Painting a Meditation, the Healing Power of Art
If you search on the internet today for’ art healing’ you will find many articles about the benefits of using art as part of therapy. Studies have been done to prove the benefits of art therapy in aiding the healing process for many different types of wounds.
It is a truly positive thing that the healing properties of art and its practice is recognised. Life is full of different pressures. Awareness and our overall well-being can be aided through many creative outlets in our life. This is a great balancer for the hectic and fast-moving pace most urban lives are becoming.
The interesting question, is why? Why is the act of creating art so healing? (note, that this article is not a scientific assertion).
Image: Michelle Kurihara
Art can harness the healing power within each of usJacki Armstrong The Healing Power of Art
and help bring us into community with one another. In the presence of art, we may experience inspiration, wonder, and even hope; it can spark our imagination, creativity, and thinking. Our internal awareness and capacity for transformation can expand through experiences with art.
Art as a Bridge
A worthy and fundamental function of art today, as we see it, is its function as a bridge. Bridging cultures, communities, ideas.. connecting people. And recently, I am also reminded of another crucial connection. That art serves as a bridge towards… the self.
Taking the analogy of the book and its cover.. which applies to our human characters and how we perceive and experience life. there is an external way we experience existence and an internal one. Externally, we move about, interact with other people, and go to our jobs and we experience this life through our outward actions that exist in an environment with other elements that are outside of ourselves.
A Hidden Self
Whilst this is all going on, we experience life and the self in a far more private way. This parallel existence is one we have with ourselves, which is something no other person can truly experience or know.
Perhaps this outward-inward construct can be applied to everything. With the aid of our imagination, lets us apply this same narrative towards art. Art, let’s say a painting, in and of itself, has an exterior existence.. once it has come to be, it is either put away or put on display. It is either admired or despised or simply ignored. It can be truly appreciated and loved or misunderstood. Paintings, if they could speak perhaps experience the judgement and censure of the world even more severely than people do. Once a painting is created, its fate is almost synonymous with being judged. It expects to be critically addressed.
The Contentment of Art
If a painting is given the same opportunity as we, of having this external as well as internal existence.. the internal and private side of the painting is simply content to just be. It may not have the aspiration to be the subject of adoration or recognition. It is simply content, being what it is. Part of its journey to becoming what it has become is very much a process that it cannot reject.
A painting at its beginning is empty, pure, and blank. Shortly thereafter it starts to have an idea of itself. Perhaps it is a shape, or a specific purpose. It wants to say something, or be something other than a blank canvas. During that process, there is always a passage of incompleteness,.. of imperfections. Even mistakes and transformations. All of this, in its effort to become the best version of what it aspires to be.
Pictured: Imperfect Zen by Michele Kurihara
Take away our ownership of the painting and the painting in itself is content. Not ever feeling inadequate. Though is an imaginative exercise. An empathic one towards the wonderful mysteries that compel us to say that a great work of art is alive. It is imbued with energy.
The inevitable human fate of art..
Perhaps you may see this congruence between the existence and fate of art with our own. A rueful whimsical comparison, but this only makes it clearer, why art can heal. We have sentenced art, our own heaven and hell. Our paradigms, our rewards and our punishments. As art is an extension of our existence and our expression, within it lies the whole of our chaos and our peace. Image: Michelle Kurihara of @soundofrainstudio. By Dewi Dian Reich Sawidji Studio
In this respect, we have perhaps made a truly perfect mirror in our art, of ourselves. Indelibly we imprint our consciousness and subconsciousness into the fabric of what we create. We recognise this aspect as it plays its part to coexist in an external world. Whilst the other, private and secret, is hidden from all except ourselves.
When art has proven to be powerful in helping us heal, we are perhaps connecting to it on this internal dimension. When we connect to the art process and make no demands of its outcome.. perhaps it is healing because we are acknowledging our inner selves that often get neglected and shut down in our race to fulfil all the things outside.
Art is the master of bridges. Providing a path for us to reach impossible places. It crosses time, it crosses language, it crosses politics. And here is the most profound path it gives us, a bridge to our true selves. The one unseen and unheard by anyone. We have a bridge to meet ourselves and begin a conversation. There we have a way to give the love back to our spirit. That spirit will in turn be nourished. That is perhaps the mystery behind the healing power of art.
Learn more about Michelle’s story and how she began Sound of Rain Painting Meditation Studio.
Painting Meditation Workshop
Painting Meditation with Michelle from Sound of Rain Studio. A way to experience painting as a guided meditation towards a deeper self awareness.
Every Thursday 2 – 4 pm at Sawidji Gallery starting January 19th 2023
Learn more about Michelle Kurihara of Sound of Rain Studio.