"For the artist, the goal of the painting or musical composition is not to convey literal truth, but an aspect of a universal truth that will continue to move and to touch people even as contexts, societies, and cultures change. … For the scientist the goal of a theory is to replace an old truth, while accepting that someday this theory too will be replaced by new truth because that is the way science advances.”
The idea of healing through art dates back to Sufi times, ancient shamanism, mysticism and Greek tragedies.
The creative process of art making improves and enhances the physical, mental and emotional well-being of individuals of all ages and supports the healing process of people with serious and chronic illnesses. It is based on the belief that the creative process involved in artistic self-expression helps people to resolve conflicts and problems, develop interpersonal skills, manage behavior, reduce stress, increase self-esteem and self-awareness, and achieve insight. Using art as healing doesn't require you to be a "good" artist. The process of creating art is magical and healing in itself. There is nothing more beautiful than the journey of self.
The essential process of healing ourselves with art, music, or dance involves our own personal change. When we are ill with a physical or mental problem or when we need to grow, we start to heal ourselves with art by opening ourselves up to our inner voices of change. We allow ourselves to listen to those voices and to let their messages to us emerge.
As an artist and a woman who overcame cancer, I know firsthand the healing power of creating art. After I was diagnosed with cancer, I fell into a place of despair and hopelessness. Art provided unique problem solving opportunities and a safe path for me to transcend the trauma into a joyful experience of self - discovery.
To be creative I needed to learn and be willing to take time just for myself. As a mother, wife and professional woman this was not always easy. I had to learn to close the door to my studio and turn to the needs of my soul and turn my back to the woman who had to prove herself on how reliable, dutiful, compassionate, caring, self sacrificing, available, loving, responsible she is. There was always someone or something knocking on my door which seemed to be more important then my need for attending my healing time in the studio.
I needed uninterrupted periods to be in my studio. Many times I have faced myself through my art. Creating art allowed me to listen deeply to some essential questions such as, "what do I really want, what do I feel, what do I like, what is moving me, what makes me feel alive, what gives me pleasure, what do I think?" The time in the studio was (and is) a me, myself and I time, which is sacred, to allow my creative juices to flow and to turn into a wild rushing river, to step outside of the box, to risk censure, to find my own unique style, to express myself, with warts and all.
This means also that I had to leave the ideal, the image of what is called beautiful. I learned to leave the image of flawlessness, to allow myself to be messy, to give up my version of perfection, where everything in the artwork is pleasing and soothing, to allow a big “flop painting”, to give up the need to control and allow myself to enter the flow of spontaneity, trusting my own innate beauty and sense of style.
Through the healing arts I entered unfamiliar wild and untamed landscapes of my soul. I learned to be fierce and powerful; unafraid of my own power and anger, unafraid to speak up, to take a stand, to have limits and boundaries, unafraid to say no, refuse to be treated disrespectful, willing to break connections and walk away from toxic relationships to protect my own wild and precious self.
My healing journey became an exciting adventure where I found endless healing strategies through expressive arts. While I did not have control over cancer, I did have control over my life and the art I created or my interactions with art and music, dance and writing.
The techniques and ideas I found so valuable in helping me heal, did not exist in one place. I got ideas everywhere and had to write them down so they would not slip away. The more I learned about the connection between art and health, the more passionate I became in helping others see it as a source for their healing too. Through changes and transitions of life, healing through the arts can provide inspiration for a lifetime of healing.
Some other therapeutic benefits I experienced through art making and other soul therapies were relaxation, pain relief, centeredness, hope and connection with my self. Art making lifted me from my worries and was a way to translate my sorrows into joy. Beauty and creativity made me whole again. I view my art to be a spiritual practice. It is part of my meditation.
Learning something new at workshops or art classes is a more active interaction with art. When I was healing, I challenged myself to learn how to do something I had never done before. The process exposed me to new ideas and people, which I found very helpful to healing. Success came from patience and figuring out how to work with different mediums. Ironically, those were also key lessons I had to learn in my life and in my healing
Beside of exploring my inner world of colour, painting and sculpturing, I included dance, authentic movement, music, writing, drama, acting, journaling, voice work, meditation into my daily / weekly healing programme. I experienced that the creative process of art making unlocked my body's capacity to communicate through the use of creative activities, revealed hidden emotions and triggered my self-expression.
The art I created became a sign of my healing, a visible and sometimes an audible representation of my own transformation and healing.
