Choosing Your Art and Knowing Which Medium Is Right For You


Many artists seem to be born with the knowledge of how they will create, what tools they will use and every image or sculpture they will ever produce. While this may be true for some artists, not everyone is born with this knowledge and no one goes through out their life without being influenced in one direction or another. Many artists are first encouraged by their family, they may be given a camera or a box of finger paints. This influence continues on in schools where students are all encouraged to use chalk, pencils, markers and paint to create something using their imagination or even within the structural confines of a class project.

This is the basis of artistic discovery. Along with whatever the artist is born with, be it a voice or a drive to one art form or the other, it is their early childhood influences and experiences in combination with that special something that brings the artist to the tools of their artistry. Again, not everyone is born with this type of artistic drive or purpose and some may develop it throughout their life, perhaps even in their very late life. How do those people find their artistic purpose? Trial and error.

Start with what you are most interested in. If you have always wanted to work with your hands to create, then try clay. If you always wanted to smash and chip away at stone to find the form hidden within, then you will be a sculptor. The thing that must be remembered is start small, start cheap and you will find yourself a lot happier.

Art stores were not put on earth to prey on the eager minds of new artists, but it might almost seem that way. People that are new to creating often have such a gusto that they want to buy everything they possibly can within their decided upon art form. This mentality is completely discouraged. Start small, if you want to draw, you don’t need an expensive sketchbook or $300.00 pencils quite yet. That can wait until later. A good idea for the artist just starting out is to create 10 works of art before ever buying anything. 10 works of art without buying a single material, be it stone or acrylic paints, may sound extreme, but it is completely feasible and will give you a good measure of your passion for the art form.

If you want to be a sculpture then before you buy a single block of marble you should start with potato or wood. This might sound strange, however, carving a shape out of a potato or bar of soap will not only give you some training for carving later, but it will also save you a lot of money. This is especially true if you find that you are not fond of the work later. Many new artists will rush right to the art store, buy a lot of materials and then put them in storage when they find that their zeal has waned. Start small, start cheap, but try; create and follow that passion.

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Source by Veny Arsenov

An Introduction to Tattoos


Tattoos… Everyone has a different reaction to that word. It always got my attention. I think the first one I saw on a live person, was my cousins. I must have been 7 or 8 years old. He had a funny caricature of a devil on his arm with “born to raise hell” written over it. I was amazed by it and although it wasn’t until my mid 20’s when I christened my skin, I wanted one the second I saw that little devil.

Today, tattooing is far more accepted in society than it was back in the 60’s, still; there are people that frown upon the idea of marking your body with ink….forever. Whether it’s a religious issue, or their own personal preference, they can’t deny that the tattoo is almost as old as civilization itself.

The word tattoo is derived from the Tahitian word “tatu”, meaning to mark or to touch something. The earliest known tattooed person is the infamous “Iceman” found in 1991, in the Otzal Alps, located in Italy. Carbon dating proved that he had lived about 5,300 years ago. Fifty-eight tattoos were noted on his body!! Archaeologists think he was an important figure in his society. The tattoos were charcoal and water based.

Ancient cultures used tattoos to ward off sickness or bad luck. The Egyptians were the first to use needles to tattoo the body. Archaeologists exhuming tombs, have even found children’s dolls decorated with tattoos. Tattooing spread through Greece, and Arabia, and By 2000 BC., the tattoo had arrived in Asia.

The Japanese first used tattoos to identify criminals. Later it was transformed into an art form, producing some of the world’s most beautiful tattoos. The Yakuza (Japanese mafia) use their tattoos to intimidate their rivals. Japanese style of tattooing has influenced hundreds of artists today.

Polynesians have also contributed greatly to the art. Their instruments consist of sharpened pieces of bone, or ivory, tied to a stick. They “chisel” the ink into the skin by hitting the top of the instrument with a mallet type object. The tool might consist of one sharp object, or a whole row of objects, resembling a rake.

Members of certain tribes underwent grueling hours tattooing their bodies as a right of passage. Those tools are still used today, for those same rituals, but it is a dying art form, performed only by those preserving their culture. They also developed a facial tattoo called the “Moko”. This facial tattoo consisted of lines drawn about the face that would tell that persons life story.

Centuries ago in Europe, it was common to have family crests tattooed on the body, but when the Normans invaded in 1066, tattooing disappeared. 600 years later, a sailor named William Dempher, ran into Prince Giolo, known as the Painted Prince. He was brought from Polynesia to London, put on exhibition, and became a sensation.

In the 1700’s, on one of his many trips to the South Pacific, Captain Cook came across Oami,a heavily tattooed man, whom he also brought back to England. The English were amazed, and soon tattooing became a fad amongst the upper class. Still it would be another 100 years before tattooing would have an influence in America.

The first electric tattoo machine was invented by Samuel O’Rielly in 1891. It evolved from an electric pen that Thomas Edison had invented a few years earlier. This machine is very similar to the one used today. With this invention, it was very easy to obtain a tattoo, so the upper class gradually turned its back on the art, and by the 1900’s the glamour of being tattooed had lost its appeal. Tattoo artists found themselves working the seedy areas of neighborhoods, and tattooing went underground. Only by word of mouth could someone find a tattoo artist, or even see tattoo art. Tattooing became a secret society.

Once again, Samuel O’Rielly to the rescue. He moved from Boston to New York City and opened a tattoo shop in very popular Chatham Square, the Times Square of its day, and the birthplace of American style tattoos. There he met Charlie Wagner.

