Five years ago I did not paint and now thanks to great friends and my experiences in ETMOOC , I have more confidence and find it one of the most rewarding , therapeutic experiences that I can imagine. I take mini courses and I watch lots of youtube videos to get tips. It is so much fun.
I have keratoconus a progressive eye disease, ( I was diagnosed later in life ), so I think partly that diagnosis has driven me to create visually in case my vision ever gets really poor. Painting is therapeutic and healing for me. I have played sports all my life and I absolutely love to read, both which can bring me flow , but nothing brings me the kind of flow that painting does.
Painting brings me flow the kind of flow that was discovered by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. Fifteen hours can feel like five minutes for me. I love that it brings me joy and that I am completely absorbed in the process. It is fun and easy and yes I think anyone can benefit from art and painting. If I can you can too.
I plan on using the painting that I did above, thanks to the online instructions from theArtSherpa ( see below) with the students I work with. Art and Counselling definitely go together . Paintings tell stories often times with hidden messages. Students can put their hidden messages in their paintings in several ways.
Process for students:
Let students know that they are going to embark on a journey of letting go of any negativity and go with the flow. Tell them that for the next two hours they are not allowed to say to themselves I can’t . If they hear themselves speaking those words tell them to take their note pads out and write I can … I will.
So before the students actually begin their painting, have them start by being mindful and breathing. Lead students through a short mindfulness process to begin. Let them know that they are going to create a special painting today where there are no mistakes. They can create their trees and painting anyway they like even if it is different from the paining they see. Like mine birch trees do not produce multi coloured leaves , but I did just because I wanted to visually and I love the effect. Tell them this workshop ( seminar) is about being themselves and letting go.
If they would like to follow the step by step instructions here they are:
- Have students write messages of hope and their dreams for their future in pencil on their canvas before they begin to paint.
- Ask students if anyone would like to share their hopes and dreams with others.
The size of canvas it up to the student. ( Have students bring the size of canvas they want to work on.) or provide a canvas for them.
- Have students divide their canvas into six equal sections. They don’t have to be exact and students don’t have to measure them. Tell students they can estimate.
So begin by telling the students that they are going to be creative today and create their own story through art . Let them know they will be painting a rainbow with trees. Tell them they can use any method they like to paint colors on their canvas.
I used upwards stokes, but really any would work. Start with red, orange , yellow, green, blue and purple.
Guide students through the process being as creative as you like in explaining what they can do next. Constantly remind them it is ok to make mistakes ( really there are no mistakes, but they may perceive them as such). Remind them that their perceived mistakes lead to more creativity and it is ok to be as creative as they wish going with the flow and what their heart wants to paint.
Trees can be very symbolic and you can discuss this with students.Trees are strong and unique just like each of them. Birch trees can mean new beginnings. You can discuss with students what they believe their trees mean for them. I chose nine trees, but they can choose any number that means something to them. The lovely thing when you create art just for the sake of it is that there is no right or wrong . There are no mistakes. It just is … creative , how wonderful and freeing.
I hope you have fun , enjoy the process and let go and go with the flow. Happy painting!
If you decide to do this process with your students , please share your creative ideas with me @sspellmancann.
Art washes from the soul the dust of everyday life
Thanks to the Art Sherpa for the detailed instructions in this video.