Art for Healing

Posted by Harriet Hodgson @harriethodgson1, Oct 26, 2018

Kudos to the Montreal Museum of Fine Art for allowing physicians to write prescriptions for free admission to the museum. And kudos to Mayo Clinic for its art program. From the beginning, Mayo Clinic believed that art can uplift patients and foster healing. Whether it’s Rochester, Jacksonville or Scottsdale, Mayo Clinic displays a wide range of artwork for patients. The Rochester site published a brochure for a self-guided tour of artwork. I live in Rochester and every time I’m at Mayo, I take the time to look at the artwork.

Thanks for the like Colleen.

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Thanks for the like John.

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Thanks for the like Jennifer.

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I also find that either visiting Art Museums, participating in Art classes, and teaching art to young children, makes me feel better! Art also helps me unwind at the end of my day, and helps me heal whenever I feel anxious or upset! I find Art to be my "go to" every day,regardless of how my day actually went ! My best way of reducing stress however, is writing my book or writing in my journal

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Thanks for the like Ginger.

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As I read through the words of others I realize that chopping veggies can also be an art. I have known many creative ones over the years that want their talent out there and on display. I do not want mine hanging in a gallery as each one is a part of me and I feel exposed and on display. One of the shy ones. ☹️

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@parus

As I read through the words of others I realize that chopping veggies can also be an art. I have known many creative ones over the years that want their talent out there and on display. I do not want mine hanging in a gallery as each one is a part of me and I feel exposed and on display. One of the shy ones. ☹️

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What a very insightful comment, @parus. I appreciate your sharing that part of yourself on Connect.

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@harriethodgson1

A hedgehog bathrobe is special. I had to give up singing (used to sing solos) because my high-tech hearing aids turned off when the bases in the choir boomed from the back. Yes, I miss singing very much and actually dream about singing solos again. I don't do craft projects anymore. However, I still love to cook, still write books and articles, still give talks, workshops, and webinars. Many people have asked me who decorated our town home and the answer is, "Me." I have an MA in art education and took many fine art courses in graduate school. Everything I see and do is through an art lens, the foundation of my life.

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I am intrigued as well as moved by your comment, "Everything I see and do is through an art lens, the foundation of my life." Could you share a bit more about what that means to you, @harriethodgson1??

For example, when you see a portion of your life through the "art lens" how is that part of life changed (or perhaps enriched)?

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I am acutely aware of shapes, colors, color combinations, and textures. I have absolute pitch so when I hear a bird sing, I hear the notes, such as g, f sharp, d. I'm aware of the rhythm of language and fascinated by it, which is why I'm a writer. I look upon cooking as love and enjoy cooking for others. All of these things add richness to my life.

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@harriethodgson1

I am acutely aware of shapes, colors, color combinations, and textures. I have absolute pitch so when I hear a bird sing, I hear the notes, such as g, f sharp, d. I'm aware of the rhythm of language and fascinated by it, which is why I'm a writer. I look upon cooking as love and enjoy cooking for others. All of these things add richness to my life.

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Wow, that is great, @harriethodgson1. Thanks for expanding on that thought, it opens up some new vistas for me.

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@harriethodgson1

I am acutely aware of shapes, colors, color combinations, and textures. I have absolute pitch so when I hear a bird sing, I hear the notes, such as g, f sharp, d. I'm aware of the rhythm of language and fascinated by it, which is why I'm a writer. I look upon cooking as love and enjoy cooking for others. All of these things add richness to my life.

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@harriethodgson1 Yes! that's exactly how it is! I see the world that way too! I look at the relationships of everything all the time and ask myself how would I paint that? What colors would I mix to get that? I memorize the colors in the sky, so next time I'm working on a painting, I can bring up the memory to add life to what I'm doing. I play music too and in my head I imagine harmonies to layer on top of music I'm listening to. In the same way that I paint layers of colors on a painting, I paint layers of notes colored by the expression of the instrument that would make the notes… or a voice singing. I use music that really moves me to get into the zone when I paint, when all I'm feeling is the creativity and oneness that I have with my subject. It becomes timeless and transports me to another space and time. Then all my husband has to do is just start talking to me and I jump because I am so focused that I didn't hear him walk up next to me……. and he's learned to wait until my brush is not contacting the painting to speak.

