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My art therapy journey has been mostly a solo experience up until recently, meaning without any outside influences or company. It has been a very personal endeavour and one that, at first, was just for me. Over recent years though, I began to share some of my work through group exhibitions which have been enlightening and revealing. It was through these exhibitions that I learned about the power of art as a form of self-expression; a way to empower a person with a visual voice when words are hard to find.
Throughout my abstract painting portfolio, I have dedicated an effort to verbalizing my art works’ sources of inspiration, meaning and sometimes its purpose. Each painting has its own painting story, as I have called it, and whilst the details are of a factual nature, the process feels very much like creative writing. The creation of painting stories to accompany each painting has become, for me, an important part of the therapeutic process which has, over time, lead to a greater sense of wellbeing.
CREATIVE WRITING GROUP
Just recently, I was fortunately asked, if I would like to join a ‘Creative Writing‘ group. The small group is especially for those who are carers for others in their lives. The sessions are designed to offer individuals a way to express themselves through ‘creative writing’ in a safe, secure and supportive environment. It also gives participants an opportunity to meet new people with whom they learn to share thoughts, emotions and life experiences within an imaginative and creative environment.
NB: For the purposes of this weblog series “Creative Writing Group”, I will not be mentioning any names or personal details of participants or even the name of the organisation that runs the sessions. Individuals have the right to privacy, so it will only be about my own experience – and broad statements about each particular session. I hope you will understand.
CREATIVE WRITING PROCESS
In our group, there are between five to eight participants, one creative writing specialist and one co-facilitator. In this very first session, it was really about getting to know each other and gaining a sense of being comfortable in sharing basic facts amongst the group, in this new space. We then embarked on several creative writing exercises where we were asked to write about (1) The View; then about (2) Where am I right now!; and lastly (3) What am I an expert in? After each piece was written, we shared our writings with each other. It was very interesting to share and hear each other’s creative writing endeavours and was a wonderful way to get to know each other in a manner that was quite personally informative.
MY CREATING WRITING PIECE TITLED “THE HAPPY BOX!”
We were given homework to do which was to write another piece on ‘What I am an expert in?’ this is the writing piece I would like to share here below. I gave it the title of ‘The Happy Box!’:
Title: The Happy Box!
“When it comes to thinking about what “I am an expert in” and taking into account my age, being the length of time I have had, to create expertise – I am left to ponder. The word expert, for me, has a limiting effect. Once you become labelled as an expert, there is a notion that you have reached the end of that ability to grow furthermore; that you therefore know, all there is to know, about that particular field of knowledge.
Thinking again, about what “I am an expert in” I would have to say there have been many things that I have become an expert at, over my life; and once I reached that state of being an expert, I moved on to the next thing I could become an expert at. Over what now seems to have been a long life, I have always challenged myself to be the best; to be an expert in tasks that require great dedication and drive, and an inclusiveness of a sort of madness to continue, despite hurdles to overcome.
My greatest life-long challenge has been, to become an expert at being a fully functional human being. Inherited childhood learning and deficiencies, became adult puzzles to work on throughout my whole life. I would mould myself into a better me at times and at other times fail at this task miserably. I have learned to treasure the smallest of delights and recall them in my melancholy moments; to use them to uplift my spirits, when day-to-day life had failed to do so.
To help me gain this sense of expertise in being a fully functional human being, I just recently developed a system for myself. I call it the ‘happy box’! I ask myself each day, is what I am going to be doing this day, going to tick the ‘happy box’ and if the answer is yes, then it is included and if the answer is no, I take the time out to ask why and should I be doing it at all, if it is not going to tick the ‘happy box’.
I find myself now working towards being an expert at living the balance of my life in such a way that I look for joy in every day. My ‘happy box’ thought process, has been helping me work towards this quest. I look to become the expert I have been striving for, all my life. It is a deeply personal endeavour and it is going to be very satisfying … it will tick the happy box!”
Written on 28th October 2014 by Karen Robinson – ‘Copyright’ Protected
CREATIVE WRITING INSPIRING ART!
After immersing myself in my creative writing homework task; and after reading it to the creative writing group in session 2, I decided to go home that day and do a small work of art based on my creative writing piece ‘The Happy Box!’ to accompany this weblog. The ‘Matisse Acrylic Structure Paint‘ colours I chose to use are bright and bold being (1) Cadmium Yellow, Cadmium Red and Red Oxide, along with two other colours I had mixed previously – a reddish colour and black/smokey colour. I used a flat, oval spatula to smear the paint around the paper and then used a thin paintbrush to add the box and tick. I found myself really enjoying the process of producing the artwork and photographing it accordingly. Even the act of photo-taking of it was a therapeutic process! Art therapy at its best I feel…
For me, the act of creative writing and accompanying it with the process of creating artwork to reflect the creative writing piece – definitely ticked the happy box…
Whilst you are here – please check out my home page! My Art Therapy Journey – A window into the soul of an Abstract Artist through art therapy and storytelling…by Karen Robinson