Art as Therapy – Does it make you better?

While you are here – please check out my home page!

It is interesting to dwell on what is ‘art therapy’ or putting it differently, can we use ‘art as therapy’.  Meaning, we don’t need to produce it ourselves alone, to gain a therapeutic benefit but we can be a viewer of someone else’s art work and come away with a different prospective, we can be enlightened, and we can be enriched from such an experience with art.  In being able to do this, we need more help with being able to understand the meaning of the art work!  The meaning intended by the artist firstly and most importantly, I feel…

Painting No. 45F - Title "A Fractured Life" by Abstract Artist Karen Robinson - 2012 NB: All images are protection by copyright laws!

Painting No. 45F – Title “A Fractured Life” Feb/Oct 2012
– by Abstract Artist: Karen Robinson NB: All images are protection by copyright laws!

NB:  To view the above painting and it’s painting story, please click on here

Alain de Botton of The School of Life, in his video ‘Art as Therapy’ talks about how we should make a start to use art to “elevate our sorrows, bring us hope, give us courage” and use art as “a resource, a living resource, that is there for our hearts and not an academic or historical exercise” (Alain de Botton. December 3, 2013). He argues that art can be used to help us with our inner most problems of the soul (Alain de Botton. 2013). From my own experience, this has been the case and can be well appreciated within my abstract painting stories.

He also discusses how often viewers of art, leave galleries a little puzzled about what they have just experienced; that the impact of art is not what it should be, because the ‘frame’ is wrong (Alain de Botton). The captions on art are limiting in their ability to help the viewer appreciate/understand what the artist is trying to communicate through their art work (Alain de Botton). During my own art therapy journey, I found a great need to write painting stories for each of my paintings.  I have found that this has given viewers of my art work, a greater understand and a deeper insight into the art work subject matter.  It also has left them with much to think about, well after sighting the art work.

Alain de Botton says that art is like a bucket that is holding stuff – it is holding our own experiences and our own emotions; and that art can show viewers facets of life that we would ordinarily find invisible (Alain de Botton). On thinking about this, I can see how I have used art as a bucket of memories or even a timeline of events which have greatly impacted on my life. He also states that art can rebalance us (Alain de Botton) which I have found myself experiencing over the years, via my art therapy journey. I really liked what Alain de Botton had to say about how works of “art can help us to enlighten us and artists can draw us to, with sympathy, towards some of the moments, we know exist but we have a hard time airing publicly” (Alain de Botton). During my art therapy process, I found that painting and writing a painting story was/is difficult to do – but an even greater difficulty was/is to air in publicly – I felt/feel emotionally naked!  I came to understand the importance of sharing and how it can be very therapeutic.   “Art expands the conversation about the more lonely and sad parts of our lives” (Alain de Botton) and I found this to be true as well.  Alain de Botton presents an interesting perspective on art as therapy in a delightful, informative and humorous manner – worth a watch.

de Botton, A. (2013, December 3). Alain de Botton on Art as Therapy . YouTube. Retrieved May 18, 2014 from

Whilst you are here – please check out my my home page!  I hope you will continue to join on my art therapy journey…Karen Robinson

8 thoughts on “Art as Therapy – Does it make you better?

  1. Pingback: I Do Art Discussion No. 21 – “Brick Wall” by Karen Robinson | ido art karen robinson

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