O’Rielly taught Wagner the art of tattoo until Sam’s death in 1908. Charlie then met Lew Alberts, a wallpaper designer. Alberts incorporated his designs into tattoo art, and started making flash designs. Tattooing flourished in Chatham Square for nearly 20 years, until the depression hit. The soul of tattooing then moved to Coney Island. Shops opened up wherever military bases seemed to be. Mostly sailors would get tattooed, and each tattoo brought a different story from a different place.

After the Second World War, tattoos were less popular. Their association with bikers, and jailbirds had a great impact on the decline of tattooing in American culture. An outbreak of hepatitis in the 1960’s brought tattooing to its knees. Needles weren’t being sterilized, and reports of blood poisoning flooded the newspapers. New York outlawed tattoos and shut down its shops in Coney Island. Tattooing moved to New Jersey, Philadelphia, and all the way to San Francisco.

Today, tattooing is legal again in New York, and just recently made legal in Massachusetts. Artists hold international conventions, where they display work, perform work, and give seminars on tattooing. Many have an art degree. Cleanliness is an unwritten rule in the business these days. Shops would not survive if the proprietors did not keep a clean place of business. Tattooing has once again reached the upper echelon of society. Movie stars, rock stars, and corporate executives now grace their bodies with tattoos. Every tattoo has a special meaning for the one who wears it. Whether it’s a tribute to a lover, or a child, mom or dad, a simple line or a detailed body suit, tattoos have made its mark in the history of the world.

R.Scott

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Source by Robert S. Desena

Ten Out of the Box Fund Raising Ideas For Artists and Musicians


Times are tough and holding on to a job means more now than ever. Still, there’s a little voice in your head that’s getting louder. It’s your creativity talking. Your gut tells you to venture out on your own, but you’re afraid of taking money away from paying the bills, so you hold back and don’t take a risk. There’s no time to get that second or third job to raise the funds you need to develop and brand your creative talent. So you have to think about alternatives that will support your quest toward a creative career.

The typical artist and musician spends most of their creative hours working for someone else. When you finally get home, your responsibilities are waiting for you — and all the while, you’re thinking … if I only had … $$. You can put in your own dollar figure and match it to whatever project burns inside you. Would you like your own art show? Are you itching to record that catalog of songs you’ve been writing all your life? Do you have a book in a drawer somewhere collecting dust? How about a two month leave of absence to get out on the road?

Today is a great day to start building that financial nest egg you need to further your arts career. So cut loose any negative thoughts and dump the treasure chest that holds your excuses when you’re afraid of getting out of your comfort zone!

Here’s a plan you can follow that will do the job, if you’re ready to commit to yourself and take the plunge!

  • Set up realistic goal and milestones. For example, by August 15Th, I want to raise $5,000. That’s your goal. Along the way you’ll need milestones to track your progress. Set up a log book, calendar, napkin list – whatever you’re comfortable with – and pencil in the time to commit to your plan so you’ll reach your goal. Here’s an example of how the process flows:
  • Week 1 – Research funding ideas. Find volunteers to help you (your mom, kids, spouse, friend, etc) and figure out what tasks you need get done. Prepare something to say, so you won’t stumble or sound awkward before you pitch the idea to them. Examples of tasks to get done are things like designing/printing flyers, passing out business cards, baking cookies, or whatever talent lies in your social group. Next, create a time table. If your volunteers are like my family, put up your “To Do” list and see who wants to pick which task. You can communicate via email or on Google docs. Not everyone has to be in the same town to help you. You must train your volunteers. You don’t want them to send mixed messages about you as a brand. Make sure they understand your vision and equip them to answer questions. Have a contingency plan in place if you lose a volunteer or two along the way.
  • Week 2 – Mark specific dates and times you will set aside for your project in a calendar. (Sundays from 7am-9am, Tuesdays from 6pm-8pm, etc). It doesn’t have to be fancy. You can use conference calls, SKYPE (free to download, free calls), or have a living room board meeting to train and reward your volunteer staff. Open a small business bank account to keep those funds clearly separate. Whenever you want to sell something on line, it’s a good idea to get a Pay Pal account to make collecting fees easy, inexpensive and pain free.
  • Week 3 – Check-in on volunteer progress and hold them (and yourself) accountable. Give pep talks when needed. Remember these are volunteers. Share progress reports, “Hey friends, our flyer is ready to hit the streets”, or “we sold our first product”, or “we have made the first $100 toward our goal.” Success breeds success. Come up with little incentives and broadcast the winners to your volunteer support community. You get the idea.
  • Week 4 – Check-in, adjust the plan, track and share progress, take photos of making deposits at the bank. MAKE IT FUN!

Now for the fund raising ideas. As you read them, you’ll probably be inspired and come up with some ideas of your own. If you do have a great idea that is tried and true, please share with my readers by using the contact page at the fund-raising forum at Rising Star Artists. We’ll publish the best ideas and give you credit for your work, and give you advertising space on our website for 30 days. Rising Star will also feature your idea in our newsletter! (check for details and terms on the website)

