Part 2. ART FOR HAPPINESS.

Pencil Sketch by Zelda Davidson

Those of you familiar with Scot Peck’s work, “The Road less travelled “ is reported to have said “ life is difficult, acknowledge it and move with it” . There is no perfection on this side of heaven but there are tools freely available that one can use in coping.
Just recently BBC has been running a series on THE POWER OF ART .
There is growing evidence that art has therapeutic benefits . The example given is that of a leukaemia patient who said his art therapy classes made him feel like he could do anything! Nothing else could compare to this escape.
 Art involvement has been known to boost one s immune system because of its positive psychoneuro immunologic response.
In teaching I have documented how students feel like a spin-wheel, dislocated and frustrated with self and the world. They leave more connected and more at peace.
Calendar, photographer unknown
Recently I gave Zelda Davidson an exercise to do in class before continuing onto painting. A big mummy elephant behind the little babe. I was fascinated at her interpretation of it. In Davidson s drawing the babe has become the focus of the artwork. It is bigger in the foreground and has been well worked and moulded. It’s very lines and shading is testament to the time spent forming this youngster. It was not surprising that Davidson focused on this element of the image as she had just returned from settling both her children in another city 1660 km away from home. This was her first experience of the “empty nest syndrome”.

 The mother as in her image fades away into the distance and no longer stands beside the youngster but behind it, allowing the youngster to have it’s turn on centre stage. I am reminded here of the bible verse…” train up a child in the way s/he should go and when s/he is old s/he shall not depart from it. (Proverbs 22:6) . We all have to trust in this process called life. With it comes it’s seasons and it’s cycles.

 Zelda Davidson is a remarkable women and mother and artist. Watch this space. One day I will link her name to her own website.

This is what Zelda had to say of the exercise”… it was for me a connective piece to my emotions. Interacting with art on a deeper level is much more fascinating, and therapeutic, and gives us the chance to connect the physical with spiritual and emotional dimensions of self. Often we are developing skills in art, attempting to make a “good copy” or “rendition” or “interpretation” of something, but art gives us a far wider and deeper opportunity to “connect”. For me this exercise drew me – the whole of me – in.”

I have observed in the past one of my family members battling with the death of a beloved animal and it was writing that brought him to a place of peace.

One of the top military hospitals in Washington D.S use writing as a therapeutic tool for soldiers sent to Afghanistan suffering from post traumatic stress Disorder. Some go as far as to say that “ Writing eventually saved them” (BBC  feb, 2013)
In the latest IDEAS magazine(March 2013) there is conclusive evidence that art and craft aids one in making sense of everything.  Whether Art is used as a form of creative outlet in opposition to the rituals and routine of daily living, or it might be used to look internally, as a tool for introspection, for getting acquainted to self. Peace may be found in the “soothing rhythm” of knitting or the gentle brushstrokes onto a canvas. It might be found in the act of writing, of painting, of transferring thought through the brain, down the arm into the hand and onto another surface. 
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