Spring Green: Creativity and Passion in the season of new growth


At this time of year the mystery of nature and life itself beguiles and beckons our eyes from azaleas to zeninas with this greening.
Demeter (photocollage Wes Chester)
In Greek mythology,springtime is born of Demeter’s gladness for her daughter Persephone’s return from the underworld. It is her joy that pushes open the tiny buds of the Crane’s Bill in purple, the first roses, the yellow freesias sending out scent before blossom – the garden greening and blushing. Is it any less wonderful to know that it is the wobbly precession of the spinning Earth on her axis that tilts our faces once again to the steepening sunlight? Spring will come, come what may.
Hildegarde Von Binghen

Hildegarde Von Binghen (artist unknown)

Hildegard von Bingen (1098- 1179 ) the first and only Abbess of a monastery in the Middle Ages, named the “green force” of life Viriditas. She saw it as a spiritual power that penetrated everything and imbued the earth with life. The green flame, it has been called. “There is a power that has been since all eternity, and that force and potentiality is green!” she wrote. She described this power as divine, the animating life-force within all creation, giving it life, moisture and vitality. Viriditas was green fire and energy. 

The fact that we now know the green is a chloroplast in a plant, the part which harnesses the energy of the sun 93,000,000 miles away, and makes life possible does nothing to erase the wonder or magic of this “green force.”
Butterflies are Heralds of the Spring

Butterflies are Heralds of the Spring (photo Wes Chester)

I peer into the garden, seeing the buds of a favorite trumpet flower getting fatter and fatter. At the bud’s very tip, a tiny speck of red that will, a few days later, unfurl to reveal the thumb-sized crimson trumpet. Other wispy twigs are sporting feathery antennae, that, over a few days unfurl and turn into leaves.

At this time of year the mystery of nature and life itself beguiles and beckons our eyes from agave to zeninas with this greening greeting. Even in temperate San Diego, Spring is the season of new awakening and vitality. 
MIniature Daffodils come like ting golden stars among the greed swords of their foliage

MIniature Daffodils come like tiny golden stars among the greed swords of their foliage. (photo Wes Chester)

In art, from Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring, to Dylan Thomas’  “Green Fuse”, spring and greening figure prominently. When I first met Elizabeth McKim, the poet laureate at the European Graduate School in 1997, I had just lost my beloved brother to the ravages of diabetes in the form of a fatal heart attack. As we walked in the larch forest, she recited the refrain “…and the green goes over and over.” I began weeping, not only with grief, but at once for the death of my brother, and for the recognition that life in its infinite seasons goes on.  His life didn’t, my life won’t, but life itself goes on, as in the humble form of grass.


This year I was willing to allow the sadness of my Mother’s recent death live on through the fog and dreariness of Winter, but even my most noble feelings cannot fight the force of the greening. Spring green interrupts my mourning with the cheer of miniature daffodils. My heart is tickled. They make me glad. They are so exuberant. I let nature and her wisdom lead me on.

-Judith Greer Essex, PhD, REAT, LMFT,ADTR 
Director, Expressive Arts Institute

Want to make your own art to celebrate your  greening? Here’s a simple, meditative process…

Green Journal
You’ll Need: 
  • A Journal
  • Masking Tape or Painters Blue Tape
  • Whatever art materials you prefer (Colored Pencil, Craypas, Watercolors, crayons, etc.) as long as they’re green.
1) Open your journal butterfly fashion (two facing pages, double size). Tape off a border. Find a green you like in any medium and make a color block of that green.(This means you fill the entire block with one color.) I’m using oil pastel; or craypas.” 
2) When you are finished covering all the white in the box, remove the tape. The green rectangle should really pop, proud and distinct. You’ll notice that irregularities inherent in the surface + materials give it a natural look. 
3)On the other side from the green block, you have choices: write your current feelings about greening, in your garden, the world or your life. 
OR, take a poem about spring or green and copy it onto the other “wing.” Here are a few I like. 
  • Dylan Thomas. “The force that drives the green fuse…”
  • Brin Edwards. “Green, the color…”
  • Elizabeth Gordon McKim. “House, Water, Earth, Sky”
Or why not write your own poem? Either way, this is a simple and satisfying way to honor the change of seasons. Judith
Don’t Forget, You can also celebrate the Greening with our upcoming Flower Moon, Womens’ Movement Workshop

Institute Movie Night: Inequality for All, Random Valentines Success


Institute Presents an Award Winning Documentary:Inequality for All on Friday March 7th 6-8pm

by Wes Chester, MA, CAGS, Institute Director
As a part of the Expressive Arts Foundation’s commitment to community building and community discourse, we present movie nights on topics of interest to the aesthetic, intellectual and social health of our community. This month that movie is Robert Reich’s Inequality for All. We live in a community of vast disparities in wealth and opportunity, where 3000 people sleep in Balboa Park each night, even as it is being spruced up for the coming centennial celebration. We live in an economy where our graduate students are sometimes forced to suspend their studies due to finances, even as the country’s wealth grows to historic levels. This movie is a timely and well researched take on why such disparities exist, and why we may be a able to effect change by acting locally, as community members.
This viewing is more than a opportunity to see the movie. There will be a moderated discussion to follow, and we would love to add your voice to the discussion: for more info click here

Random Valentines Proves to be a Huge Hit

If you regularly follow the newsletter, you know the history of Random Valentines. Well this was another

beautiful year, with over the top art, standing room only attendance and plenty of fun. There’s very little more satisfying than a room full of art makers, producing works to be given away.DSC_0091

Among the many contributors to our “Great Wall of Love” was a joyful bunch of students and

graduates from the Expressive Arts Institute that helped keep the evening lively and fun.


(pictured l-r: Isabella, Rebecca, Ana, Christie, Carol, Erin, Maria and David)

This is far from a representative sample. Click HERE  to see the full collection of all the fun

valentines created this time around, to visit the Expressive Arts Institute Facebook Page.DSC_0040

The crowd was standing room only through most of the evening, and were encouraged by

the excellent job of this years facilitators Galit Shezifi and Therese Rossi (pictured Below)

A love-ly time was had by all…


DON’T FORGET: Our Two-Day Introduction to expressive arts, Expression Express returns March 8th-9th. This class can be used to boost creativity, and is a prerequisite for the institute graduate studies application.

Keep in touch through our Events pages for ongoing and exciting new opportunities. There’s always something new at the Expressive Arts Institute.