  1. Book Sale – Get book donations from your friends and neighbors and host a sale. Many people are happy to clear off a space from an overflowing bookshelf. Used college text books are especially sought after. You can donate left-overs to libraries or look for book dealers that may want to snatch up what you couldn’t sell. You could post the book sale in a publication like the Penny Saver, Craigslist or any other free outlet. Sometimes for a small fee, a local newspaper lets you put up an add in the classifieds where they list yard sales and estate sales. If you plan on a yard-sale type event, remember to pass out flyers to your neighbors and homes within a 1/2 mile radius of where you live, at LEAST two days before the event. Come up with a theme for the sale (everyone wears black t-shirts and a white cap). You can even buy a side-door car magnet for about $15 (VistaPrint does a great job with these) so you’ll be advertising wherever your car is parked. If you only have funds for one side-door magnet, pass it around each day to a different volunteer and get more people to see it.
  2. T-Shirt Advertising – Many companies offer T-shirts printed with a message and even have templates you can use to design your shirt. Ask your volunteers to pay for their own shirt and ask them to wear it whenever possible – make sure the design is hip enough for people to WANT to wear it. Everyone needs clothes right? This is another way to advertise your art/music and get your volunteers involved. Reactee has a great product where people see your message on a T-shirt and text you. The system sends back an automated message so you don’t have to worry about spending all day on your cell phone. It’s a good way to advertise, you can even change the auto-response message.
  3. GO GREEN – Collect recyclables! This is a great way to get your kids involved or anyone else on your volunteer team. Set a day of the week for scavenging and give kudos to the best team. You may want to give each team a color, like the green team, red team, so you’ll know who wins the day. Give away a small prize. It could be a coupon book from McDonald’s and if you can afford a gift card – go for it! You don’t have to look too hard to find discarded plastic bottles and cans. Collect them and sell to recycle companies that pay you. Look up local recycling centers in your area and find the one that pays the best!
  4. eBay – Your own home is a treasure trove for unwanted items. Did you stop playing that clarinet from high school? Auctions like eBay are a good place to sell collectible and small items. You don’t want to have to figure out how to ship a large piece of furniture or a TV. But, if you have some great trinkets or don’t use Grandma’s dishes, this could be the way to go. Look around your house (and/or ask your volunteers for donations) and see what you can come up with that would have some value and would be easy to ship.
  5. CD/DVD/Game collections – Are you completely in love with your MP3 player? When was the last time you listened to those Cd’s you have stored away? If there are some Cd’s you still love, just upload them and store on your hard drive to put on a play list. You can sell gently used Cd’s/DVDs and Games either on eBay or at Second Spin. I like Second Spin because you know what your getting and don’t have to wait for an auction to close. Again, you can ask for CD/DVD or game donations from your resource pool.
  6. Farmer’s Market – It may sound corny, but I know many people who use this method all the time. Some families are blessed with bakers who don’t mind donating their time if you donate the ingredients. You can advertise your Farmer’s market though some of the ways mentioned earlier like flyers or maybe an ad on Craigslist. Plan to hold one say every Sunday morning from 7am-9am and do this for a month. If your family baker is really good, people will come back each week to pick up that loaf of bread, favorite pie or big slice of chocolate cake. In some cases, you can take orders in advance with a deposit (so you can buy the ingredients) and then the item will be ready for the buyer when your Farmer’s market opens again. Make sure you check with your town to find out if you need a permit or special license.
  7. Karaoke or Talent Show – Do you belong to a club or know of a place that rents space inexpensively? If so, have a karaoke contest or talent show and charge admission. You can make it a fun event and take 10% of the proceeds to offer a cash prize to the winner or ask local merchants to donate a free service or product. (TV, DVD player, grocery gift card, gas gift card, etc). Remember to give yourself enough time to advertise and get those volunteers to work passing out flyers and offering a discount for advance sale tickets. Charge a higher price at the door.
  8. Yard Sale – Tried and true. Help a family member clean out their attic or garage and in return ask if you can keep 50% of the proceeds from the sale. You’d be surprised how many women would jump at the chance to have someone help clear out their garage or attic and help with a yard sale. Husband’s can be let off the hook and come home to a clean garage.
  9. Portrait Photography – If you’re a photographer, here’s a win-win type of fund raising event that can help promote yourself and help a fellow artist/musician at the same time. The idea is this. You’ll need a place to take photos. Check community centers, halls, sometimes even restaurants will rent or give you space. The photographer gives away a free portrait, say an 8×10, the individual just pays a session fee. The photographer will be able to show off their talent and expand their potential repeat client base or up sell a bigger package and the organizer will get a percentage of the session fees. Many artists and musicians need photos, and families love portraits, so you may be able to draw a large crowd. The session photographer needs to recoup expenses, so keep that in mind when negotiating and factor in the cost of the space rental to decide on a session fee. If you don’t know any photographers, look for new shops opening or advertising on line and see if you can come up with a working partnership.
  10. On line Fund Raising – When someone comes to your door with a list of magazines, don’t you just groan? Here’s a twist that should help you raise the funds you need by putting your volunteers to use (especially those that LOVE the Internet). Join blogs for about any subject (sports, politics, parenting, etc) and target your magazine sales just to that one group. One way to do this is to let people know a magazine subscription is a gift that gives all year. The subscriber (or gift giver) can save up to 85% off newsstand prices! Fundraiser.com has a good deal going, so you may want to check there. Subscriptions are great for nieces and nephews and they look forward to getting their own mail – it’s a great add-on to a holiday or birthday gift. A co-worker may want to buy a subscription for a spouse as a surprise to support their hobby (wood-working, crafting, writing, etc). I’m sure you can think of other ideas to match a product to a buyer.

Now you’re ready to get started and make your project a success. Remember, the key is to start with a realistic goal, solicit volunteers, and stick to your plan!!

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Source by Deborah Diak

The Japanese Chef Knife – Which One Should You Have?


