The Art of Healing
COVID-19 has dramatically changed all of our lives.
It has limited our ability to join classes, listen to live music concerts, and attend exhibits at the Art Museums. Many people have already established their routine art groups, scrap-booking groups, and ceramic studios that they attend for their artistic release or mental/emotional escape from the realities of life.
Being home and unable to access your groups, to be involved in life where most of your inspiration comes from, may have left you feeling that creativity pushing against your chest or images bouncing around in your head with no clear direction for birthing them.
Indeed, it can feel intimidating to stare at a blank page in a sketchbook or the white space of a canvas.
Without the direction of a prompt or the creative energy of a class, it can feel overwhelming as the pull to create goes head to head with the frenetic search for a clear direction to begin.
It is important to remember that there is no right or wrong way to do art.
You simply have to start making marks on a page or gluing items together to discover what your unconscious wants you to know. Art can provide the boundaries for intense and chaotic feelings, creating safety for them to be expressed in their “bigness”. Art can also be a fun way to bring family members together. It enlivens us, energizes us, and is a playful way to explore ourselves. No one needs to possess great talent to do art. Art is a process, not an end.
And it doesn’t just feel good, creating art has been proven to facilitate healing.
The use of art has been studied in a variety of populations receiving therapy such as veterans, cancer patients, children, and the elderly with dementia. Dr. John Diamond, founder of the Arts as Healing Foundation, found that people with dementia and other progressive neurological diseases can still create because creativity continues to be present all the while past language skills and the ability to reason are compromised. Dr. Diamond also found that visual art can reduce stress and create a more relaxed state in our bodies and mind.
Art with guidance has been shown to facilitate new understandings, insights, problem-solving abilities, and new perspectives that can lead to a more positive outcome and healing.
Carl Gustav Jung considered the father of analytical psychology, designed and used the mandala as a way to tap into the unconscious. Today, Jung’s concept remains in the form of adult coloring books. In nearly every store in the country, you can find these coloring books in a variety of designs that intend to guide you toward mindfulness and a state of calm.
I will be presenting art prompts weekly for you to do individually or as a family.
Now remember that there is no bad art.
In fact, the Japanese call this “Wabi Sabi”, or releasing your unrealistic expectations and embracing the imperfections of being human. If you keep waiting for the perfect moment, the most amazing idea, or all the right materials to create with –you will never begin. Art is in the moment, of the moment and it will pass with the moment just as another moment presents itself. Welcome it.
Allow the other moment to leave so that you can have the space for your new guest.
Art Prompt #1 MAKE SILLY PLAYFUL PAPER MASKS
Since masks have become a necessary part of our lives, I thought it might be fun to make some silly paper masks. You can have each family member make one and then do a family mask photo. You can have each member draw or color the face of their favorite animal or even a piece of fruit. Instructions:
- Take a piece of blank printer paper and fold it lengthwise.
- Unfold the paper and cut along the folded crease.
- Fold the corners on the short side toward each other and staple them so the ends come to a point.
- On the front side, you can draw or color the face you like (i.e. pig, cat, dog, simile face, a man with a mustache, or maybe a rainbow or butterfly).
- Then take two rubber bands and staple them on the back of each end point wrap the rubber bands around your ears have a family parade of animals and take a family photo shoot.
MAKE A MONSTER Instructions:
- Take a sheet of printer paper or construction paper and fold it into thirds.
- One person draws a head on the top third with lines from the neck slightly crossing over onto the second third.
- Pass the paper to the next person – folded so they can only see the second third of the paper.
- Then draw a middle section of the monster (without knowing what the head looks like!).
- Then fold the paper so only the last third shows.
- Then pass it to the next person and that person draws the bottom portion of the monster.
- Once it is completed open it up for everyone to see and enjoy!
Alternatively, each family member can draw a part of the monster on a single sheet of paper.
Once everyone has completed their drawing, the separate parts can be taped or stapled together. What kind of monster did you create? Give your monster a name and identify what sound it would make or how it would move. Have fun with your new monster!
TEXTURE SKETCH Instructions:
- Choose any size of paper you would like, whether it be a large poster size or computer-size paper.
- Then place your paper on items with textures inside of your house or outside (for example, tree trunks, leaves, textured seating, a lamp base, the top of a lid, or a rough stone).
- With a crayon or pencil lightly color in back-and-forth strokes on the paper and watch the textures appear.
- Create a collage of textures on your paper and fit as many as you can.
- Challenge your family to take their paper and crayons and find as many textures as they can. When you all come back together share them and talk about which textures you found and how you created your design.
Enjoy doing your art and Wabi Sabi to you!!