Peace and Coziness

I don’t know about you but I am definitely wanting a little peace and coziness this time of year so I can catch up on some reading.

I cherish a delicious novel and have one I have started but think I will share some books that are non-fiction and related to my work as an art therapist.

There are some fantastic books out there on healing arts, art therapy, authentic art expression, and the list goes on.  Right now I am very interested in authentic movement guiding the art process so one of the books I am reading is Imagination in Action written by art therapist Shaun Mcniff!  He uses mindfulness to slow down and be in the moment while not judging the physical acts of movement and creating.

Mindfulness and the Arts Therapies also uses this moment to moment mind, body, spirit connecting to bring about creative awareness! I am in awe of these methods and have started using them in my workshops.unnamed-3.jpg

If you are an art therapist or work with these methods as an artist leave a comment so we can have a conversation.  The other books on this list are equally enlightening but won’t go on anymore as you can look them up for yourselves if interested and on a journey to trust the process in your spiritual path through the healing arts. More at


Water as Metaphor: Intuitive Watercolor Workshop

Recently, I facilitated an arts and wellness workshop titled Water as Metaphor: Intuitive Watercolor Workshop at the Atlantic Center for the Arts, Harris House in New Smyrna Beach, Florida.

This dynamic intuitive watercolor painting was created by a participant using a mix of tube and liquid concentrated watercolors.


Painting by J. Hannick

In expressive arts and art therapy,  working intuitively can lead to the discovery of symbols and metaphors in your artwork that can help tell your story.  The metaphors can work as guides.

Our workshop began with a discussion on water as a metaphor in literature, psychology and art. For example, she was as angry as a raging storm or calm as the glassy sea.  Thinking metaphorically leads to many creative discoveries.

We also did a deep breathing creative visualization on the water element.

Not every work will have spontaneous imagery arise that we can use for metaphor and that is fine.  Just knowing how to use metaphor for self discovery through the arts can help us understand our journey and gain insight.

The painting below was created by simply using my finger and tube watercolor and creating an arc shape with my finger.

Then I sprayed water on it and brushed it out a little with a paintbrush and a finger.  An ocean wave seemed to be evolving, so I followed the paintings lead and evolved the wave.

Many people find watercolors frustrating because the lack of ability in controlling it. By working intuitively and letting the watercolor flow wet on wet, dry on wet, and other experimental techniques, students can let go of the need to control the paint and follow the flow of paint to the point of creative discovery.




Collage of students’ work                                                                                      photo by Sooz White


We ended the workshop with a mindfulness writing reflection in response to the artwork.

Next Intuitive painting workshop is July 9th.

Details for next workshops click  here 

And click here to view Laura’s paintings







Therapeutic Art Doll Workshop


December 4th I had the privilege of facilitating a therapeutic and healing art doll workshop.  Also called a spirit doll, this doll was created for the purpose of empowering women through creative self expression.

First, I practiced creating clay faces and figures as the wise woman, grandmother spirit, mother archetype, spirit of nature doll, and dolls that have yet to express who they are.



SpArtdolls.jpgThe doll could represent self or the other or could represent a personal or universal archetype.

Materials were branches, moss, shells, beads, feather, repurposed and fabric remnants, clay faces, nuts, seeds, and more!

Here are some examples of participants work.








Expressive art and healing workshops, next one Saturday March 7th, 2-4:30 pm

My next workshop will be held in a beautiful classroom with large windows at Deland at Casa Montessori school on Saturday March 7th from 2-4:30 pm. Cost is 35 dollars without journal and 45 with a new mixed media journal. Class will be kept at a maximum of 8 people. Below is a link to word document with all the information above the photo.

When my brother-in-law died a couple years back, I know he loved the Beatles song Blackbird.  So by taking some of the key lyrics to the song, combined with paint and symbolism I built a tribute page to my lost loved one.  This is only one example of healing through art journaling.


Open the document link above for more information or  contact for more information as well. Email me at

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As a teaching artist and art therapist I am happy to be now teaching healing art workshops that combine art processes with mindfulness.  The journey and discovery of creating art as it unfolds can help unblock artists and unlock creativity for anybody interested in the arts.

The beauty of mixed media journaling is that without any drawing skills, images, memorabilia, lyrics, paint, pastel and other media choices can be combined to tell you personal story.

In my last workshop at The Hub in New Smyrna Beach, we explored painting intuitively in layers to build a history by playing with mark making before adding imagery or symbols.  Composition and design elements come after the play and discovery to release the inner child.