My husband and I played in a community band and played all kinds of wonderful music in outdoor summer concerts. I played in percussion on the glockenspiel and xylophone because I could translate my keyboard knowledge from the organ lessons I had as a kid. Playing in a large band of around 70 players has lots of melodies interweaving and it helps you to know where to come in when you hear the other parts of the music. We prepared a new concert every week with a dozen of so pieces of music which is a lot when you are just a volunteer and there is only one rehearsal after the show for the next week's concert. I have learned so much from doing that. The other sections had safety in numbers as there were multiple players for most instruments, but I was always playing a solo… the bell or chime that rises above everything else. I did have a big solo to start out a Harry Potter medley when there was no band accompaniment, and I really had to focus. I told the director, I couldn't look at him because if I watched his waving baton to sync with it, I would miss my notes. It was just me on those bells playing the lines everyone knows in front of about 800 people on a pleasant summer night. I had really practiced, and got it perfect, and I was nervous, but did my best to forget that the whole world was watching. I guess painting is a little bit like that too, and I'm really always painting a self portrait because I'm painting my emotions and how I feel about what I see. Then when you stand next to that painting at an art show, it's kind of like having your sole exposed as you listen to what other people say about your work.

I think the power in the arts is that they take you to another place and time from where you are, and that is why they are so beneficial, not only in healthcare, but also in living. I can't image a life without art. It is innate in our nature and goes back to when cave paintings recorded and communicated things about life and survival.

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@rachelanne

I also find that either visiting Art Museums, participating in Art classes, and teaching art to young children, makes me feel better! Art also helps me unwind at the end of my day, and helps me heal whenever I feel anxious or upset! I find Art to be my "go to" every day,regardless of how my day actually went ! My best way of reducing stress however, is writing my book or writing in my journal

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@rachelanne That's great that you've discovered the benefits of art and expression. It's good for our health and helps us with problem solving skills and that helps in other areas as well. The people who think outside the box are the ones who invent things that no one else thought of before, and the ones who can connect with other people and solve problems at businesses. Besides that, It's fun to engage our brains in something new. When I see great art work such as the exhibition I saw recently of works by John Singer Sargent, I feel so alive. Then I study it to figure out how the painting was made, and it what order he layers were painted.

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@jenniferhunter

@mlmcg You are absolutely right and I agree, anything creative can be healing therapy. The important thing is just to do something because it's in the doing that we feel so connected and valued. I share art and music with open arms for anyone who wants to receive it, and I also really appreciate art made by others and I learn from it. I see it as another way to solve the problem of how to say something that there are no words for, and it recharges to me. My work comes from my heart and the only person I compete with is myself… to make the next painting closer to the picture I've already painted in my head. I started out at the beginning too like everyone else, but what was different was not my coordination and skill, it was the way I looked at the world. It was the questions I asked myself about what I was seeing and why things are the way they are. It was looking for how colors bounce off each other and how light dances around an object. It was looking for the relationships and connections in the world around me and why it matters. Anyone can do that and find meaning in something. That is how I look at the world, and having art in my environment is uplifting to me. When I walked into Mayo for the first time it felt like an art museum to me, and for the time that it engaged me, I forgot about the medical problem that brought me there. Other people seemed to be uplifted too. That was a welcome relief from the worries that I had.