There are many things about Japanese cuisine that makes it stand out easily. Most of the Japanese dishes are both delicious and healthy. Many people even consider preparation of the dishes to be a form of art. The Japanese, when it comes to food preparation, are perfectionists. They have many different kinds of Japanese chef knives used to cut different kinds of food. The Japanese slice their sashimi so precisely because of the Yanagiba, a Japanese chef knife that’s used for cutting raw fish. If you want to attain the same precision, you should have at least one the Japanese chef knives below in your kitchen.

Santoku

The Santoku is a Japanese chef knife that is known for its convenience and versatility. Santoku is loosely translated as “three virtues.” Santoku has 3 uses: slicing, dicing, and mincing. The Santoku can be used for almost anything ranging from fish, meat, and vegetables. The blade size usually ranges from 5 to 7 inches, although there are smaller ones. The Santoku has a Sheep’s foot design and has limited clearance on the horizontal plane as well as minimal rocking motion. Santoku knives are well-known for their very sharp edges. They also have a granton edge release pattern that makes it easier to make thin slices with sticky food. Get a Santoku knife to jumpstart your kitchen knives collection.

Gyuto

This is the counterpart of the western chef’s knife. Like the Santoku, the Gyuto is also an all-purpose Japanese chef knife. The difference between Gyuto and Santoku is its size. The Gyuto is larger than the Santoku because it is believed that the Gyuto was originally made for cutting beef in large slices. In fact, the Gyuto can be roughly translated to cow blade. Gyuto is now known to slice meat, fish, and vegetables, just like the western chef’s knife. The difference between the two is that Gyuto is known for its harder and tougher steel construction. Also, Gyuto comes with a double grind edge.

Gishiki

Gishiki-Bocho, or simply Gishiki, is a specialty Japanese chef knife. It’s used for filleting the fish without having your hands coming in contact with the fish. All that the chef uses is the knife and silver chopsticks. Shiki-Bocho is the term that refers to both the process of filleting fish this way and the person that doing the work. This is a very old style of Japanese chef knife. It has been used for almost 1000 years. You will not find this model in too many consumer kitchens because it takes expert hands to manipulate. The Gishiki knife is usually single grind and has a blade length of almost 12 inches.

Kurimuki

If you need to peel fruits and vegetables, you’re better off using a kurimuki knife Japanese chef knife. The knife’s geometry is suited to accommodate different shapes of fruits and vegetables. It roughly translates in Japanese to mean chestnut skin peeling knife. If you need to peel a really small fruit or vegetable, Kurimuki is the best knife for this job. Unlike the standard knife, this small and compact Japanese chef knife will give you more control over the fruit or vegetable.

Now that you are familiar a few of the Japanese chef knives available you are ready to start slicing and dicing. Click the links below for the best deals on Japanese kitchen Knives.

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Source by Everett Woods

Paint A Team Logo On Your Man Cave Wall Using The Grid Method


You’ve done everything possible to make your Man Cave the envy of your buddies, yet you still long for something more. Something that will give your dedicated sports room an extra touch of awesomeness that nobody else has thought of. Perhaps all you need now is an enlarged, hand painted logo of your favorite sports team adorning the wall. You might have heard of other Man Cave owners having to use expensive hi-tech projectors and other equipment to accomplish this, but there is another ages old method of enlarging images that the masters used centuries ago. Even better, the method I’m going to cover in this article doesn’t require any special equipment other than a tape measure and a level.

What you’ll need

The first thing you’ll need to kick-start this project is a copy of the logo you want to enlarge and reproduce. Luckily, finding a good copy of your team’s logo is as easy as searching for your “team’s name” + logo in your favorite search engine’s image search feature. One huge pitfall of getting images from the web is that most web graphics are pixelated and grainy. Try to find an image that is relatively large (measuring about 700 to 800 pixels in either width or height) so it will print out clearly. Additionally, you want to make sure that the image you use does not have a busy background. Gradients, patterns and other distracting background elements might make it more difficult when it comes time to reproduce it on the wall. Thankfully, the internet is full of places where you can find hi-res versions of your team’s logo.

As for your painting supplies, consider using paintbrushes of different sizes; larger ones for covering larger areas of color and smaller ones for details and black outlines. Be sure to pick up some paint that matches the colors in the logo, too.

Lastly, you’ll want to have a measuring tape, a level and a yard stick for constructing a grid on the wall.

Using the Grid Method

The Grid Method has been used by artists for centuries for the purpose of enlarging and transferring images onto other drawing surfaces. Don’t worry if you’re not artistically inclined, though; this method is really simple.

1. First, you’ll need to print your logo out onto a regular sheet of paper. Make sure that there is a little white space all around the edges of the image on your printout.

2. Now, using a ruler in the white space surrounding the image, you want to draw a box around the logo. To make the next steps as easy as possible, you should round the height and width of the box to the nearest inch.

3. Next, create a grid filled with one inch by one inch squares within the box.

4. Now, using your pencil, level, yardstick and measuring tape, draw a larger corresponding grid on the wall where you want the logo to go. Try out different scales on paper before you commit to one. Calculate what the dimensions of your logo would be if you made your grid out of 6 by 6 inch boxes (or 8 by 8 inch boxes) in stead and see if that fits into your allotted space on the wall.

5. Once you have your grid on the wall, grab your pencil and start transferring the logo, box by box, from your small grid to the larger grid. If you’re finding it difficult to get the lines and curves just right in a particular area, simply draw extra lines onto your small grid and on the wall grid to give you more reference points.

6. All that’s left now is to paint over your pencil lines and to fill in the colors of your logo. Be sure to step back and compare your work to the logo on your small grid to make sure things are still lining up and looking great.

