US based artist and crafter Steph Jordan tells us how she feels using colour can help emotional healing.
You may wonder what art has to do with healing or how you can use it to your advantage without it sounding too much like work. With a healthy imagination and art tools you may find yourself enjoying a healthy colourful creative trip to healing. Using art as a healer allows you to escape from reality without leaving the building!
Throughout history art has given us answers, reasons, signs, the story; and it works the same in the healing process. The messages that come across in our art and creative outpourings are subconsciously transferred from heart to brain to process. Think of the messages left for us by cave people. Obviously they were intelligent and creative enough to know that the drawings they carved on the walls would translate their messages to those that encountered them. In the same manner your creative outpourings will speak the messages you want them to or need them to, show you things you didn’t know and help you open up to whole new colourful ways to think of things or process things.
I am by no means an expert on healing. Everyone heals in their own time and way. I am however, a person that has had a whole lot of healing to do and used art as a way to do it. I didn’t go to art school. I’m not a member of some elite group of artists who have all the answers. I’m a woman that realised that using my imagination and my pain with a little colour was the ticket I needed to feel healed and move forward.
There are four major elements involved in being able to heal using art; honesty, openness, energy and passion. These elements are absolutely necessary for success. Acting on each of these is what creates a flow that allows your imagination to release the energy to create and dream.
Be honest with yourself about how you feel and the message you want to convey or receive. Because after all this is more about healing with art than it is about being an artist. And this is about you. If you feel pain start there. Pick up a pencil and write down the major words that come to you in relation to your pain. I draw hands a lot. I have Degenerative Joint Disease and sometimes the pain is just too much. Deep down in that doubt section of my brain I wonder that one day I won’t be able to use one or both of my hands. It is dreadful but this is reality and a possibility to consider. While this may never be the case it has crossed my mind during times of pain. And that is when I pick up my pencils and begin to let it out. It may actually be painful for me to draw or sketch at that time but generally once I get going I’ve forgotten the pain and created something fun and colourful. Use the things that affect you most and the lessons you learn as a basis for your art healing. However you do it, make it impressionable to you. I use colours and paper to create my reminders. I have many overstuffed colourful journals. When I need inspiration they are but a step away.
Being open to the messages we receive internally and a willingness to express them creatively is a great step on the healing path. Art journals are a fabulous way to go because they are as personal as you make them. A whole new outlook is possible when you make the messages you receive available and visible. Journals serve as reminders and teachers. I journal about my pain and my joy, my mistakes and my lessons. The difference is I journal in colour. The process is relaxing and refreshing. My brain goes from what ails me to what I’m working on, to fresh thoughts. It’s that simple! Simple because it’s not planned, it’s the natural order of it.
The energy you put out is the energy you get back. It’s that way with artful healing as well. When you feel dark and down it will show in your output. When you feel colourful and joyful that will show too. But the more you let it out the better the result will be when you start healing. For years I wrote and submitted poetry. It did well but for me looking back it was painful. It was all written in dark and depressing times and that message was conveyed in all of my poetry. Once I learned to start healing myself spiritually I couldn’t write anymore! That’s not a bad thing, it just means I evolved. My creativity evolved as well. But not to worry, eventually you will work your way out of that box.
Every day we get up and go about our ‘routines’ whatever they may be. Drinking coffee, that certain kind you like. Running before you start your day. Doing your craft. All of these things are done with passion. If they weren’t you wouldn’t continue to do them on a regular basis. Healing with art requires that same passion, that love and desire for happiness. It requires willingness to step outside of your self- imposed boundaries to give it the power it needs to carry you to a healthier place. Knowing there is a reason why you’re doing what you’re doing and that there’s a colourful outcome makes it fun and rewarding. Doing it for you makes it worthwhile and everlasting.
Using your imagination you can pull what you need to create the kind of Arts, Crafts and projects that make you happy, relax you as you create and allow you to let go.
A great way to bring in the sunshine and chase away the creative blues is to start your creative journey with a 'me' piece. A 'me' piece is art that you create just because you feel like it. It has no goal other than to brighten things up. It doesn't start as a 'sell piece'. Its only purpose
is to bring light and sunshine to you. For me that sometimes means breaking out all of the 'product' and setting my brain on 'Play!' And by ‘the product’ I mean, my pile of Derwent goodness.
HEALTHY RESPECT FOR BEING CREATIVE
Developing respect for art and creativity grows as you do. Maintaining this respect and using it to bring out the creative energy in you is so important and will allow you to not only master a talent but to be able to draw upon your own inspiration 98% of the time. If you make time every day to release just a little creative energy, even if only a couple of minutes, you will soon come to need this contact and eventually act on it. Pick up your journal or art book and look over your old works or put down the foundation for new work. Even write yourself a note about something you’d like to one day create or things like colours and materials that caught your attention and sparked your imagination. Sometimes even the colours in a plate of food can make it seem tastier!
These are my healing tools! What are yours?
Teacher, Artist, Dreamer