I am interested in anything creative and spiritual. Just as music can heal through sound, I believe that art can heal through colours and symbols. I feel as though I am a channel when I paint and whatever wants to come out will come out. For me, it is the journey that matters most. I begin with a vision, an idea of what I would like to express about the subject, an attempt at finding the subject’s essence.
Painting is my passion, my focus, my commitment and my struggle. When I am painting time stands still. I truly exist in the moment. There is nothing else, I'm in the flow of of life. I often feel that I'm getting a glimpse of the spiritual realm when I'm in the process of creating art, that I'm connected to something what is larger as myself. My art has always been quite a journey and a unique one for each individual painting. Starting a new work is always an exciting adventure. So, I buy another canvas and I start another painting. What drives me is the process as much as the finished product.
One thing that I love about being an artist is that ideas seem to be developing in my head all the time. I look for most of my ideas as I walk through life and interact with people. Usually the idea for a painting goes through an incubation period, which could be anywhere from a few hours, to a few days, to months or even years. Then all of a sudden I need to put it onto canvas when the time is right. Then again, sometimes I don’t have to look far for an idea, because the muse whispers into my ears: "Paint this".
So, a new adventure starts with all the excitements of exploring a new path to fulfillment and satisfaction. With every painting there is something new to learn, which goes together with the sensation of a delicious discomfort. Throughout the process to the finishing masterpiece there are moments of torments, before the elements of colours of the painting coming together, before the theme, the story of the painting make any sense. There seems always something what I don't know how to do, a skill I seem not to have to project my internal vision of the painting onto the canvas. However, these frustrating moments of torture gives me the impetus to push further, to explore and learn new methods and techniques.
There is no absolute certainty in the process of creating. It is a fine line between a "masterpiece" and a "big miss", especially when you choose the brave but risky approach. Having a ‘big flop’ painting will happen, and I'm learning from that as well. The progress towards better and better is the main game. Not giving up and finishing the artwork, is rewarding. It always gives me a sense of pride, satisfaction and accomplishment. Breaking through the barriers of "I don't know and I can not" is magical. It's a natural high, a vitality rush with the result of strengthening my inner self. Each painting is a way of new self - discovery.
The most important step is to make the first movement, to make the first rush stroke, draw the first line. It was a learning process for me to let go of my inner critic before I could create art from an inner place of no judgement, from a place of letting go, of trust, of love. For the sake of creating art this means also to leave the ideal, the image of what is called beautiful.
I simply let the process happen by itself. As the first strokes increase, the movements join, the words add up, a piece of art emerges and I can see who I am.
I have spent my life learning about artwork, growing as an artist, and exploring different mediums and styles. I can't imagine life without art or the ability to be creative. It is one way of expressing my true self, it puts me in touch with the core and essence of my being. My art is an expression of my being and a celebration of being here. Through art, my soul reaches out to yours and others, voicing a shared truth, moving in the dance of life.
As an artist I belief that art has something to say which cannot be expressed in words or in any other form than by creating art in many different forms. There are times when simple dignity of moving the paint filled brush over a canvas or moving the feet over the dance floor until they grow wings, or diving into a pool of music can fulfill the function of a volume of words.
There are movements of creative expressions which impinge upon the nerves that is incomparable. These expressions of intuitive inspirations, stir the senses and emotions, unique in itself. This is the artist justification for being, and for her searching further for deeper aspect of her art.
Most people assume that to become an artist you need to go to Art College. That is one route, but it's not the only route. In fact, for some people, Art College is the worst possible choice. Why? Because the process of teaching can dull the creative fire. For me, enthusiasm, an open mind, curiosity and receptiveness to creative ideas is all you need to start your art projects.
Visual art can and should be celebrated not only for its aesthetic and decorative value and as a record of historical events but also for its potential to help us express, understand and heal ourselves. My vision as an artist and therapist is to engage the human soul with art. Based on that connection, the colors in my work provide an opportunity for the viewer to experience and work with important resonances that can affect health.
My attempt is to change and to reset the clockwork of our inner being to the most beneficial and health inducing rhythm. When reset and unburdened from the tics of anxiety and social pressure, one's being enters a calm field where new patterns of behavior can develop and take hold within. These quiet inner fields are my medical country and my artwork is the way of passage.
Art is a wonderful passage to the soul. Creating art opens the door of the subconscious mind, and allow thoughts and images to emerge unedited.
With that, I invite you all to join me in the journey, Art for the Soul and be mystified! Being creative releases a part of your soul, you feel free, you feel you can do everything, because imagination can do everything.