Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that one day I’d call myself a painter or an artist. I never thought I would be able to draw or paint.
When my doctor suggested to me an art therapy class to help me cope with pain, I raised and eyebrow and told myself she was nuts. Little I knew at that time that her advice would actually benefit me more than I would have ever thought it would.
A few years down the road after that day, while I was running out of options for coping with my chronic pain and the burning under the skin (perks of Lyme disease), I told myself I should give art therapy a try.
WHAT IS ART THERAPY?
Art therapy is an approach used by certain physicians specialized in pain management, based on a mind and body technique. This two-steps treatment combines art media, creativity, and artwork created by patients to help them get back to a normal functionality.
The process intensive step enables the patient to explore his emotions and discover something personal. The second step of this approach has little to do with art as it focuses on the patient’s subconscious. By interpreting the newly created artwork of the patient, the therapist can understand the underlying problems.
FIRST ATTEMPT AT PAINTING
The first time I found myself in front of a white canvas, I was terrified. I couldn’t place a blob of paint on it or hold a brush or a palette knife properly. I was afraid that I will make a fool of myself. I couldn’t even decide what colour to add first.
My art teacher and friend told me to stop thinking about the creative process, to shut down my mind and simply try to have fun. She added that art was a journey and I should enjoy the ride instead of fearing it.
Her words helped me gain enough confidence to grab some paint tubes and explore. I had no idea what I was doing, but it felt good. It took away my mind from the pain and that was amazing. In addition, I really enjoyed mixing up colors and experimenting with paint.
The image above, Water Spirits, or initially named Elders of the Enchanted Forest, is the first painting I ever did using acrylic colours. What do you think about it? Not bad for a rookie, right? I was really happy with the way Casper turned out.
Seeing that window of opportunity painting offered me by enabling me to block my symptoms, I continued to paint almost each week.
I was thrilled that I had found another way besides writing to escape the pain and the burning. More I painted, more I fell in love with the acrylics.