I am a member of the Fellowship of Authors and Artists which aims to promote and encourage the use of writing and all art forms as a means of therapy and self-healing. I am also a member of the Arts and Healing Network. The images I create always have a story, a message I am trying to get across or imagery to make the viewer stop and think and colour plays a big part in ‘developing the mood’.
I define my healing art as images that are designed to impart healing energy through intent, design, colour harmony and the infusion of healing energies using Reiki and holographic healing techniques. Many of my paintings start with sacred geometry. I go through a meditative process of creating a sacred geometry underlay for my painting which sets the size and placement of what I am creating – you can’t see this in the final image of course because it has been painted over!
The key element to my work though is the use of colour and colour harmony and I apply this in my painting and my mixed media work. In the previous articles I have reviewed how colours influence our mood and emotions and how we are often drawn to those that we need to create balance in our lives. At one level with healing art I may be trying to stimulate a particular chakra, or energy centre in the body, with the use of colour. On one day a viewer will be drawn to that colour as it provides something the body needs. On another day they will show no interest in that colour.
More generally, however, the images work at a more subtle level using colour harmony to provide a satisfying balance or unity of colours. Much of this is based on the colour wheel of course. This can involve monochromatic images using the same colour family, complementary colours or perhaps two complementary colours next to and opposite one another on the colour wheel. Another is to use three or more colours that sit next to each other on the wheel. There are many variations.
Before selecting the colours for a healing art design it is important to consider where the piece of art is going to go (ie taking account of what colours work well in a bedroom, a playroom, a hallway etc). So, if I was approached to create a piece for an office I would consider using blue which is relaxing in a high pressure environment. I would use yellows and oranges to lift the spirits and stimulate creativity for schools and other places of learning; subtle tones of red which increases appetite and boosts energy for restaurants, and pinks to calm things down, relax the muscles and reduce aggression and violence for perhaps care homes, detention centres, prisons and hospitals.
Hospitals benefit enormously from the introduction of nature photography as well as harmonious designs. Art helps distract patients in healthcare environments and decreases levels of anxiety and worry. Nature’s colours tend to complement each other naturally and they are a great way of providing relief from the white/grey monotonous walls. They can also be used to good effect in waiting rooms where earth tones, greens and blues have a calming effect. As well as images of nature, happy smiling or caring faces and pictures of animals have a positive impact on care home residents.
How could or does this work in practice? On the news once I saw a woman being interviewed in her hyperactive son’s bedroom whilst he was throwing his toys around and throwing a tantrum. The walls of his bedroom were bright yellow with orange designs and his duvet cover was a swirl of red cartoon characters. I have no doubt that introducing calmer, cooler colours in his bedroom might have helped her situation!
I have been working with a lady who has been treated for cancer and we have worked with various colours as part of a combination of therapies including Reiki to help her cope with the effects of chemotherapy. She rearranged her surrounding to accommodate the colours and this included soft furnishings and artwork in those colours. This is where throw pillows, throws and pieces of wall art can tie all the colours together in a room to create the colour harmony effect we are looking for. Another person with chronic fatigue syndrome has benefited from having a red cushion in their chair to boost their lower chakra energy as part of her therapy.
So, as well as being good to look at, artwork can contribute to our health and well being in subtle ways and can be designed to perform a particular healing role or contribute to creating a supportive, balanced environment.