblage projects. I am almost finished with my first landscape. (My art leader Lori has an assemblage in this art contest sponsored by Michael’s. She’s trying to win a trip to New York. Maybe you could help her out by voting? Thanks!)

2. At the retreat I went to last month I talked to my friend Deborah Nourse Lattimore (who is a brilliant artist by the way) about introducing art into my life. This was before I found the collage class. She stressed the importance of playing with art without trying to “make” art. Play is hard for me. I’ve never been very good at it. But I am trying. And I know the art play will help my writing play. I think I love collage because it reminds me of playing in mud. I don’t want to wear gloves – I want to feel the matte medium sliding between my fingers. It makes me feel like a little kid again. And now, everywhere I go, I look at things as a potential canvas, or potential items to use for an assemblage. I used to collect odds and ends like this before, rocks and twigs and pieces of nature that intrigued me. I saved them and saved them and then suddenly, they were gone. I think I had been saving with the intent of having “enough” to do something “perfect” and when I realized that would never happen, I threw them all away. So I am collecting again but hopefully with a different attitude.

3. I’ve been reorganizing the old craft supplies I have and buying a few new ones, like my first set of watercolor pencils and watercolor crayons, a bottle of Gesso, some acrylic paint (yikes) and even a couple of big canvases (only because they were on sale). Most of that is for some ideas I have on creative art journals. Some people do a vision board, I am doing a vision journal, or perhaps a series of small vision boards for various aspects of my life. I got the big canvases so I can try my hand at some larger collage landscapes at home. I’ve been looking at the handmade paper on this site, trying to narrow the purchase down to a reasonable amount. Ha! I’ve also been going through my stash of magazines again. I do this a lot anyway, usually cutting out words to use when teaching poetry classes, but now I’ve added a stack of words just for me and pictures that speak to me that I might want to journal.

4. has blogged a lot lately about the creative journaling that she is doing. She turned me on to a wonderful video that I think is worth a watch if you are a newbie considering such a project. (The woman in the video has an extensive website and series of YouTube videos.) And Shrinking Violets is talking about creating visions for your coming year too.

5. What does all this have to do with writing? So much more than I can put into a Friday Five. I have lived too much of my life bound by constraints of what I shouldn’t do, what I was or wasn’t good at, what was expected of me. A constrained life can lead to constrained writing. If playing with art can free me to play with words, it is worth it at just about any price.

The biggest lesson for me to learn is that art is not math. There is no right answer. If I can learn this in art I hope to apply it to my writing.