How does art heal? How do we know what we are doing is truly a refection and reaction to the process, how do we know it’s working/ I am sure many people ask this question when they hear about using art as a healing process. I myself have delved into so many articles, books, and personal experiences it would boggle the mind.
My own process I believe started at a very young age and I want to share so of those here today in this moment it seems right. When I was young my family did a lot of moving so I found myself alone a great deal of the time as making new friends and being in new places lead to isolation and introverted behavior, it also made me depend on myself for many of my needs in life.
I would write poetry and use watercolor as a background, I learned how to sew and remake things to entertain my time, I also became an avid reader, still am today. I look back and can see how writing the poetry and using pen and ink with watercolors was a process of healing as many of those poems were about the moment I was in .
As a classroom teacher I saw how many of my isolated students used their art to communicate what they were dealing with on a daily basis many in similar situations as myself when I was younger. I believe the educational system has missed the mark in how it uses art. It can develop technique and skill while helping students to build self confidence, take risks, see failure as a process to growth and understanding while healing the inner turmoil they have been subjected too already. Yet they would rather delete the visual arts , use music as a source of income and then insists the arts have no standing in the world today. But that is another time post, I digress.
The process itself is not only skill building but emotionally releasing as any artist can tell you when you are deeply in and unaware of the outside world you are speaking to yourself on a very deep level.This is a very different feeling then when we are building skills and developing techniques that enhance or represent a style or theme in our art work. As in Pat B. Allen’s book Art is a spiritual path engaging the intuitive side can be a unique and cathartic process that through intention can bring about great insight and release of things we hold onto.
I am looking to watch and present the experiences of others through my creative painting workshops soon to be working here in Florida. Friends and colleagues willing this is the path I have been working towards for a longtime. While building my own skills and art the helping of others in helping themselves through art exploration and experiences.
Above : Art work done by students can have many intentions, color theory mandala used for personal reflection.