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Art and Healing: It's Therapeutic
Art is Therapy
I am an artist. I work with photography, painting, and drawing. I wanted to offer my own perspective as to why I find such importance with the work that I do.
For me, I'm not an art therapist, but the benefits of doing art and creating something far outweigh the reasons not to.
I believe if everyone took the time to create - art, music, crafts, writing, or otherwise - we would all have a little more balance and the benefits would carry over to many areas of our lives.
In this hub, I'll list several personal reasons why art is such a healing and therapeutic practice and I hope it will inspire you to create more!
Do You Create?
Art is Meditative
Even gardening is an artistic practice: you're "painting a canvas" with plants.
It's as if the very act of creating something makes you automatically focus on what you're doing.
This is why I have come to think of art as a very meditative practice.
Let's say you're doing a painting (I use this as an example, because this is part of what I do for a living).
When I approach a new painting, I make a new canvas (which is a fun process), and plan out the image in my head. Sometimes I will draw it out, sometimes I'll use an inspirational photo that I took, but mostly, the image forms in my head.
I think about all the things I love when it comes to artwork. The lines, shapes, colors, spaces, textures.
I think about how I'll use all those elements to create my painting.
What's amazing about that is I don't think about the monthly bills, other noises, or any other stressful situations that I might be experiencing.
I just think about creating and what I'm going to do with my paintbrush.
Still, as I paint, there's a wisping sound the brush makes as it strikes the canvas. There's the sound of the paint as I squirt it onto my palette. Normally, I am not aware of these sounds, but I become aware as I work and stare at my creation.
Art Allows You to Create Without Methodical and Logical Thinking
This is not to say that there isn't a process, a routine and steps you need to take to create a work of art.
However, the creation process is a chance to step out of the normal, methodical repetitions that characterize many modern societies today.
You can enter your own world and create your own rules.
Because you do this, sometimes your work won't turn out exactly as you'd like, but part of the fun is being able to go back and either re-work it (as in a painting) or figure out a way to work with what you have (as in a sculpture or even a photo).
You can let loose!
Doing Artwork Infuses Your Life With Creativity
When you set aside time to create, other things start to happen in your life.
You start to approach unrelated situations in a creative and different way.
This has happened to me many times as I've begun to do art and photography more and more in my own life.
Suddenly, mountain vistas become a potential photo opportunity.
At work, a normally mundane project can take on a creative slant only because my brain is working more with the right hemisphere, which tends to be the side associated with creativity.
Home remodeling projects become more interesting as you work to figure out how to creatively map out a new bathroom or bedroom.
The way you drive, or cook, or pick out your wardrobe all have the possibility of benefiting from a higher level of creativity - all because thinking creatively lets you think about something from a different angle.
Doing Artwork Relieves Stress
I know from personal experience that when I am feeling the effects of stress, I can go for a walk and begin snapping photos. I breathe in the fresh air.
Or, I can take up a paintbrush and start creating. The act of doing that is such a great stress-reliever because you can't dwell on the stress: you have to think about what you're painting.
Have you ever noticed that children and even teenagers will often express themselves through artwork, poetry, music or something similar when they're stressed?
I believe we humans have a need to express ourselves. What better way to channel our stress than through something we make?
© 2013 Cynthia Calhoun