This was one of those times on the other site, now left, where I omitted to save my work and predictably the one time you don’t it vanishes when you try to post it. That familiar sinking feeling anyone who’s been online for a while knows only too well. Some considerable effort lost, and a clue heard. So let me attempt again to describe the foundations of the majority of my art and the art therapy I offer.
Through a glass darkly
While some of my art is conscious, in the sense that I decide what I wanted to create and then do so, the majority is borne out of not knowing, of having a sense of needing to express an internal working but not knowing quite what it is or what purpose it may serve. Many years ago I began painting and drawing without the slightest idea of what might appear. It’s a curious thing to do at first. There are all sorts of mental obstacles to overcome. The fact you are a little out of control and may produce something really bad or ridiculous, that it seems a complete nonsense to begin something without having the faintest idea what it is, that you might see something about yourself you’d rather not. There is often a moment when I see what is appearing and have to resist consciously taking over the execution of it.
The pieces have always proved valuable, largely to me, in a variety of ways, but because the sort of symbols and archetypes we all contain are common often others will find something that resonates in them. While I don’t do them for that reason it’s pleasing. Of course it ties in with my work in helping people to see and sometimes relinquish unconscious confusions, issues and self sabotage, but it can also stand alone and be purposeful in itself. It can be less brash and hard to accept than words. No image can ever really be seen as an attack, only ever an expression. Revealing in ways we can find tolerable and often insightful. A sort of lucid dreaming made real.
Curiously what comes out varies enormously not just in content (though of course as with anyone what I contain follows familiar personal themes), but in the quality of the work. Some of the paintings I do in this way look as if they’re drawn by a not very artistic 5 year old. Others are of a skill level I couldn’t consciously create however hard I tried. It appears drawing on these deeper aspects reveals there are many places from which this can manifest.
I’ve run courses on this, including online, and work one to one either in tandem with hypnotherapy or as a stand alone. It may not even be specifically therapeutic, just borne out of the desire to see your inner workings a little better. It can be a strange sensation for anyone initially. We’re trained to imagine being in control is vital, and that anything else puts you out of control. Realistically this is a letting go of it, not to anyone else, but to the relationship between your conscious and unconscious. Giving it a voice, eyes and the means to share itself with you beyond dreaming or imagination.