Hand painting a huge team logo on your wall like this is an extremely fun and rewarding project to undertake and will make your Man Cave even more personalized than before. The greatest thing about doing this kind of project yourself is that not only will your result will be truly unique, but your pals will be scratching their heads trying to figure out how you did it.

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Source by Neville Menday

The Adult Child Syndrome


What exactly is an adult child? Is he a miniaturized adult who somehow never crossed the border from childhood? Was his maturity and development somehow stunted? Does he behave differently? What could have caused all of this to begin with?

“The term ‘adult child’ is used to describe adults who grew up in alcoholic or dysfunctional homes and who exhibit identifiable traits that reveal past abuse or neglect,” according to the “Adult Children of Alcoholics” textbook (World Service Organization, 2006, p. xiii).

“(It) means that we respond to adult interactions with the fear and self-doubt learned as children,” it continues (p. 3). “The undercurrent of hidden fear can sabotage our choices and relationships. We can appear outwardly confident while living with a constant question of our worth.”

But it is much more than this. Home, as is often said, is where the heart is, but in those of adult children there was most likely little heart, when “heart” is defined as “love.”

Self-worth and -esteem result from parental warmth, nurture, respect, clearly defined limits and boundaries, and, above all, love, yet adult children received fewer of these qualities than they needed. Whether their parents were alcoholic, dysfunctional, or abusive people, or they exhibited this behavior without the liquid substance because they themselves were exposed to it during their own upbringings, their children fielded, reacted to, and just downright survived it without choice, recourse, defense, or protection.

Despite advancing age, they all share the same inadequate, anxiety-based feelings which force them into lonely and isolated exile, cut off from the world, but very much suffering in the one they were forced to create in their minds. Suspended in time, their negative and inferior self-feelings, image, and beliefs neither unravel nor die out until and unless recovery intervention methods arrest their downward spiral.

The severity of their home environments is sometimes subtle, but not to be underestimated and not entirely conveyable to those who were never exposed to them by words alone.

“Being home was like being in hell,” according to Janet Geringer Woititz in her book, “Adult Children of Alcoholics” (Health Communications, 1983, p. 9). “The tension was so thick you could cut it with a knife. The nervous, angry feeling was in the air. Nobody had to say a word, as everybody could feel it… There was no way to get away from it, no place to hide… “

Although they felt physically and emotionally alone, their thoughts, emotions, fears, feelings, and impairments were and are shared by approximately 28 million other adult children in the United States alone-or one in every eight-yet they never identified themselves as belonging to this group if they had even heard of the term.

Exposed, from an early age, to detrimental behavior and often fighting to survive it, they paradoxically attributed it to their own inadequacies and unloveability, unknowingly causing the rewire of their brains to do so, which ultimately impaired their functioning and arrested their development.

In the mostly unlikely event that their parents expunged themselves from their own denial, took responsibility for their damaging behavior, and explained the origin of it, their offspring quickly accepted this abnormality as “normal.” Because they felt so different and defective, why would they divulge this secret about themselves that they desperately tried to conceal from others?

A child determines who he is by the input of the significant people around him. Initially, he finds out who he is by what other people say to him and he internalizes these messages.

“Messages,” however, are not just shelved thoughts, but painful, buried feelings.

You are not willing to acknowledge the intensity of feelings that children are bound to have when the bond between them and their parents is threatened.

And that bond may be the first thing that breaks them and interrupts their development toward adulthood.

Although they may have made transformative adjustments and Herculean efforts to survive parents whose betraying, harmful behavior was fueled by alcoholic toxins, they attempted to manage and decipher irrationality and emerged as physically identifiable adults, but did so with frightened inner children who viewed the world the way it was portrayed in their homes-of-origin.

Because they learned what they lived, as do all children, they saw others through unresolved wounds and adopted distorted realities, believing that their parents were representatives of them and were left with little choice but to pursue their paths with distrust and survival-augmenting traits and characteristics, never having understood why they were so treated nor having emotionally extricated themselves from the circumstances.

“Adult children of alcoholics… are especially vulnerable to the pull of past experiences and past survival tactics,” wrote Emily Marlin in “Hope: New Choices and Recovery Strategies for Adult Children of Alcoholics” (Harper and Row Publishers, 1987, pp. xiii-xiv). “Many of us came to function as adults under the painful influences of the families in which we were raised. Often, we continue to be plagued with feelings of hurt, anger, fear, humiliation, sadness, shame, guilt, shyness, being different, confusion, unworthiness, isolation, distrust, anxiety, and depression.”

She emphasizes how yesterday’s environment influences today’s view.

Too often, children who grew up in unhappy homes fall into the habit of viewing the world today in the same bleak way of yesterday.

So pinned to this past can they become, that there is sometimes difficulty in differentiating it from the present.

Our memories of the past are often so strong and painful, that the slightest association can take us back to these troubled, unhappy times-and we think that a similar situation in the present is going to have the same old results.

Frozen incidents, abuses, feelings, and wounds further ensure that they remain emotionally mired at their points of creation, despite what their physical ages may say to the contrary. If defrosted, they may fear an avalanche, ultimately fearing their fear and resulting, at times, in child-like behavior, further pinning them to their pasts.

No matter what our age, no matter how terrible our rage, we never really leave home. And, as many adult children of alcoholics know only too well, we cannot escape our families simply by creating physical or emotional distance.

Indeed, because of ill-defined boundaries, the internalization of their parents, and their unresolved negative emotions, they take them with them. They are inside of them now as much as they had been outside of them then.

