Archive for April, 2015

Update on the class, April 2015

I’m adding a couple images of a few quick painting studies I have done recently in the class. The core of students I have working now are making great strides in some of the things I have talked about in my previous updates. Among my artists now, one young woman is now doing large works on an easel –often abstract works or heavily stylized representational drawings. Another young woman is really taken to images of animals and people in watercolor, and another artist continues to draw in ink and oil pastel of things she describes as being from her dreams.

This was a primary goal of mine: that my classes be more lie an open artists studio where peer artists produce what they are interest are, and choose their own topics and medium. So, success in that realm.

Finally, here are a couple images of works that came off my easel during class. Both of these sketches are based on photos by Stan Sherer from the book “The Life and Death of Northampton State Hospital.” The book is produced by that city’s historical society.

Long-time Hospital Librarian from North Hampton State Hospital

Long-time Hospital Librarian from Northampton State Hospital

Employee of North Hampton State Hospital, in his former office, after the hospital closed.

Employee of Northampton State Hospital, in his former office, after the hospital closed.

[update 4.28.15]

[also, disclaimer: the author is an educator teaching a peer-led art class at a local psychiatric hospital and a consumer of mental health services. The views express here are my own.]

I am adding a couple images of images I have been working on in the class. I have been trying to motivate students to revisit images they have created and develop them further, or in another medium. I am encouraging students to embrace sketches and developing their ideas into more fully realized and finished works. I find that getting to a finished work is a series of false starts, correcting errors in second or third (or, possibly more) treatments of the same image.

To that end, I have been working in acrylic on images I have done in charcoal or pencil or oil pastel before. The first image (of the angel) was a suggestion from a student. I began with a figure study in charcoal (not pictured) before moving on to paint. The second and third images are of a sketch in oil pastel and (a yet unfinished) portrait of the same subject. The image comes for the book “Suitcases From the Hospital Attic,” –which I have drawn from extensively and talked about in other blogs.



Portrait, acrylic on paper


figure study, winged figure


acrylic portrait next to oil pastel study of the same subject.


There’s not a lot to report. The ideas I talked about in the last class blog are more or less implemented, –insomuch as I have followed the recommendations of leaders in my field in peer-run art therapy programs to change how the class is taught. I have been working with the transition to a student-directed classroom in which the students choose and direct their own assignments. I’m looking for student to take a larger role in the direction of the class, making it more directed to suit their needs and interests. I choose topics and demonstrate them still, but encourage each student to choose their own projects, and many of my sketches address student questions directly.

The following images are my in class demonstrations going back over the past couple of months.


Richardson-Olmstead Complex, oil pastel


figure study, oil pastel


angel, oil pastel


sketch, charcoal


Basil plant, water color paint and charcoal


Portrait, oil pastel


portrait, oil pastel and charcoal


figure study, oil pastel


portrait, oil pastel


figure study, water color


Portrait, oil pastel, Manet reproduction


sif the cat, (kitten) Pencil


fall or rise, oil pastel


figure study, oil pastel


figure study, oil pastel


study, Worcester church, pencil


figure studies, pencil


figures, in a hall (perspective lesson) charcoal


abstract, water color


heart, sketch (unfinished) (often I jump from topic to topic and class participants ask questions, in this case, I began drawing a human heart and didn’t finish as the discussion changed topics)


portrait, charcoal and oil pastel


figure study, charcoal and oil pastel


figures, charcoal


portrait, charcoal


Hudson church, sketch


abstract, charcoal and acrylic paint


Richardson-Olmstead complex

Thanks for looking in. I am hoping to begin to look for the donations, I am working on getting away from the class being “institutional,” and more like an artists studio outside a psychiatric hospital. To this end, I need supplies, beyond what the hospitals budget usually pays for. We have paint, pencils, and paper galore. I was able to get a lightbox and a couple croquios through a grant. What I am really looking for are things like canvas, easels, and other item that might be able to be donated, so students have opportunities to work bigger dream bigger and in in more durable mediums. Almost anything will help my students. If you are interested in helping make for a more realized program here, use my e-mail contact in the about section of the Eleven Images blog.