Janis D.

Strategies to Strengthen Art Practice - Alignment = Strength!  

  • Keep the journal I made at the start of this workshop going.  Write in it, if not daily, at least weekly.  Whether or not I know what to write about, just jot down a stream of consciousness if need be. The purpose of my efforts is to stay in touch with my feelings and thoughts, my reactions to events or the resultant feelings around my undertakings. This practice can help to rid oneself from cognitive dissonance which is always a soul destroyer. Through journaling, the possibility of uncovering unconscious feelings is invaluable in ferreting out negative influences (the committee) we could be unaware of. If we can name it, we can control it and be more effective in decision-making. If self-aware, one can gain the strength required to communicate effectively, to convey feelings and ideas honestly and creatively. 
  • Keep an active list of things I expect to do or to accomplish within a few days to reinforce efforts to get those things done that I usually drag my heels on or simply forget about. 
  • Visit the MFA once a month for the next year - two birds with one stone!  It’s critical that I get outside my house and studio from time to time.  For one thing, it helps to stay independent and for another, it tends to energize the mind and body. It also expands your learning, especially if you make good use of docents to educate and replenish the well.

The goal of these strategies is to realign my life and to keep it that way - it’s healthier. To be emotionally clear feels good – frees your whole self to engage with everything in life more successfully and enthusiastically in all aspects of it – in your art practice, relationships and life in general. 

For me, one of the most important consequences of living in alignment is that it makes the whole concept of trusting oneself more true and available. I have an innate ability to “smell a rat,” (often unconscious) which helped me to be a good community organizer, but in the daily routine of our lives, this is not such an effectively transferable skill. In organizing, you combine that with the “fight” – the struggle, the cause.  But on a daily basis in our lives, that’s not such a great reflex to have.  So, it’s what you do with it that counts. And that depends to a great extent on being in touch not only with the feeling that something is wrong but also with your own feelings and thoughts about it all.  Without the self-awareness of underlying “stuff,” what we do with “the rat” can become woefully misdirected.  Don’t ask me how I know or how many times I need to be reminded of this!

Living in alignment develops strength – strength of character that we bring to our relationships and our art, no matter how old we are and despite the imperfect beings that we are. 

Notes For A New Series: Liminal States & Thresholds for Change


in between states





state of being


"realm of pure possibility"

In art a right of passage

    & finding your path






Characterizeed by:








Threshold into what?




new identity




Given the birth of Maelstrom, the unwitting forerunner of a new series, I'm beginning to define what the series will focus on and how I might begin on a new art piece in pursuit of understanding my own feelings on this, my own liminal state. In Maelstrom, I unconsciously expressed my own inner turmoil.  That it seeped out and tumbled onto the fabric is actually, succinctly what makes the whole thing liminal; after all, it comes from subliminal.

So, while part of what I'll be doing in this art endeavor will be exploring unconscious or conscious emotions, which they become after they are recognized, in naming them, the process becomes more conceptual. Even now I'm in the throes of the intellectual exercise of research.  As we artists make lists, we begin to name things, to categorize and decipher. So, while this is clearly happening I'll also be trying to consciously feel the state and I'll set out to intuit what I can in the process of making my art. And no, I won't use hallucinogens to assist me.

I’ll use a limited color palette with perhaps small interjections of accent colors and strive for a spare, abstract composition to express whatever feelings I find on my inward journey. 

Series: Liminal States & Thresholds for Change


Liminal State