Creative magic – the healing power of art
August 18, 2018
The beauty and concept of art surrounds us on a daily basis. Mother Earth, the greatest artist of all, fills our hearts and souls with her mountains, forests, lakes, sunsets and snowflakes. But sometimes, life seems so busy we hardly have time to notice the wonders around us. I invite you to allow the creative process to help you rediscover the importance of simple serenity.
As an art educator, I have heard many people say, "I've always wanted to do art but I can't even draw a straight line." HELLO - you don't have to draw a straight line to be an artist. Just being human is an art form. Decorating our homes, coordinating our wardrobes, arranging flowers or cooking a meal are all art forms that create the lives we live. When approached as such, the act of creating becomes non-threatening.
Art making provides solace, comfort and empowerment to individuals who suffer from many challenges. The creation of art in any form whether it be educational or therapeutic, is beneficial. I have been an art educator for over 30 years and during those years have discovered that the act of creating can and does help people feel better.
Art making in itself facilitates the exploration of identity and supports one through life transitions. In his book, "Flow," Mihaly Csikszentihalyi teaches us that the very nature of the creative act invokes and induces inner harmony. There is solace in creative endeavors. The end result is not important. It is the process that becomes the healing balm.
Throughout history, the process of art has proven itself as a sacred medicine. Beauty, truth, reality and divinity can all be discovered through an artistic endeavor. Thomas Moore, in his book "Care of the Soul," explains how everything we do from setting the table to dressing in the morning is an art form that aids us in the care of our souls. Art is personal expression. Csikszentihalyi posits that how one feels about oneself, or the joy one gets from living, ultimately depends directly on how the mind filters and interprets everyday experiences. Creating art helps one to discover and retain an inner harmony that boosts self-esteem and provides a sense of satisfaction and competence. The process itself is inherently healing.
Here is a simple exercise. Remember it's the process that counts not the product.
Keep a diary of your creative journey. Beginning today, carry around a doodle book (a pad of paper, blank journal, lined paper, or whatever makes you comfortable). Whenever you feel the urge, just pick up your book and draw whatever suits you, with no conscious thought of outcome or process. This exercise will become a means of self-expression and self-exploration. It is an effective tool as you learn to reflect on the emotions that the creative experience will raise within you. Remember no judgment, no expectations. Allow yourself the freedom to let yourself flow.
At the end of the week, look at your doodles.
• Are there any repeated patterns?
• Do any emotions surface?
• Do you find your sketches change with your moods?
• Do your doodles give you any clues to issues you may be encountering?
Judith Campanaro is an artist, art educator and author. She currently teaches workshops and classes at the Treasure Trove.