“Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.” This quote by Pablo Picasso is an apt description of how art can refresh and renew! I was in an art therapy group for several years and slowly discovered that art wasn’t a talent bestowed on a chosen few but rather something to be discovered within.
During this time, I learned that art taps into our subconscious and can be emotionally transforming. Art-making can really include anything creative, from sewing to building to cooking. It promotes healing because, as we make art, the brain releases neurotransmitters that make us feel good, including endorphins.
I also learned that making art stimulates the brain with messages sent to the body that can actually boost the immune system, relieve stress, pain and help the body fight disease! What a great way to help our bodies and minds stay healthy!
Art doesn’t even have to look like anything! It doesn’t take special materials and could be as simple as doodling with a pencil on a piece of paper. I started by drawing lines and shapes and eventually got out of my own way and let the process take over. As I relaxed into the process, I let go of what I thought something “should” look like. One of my favorite phrases from those times is “Mary Beth, you need to stop ‘shoulding’ on yourself.” I have to admit, it still makes me giggle! I started exploring with color and different mediums and, as I did so, I gained more confidence.
So…..think of art as a kind of meditation – a practice that is both healthy and healing!