Art Therapy Strengthens Creativity

Healing Hands
Healing Hands
Amanda's Fragment
Amanda's Fragment
Amanda's Fragment
Amanda's Fragment
Amanda's Fragment
Amanda's Fragment
Stitched Up
Stitched Up
Anaesthetizing Work
Anaesthetizing Work

This is vital since the creative process is essential to the fulfillment of all positive change, including personal growth and transformation, healing, insight and problem resolution.

I was introduced to art therapy during my cancer treatment, and as soon as I picked up my first brush, it was as if someone had opened a door for me.  I felt instantly at home.  Since that first session in 2002 I have studied with several artists and teachers in London and South Africa.  Although I have used numerous art therapy techniques to develop my art practice, mostly I have used my intuition to guide me. 

Discovering a new technique

In this hub I want to focus on one technique which has strengthened my creativity. This is the 'no brush technique', which Suzette Clough introduced me to. Finding a good teacher is essential for developing and strengthening your creativity.  I have been fortunate because my teachers have always appeared when I have been ready for the next step.  As soon as I begin looking, they appear. 

During the winter of 2003 I worked on this technique on the paint-stained floor of my studio which was part of an old boathouse on the river Thames.  My 'fragmented' body was wrapped in a fleece, and my bald head was exposed. Inspite of the inner turmoil I felt, I was comforted by the isolation of floating on the water, and the serenity I found in being free to just dive into my painting practice, unworried about the end result.

Choosing Colour Intuitively

Mixing my personal paint colours is an integral part of my preparation and practice.  It starts with collecting the containers, old jam jars, which I wash out ready to blend a new colour in. Selecting colour is an intuitive process for me, and I now understand the value of allowing my senses to choose colour rather than my head.  There's a reason I am drawn to blood stained red.  

On the floor of my studio I had a pile of postcard size pieces of Indian Khadi paper, which I tore the edges off. I submerged each fragment of paper in a bowl of water, to make it absorb the paint more readily.  Slowly and rythmically I started to combine and merge the paints onto the paper.  

The paintings came thick and fast in a great rush, a bit like the river outside.  I was painting as fast as I could, and reminded of the many times I had tap danced on the stage as a child, as fast as my feet could carry out the steps.  The paintings weren’t laboured, I didn’t have to think about them, they came through me in gushes of violent reds, ash blacks, and hybrid pink and purples.  I was using magnificient pearlescent acrylic inks which added a luminescent quality to the images.  

Making Sense of the Whole Picture

Slowly the fragments of paper began to form patterns with new edges.  Words came later when I sat back and reflected on each painting and discovered the insights and messages within each image.

My surgeries had left me feeling fragmented, and painting and ripping the paper allowed me to explore the broken pieces and their symbology, until I was able to re-form and later transform the pieces into a whole picture.

Slowly, I began to make sense of what had happened to me through the paint.

Light began seeping into my paintings through the use of metallic powders.  I smudged and blew these fine jewel-like crystals across the wet paint, embedding them into the rough and angry images, softening these edges.

The story and journey continues in the paint.

A collection of these paintings will be published in the summer titled, 'When I Came To My Senses'.



Draw on Your Emotions
Draw on Your Emotions

This manual contains a series of structured, easy to do picture exercises to help people of all ages express, communicate and deal more effectively with their emotions in everyday life. Providing a series of photocopiable illustrations, it is a source of effective ready made material. Contains exercises and pictures specifically designed to ease the process of talking about feelings. Helps to promote a new clarity of thought as a first step towards positive action and bring seemingly huge, unmanageble and insoluble problems into a new perspecitve. Offers opportunities to rehearse other ways of functioning by trying out alternatives safely on paper in exercises that can be adapted for any age range and ability. A superb non-verbal counselling tool.

 
The Creative Connection: Expressive Arts as Healing
The Creative Connection: Expressive Arts as Healing

The Creative Connection is a practical, spirited book, lavishly illustrated with colour plates of artwork and action photographs. First published in the USA in 1993 by Science and Behavior Books, we are proud to be publishing this ground-breaking book in the UK. It describes the Creative Connection® process developed by Natalie Rogers, which interweaves movement, sound, art, writing and guided imagery, tapping into the deep wellspring of creativity within each of us. Natalie says, 'Vital to the creative process is an environment of psychological safety and freedom'. This reflects her deep belief in the philosophy of her father, Carl Rogers, which emphasises empathy, openness, honesty and congruence.

 
The Secret World of Drawings: A Jungian Approach to Healing Through Art (Studies in Jungian Psychology By Jungian Analysts)
The Secret World of Drawings: A Jungian Approach to Healing Through Art (Studies in Jungian Psychology By Jungian Analysts)

The author's clarity of vision and deep compassion for those in need - whether adult or child, counsellor or client - has led him to offer this succinct explication of Jung's ideas as applied to the symbolism of imagery from the unconscious. Both the text and the 100 illustrations show how a healing path may be found through the expression of self in drawings and paintings.

 
The Handbook of Art Therapy
The Handbook of Art Therapy

What is art therapy?

How can art and therapy combine to help individuals understand aspects of their inner life?

This new edition of The Handbook of Art Therapy is thoroughly revised and updated and includes new sections on neurobiological research, and a current review of literature and contemporary practice. It provides a comprehensive introduction to the field of art therapy in a variety of different settings.

 

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Comments 1 comment

BirteEdwards profile image

BirteEdwards 7 years ago

I can see the healing that must have taken place here. I wish I could see them in real life, but the photos are good.

Your writing is as good if not better than the paintings. Thanks for sharing such innermost feelings and processes

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