Yet they may not know this until reactions, fears, and their inability to optimally function alert them when they allegedly enter the adult phase of their lives.

Growing up in the highly stressful environment of an alcoholic family creates wounds that often go underground. When they emerge later in life, it isn’t easy to connect these wounds with their real source.

Part of this dilemma stems from the denial they were forced to adopt to minimize the danger to which they were routinely exposed.

Adult children of alcoholics have to avoid being fully aware of the potential explosiveness of their parent’s alcoholism in order to maintain some semblance of normalcy in their daily lives.

Surviving a childhood such as this results in numerous behavioral manifestations, the first of which is defining what normalcy even is.

Adult children of alcoholics guess at which normal is. They simply have no experience with it.

That their experience was “abnormal” was never acknowledged, since no one gave even a nod toward, much less explanation of, the volatile, sometimes damaging enactments that played out in their homes.

While “normal” may not be a mathematical formula or distinct set of rules, its common denominator in healthy families is the love that emotionally binds its members together, while denial in unhealthy ones is the one that tears them apart.

Because the former was often absent, they may seek this normalcy later in life by observing and then attempting to imitate others they believe portray it.

But as long as you are choosing actions and feelings to reflect what you imagine to be normal, your experience can never be beyond feeling as if you are normal.

They may, however, achieve academy award statuses as actors.

Many adult children of alcoholics, even some of those in deep denial, are aware of a strange split within themselves between how competent they may look on the outside and how much of a loss they feel internally.

Although they may not know that their feelings are different from those of others, they usually realize that the behavior of others does not seem to reflect the feelings they have and consequently may subtly and subconsciously begin to suspect that theirs are different.

Another manifestation of the adult child syndrome is distrust. Having lived in an unstable, unsafe, and unpredictable environment in which psychological, emotional, mental, and physical abuse was most likely administered with almost routine regularity, and having had their trust betrayed by the very parents who should have most been there to protect them, they learned to negotiate the world in a distrusting, sometimes hypervigilant state.

Growing up in combat zones makes children very self-protective. Our survival depended upon our ability to react first and think later. We often had to remove ourselves from dangerous situations. After growing up, we are likely to continue reacting quickly. Not being able to trust people put us on the defensive.

Following well-worn neuropathways and filtering people and situations through the primitive brain’s amygdala, which controls a person’s fight or flight response, adult children subconsciously transpose their childhood circumstances to those of their adult ones, having no reason to doubt that, if their “loving” caregivers treated them in such detrimental manners, that those in the outside world who have far less invested in them will assuredly do the same.

Trust is earned after conditions prove that it is merited. Yet adult children lived with parents who, in many ways, could not trust themselves. Triggered by their offspring and acting out what was done to them during their own alcoholic and abusive upbringings, they became puppets to their impulses, reactions, and animations which overtook hem and forced them to target their own children in hopelessly uneven power plays. Captive to the damaging infractions, those children were unable to protect or defend themselves, flee from the situation, or even understand why they were so treated, leaving them with no choice but to endure them and watch themselves being whittled away.

Unable to accept the danger they faced, and often tiptoeing through houses transformed into minefields to avoid provoking further uprisings, they ironically accepted responsibility for them, because it provided a false sense of mastery. If these detriments were sparked by their own disobedience, transgressions, or just plain worthlessness, they reasoned, then their endless striving toward improvement could reduce or eliminate them, increasing their ultimate safety.

Unable, additionally, to view the parents they were dependent upon as ill, evil, or betraying, they nullified this devastating recognition by assuming the responsibility for their actions.

Substituting cause-and-effect logic for situations where there was not any, they reasoned, “I’m bad; therefore, I deserve to be punished.”

Emotionally unavailable for the nurturing love their children most needed, these parents were unable to augment their offspring’s development from child to adulthood.

Families are like systems. When love and healthy functioning and boundaries are present, the sum is greater than its parts, all of whom are bound together in unity. When it is not, it is less than this sum, as each member assumes sometimes scripted roles in feeble attempts to hold it together, subtly forced to assume functions others cannot and crossing boundaries that were never defined. Compensating, the way three tires do for a flat one that cannot pull its own weight, each member takes more, and nontraditional, responsibility then he or she should.

Dysfunctional at best, this strategy ensures the family’s loosely-knit cohesion and continuation, often prompting the misuse, if not altogether abuse, of the children, until they become what they are not-caretakers of parents who themselves should have assumed this role.

A girl who is only three years older than her sister, for example, may have to substitute for a chemically-dependent, less-than-present mother, feeding her and looking after her.

With such blurred boundaries, reversed roles, and the premature crossing of adult lines, they may never get to bat as children, bypassing this crucial stage.

If you are an adult child of an alcoholic, you have probably already come to recognize that in some real way, you gave up your childhood in order to survive.

However, this jump cannot be considered emotional development. It is only a forced role.

Paradoxically, that person may have been the strongest and sanest of his family members. Despite his misuse, abuse, and debilitation, he survived an upbringing which may have been little safer than that experienced in a jungle surrounded by attacking animals motivated only by instinct.

Rigid family rules, another adult child manifestation, are feeble strategies that attempted to hold together a shattered unit and a single deviation from them may have been a justifiable reason for punishment. Forced to adopt absolute, right-or-wrong thinking patterns, they most likely carried them into adulthood, robotically following and pledging allegiance to the programming of their brains.

