Monday, January 14, 2013

More About Insight, Less About Aesthetic

Last Friday I attended my first healing art retreat of the New Year and gratefully achieved my intention for the day of taking a break from outward energy and focusing inward. The directive for the day was to create a book based on our “travels” along a healing visualization through which Mary, our instructor, guided us.
As I have confessed in past posts, I am sometimes hesitant to share my healing artwork when my inner critic deems it childish or amateur in appearance. Now that I am one year into my experience with the healing art process, I’ve come to realize that it is less about the aesthetic quality of what’s created and more about the insight gained in contemplating the results. As Mary has reminded us, our healing artwork is the visual equivalent of a very personal journal. If I think of these works as “journals” vs. “art,”I become less self-conscious and self-critical about sharing them with you regardless of their aesthetic (or lack of!)

In reflecting back on one of my original intentions for Paper and Ponder, I wanted to share my healing art journey in the humble hope of resonating with others who might benefit from finding out about this therapeutic process as I have or helping others gain their own insight by sharing my personal exploration and discovery in this realm. I reminded myself of this intention as I found myself hesitating to share last Friday’s book because of its lowly construction paper pages, simple swaths of paint and childish qualities.
I then noticed that my favorite page happens to include a dragonfly and remembered expressing a similar realization about insight vs. aesthetic in a past post about art journaling, also with a dragonfly theme. On this coincidental (or not?) note, I’ve decided to stifle my inner critic, focus on the meaningful symbolism and underlying emotions of each page in my book and simply share this latest effort in my healing art portfolio. 

An edited version of Friday’s visualization…

Picturing yourself in a healing place

Walking across a bridge from your healing place to a lush garden

Planting a seed that blossoms into a beautiful flower

Stepping into a hot air balloon

Finding a piece of paper and pencil on which to write your problems and tossing the paper into space

Floating up into space with an astronaut’s view of Earth

Returning to Earth and lying down in a sunny meadow

Focusing on your body and its organs being in harmony

My book in all its childish glory!
Healing visualized...the colors that remind me of Kauai and love, always love
(Liquid watercolor, glitter glue, construction paper, seed beads, ink,
crepe paper, tie dye paper, fabric, pipe cleaner, beads on watercolor paper) 

The bridge...journey, explore, discover, safe passage over unsettled territory
(Liquid watercolor, acrylic paint, cray-pas, ink, crayon on drawing paper)

The seed...grow, thrive
(Origami paper, foam sticker, ephemera, deconstructed bracelet, ink, rhinestones on construction paper)
The flower...bloom and scatter new seeds
(Construction paper, shimmer paper, colored pencil, ink on construction paper)
The rainbow-colored balloon...discard and rise above burdens
(Sketch paper, crayon, twine, lined paper, pencil, ink on construction paper)
The astronaut's view...fears and worries out of view,
healing and centering places in view
(Map, bead, ink on construction paper)
The meadow...find peace
(Origami paper, plastic beads, deconstructed artificial leaf, ink on construction paper)
Harmony in the body...physical wellness, emotional wellness,
body and soul and spirit
(Origami paper, fabric, ink on drawing paper)