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Art Therapy is Real

Have you ever been so focused on something you didn’t notice your surroundings?  For example, you didn’t know it was suddenly raining outside or that it was 3 hours past your usual mealtime, or that someone was talking to you?

I recently had a total knee replacement and if any of you have had this, you know how much pain it can generate post-op.  I was blessed to stay with my twin sister and her husband.  My sister has been through this surgery before, so she knew how to support me, and better yet, she is an artist so she knows the power of art therapy.

On my 2nd day at her house, she lured me to her art studio to draw and paint.  She is a professional artist and has taught art for more than 30 years.  We started slow, with simple drawing, then she took me through a simple exercise.  My knee burned and I couldn’t get comfortable, yet once I started painting, my knee pain faded.

Why? I was in.  I was focusing on my subject, a simple cardinal.  I painted several  before this one emerged.   In the days following, I painted sparrows, snow-laden Christmas trees, elephants (!), mice, and now I’m into seagulls. My sister didn’t allow me to “jump subject.” At one point, she had me painting 6 sparrows at once, and she set the timer to stop me from “overpainting” my subjects.  “Let the paint do the work.  Your job is to simply lay the paint down and watch it flow, as watercolors do.

We took breaks and watched watercolor videos.  Sometimes we watched a movie and she challenged me to analyze the cinematography. It is no surprise that she teaches a class called “Seeing Things Differently: …… ” Art helps you see the world in brighter colors, in shapes(circles, triangles, etc.) and to notice how “value” creates depth.

Some may wonder why people like adult coloring books and zentangles.  I think I simply explained it.   It is an escape, a distraction, pure joy, and it reduces stress.

What about you?  What do you do to take your mind off pain or to escape from stress?  If you don’t know, vow to find it in 2017.  If you liked this article, yet feel you aren’t artistic, let me tell you something.  Everyone is an artist, but sometimes you need a little help in training your eyes to stop and look more closely to capture the world around us.  The hardest part of becoming a painter or anything for that matter, is to simply show up.

And then you are on your way.

If you are stuck and need a little assistance breaking out of your comfort zone in order to achieve your goal, consider coaching with me.  I will help your clarify what you want and hold you accountable to what you say you will do.  You hold the agenda, I support you and keep you on track. Contact me at bev@mycoachbev.com today for a free coaching sample so I can show you how it works!  

And if you ever need a wonderful art teacher, consider my sister at www.barbarabendanagle.com !

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Thanks, Norman

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