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A few months ago, we talked about art therapy and how it helps the healing process. Today, Russ Fagle shares his perspective as both a professional artist and former patient of Dr. Ghosh’s.
In formal art therapy, a trained, certified therapist uses various components of art – color, texture, shape and subject matter – to enhance a feeling of wellness. The good news is that you don’t need to work with a licensed art therapist to experience the healing benefits. These benefits include less stress, increased serenity and the satisfaction that comes from making something with your own hands.
Every month, I host a free art-making class at the Eastern Iowa Arts Academy. The program, called Healing HeARTS, is meant for people with cancer and other serious illnesses. Caregivers and family members are welcome. During the informal 90-minute class, we make simple projects, form new friendships and have fun along the way.
Don’t worry if you can’t draw a straight line! Straight lines are seldom needed – and if you do need one, you can use a ruler! We use a variety of tools, such as paint, sponges and stamps, and simple techniques that focus on capturing the essential elements of a subject, rather than drawing every detail. Many people find that creating abstract art gives them the freedom to express feelings and pent-up emotions.
You’ll probably surprise yourself with the end results. The art we create in these sessions is beautiful as you can see by these images from a recent session.
I truly believe people are much more capable than they give themselves credit for. If you can write your name, you can enjoy making art. And once you begin the process, I promise you will start making better and better art. But like many things in life, the journey is often more satisfying than the destination. You will be enriched by finding a new way to communicate and seeing your world in a new way.
Russ Fagle, has been a professional artist in Cedar Rapids for over 20 years. You can follow his work at www.facebook.com/russfagleartwork. He leads Healing HeARTS classes on the third Thursday of each month from 6-8 p.m. at the Eastern Iowa Art Academy’s art studio. For more information, go to Healing HeARTS or call the academy at 319-350-1805.