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Therapeutic Art

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"Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep” Scott Adams – cartoonist.

Today I would like to speak about art and why I find it to be both therapeutic and freeing.

Art is a subject close to my heart, when drawing or painting an image, I can get lost, absorbed into a world of creation. The process from beginning to end, captivates a part of me like no other. An idea stimulates a plan to create a visual expression of what is inside and how to bring it out. I play games in my mind, considering how far I will push myself in this next creation, I wonder if I can actually do it, and whether it will work out the way that I visualise it.

I notice that it is made harder for thoughts to enter or disturb the creativity once I’m there, like a trance that becomes obsessed with creating something meaningful. The technicalities, the colour, the angle, amending or remoulding a mistake, all taking me far away from my day to day thoughts or worries.

While I’m thinking of ways to create, my mind slows down and becomes focused.

Once a creation is complete, it can have so many meanings, sometimes I see how the painting reflects my mood, a memory or tells a story that I would otherwise struggle to verbalise. Along the way sometimes I battle with the way I create, which mirrors other areas in my life… my need to be right, my need to finish quickly, how I feel when the artwork is not as expected or becomes difficult.

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Even whilst writing this blog, I am aware of the difficulty to express my meaning via words, unlike the picture that I create, it paints a thousand words. My mind is able to feel free knowing that the reaction or impression is owned by the viewer, that is solely theirs, not a misunderstanding of words written or verbalised.

Whether you are a vivid artist or simply creating a pattern or marks, the process can be the same. Concentrated work, to create meaning without thinking too much about why. I believe Art is the pathway to the subconscious and at its minimum, a stretch for the mind.

They say that happiness is in the moment, the here and now, by taking part in a creative activity, both your mind and body are present and focused on just one thing and everything else floats away. Yes, art, for me, is fantastic therapy.

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If you’d like to know more about art therapy or my paintings, please give me a call.

Zoe O’Reilly