Today I went to Sound & Imagery art therapy. It was my first time in art therapy so I was out of my comfort zone. First, we sat in a circle and discussed the structure of the session. We were then instructed to get up and walk to the back wall where we could choose from a wide variety of art supplies, papers, and canvas. I chose a magazine, scissors, water color paper and paint, oil pastels, and a few random markers. We were then told to walk to the other side where we could grab a yoga mat, woven blanket, pillow, whatever we wanted. I got comfortable and drifted off to a guided meditation. It lasted about 20 minutes and by the end of it I was pretty much asleep. The guidance involved some deep musical undertones along with soft spoken instruction.
As I was instructed to slowly begin opening my eyes I felt that my mind was empty, which is an unusual state for me. The first thing I noticed was the window I was lying next to. Outside it was rainy, gloomy, and grey. I on the other hand felt very warm, cozy, and relaxed. I would say I felt peaceful. Something about the musical undertones and the guided instructions allowed me to silence the voices in my head; telling me what I had to do when I got home, thinking about the guy who cut me off in traffic on the way over. I was somehow able to meditate; it was nice.
When I sat up and looked at my art supplies my mind had one clear vision. This to me was the biggest reward. As a professional artist the hardest thing for me has become "what should I paint?" Feelings and inspiration come from everywhere but sometimes a thought can get lost in a sea of thoughts. We live in a fast paced, results driven society which sometimes means I have ten thoughts at once. When thinking many thoughts at once the most inspiring one can get drowned out. This is a reason to meditate.
My clear vision when starting the creative section was more of a feeling. The feeling of peace inside a safe haven. Almost like being cuddled up on a couch with your favorite book or movie while there is a snow storm or lightning storm outside. That is the feeling I felt, and that's what I wanted to portray in my art piece.
Still moving slowly I didn't feel like picking up a paint brush so I reached for the magazine and laid back down. Upon flipping through the magazine I cut out a small Arctic scene with penguins. This scene spoke to my "lightning storm / snow storm" vision. Now i had to find something warm for the safe haven. The magazine was actually all about winter so the only "warmth" I found was a vacation add for an island getaway. The ad showed the silhouette of a couple standing on an exotic balcony with a warm light behind them. this would work.
When I glued the couple directly inside the arctic penguin scene I saw something new. The warm lighted balcony in the arctic scene was meant to serve as a visual for my feeling of a "safe haven". Seeing the romantic couple in the warmth made me think to myself "love is a safe haven". Wow. I made a good piece of art today. Most importantly I learned an effective technique to create vision.
Obviously I will not be attending art therapy each time i want to create art, my studio is much more practical. Attending this session provided me with helpful insight. It reminded me that I am most productive when I take a step back before moving forward. I also see how doing this once or twice a month might become increasingly beneficial. I hope my experience with art therapy can shed some light on your process. Whether you make art, music, pottery, or nothing at all, a clear mind can be the starting point of something wonderful.