Indeed, even contemplation of deviating from them, despite a considerable time lapse since they left their homes-of-origin, may cause it to jolt the body with the sensation of pain, since childhood departures from rule-mandating obedience may have resulted in physically “correcting” punishment.

Because the dysfunctional family tenets entail the ironically unspoken rules of “don’t talk, don’t trust, and don’t feel,” communication was neither open nor encouraged, as all its members silently agreed not to see the aspects that could have reversed the situation if they were acknowledged and addressed. Dysfunction is, after all, a disease which affects all of them and the so-called family secrets ensure its continuation, often linking one generation to another.

Although releasing and reprocessing feelings may pull the adult child’s plug on his past later in life if he can surmount his wall of denial, he may find this an insurmountable obstacle.

Our strong fear of confrontation, bred during the imbalanced interactions between abusing parent and victimized child, coupled with childhood rules that made it difficult to express any emotion, makes anger especially threatening to us.

Poorly defined physical and emotional boundaries constitute yet another adult child manifestation, in which the line between parent and child begins becomes blurred. Indeed, there are times when parents do not relate to their children: they own and possess them.

The alcoholic parent is particularly prone to barging into other people’s lives with little regard for whether or not they have been invited. They may burst into a child’s bedroom without knocking… Alcoholic families may keep a lot of secrets, but they know very little about privacy.

Mirroring of children and appropriately responding to their needs, wants, feelings, actions, and emotions, yet another manifestation, is impaired.

Alcoholic parents, almost by definition, cannot bring the full range of human emotional responsiveness to bear in interactions with their children. The effects of alcohol on the brain invariably restrict the range of available emotions and those that do remain are altered by it.

Interrupting, like static, the neuron connections that otherwise enable people to evoke positive feelings and empathy for the harm their detrimental actions may cause, they are unable to generate either for their children.

Thus in need and anticipation of praise and affirmations from parents who cannot provide them, adult children usually feel as if they pull into the gas station with an almost empty tank only to find that the pump is broken.

Often criticized, and ultimately internalizing negative self-feelings and beliefs because of it, adult children judge themselves harshly and without mercy-yet another manifestation-replaying the same critical parent tapes later in life and failing to acknowledge their positive qualities and strengths.

Even when intellect indicates a meritorious action or exemplary accomplishment, engulfing emotion will invariable drown it. Having served as the reflection of their parents’ deficiencies and the object of their inferior feelings and hatred, they can hardly believe in themselves.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is still another adult child manifestation.

Like a rupture from the reptilian or instinct portion of the brain-specifically from its stem-which flood the nervous system with stress hormones to gear a person for the ultimate fight or flight survival action during life-threatening incidents, as occurs with parental threats and attacks, it sparks identical physiological reactions later in life, causing the person to believe that the same dangers are present and will imminently recur.

Because of the unpredictable web spun in an adult child’s home-of-origin, in which he was frequently targeted and reduced to a victim of parental anger, shame, and blame, he quickly develops PTSD’s byproduct, or hypervigilance, keeping him chronically primed, through repeated stress reactions that never bled off, for present-time accusation, aggression, and attack, although he is not likely to understand these very uncomfortable symptoms nor pinpoint what the danger is.

As a reaction to the world, they impede interaction with it, repelling, rejecting, and culminating in control-seeking isolation. Breeding internal anxiety, they all but discourage meaningful bonds-love or otherwise-with others that necessitate trust and soul-to-soul intimacy and can lead to emotional disorders and physical ailments.

Actual loss of control over one’s physical safety at the hands of a parent can irrevocably change a person’s relationship to the world. No amount of perspective gained as an adult can help a person to reclaim the degree of control over his or her destiny that appeared to exist before the violence.

Unable to physically escape, the person spiritually flees, leaving his body, but tucking his soul into his deepest recesses, creating the inner child, another manifestation, which seeks refuge and safety in its protective sanctuary.

Controlling others later in life, yet another adult child manifestation, is an attempt to create the delusion of safety and stability as the more dominant figure. However, it is just another smoke screen for the fear, distrust, vulnerability, and myriad of other unresolved emotions which lurk behind it. Buried with them, of course, are the wounds sustained as a result of them.

Despite the ostensible power this bullying strategy seeks to portray, it paradoxically reeks of the powerlessness the person experienced when he experienced the same confrontations on the losing side it as a helpless child.

Codependence is the final adult child syndrome manifestation. Because of blurred parent-child boundaries, the subconscious absorption of projected, negatively charged emotions, and the infection of transferred alcoholic toxins, the person is forced to become intertwined, becoming codependent or “dependent with” his parent, just as the parent himself is dependent upon liquor or other substances. The child’s individuality, autonomy, personality, and sense of self are progressively eroded until he becomes a debilitated appendage of that parent.

The more the child tolerates, absorbs, and tucks into his subconscious, the more he focuses on him and the more he losses himself in the process.

Like the alcoholic, the codependent may adopt the same degree of denial to minimize or eradicate the dangerous effects he endured until they no longer exist (in his mind). Although the former assumes no responsibility for his actions, the latter, paradoxically, does, causing him to conclude that his inadequacy and even sheer presence “forced’ his parent to drink.

“If you weren’t such a bad kid, I wouldn’t have to drink,” his parent may claim. “So, it’s really your fault.”

This is nothing more than an ultimate shift of responsibility.

As occurs with the case of mistaken identity, codependents make no mistake. They virtually assume the identity of their parents and often others as adults, gravitating to them like external leaches. They are fully plugged in and doubt their own ability to continue functioning if the connection were ever severed.

