What Art does For Me

My first attempt at art-making is usually my best. That’s because I paint by sense and intuition, not by knowledge and experience.

The good piece.

While I know that part of my head is involved in the art-making process, most of my brain is not. As a self-taught visual artist and a late bloomer, I admit to not caring so much about others’ assessment of my work. Because it’s not about them, nor is it for them; it’s about and for me. It’s about the language I use to bring out what’s inside my heart, sometimes what’s in my emotions, but mostly it’s about my heart, and soul.
Primarily, I paint to bring out the joy in my soul, to give it the light of day. Maybe it’s a way of ensuring that the joy doesn’t just burst out into explosion as it keeps building inside of me! Attempting to paint it expands and frees up the joy, as does seeing it on the wall or in an art journal. It gives me great joy to see the joy.
Secondly, I paint to process and release emotion, especially the heavy stuff, especially what no longer serves me. Once I put that emotion away in a journal, it no longer resides within me. It’s gone, captured within the paper and paint. Like magic! How perfect.

For me, making art really is about the process, the delightful dance of putting colour and shapes to paper; it’s about the feelings expressed or captured during the art session. Sometimes, it’s about the heavy emotional weight that is released by it. Allowing the piece to take hold of that dark ‘stuff’ and locking it in is a true blessing indeed. This is when healing through art happens. I am amazed by it, by the process of making art and by the medicine it holds. And so thankful for art journaling.

On the other hand, not every piece turns out as I had hoped. I recently  made a lovely, joyful piece in my journal that just lit up my spirit. So I wanted to make a larger version for the wall. But it did not work out. It turned out flat, not joyful, and not so lovely. No surprise there! But guess what? I chopped it into a bunch of perfectly delightful small pieces to use in future works, as collage parts. And, I made the best greeting card from one of the cuts. I’ve learned not to discard any ‘duds’. Sometimes I cut out large letters from a reject and create gorgeous words for another piece. It all works together.

I am learning that if the word Leadership scares me, and it does, substitute the word Serving. Since that is what Jesus taught, to serve others, especially those in need, maybe in need of heart mending. Yes, that works for me.

Some of the happy cuts

I would love to teach others how to use art as a way to process and heal old hurts, or soul wounds, or at least help lessen the weight of their emotional load. Some people call that Art Therapy. For now, I’m calling it Art Ministry. And I am starting to learn about how.

Art helped me to fight depression back in 2010, and was instrumental in building up my self-esteem. It taught me that creativity is a necessary and dominant part of my soul’s nourishment. That I cannot do without it and remain healthy.

Some will say that it’s different for me, because I have always been artistically inclined. While that is true, I am not so sure that not everyone has a similar, deep-set need for creativity. The need might be dormant, and in a different form, but I am pretty sure that it is in there, waiting to be released. By you. And for you.

May God bless you this day, dear reader.

Greeting card made from a rejected piece

2 thoughts on “What Art does For Me

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