Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Art Therapy

I'm feeling out of sorts today. Maybe it's because I'm getting my hair cut; that always makes me anxious. Maybe it's because school starts tomorrow with our first inservice of the year. I am just not ready to go back. Maybe it's because of myriad reasons that I can't even put into words.

Some days are just like that.

In any case, I can feel that band of anxiety tightening across my chest, and I just feel trapped.


I thought about that feeling and an image blossomed in my brain. Along with the image came the phrase from Maya Angelou, "I know why the caged bird sings." And I feel like a caged bird. But I feel like I just can't sing today.

And so, I turned to Photoshop, as I often do, to get this out of my system. What I really wanted to do was to create mixed media piece, but that just isn't going to happen with a toddler and a decided lack of necessary media. So, as I built this piece, I tried to build it as though I were working with mixed media: papers and paints and pictures....

I started with several text-based textures from an artist who goes by Les Brumes on Flickr. I wanted my background to be like I use a variety of book pages. Over that, I added some free painterly textures by Distressed Jewell (also on Flicker) so it would like I had painted over the paper. I started, then, with this:

Next, I started adding in and layering images from a wonderful free site called The Graphics Fairy. She had just the vintage images that I was looking for. I used a large raven image as part of the background. Ravens tend to have dark connotations, and I wanted that element of darkness. I chose a vintage print of a girl to represent myself. She's looking upward with a mixture of hope and anxiety on her face. As soon as I saw the image, I knew it was the one I wanted to use. I also found a vintage bird cage. Perfect.

Then, I added the birds by using brushes provided by Jerry Jones at Shadowhouse Creations. I used several brushes in order to get all the birds on the right side of the image. I also used a single bird brush that was different from the previous ones. This bird symbolizes hope and freedom and escape.

I added the text next. That's how I'm feeling right now. I want to sing but can't remember how.

And finally, I added two of Kim Klassen's freebie textures to bring the whole image together.

Then, voila. Here's my final image:

Between creating the image and posting this blog, I do have to say that I feel a little bit better...


  1. Great image. I'm glad it helped release a little tension. One day soon... I will teach myself how to use photoshop:)

  2. It's a wonderful work of art! The best art seems to be made when our soul is calling for it. I love the Kim Klassen stitched textures. Perfect touch! Don't worry about tomorrow! Maybe you can find ways to sneak in some iphoneography tomorrow as a way to relieve some of that back-to-school anxiety. :)