How Art Heals Us
Walking into an art gallery for me is like walking into a church. The chatter in my mind slows and eventually silences.
I feel the broken parts of my spirit pull together. The scratches and scuffs on my soul smooth over, any emotional bruises fade and I fill myself with light. Even if parts of the world are depressing, the honesty and truth I find in images created by other humans is a balm.
It reminds me of how much I truly need art and beauty. It’s not an option, but an essential nutrient every bit as vital to my wellbeing as protein, calcium, vitamin A.
I pay attention to the type of art that draws me: surrealism, textures, darks and neutrals paired with punches of bright colors, especially complimentary color schemes, or monochrome. Blues and yellows. Art that toes the line between representational and non-representational, that marries the geometric and the organic, chaotic splashes and lines with order and precision. Art that represents only loosely, that merely suggests the subject and captures the essential.
Full of inspiration with pages of notes and thumbnails doodled in my sketchbook, I got home to my own studio and paint.
Even if I’m having the suckiest day that ever did suck, nothing smooths my ruffled feathers like covering a canvas in texture and color. Like cramped muscles, my jagged energy relaxes and untangles when I pick up a paintbrush, squirt paint onto a palette and smear it across the surface, building up colors and layers and slowly confronting my emotional hangups one by one as my eyes and hands focus on my art. As I push and pull the colors and values on the canvas, everything else false into place.
This is healing.
I think healing is having peace, connecting with the part of ourselves that is whole and alive. It’s clearing out the parts of our soul that aren’t really us, the junky beliefs and fears we’ve picked up through the messy process of living. Everyone needs to heal on some level.
How does art heal us?
Art heals us by pushes out that junk and replacing it with beauty and expression. Art reminds us of who we really are. It connects us to the divine spark within each of us, rustles the dormant desires and hopes and thoughts we might have forgotten. Art completely blows past the conscious mind and speaks directly to the subconscious.
Art also leaves the record of your movements, the visual manifestation of your thoughts. It tells us what words cannot. Images, textures, colors, bypass the part of our minds that thinks in words, a place that processes ideas much faster and without having to put a name on anything. It’s a language we understand on our deepest level. It will lead you back to yourself every time.