Hark Publications: Coming to my Senses: Finding my voice through ovarian cancer
“I found it exciting to read about her inner struggle, her courage to face very painful decisions. She talks openly about how everything that we do in life comes with a price tag, and only if we are willing to face this and the consequences, can we truly be healthy and take control of our lives, including our bodies. I have not had to face a life threatening illness, but I found that when she shares her deepest feelings, she speaks directly to issues in my life.” (extracted from Amazon review).
At the weekend a friend came to visit me in my studio to see my new paintings, and asked to see some of my earlier work. I showed her paintings I had done during a phase when I felt fragmented and raw from painful surgeries and treatment. After she left, I spread out and then collated all the paintings I did during this intensive art therapy phase in 2003-04. Some of these are so small they are like shards, or edges of a painting. Inspired by this collection of over a 100 paintings, I reflected on how art therapy had strengthened my creativity generally at this time, and I wrote about this today in a new Hub Page.
Here is an interview with Ross Bleckner, the New York-based artist, centering on his artistic practice and appointment as the United Nation’s first visual artist as goodwill ambassador to Uganda.
What’s interesting, refreshing and inspiring to me about this appointment is how a big name artist is using art therapy techniques to help these children express their physical and emotional trauma. He calls it, ‘using imagery as a rehabilitative tool.’
Isn’t this what all artists do? I know I do.
Stripping it back so that ‘a lot of what they want to be is expressed in their work.’
How do you use imagery in your art? What does it represent for you?
Every picture tells a story maybe a cliche, but it applies when you are lost for words. This is where art therapy can help. It helped me to tell my story about my journey through cancer, when words felt so inadequate. How do you tell your family your heart is breaking wide open when they are scared for you? How do you even allow yourself to feel the heartbreak? I put my feelings into the paint is how.
This painting was one of my first, and the image of the cradle is a symbol which helped me to understand more of my story.
During the last ten years, art therapy has grown to be recognised as a major force in the complementary care of seriously ill patients.
"Your paintings are like auragraphs. You pick up the information from the person and express it through art. However, they are on an altogether deeper level - not dealing with the outer projection of ourselves, not even with the spirit, but on a soul level. They are soul reflections".
Mary Clair Kelly, Cruse Counsellor