Art Therapy - enabling connections with the self and others
I have always been fond of art ever since I can remember, yet was never persuaded to take it up as a career. When I became a mother and found that both my son and daughter were very fond of colours, I started doing art with them. That was the beginning. I started painting anything I could lay my hands on in the house - my windows were painted using glass colours; my lovely bedroom got tulip motifs on the wall; the children’s room had prancing dolphins and my kitchen walls were embellished with fruits and vegetables.
As my children grew older, I decided to extend my fondness for art to teaching children; and started art classes at home. It was only at the age of 42 that I joined the Arts College of Pune, and completed my studies in Art.
I noticed that children were able to relate to me better during the art class. I was able to understand them, guide them and connect to them at a deeper level. I understood their emotions and moods, their aloofness, their anger and their joy. I realized the power of art and thought of doing Art Therapy as a means to help children and adults through the medium of art. As part of my online art therapy courses, I had some field projects too. Here I worked with children from the nearby slums with an NGO called Jagruti who train women in nursing sick patients. After multiple art therapy sessions with them, I understood their pain, anger and frustration more acutely.
I continued my art classes at home. The students who came to me were from the ages of 5 to 25. These were crucial years of their lives, and I was very aware of that. While teaching them, I understood their little desires and dreams, started guiding them, and made them understand the positive side of life.
Lifeschool for personality development
My long association with an organization called Lifeschool has helped me develop personally. I use the concepts learnt here with students in my art class, and they seem to have helped so many of my students develop greater self-awareness. There is nothing that gives a teacher more joy than when a child comes up and spontaneously says, “Aunty, thank you!”
Recently I have started work with Symbiosis International School as a PYP Visual Art Head Facilitator, where I teach the range of art media from crayons to water colours, poster paints to acrylic paints.
Teaching art to different age groups
Teaching art to different age groups requires different approaches. And for the students in each group it fulfills a different need.
Children are innocent, and need to be in the right company. The classes tap their creativity and skill in drawing. It also helps in better hand eye coordination.
Teens are at a transitional stage in their lives, there is greater awareness of the self and other, there is confusion and cockiness, confidence and anxiety, all at once. Teenagers need the right guidance, gently and indirectly.
Adults these days are subject to a lot of stress; there is vulnerability, and the need to hide it. Art is almost like meditation; colours help them to overcome stress. Mandalas are a great way for adults to connect with themselves; and I use this as a therapy for them.
My favourite artists, art genres and artworks
There are so many amazing artists but among my favourites are: Piet Mondrian’s simple art work; Vincent Van Gogh’s ‘Starry Night’, Jamini Roy’s ‘Motherhood’.
I am also fond of the tribal Warli art, Bihar’s Madhubani painting style, and the tantric Hindu or Buddhist art form ‘Mandala’.
My highs were when my Tanjore (Thanjavur) painting sold for INR 85,000, and one of my canvas paintings sold for INR 35,000.
Interested in learning art? Or in using art to connect with yourself? Contact me at the following coordinates:
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