What I can say is that my creative outlet came out of loneliness as a child, and the fears that I had. I could always express myself with pencils or paint and I would spend hours in my room doing that. Being in my room was a safe place to be. I also came the long way to fine art as a career because my parents discouraged it. They wanted me to be a doctor, and I earned a biology degree, but I decided that wasn't what I really wanted, so I worked in a university research lab for awhile, before I left to go to art school. At the time, I was healing a broken heart, and wanted to reinvent myself, so art was therapy then too. I went in thinking I was pretty good, but soon learned I had a lot to learn. The assignments were hard, and I lacked the skills to do them and I had strict deadlines. What I learned was how to fail which is a good thing because I learned from failure. Failure actually is a gift if you learn from it.

My story is one of overcoming my absolute greatest fear and using art and music to do that in order to heal. I had a choice to make. I was loosing the ability to hold my arms up and control them because of spinal cord compression from an old injury. I had worked so hard to get to where I was, and I was loosing what I loved to do the most. 5 surgeons turned me down before I came to Mayo. My case had some unusual symptoms, and no one wanted to help me. If I didn't get medical help I would have become disabled, and I was already at greater risk for paralysis. So when I came to Mayo, I brought a painting with me to show the surgeon what I needed to be able to do again so he would understand why it mattered. I really was afraid of being turned away again, but he liked my painting and took interest in it. I needed to find a way to connect with him so I wouldn't be afraid of him, and I returned to sketching as a way to address that by sketching my surgeon and he gave me his permission. I only draw and paint what I love, and this was a game to convince myself that everything would be OK. I needed to be able to embrace the surgery that I needed and had feared for so long. That is how I started down a path that lead to painting a portrait in gratitude for the surgeon who saved my ability to paint, and who preserved the fine motor control in my hands.

I used all the life experience that I had to understand my dilemma and confront my fear to make the choice to go forward with major surgery. I am so glad. This was life changing for me. I used to think that I didn't have the courage, but somewhere inside, I found it. I had to rehab after my recovery and practice again to get back what I had lost. I still have to take breaks when I tire, as painting is physical, and I am still trying to rebuild muscle that was lost in my arms and shoulders, but I have a goal that drives me. I share my experience in hopes to inspire others in what is possible. Every journey is different, so we can't compare ourselves to others. I didn't choose the hardships that have come my way in my life, but I learned from them, and all of that has shaped me into the person I am today. That is what creativity can do. It gives you the power to make a difference in your own life. I think of art as a lot of things, not only the fine arts, but also music, theater, laughter, appreciating nature, gardening, home decorating, and most of all for the connections that come from participating as both a performer and a spectator. ©

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I appreciate and couldn't agree more! Your post was honest, forthright, and absolutely from your heart! Art really is beautiful, and makes me think about what could have happened if I didn't come out of my Coma after suffering a major Stroke on 5/4/01! I love Art and it really helps me express my true feelings, especially when I feel isolated or upset! I always feel anxious or fearful, that I won't ever, be taken seriously by the medical community; therefore not wishing to see physicians! I would prefer going online, because then I don't run the risk of losing providers like I did in 2014! I was kicked out of 7 practices at once, had my information put online, without my knowledge or permission and was blocked from receiving ANY HEALTHCARE from 11/8/14-6/30/15!!! L was therefore, without medications for my Epilepsy, asthma, anxiety, depression, etcetera! This is my reason for not wishing to trust Physicians, no matter who they are, period!

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@jenniferhunter

@harriethodgson1 Yes! that's exactly how it is! I see the world that way too! I look at the relationships of everything all the time and ask myself how would I paint that? What colors would I mix to get that? I memorize the colors in the sky, so next time I'm working on a painting, I can bring up the memory to add life to what I'm doing. I play music too and in my head I imagine harmonies to layer on top of music I'm listening to. In the same way that I paint layers of colors on a painting, I paint layers of notes colored by the expression of the instrument that would make the notes… or a voice singing. I use music that really moves me to get into the zone when I paint, when all I'm feeling is the creativity and oneness that I have with my subject. It becomes timeless and transports me to another space and time. Then all my husband has to do is just start talking to me and I jump because I am so focused that I didn't hear him walk up next to me……. and he's learned to wait until my brush is not contacting the painting to speak.

