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Healing Art

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This post written by Resident Artist - Dorothy Berry-Lound

Dorothy is 1stAngel Arts Magazine’s Resident Artist – April 2015
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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’.

Meteor Shower Heals Earth
Meteor Shower Heals Earth

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 m 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.

Landscape Mist
Landscape Mist

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.

The Tree Triptych
The Tree Triptych

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!

Apricot Blossom Collage
Apricot Blossom Collage

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.

New Artwork by Dorothy Berry-Lound

New Artwork by Dorothy Berry-Lound

Bold, bright and beautiful, yet soft and delicate, violets grace the countryside. 
This is where wild violets grow, peaking out through the leaf litter and the newly growing grass as spring takes hold of the land.  
Isn't it wonderful when daisies start to appear after the winter. I love them, they are so bright and perky. I made a daisy chain for my cat Stevie Mouse this morning, she was not impressed. But I sang her a song that we used to sing when I was a kid... 
One whole area of our grass terrace is a sea of beautiful yellow dandlions. The colour is almost blinding in the sunlight. Spring is such a wonderful time in Italy, with the wild flowers appearing, fruit trees blossoming and the sun getting warm. ... 
A beautiful clump of grape hyacinth peeping up through the grass and weeds. They create a wonderful display of colour against the green background. Vikram Seth wrote a sonnet that mentions the shy grape hyacinth and could have been written about my g... 
Briefly highlighted by the warm Italian sunshine, a clump of periwinkle sits nestled in the shade of a tree. These are fabulous ground cover for shady areas but on our land grow wild, providing beautiful spots of colour. I found this wonderful poem f... 
A white plum blossom offering its pollen to the world. The plum blossom is one of the most popular flowers in China, seen as a friend of winter, with many poems written about it and many pieces of art created in its honour. It symbolizes perseverance... 
The third in a trilogy depicting the Lago di Chiusi Landscape. This one shows Chiusi Lake in Tuscany, Italy as it tapers away into the countryside. The lake sits in a basin between hills, and forms the border between Tuscany and Umbria. The photograp... 
Lago di Chiusi Landscape 2 shows a broad view Chiusi Lake in Tuscany, Italy. The lake sits in a basin between hills, surrounded by farmland and forming the border between Tuscany and Umbria. The photograph upon which this image was based was taken fr... 
Lago di Chiusi Landscape 1 shows Chiusi Lake in Tuscany, Italy. The lake sits in a basin between hills, forming the border between Tuscany and Umbria. The photograph upon which this image was based was taken from the Umbrian side, looking across the ... 
The trees stand at the waters edge, bereft of leaves, the cold air whistling around their skeletons. In the shadows, their reflections show clear in the lake. Winter reflections at Lago di Chiusi, Tuscany, Italy.  
As you approach Citta della Pieve in Umbria, Italy, the first thing you see are the impressive town walls. Citta della Pieve sits high with an impressive view of Umbria and Tuscany below. It is very popular with tourists and holds many colourful page... 
Caught in a quiet moment, this street in Castiglione del Lago in Umbria, Italy, is usually heaving with tourists. There is a real buzz to the air with lots of people talking and the owners of the delicatessens that line the street calling out to pass... 
This wonderful ornate building is on the main street in Castiglione del Lago, Umbria in Italy. Once a grand mansion, it is now a series of shops below and apartments above. The building has ornate windows and intricate carving, beautiful architecture... 
Harveys Brewery in Lewes, Sussex, England is a family owned business. Their prize winning traditional ales (recognised by the Campaign for Real Ales - CAMRA) are sold throughout the South East of England through 49 public houses (pubs). This is t... 

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