Saturday, November 12, 2011

Art as therapy

Art isn’t just a painting you hang on your wall. For the person who painted it, it was cathartic. If you look at a painting, not just the picture but the actual brush strokes and lines, you can get an idea of the artist’s mood, and how the subject matter made them feel. You can even tell if the artist was an impatient person. Judging from subject matter and colour choices you can also learn if he was depressed or had a vibrant personality. You can pick up a lot just from looking at a painting.
Now, pretend you are the artist.
Art can be the perfect outlet. You don’t have to be talented. No one expects you to be the next Pablo Picasso or Claude Monet. It may surprise you that sometimes a piece of artwork’s imperfections are its most intriguing attribute.
Being creative is a great way to release tension, and express yourself. You can think of it as a type of therapy. The creative process involved in expressing one’s self artistically can help people to resolve issues as well as develop and manage their behaviours and feelings, reduce stress, and improve self-esteem and awareness.
You don’t have to limit yourself to one visual art form either. There are so many ways to express yourself. You can choose from painting, drawing, photography, sculpture, or a variety of other types of visual art expression.
If you choose to draw, there are a number of different mediums to choose from. You can use pencils, ink, charcoal, pastels, etc. There are more types of paper out there than you ever imagined as well. Whatever you choose, don’t be afraid to set the pencil to the paper.
Painting can be a lot of fun. There are paints geared to the amateur all the way to the professional. There are different types of paints such as tempera, acrylic, and oil. You can paint on paper, canvas, wood, etc. You can paint on pretty much any surface you wish. You just have to make sure you have the right paint for whatever surface you choose, as well as the proper brush. Each brush stroke tells a story.
If you prefer, you can take photos of different subject matter. The way you express yourself is in the way you capture your subject. In photography you can lose yourself in nature, or the architecture of your city or town. You may enjoy portrait photography, capturing the emotions expressed on one’s face. You can create a whole new world through the camera’s lens.
Have you ever thought about ceramics? You can get right into the thick of things. You can choose to begin from clay and mould your own sculpture. You can spin your own creation on the pottery wheel. Or, if you are uncomfortable working from the raw material, you can buy already finished creations and paint them so they become your own.
Needlepoint is an art form as well. It is simple and low impact and the work can be framed and hung for all to enjoy. Cross-stitching is done to a piece of fabric, creating a design or picture. You can purchase templates at craft stores, or you can paint a picture on the canvas, then use a cross-stitch technique to go over the top of the painting.
It really doesn’t matter what you choose. You can decide to show your work by hanging it up or hide it away in a chest or workshop. It isn’t showing it to people that helps you, but the act of creating the work.
You can create on your own or in a group dynamic. There are classes held all the time at local arts and craft stores. Staff at hobby stores can be very helpful so don’t be afraid to ask for help and advice.
It’s easy to bottle up your emotions but you don’t have to. And the best part is, you can let everything out. Art is an outlet, and can be interpreted so many different ways. Someone might see your creation one way but only you need to know what it really represents.
Source: and 50+ Ottawa


  1. Very good post. If I couldn't create I don't know what I'd do with myself. It is so much a part of my life and always has been. I can't even imagine it. I think my life would be empty and dull and colourless.

  2. You got that right, sister! If only more ofg us would be creative, I think the world would be a happier place.


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