I posted previously about my discovery of Art Therapy. My Monday afternoon Art class has come to an end until after the Summer holiday; it’s held in the local college and we therefore can’t get access to either the classroom or the Tutor over the Summer.
When I first started drawing, I would look online for pictures related to MH and copy them. I really believed that Art Therapy was about excising the demons in my head, drawing skulls, distorted faces, hideous depictions of what others may think MH ‘looks like’. Here is something from that time:
But this couldn’t be less like Art Therapy(AT). Granted, Art is an expression form. As someone who struggles to verbalise my thoughts at times, writing and drawing have proven invaluable platforms through which I can communicate. However, AT has transpired to be so much more than this. It has instilled a new hobby in me; I never thought for a minute that I had an artistic bone in my body, and nor did anyone who knows me even remotely. But I eagerly watch YouTube tutorial after YouTube tutorial; how to colour, shade, use various materials. I soon learned that I wasn’t under any obligation to draw pictures of people lying on the floor, or people sitting, back to a wall and head in hands. I quickly took to Zentangle, an art form that combines detailed, intricate doodle-like patterns with an element of Mindfulness (‘Zen’):
Further, the AT class has given me the opportunity and, ultimately, the confidence to try different things. AT required each of us to select a ‘theme’ and produce pieces based on that theme using a variety of media. I chose Gothic Architecture, perhaps building on the intricacies involved in Zentangle. I experimented with watercolour, soft pastels, and basic pencil sketching:
I also spend a lot of time at home, drawing, painting, building on the things I learn in AT. I’ve recently gone through an acrylic paint phase, and painted several pieces based on different types of building:
So AT has been an education to say the least. It’s less about the clichéd drawing of a ‘head clutcher’ and more about distraction, something to do with your hands when agitated. It encourages you to think outside the box, use your imagination, and be creative. An AT class dictates that you leave the safety of your own bedroom and socialise with others, build relationships with people who ‘get it’, maybe even make friends. At home, I pass hours at a time, headphones on and absorbed in one drawing or another. For the first time in years, I can say I’m looking forward to something; I’m looking forward to August, when I can resume attendance at the AT class.