Jonas Gerard, Abstract Expressionism, & DIY Art Therapy


Jonas Gerard is a modern artist who was born in Casablanca, Morocco in 1941. His art is abstract expressionistic and representational art. He is perhaps best known for his live painting sessions. He paints freely to music. On at least one occasion, he had live dancers perform while he painted.

While he paints, it is as if he borrows creative flow from the music. Here is a video of one of his live painting sessions.

As an artist, I have not only used this technique for the sake of having fun creating art, but as a method of do-it-yourself art therapy. Participating in creative activities is my primary coping skill for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and bipolar disorder (or recurrent, severe depression depending on which of my medical charts you look at). There’s something about doing something creative with my hands that helps me shift the focus from negative thinking or haunting memories.

Like Jonas Gerard, I am a self-taught artist. I taught myself how to paint a few years ago. I’ve had two solo art shows so far and have sold several paintings. I consider this a beginning, as I am still finding my voice.

Abstract expressionism is ideal for art therapy since it involves less concern with the final product and more focus on putting trust in the creative process. I doubt that Jonas Gerard has any clue how he has helped others by showing his technique on YouTube. He probably has no idea that his method is an ideal outlet for those of us struggling with depression and other mood disorders as well as anxiety disorders.

When I have a paintbrush in my hand, and only then, am I free. I encourage other people struggling with mental illness to try this method of painting. It’s pure self-expression. Before I begin, I chose my music, eat a piece of chocolate, and clear my head of any expectations. That is just my process. Another may work best for you. Jonas Gerard uses mostly acrylic paints. Sometimes, I use acrylics, but I usually use oils.

I have several paintings that I have done with this method that I just ended up scrapping after it was done, but that’s okay. I consider myself a student, not a master. I can’t expect them all to be works of art. The painting at the top of this article is the painting that I have done with this method that I am most proud of. It is also my profile picture. I call it Recovery.

If you try this method for art therapy purposes, I would certainly appreciate it if you would leave a comment about your experience.

I wrote a related hub titled "Do-It-Yourself Art Therapy."


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Comments 9 comments

Jackson Riddle profile image

Jackson Riddle 7 years ago from Melbourne

WOW!This guy is ridiculously good. Thanks so much Sheila for creating awareness of him.

Sheila Wilson profile image

Sheila Wilson 7 years ago from Pennsylvania Author

You're welcome! There are a few more YouTube videos of him painting that you can find by searching his name there.

tom 6 years ago

what's the painting at the top called?

Sheila Wilson profile image

Sheila Wilson 6 years ago from Pennsylvania Author

I call that painting Recovery.

jo 6 years ago

been searching for ideas about art therapy and found your very inspiring page. i'm reading the ARTISTS WAY and another book about creativity and started experimenting with abstract water coloring and want to try sketching. I'm hoping these would help with depression. than k you

wearing well profile image

wearing well 6 years ago from Lancashire U.K.

I was drawn to your avatar picture Recovery;the colours are beautiful and your work has created a very spiritual, beautiful picture.What a wonderful way and method of treating depression both for the artist and admirer and viewer.I love art too,well done :)

P.S.Love the idea of working to music and eating chocolate too!

L. Ray Haynes profile image

L. Ray Haynes 6 years ago from the biosphere

Hi Sheila, I just read your hub here. I joined hubpages yesterday and for my first hub I posted an essay I wrote at the end of October. It oddly enough is regarding art therapy in relation to Jackson Pollock and the dream-work of Carl Jung. I find it interesting and synchronous that abstract-expressionism is the stylistic template being used. I think it is well suited due to the reasons you highlight. I too have been using my art recently to deal with my own set of traumatic issues and I see in the process a ritual for expression and consequent healing of emotional and psychological damage.

I wish you the best in your endeavors of discovery! Oh and 'Recovery' is a lovely piece of art, it really drew me in and I see in it very personal, purposeful meaning. It is interesting how such work can resonate with others who view the art. The healing you receive reverberates and ripples outwardly! Keep creating! d;^}>

Michael Jordan 5 years ago

Sir, this paintings that you do are extrodonary and it helps other people to paint.

Karen M 5 years ago

I started college 5months ago to do art and design but primarily came from a crafting back ground and fell into this way of painting just to experiment with different mediums. I also have depression and found it helped greatly. It was not until to we were given a project to choose a movement that I came upon this. This is my way forward and I can now explain it better to my lecturers thank you so much

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