A lot of research has been done on the healing aspects of music, listening for most of us and some in the playing. I am a great lover of music but playing music doesn’t seem to be where I’m at.
While I don’t play the piano or any other instrument, I do play with color and paint. It’s an inexpensive diversion and you can start for under $20 and the benefits can be unbelievable. Painting can help a person on many different levels. In the world of psychology, it has been a great revealer of what’s bothering a person on the inside. Bringing up those emotions may even help relieve their power over them. Often the choice of colors can be revealing not only to the doctor but mainly to the patient.
As of late, there has been some research as to the effect it has over chronic pain. While in the doctor’s waiting room, I have read several articles of pain reduction in cancer patients. While it’s not a pain pill or shot, it has helped divert the patient’s attention away from the pain. I personally know this to be true. When I’m painting or teaching art, I need less pain pills and actually when I am involved in these acts, I need none at all. The only problem is that at some point you have to stop painting and teaching and pain seems to let itself then be known.
As for psychological problems, I know of few people that say they haven’t experienced the dark side of depression at some time during their life. So far, I have been able to paint my way out of this darkness, even so, it’s not an overnight process. Sometimes it has taken months and the healing process has been slow. Some need more help than this diversion can do and seeking help is no sin. In fact, if sin is involved, it’s not seeking help especially when it’s available. I have always believed that seek and ye shall find, knock and it will be opened to you. The Biblical passage never said that the results would be immediate. Life doesn’t seem to play out that way. Art can help with both physical and emotional problems. It is not a cure but a help to cure or alleviate the power of a crisis.
The current show at the Gallery on High in London is a good example of the healing power of art and how it changes with age and experience. The benefits of creating art are both short and long term. You paint because…you painted this subject because…you quit when…the benefits you now experience are.
Harry Croghan is an artist, photographer, writer and teacher. He can be reached at (740) 852-4906 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.