Therapy in art

Maker:S,Date:2017-9-9,Ver:6,Lens:Kan03,Act:Lar02,E-Y         Salford          Van Gogh       

By Mary Linthwaite, student at Bashall Eaves

‘I have been going to watercolour painting classes since 2008 and I enjoy every minute. When you are painting your mind is totally absorbed and you don’t think about anything else. It is interesting to see how different everyone’s painting is when we are all painting the same subject. The class is also a social occasion with everyone having lunch together and chatting.’

From Pippa (student at Hugh’s class near Clitheroe)

‘Withdraw from the cares of the world that will not withdraw from you’.   These are the words my teacher uses to begin the class and they have great significance for me. I joined his lessons on the advice of friends shortly after my husband died. I was bereft and depressed. These classes were therapeutic. They helped me to concentrate on painting and take my mind off my misery. The pleasant company of the other painters also helped. I have been attending for some years and I have learned so much. It has altered the way I look at the world around me.

Views on art from Val Carter

Painting, I promised myself, would be one of my hobbies when I retired and it certainly exceeded my expectations. The joy of producing a picture which is sometimes good enough to frame is only matched by the peace which is experienced when creating it. With the increase in artistic knowledge I find myself appreciating a wider range of art and looking with new eyes at the world around me. Added to all this is the camaraderie experienced at my watercolour class and the delicious lunch provided by Hugh, the teacher.


The right side of the Brain

Does not count time, is unjudemental .  We can benefit greatly from the sense of calm and relaxation it brings through painting.

Have you ever ‘forgotten time’ when you were engrossed in a good book – then you were in right brain mode.

During this time the brain is able to withdraw; repair & relax.

We can begin to express with images that which we may not be able or willing to express with words.

When we give a voice to our feelings & emotions we can slowly begin to repair ourselves.

As early Humans we painted on our cave walls – perhaps a successful hunt – then we could eat, and survive another day.

Painting ‘successful images’ can help us to feel in control of our chaotic lives.

As an art teacher & therapist I have seen children discover self control, learning to focus through art. For many that I have taught, English has not been their first language, and they may just have arrived emotionally scared from a war torn country. They may have a diagnosis on the Autism scale; special needs, ADHD, and / or emotional & behavioural difficulties.  However, they have all been able to watch and discover the power of art, and then go onto express themselves during my art class, and begin to heal themselves.

Adults in my classes often express to me how painting has helped them cope with daily life, and all its problems, from the emotional to the medical.  Finally, through my work as Honorary art therapist at Manchester University Hospital  NHS Foundation Trust, I have been advised by the medical staff that the improvement to some patients health was remarkable, at times effective where other non-medical treatments failed.