Art is Therapy

Art is Therapy

August 04, 2015

Art is Therapy

By Rennie Marie Nease

Creativity flows through me naturally. It's God given. I'm an artist! I'm a writer! I live outside the box. I color outside the lines. Sometimes honestly, I don't even see the lines. Abraham Maslow, an American Psychologist said, “A musician must make music, an artist must paint, a poet must write, if he is to be ultimately at peace with himself. What a man can be, he must be.”

I love to fly upside down in bi-planes and do stall spins in airplanes for fun! I'm not the pilot, I'm the passenger! Twice I’ve experienced para-gliding in Costa Rica! Nothing like being in the air, with the birds and just the sound of the breeze. Life brims over with moments to savor and celebrate. It is during these moments that I feel fully awake and alive!

Life often hits us with storms and winds that batter us and leave us weary, drifting in high waves with tattered sails. I'm in the midst of a stormy season. I am trying to see my way through the angry clouds that hover heavy, then let loose in downpours that threaten to drown hopes, dreams and my faith. Somehow, I dig deep into the spring of life within me that will allow creativity to flow, and not dry up. The allowing of creative expression, even as stress threatens to evaporate the artistic flow, is therapy for me. I know it. When I am creative, I am fully alive, fully awake.

The Wingdreamer story was written for me by my amazing friend Cliff Trammell. It is a beautiful reminder of how our lives are a process as we struggle to fully become who we are and fly high above challenges! 

As a child, dipping my fingers in paint and spreading colors all over the smooth paper, was amazing fun! At festivals I smiled as I watched the paint swirled in colors and patterns. Spin art, they called it. Finger painting was my favorite though. I could feel the paint on my fingers. It was my creation! Recently I've wanted, perhaps I need, to dip my fingers in paint and swirl it around, creating crazy loveliness on paper! I will!

In finger painting, there is a focus on the process, not on the end result or the finished product. How freeing! Could we perhaps live our lives like that? To revel in the joys of each moment, the colors in sunrises and sunsets, a sudden refreshing breeze on a stifling hot summer day, a twinkle in a strangers eye, a couple walking hand in hand, laughter through tears, sounds of rain on a tin roof, music that stirs our soul, a piece of artwork that moves us to tears, a gentle touch to soothe our pain, a word of encouragement to buoy our spirits...

One of the aspects of creativity that I love so much is that it gives the child in me, permission to come out and play again. The girl who loves to giggle, to spin, to fly upside down in planes. The girl who loves to fly in her dreams! The girl who is stretched beyond her imagination by the struggles life brings, needs to play!

As the struggles in my world have lingered longer than I feel I can handle at times, I've been creating a series called Layers of Life™.

A popular quote speaks of layers. I find Carl Sandburg's quote simply profound. "Life is like an onion; you peel it off one layer at a time, and sometimes you weep." As I've been creating these images, so many examples of the layers in life have come to mind. Our atmosphere. The earth... the Sun...the ocean... a rainforest...even our skin, hair, cells and even our heart has layers.

Featured in the Layers of Life™ images are flowers and butterflies from my Mom and Dad’s yard, from the Mauldin House Gardens in Clarkesville Georgia and various other beautiful places in Georgia. A few were created from images taken in Costa Rica!

My desire is that the Layers of Life™ images will encourage and inspire you. My hope and aim is for these images to be happily hanging on the walls of your home, in offices, hotels, spas and resorts, hospice facilities and hospitals.

So...go be your creative self. Art is therapy, like Pablo Picasso said, "Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life." Artists need to create art. It washes our soul. Our art then touches humanity... it soothes, buoys, instills joy, brings smiles and hope and washes the dust off of our souls.