Unable to cultivate self-love because of their damaging upbringings, replacing their true or authentic selves with false ones, distrusting, and keeping their inner children deeply buried, they can often only see aspects of themselves reflected in others, as if they were nothing more than mirror images of whole people.

None of these adult child manifestations, without understanding, therapy, and recovery methods, are self-correcting.

Although an adult child can distance himself from his past in time, he cannot necessarily do so in effect. Inflicting himself by repeating what was done to him during his upbringing, along with his own offspring, he may aggravate rather than ameliorate his wounds.

If, after all, his parents failed to acknowledge his feelings, he will not be able to do so when it comes to others, as he re-enacts the only treatment he knows.

Nothing causes his wounds to sizzle more than having the infracting parent or person fail to take responsibility for them and acknowledge the pain he caused. His hurt, isolated, buried inner child still cries for someone to do so, and the more he tries to escape his traumatic, detrimental past, the more he suppresses, squelches, and disconnects from his feelings to do so, becoming more of a prisoner to them as they await behind a wall like water backing up behind an imminently breaking damn.

If he cannot connect with himself through them, he will certainly not be able to do so with others.

“Children of alcoholics are forced to crystallize their identities under circumstances that are far from optimal,” concluded Timmin L. Cermak in his book, “A Time to Heal: The Road to Recovery for Adult Children of Alcoholics” (Jeremy P. Tarcher, 1988, p. 74). “… (They) must pass through the critical stages of developing trust, autonomy, mastery, identify, and the ability to separate themselves from those around them.”

They cannot and therefore do not. Externally, their bodies say “adult.’ Internally, they souls say “child.”

Bibliography:

“Adult Children of Alcoholics.” Torrance, California: Adult Children of Alcoholics World Service Organization, 2006.

Cermak, Timmin L,, M.D. “A Time to Heal: The Road to Recovery for Adult Children of Alcoholics.” Los Angeles: Jeremy P. Tarcher, Inc., 1988.

Marlin, Emily. “Hope: New Choices and Recovery Strategies for Adult Children of Alcoholics.” New York: Harper and Row Publishers, 1987.

Woititz, Janet Geringer. “Adult Children of Alcoholics.” Deefield Beach, Florida: Health Communications, Inc., 1983.

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Source by Robert Waldvogel

Tribalogy – Drawing With Both Hands at the Same Time


For the greater part of my life, I have been drawing with my right hand only. Several years ago, I had an idea for a fun artistic challenge. One day, I decided to include my left hand into the drawing process. I refer to this as “Simultaneous, Two Handed Drawing”- the act of drawing with both hands at the same time.

You might be asking, “how could this be possible and how can you focus on both hands at the same time?”. The answer is this: the same way you drive a car, play an instrument, or type on a keyboard. We train our brains to function and operate in a way that allows us to accomplish specific tasks.

The truth is that everyone can draw with both hands at once. It’s simply a matter of the willingness to learn, as well as being inspired to take on the task. Everyone is different, and we all have abilities that make us unique.

For me, I have been drawing my whole life and I have been heavily inspired by the lines and shapes prevalent in Tribal art. I have practiced drawing, painting and tattooing tribal designs for, literally, thousands of hours in my life.

My goal has always been in developing a fundamental understanding for the science of interacting lines and shapes on a surface. Incorporating my other hand in the art creation process seemed to be the next step in connecting with line art on a deeper, more spiritual level.

Drawing with both hands seemed to allow me to get even closer to becoming one with the lines and shapes that I created. I started to draw tribal art with both hands at once, and Tribalogy was born. After creating several simultaneous, two handed drawings, I noticed my hands making similar movements on the paper, and new drawing techniques were born.

These include Hand Mirroring, Hand Independence, Detachment, Alternating, Overlapping,Tempo, and so on. The drawing methods would come to me, as though they had always been there, and as if I was uncovering them through drawing experimentation. Drawing with two hands seems to hold a lot of answers regarding the art creation process. It feels like I am closing an electrical circuit, allowing art to flow freely into the design, then back into me.

I believe that an artist who creates art with one hand is just as close to their art as the two handed artist. Incorporating my other hand seems to be the missing force in my individual process.

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Source by David C

Why is Abstract Art So Popular?


Abstract art is popular because it has a purpose in this world both for the artist and the viewer. Many people collect abstract paintings to beautify their surroundings, as an investment, or to update their lives with contemporary culture. They often feel a connection with the colors, the forms, texture, or energy that the artwork gives off. The artwork changes their living space and creates an atmosphere worth living in.

For the artist, creating the artwork can be an expressive means to channel creative energy and emotion. The action of painting is actually considered therapy and very meditative for many abstract artists. The evidence of this has been documented to be especially true in today’s modern fast pace world.

Abstract art also covers a broad spectrum of painting styles. The general understanding is that this type of art does not depict anything in the natural world and the subject is simply a visual language of color and form. While this is true of non-representational works (which I love to create), this is simply not true for all abstract art out there. The word “abstract” means a departure from reality, but this departure can sometimes be only a slight one. This in-turn leaves room for partially abstract landscapes, figures, seascapes, etc. to be categorized as abstract art.

The beauty of abstract art, both for the artist and the viewer, is that anyone can take what they see and interpret it however they want. Of course this is true of any type of artwork, but considering the nature of abstract artwork, the creative mind has even more freedom to roam and interpret what is appearing before the senses. Abstract artwork is a non-traditional free art form that resonates with the feelings and emotions of today’s contemporary artists and art collectors. As long as this is true abstract art will continue to be so popular.

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Source by Jaison Cianelli