WAX WAVE  ~                                                              Click on the wave for a slide show of more images.

This was made during an Introduction to Art therapy Adult Education class I took at Glasgow University 2008.

I have a friend who is visually impaired. She reminded me that images like this create havoc on her computer.

I will do my best to decribe the process of making it and the image itself, from the outside and from the inside. 

Now . . . when I look at it freshly  . . .and sense everything about it again and whatever meaning it still carries.

It is something about ' Bars ' like the bars on the window of a prison ~ yeah that's right ~ it is coming back now.

In the class we had heard a story about a young man in prison. That resonated strongly with me around all the  

moments in life when I felt most imprisoned by a rigid perspective in my thinking and unable see the possibility

of change. I started with a sense of something about 'blindness' and made four thick vertical lines with a broken

piece of candle, evenly spaced across the paper. I liked that I could not see them aginst the empty white space.


There was an energy inside me ~ like I wanted to rebel or break out of this way of thinking ~ some healthy anger !

So . . . I took the candle again and let my hands swirl it quickly all over the paper without really trying to control it.

I vaguely remember closing my eyes for a few moments. It seemed to help the process flow and I breathed easier.

Then I paused for a minute as my energy settled and I sensed something very different inside, like a wave of calm.

I scooped up some water in my hand and felt the warmth of it ~ I had filled a wee jug from the hot tap by mistake !

It really helped. . .the warmth in the water seemed to express exactly the quality I wanted to carry, like an antidote.

I sploshed the water over the paper and dropped a few pices of soft pastel into the water ~ green, blue and black.

They immediately began to dissolve. I trook them out, held them long side on to the paper then waited a moment.

My hands knew what they wanted to do. Then ~ from left to right ~ working my way down from the top of the page,

I dragged the pastels across the paper in a soft, slow, even arc . . . like there was just one wee wave lapping onto

the shore ~ with hardly a breath of wind in my mind. Because the paper was already wet ~ the colour seeped into

the white background in ways I could not control and left an image that was smooth, flowing ~  yet broken up and

not uniform or perfect.


The wax lines I made first did not allow water or colour to really get to the paper and so now they become visible,

like a pattern on the ocean floor under the surface. Both the swirling and the strong, thick verticals are there now

though they are a llittle weak for my liking and so I take the Black and go over the prison ' Bars ' roughly to make

them stand out more ~ as if they were in the foreground of the picture now ~ even though they started life in deep

background. There is a definite ' stopping place ' now . .  . and I know I am not supposed to fill in all the space on

the page. It is tempting as this was all pretty quick and I have finished kind of early ~ before the time we have in

the group is over. However ~ as I sit back to look at the image and just let it resonate inside me a little, I begin to

sense the emotional edge of the moment and connections to my own personal history this image seems to touch. 

There are some tears here and so I take a wee time out from the busyness of the room and all the other people.

I go into the corridor and walk a little.

The walking helps and I am able to ' stay ' on the edge of the tears ~ without going into them ~ just close enough

to sense that there is also a smile in here, rising to fill my eyes from inside my chest.

That wee moment of connection is priceless and I am smiling now as it returns to mind ~ as I know how helpful it

is to be ' smiling on the edge of tears '.