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July has arrived and the recommencement of our Art Therapy Group has got started! There were the same familiar friendly faces along with an addition of two new members. We have been fortunate to have the same art therapy facilitator and the organisation’s co-facilitator as in previous art therapy sessions. Being our first session, we were advised by the art therapy facilitator that this session will be a warm up to get us all back into the art for therapy process.
EXERCISE 1 – “Landscape Colour Opposites”
For our first art therapy exercise, we were asked to choose a piece of paper from a selection – being small, medium and large which ever we felt comfortable with in size and I choose the large. Then we were to do a landscape image with a difference. We were to have colours within the landscape that were a contrast to what we would normally expect them to be – for example the sun could be normally yellow, so a contrast could be green. There were a choice of mediums to work with such as pencils, pastels and crayons, I choose the pastels. Some of the participants expressed that this exercise was difficult to some degree being that doing the opposite to the norm was a challenge and others, like myself found it fun, a good challenge and especially for myself, a relaxing experience.
EXERCISE 2 – “Self Portrait”
Our second art therapy exercise for the art therapy session involved doing a self-portrait. I had done a self-portrait in a previous art therapy session and could remember it as being very challenging at the time and thus lead me to be a little apprehensive about committing to producing another. I decided to follow the same method as done previously and asked the co-facilitator if she could outline the shadow of my image onto the paper. I then outlined this shadow in black pastel. I found I wanted to soften the black lining and commenced etching short strokes across this lining. Liking this look, I decided to complete the whole image in the same fashion.
At the completion of our self portraits, we were asked to hang them on the wall, in one line, side by side to view. We then sat back and viewed from a distance. It was amazing how different each of our portraits were and how we had interpreted the art therapist’s instructions. The art therapist facilitator stated that it was not unusual during this exercise for participants to do a ‘young self’ image and for me, I had done an image that really portrayed my current self. This I did find challenging and found myself becoming upset without really understanding why – the challenges of art for therapy I feel, the close examination of ones inner most personal thoughts and emotions, not always clearly definable!
EXERCISE 3 – “Zentangle Art”
To finish up for the art therapy session we were ask to do a Zentangle small artwork. This was meant to be a relaxing process but unfortunately for me, it wasn’t. I had started off this art therapy session enjoying the process, but after the self-portrait exercise, I found myself a little disturbed. Other participants did find this exercise a good way to finish up the session.
After packing up at the completion of the art therapy session, we headed across to the local restaurant for a bite to eat and a friendly chat. It’s a great way to finish up on a positive note and it always works for me…
NB: For the purposes of this weblog series “Art Therapy Group Sessions 2015“, 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.
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