For many years I’ve been interested in alternative therapies and ‘hippy dippy – smells and bells’ stuff as we call it affectionately in my household. In the past couple of months I’ve been revisiting a lot of these things, I’ve started to attend a group every Tuesday night that gives a taster of everything from crystal healing and meditation to aura reading. The leader of the group is a crystal healer and is very passionate about using the power of colour for self healing.
I started doing a little bit of reading about colour therapy, for obvious reasons it appeals to my artistic nature! Some of the articles I read were very quick to dismiss it as mumbo jumbo (sorry I just love that term!) but how can we be so dismissive? Art therapy is a practical and effective practice that is used in schools, prisons etc. Its not something I have practiced or know a great deal about so excuse the naivaté of my musings, I’m coming at this from a more spiritualist angle.
We know colour affects our moods, we choose the colour of our home decor accordingly. It’s a matter of personal taste to some extent but research has shown that a room painted yellow disturbs sleep patterns as it’s such a vibrant, energising colour. In the ‘hippy dippy’ school of thought yellow is the colour of the solar plexus chakra which can be the root of a lot of emotions, if we’re feeling depressed and sluggish a big dose of yellow (sunshine, crystals, food, flowers, clothes, paint?!) can be the pick me up we need.
Even as a child we have simple colour associations – red is angry, yellow is happy, blue is sad, green is jealous etc. We’re brought up to give colour a meaning and attach emotional weight to it.
We’ve all seen paintings that make us feel uplifted, or quite the opposite. It is the entire intention of art to evoke a response (preferably emtional) in the viewer. We make our own interpretations of a piece of art based on our personal experiences and the visual language we have developed internally throughout our lives. We hang paintings, photographs and prints in our homes that make us feel happy or inspired or remind us of a particular time or place or thing or fantasy. We surround ourselves with this subtle kind of art therapy. How many times have you been into a home that feels dead and unfinished because they have bare walls devoid of art? (perhaps that’s something only an artist would notice but I’m not so sure!)
We also can’t ignore the therapeutic and healing properties of the actual act of being creative. When we paint of craft the concentration required frees the mind of other thoughts. We can attain a meditative state whilst creating which leaves us uplifted and refreshed. This is something that companies have even begun to explore as a business model :- Check out Zentangle as a perfect and fascinating example of this. (Interestingly though Zentangle is created in black and white.)
So where do I stand on colour? My musings have led me to think that if we can attain a state of relaxation and a free mind while painting in a particular colour, then is there any reason why that colour can’t influence our mood and wellbeing and in turn help you heal? If we believe that the energy of colours can have a positive effect on our chakras, then why not the peaceful and therapeutic act of working with coloured paint?
I’m sure there must be artists that already work with this practice, if you are one I would love to hear from you!
“Artist heal thyself!’