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Art Is Therapy

Sunday, 24 August 2014 00:00  by Erin L.

“Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.” - Picasso

According to the Oxford Dictionary, art is the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination. Human beings are constantly expressing themselves and creating new things with their imaginations. As a result, art is all around us. You delight in its marvels on a daily basis whether you are conscious of it or not. There is a growing body of evidence showing the impact of one’s environment on health and wellbeing. Simple environmental interventions like visual art on the walls of a hospital or home provide visual distractions that can alleviate anxiety and agitation in patients.

Color itself is known to have an effect on all people. There is an entire science around the studies of color psychology. Many organizations concern themselves with the application of color to all elements of design in the products we encounter in our day-to-day lives. Research has shown that specific shades of the color blue can have a calming effect, which can then result in lower blood pressure, whereas the color red might have the opposite effect. Green is another color that may be used to relax people. Yellow, on the other hand, may be used to help invigorate people who might be suffering from depression. Color is often associated with a person’s emotions.

You see color all the time, but do you ever stop to think about what it is, where it comes from and its effects on your life? Color is light and energy. Color is visible because it reflects, bends, and refracts through all kinds of particles, molecules and objects. It makes sense, then, that visible light would also affect us just like the weather sometimes does. Light and color affect a person’s mood, physical and mental health.

Light and color are two important elements taken into consideration while creating artwork. One of the great things about art is that you don’t need to know a thing about it to benefit from it. Studies have shown that our brains react in a similar way when we are looking at beautiful artwork as when we are in love. The contemporary philosopher Alain de Botton and art historian John Armstrong propose that looking at familiar masterpieces can be useful, relevant, and therapeutic for viewers. Art has the power to guide us, console us, and help us to better understand ourselves as well as the world around us. Art is capable of giving people positive emotions, a sense of control while creating it and a sense of meaning when one is in proximity to it.

You can bring more art and its benefits into your life in many ways, including: by visiting your local galleries and museums, flipping through art books or keeping them on your coffee table for guests, taking an art class, and making an effort to search out ways to bring color into your life through decoration or design.

Try writing out a list of things in your life that make you feel happy or supported. Then, assign a color to yourself and each of the things on your list. Different colors will apply depending on where it resonates personally for you. Each person has their own visual language and personal associations to different colors. Take this opportunity to explore yours.

Last modified on Sunday, 24 August 2014 03:13

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