How do you heal with art?
After being sick and unable to move more than 30 minutes a day for a few years with Fibromyalgia, Auto Immune Malfunctions, Lead Poisoning, and whatever else the doctors had not diagnosed, I turned a corner. Those corners in our life..one day you follow the directions and listen to the experts, the next you have to take it on your own shoulders and do what just makes sense. Scared and in pain I turned that corner. I stopped all medications, supplements, hormones, shots, IV treatments, and excuses. The pain was awful..and it subsided. I started working out 2 minutes a day ( now quite a bit more, but two minutes then was hard as Oh My). I got rid of chemicals in cleaning, eating, everywhere i could. Things began to get better.
The most amazing thing i found that helped me was on a documentary on the Television on using video games for the scraping process for burn victims. I can only imagine that is an excruciating process. They put the virtual reality eye goggle thingie on and the pain was not a fully encompassing presence. Wow what a stunning revelation!
I had been creating art since i was knee high to a grasshopper. The great shows that came through museums were mostly missed until…. The impressionist show at the Denver Museum. My husband made sure we got to go enjoy that. I moved slowly through, because of pain, and because i wanted to see the strokes. I found out that the canvas had areas of no paint at all. The perfection was strokes and grooves and color and emotion, not primarily image. When we got home I felt better for four days.
We moved to Arizona and Bill ( my husband ) insisted on me getting painting materials. I hadn’t painted in a few years. It sounded fun. I tried some flowers, and some silhouettes and found the background of the silhouette was the most entertaining part to look at. No image to anchor on, no reality, and really fun to look at. In art school they taught us that images were hidden in the ads, booze in particular. I have always played with this in my creations. Just playing without so much thought and precision and focus on reality created so much more to look for, and find.
Unnoticed I was getting better.
It took an entire year to loose the image and just play. Slowly some structure worked its way into the play. Bill suggested I try wall putty because he had seen a video on youtube that was cool.
Bernie Mitchell, wow,isn’t it cool? Scared of mixing a water based media into my lovely flowing oil paint……………. i jumped anyway. Turns out that oil can go on top of water media but not visa versa. HOW COOL. Now there was dimension. More structure flowed in and more dimension in that structure. I spent hours looking, not just at my creations but at so many other forms of creation. The style was born, and I realized that I now feel pretty good most of the time. I could move, had little pain, was happy in heart and mind.
Just like that burn victim getting scraped for more movement, the looking and taking my brain into that other side was giving me healing. Stress melted away as I looked. It felt as though my body finally had the break from my mind enough to do its own job. In pain it is hard to imagine anything that could take your mind off the pain. I played online video games while at my worst so I could imagine myself able to physically do all that I wanted, be strong and capable again. While it was a great diversion it did not have the same strength of healing to me as looking, spending time looking and studying art.
Michael Lang videos were so illuminating and motivating. This was my first one i watched, now i think i have been through all the free ones and soon going to buy some. He is so amazing and my motivation for the shading and dimensions in my own work.
Lilly’s Song Link:
Not being a genius who can give you quotes and facts to support this hypothesis means that all i can do to illustrate this so others can get the same potential benefits as myself (who feels normal, happy, can move, and now lives with almost no pain) is to illustrate it in creations, babies, that provide the looker with many areas of up and down, right and left, image and image-less, and always with a new piece or dimension to discover. These creations take more time. I plan almost nothing before i start the creation. Each part builds on the last as it happens.
To be able to put this and my babies out into the world so you can heal and relieve stress and live happier is a joy that is indescribable. If one person can get one iota of the benefit that i have received from looking at art then i have begun to pay back the blessings that I appreciate every day. Even if it is not my art. I implore you to look. Spend a little time each day on looking, really looking and seeing it far away and up close and the brush stroke and the speckle, and the color and the dimension. Immerse yourself in the emotion of the beauty, of the artist, of the composition, of the moment. Allow yourself to be healed.
Annessa Y Morrison