Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Can You Heal Through Creating Art?

How can making art help you heal?  Can the act of creating art be therapeutic in and of itself?

I am not a therapist, nor am I a psychologist, but I do I know that for me personally, the act of creating art (aside from the dopamine rush I get from doing something I love and am fully engaged in) has a tremendous healing effect on me.  After three or four hours in my studio painting I often feel reborn.  My brain switches into flow mode (like an unbiased observer, relieved from decision making and continuously processing information) and lets my fingers do their tango with the paint, leaving me feeling calm, energized and replenished afterward, not depleted.  It feels very similar to the sensation I used to have swimming laps, when about 20 minutes into my workout I would slip into flow mode.  I felt like I was hypnotized, my brain was resting, and my body felt like it could swim forever. Yay for dopamine!

I have also discovered that I can work through powerful feelings and emotions using paint and canvas almost as therapeutic tools.  This piece is from a new series that I am currently working on called Don't F@#k With Me.

I am very interested to hear how others have experienced this phenomenon of using the process of art making to work through feelings toward healing.  If you would like to share your story with me please contact me at lesleyfountainstudio@gmail.com

(The inspirational words on the above painting belong to writer Augusten Burroughs.)