My husband and I played in a community band and played all kinds of wonderful music in outdoor summer concerts. I played in percussion on the glockenspiel and xylophone because I could translate my keyboard knowledge from the organ lessons I had as a kid. Playing in a large band of around 70 players has lots of melodies interweaving and it helps you to know where to come in when you hear the other parts of the music. We prepared a new concert every week with a dozen of so pieces of music which is a lot when you are just a volunteer and there is only one rehearsal after the show for the next week's concert. I have learned so much from doing that. The other sections had safety in numbers as there were multiple players for most instruments, but I was always playing a solo… the bell or chime that rises above everything else. I did have a big solo to start out a Harry Potter medley when there was no band accompaniment, and I really had to focus. I told the director, I couldn't look at him because if I watched his waving baton to sync with it, I would miss my notes. It was just me on those bells playing the lines everyone knows in front of about 800 people on a pleasant summer night. I had really practiced, and got it perfect, and I was nervous, but did my best to forget that the whole world was watching. I guess painting is a little bit like that too, and I'm really always painting a self portrait because I'm painting my emotions and how I feel about what I see. Then when you stand next to that painting at an art show, it's kind of like having your sole exposed as you listen to what other people say about your work.

I think the power in the arts is that they take you to another place and time from where you are, and that is why they are so beneficial, not only in healthcare, but also in living. I can't image a life without art. It is innate in our nature and goes back to when cave paintings recorded and communicated things about life and survival.

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Well said Jennifer. We are both blessed by art.

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@jenniferhunter

@harriethodgson1 Yes! that's exactly how it is! I see the world that way too! I look at the relationships of everything all the time and ask myself how would I paint that? What colors would I mix to get that? I memorize the colors in the sky, so next time I'm working on a painting, I can bring up the memory to add life to what I'm doing. I play music too and in my head I imagine harmonies to layer on top of music I'm listening to. In the same way that I paint layers of colors on a painting, I paint layers of notes colored by the expression of the instrument that would make the notes… or a voice singing. I use music that really moves me to get into the zone when I paint, when all I'm feeling is the creativity and oneness that I have with my subject. It becomes timeless and transports me to another space and time. Then all my husband has to do is just start talking to me and I jump because I am so focused that I didn't hear him walk up next to me……. and he's learned to wait until my brush is not contacting the painting to speak.

My husband and I played in a community band and played all kinds of wonderful music in outdoor summer concerts. I played in percussion on the glockenspiel and xylophone because I could translate my keyboard knowledge from the organ lessons I had as a kid. Playing in a large band of around 70 players has lots of melodies interweaving and it helps you to know where to come in when you hear the other parts of the music. We prepared a new concert every week with a dozen of so pieces of music which is a lot when you are just a volunteer and there is only one rehearsal after the show for the next week's concert. I have learned so much from doing that. The other sections had safety in numbers as there were multiple players for most instruments, but I was always playing a solo… the bell or chime that rises above everything else. I did have a big solo to start out a Harry Potter medley when there was no band accompaniment, and I really had to focus. I told the director, I couldn't look at him because if I watched his waving baton to sync with it, I would miss my notes. It was just me on those bells playing the lines everyone knows in front of about 800 people on a pleasant summer night. I had really practiced, and got it perfect, and I was nervous, but did my best to forget that the whole world was watching. I guess painting is a little bit like that too, and I'm really always painting a self portrait because I'm painting my emotions and how I feel about what I see. Then when you stand next to that painting at an art show, it's kind of like having your sole exposed as you listen to what other people say about your work.

I think the power in the arts is that they take you to another place and time from where you are, and that is why they are so beneficial, not only in healthcare, but also in living. I can't image a life without art. It is innate in our nature and goes back to when cave paintings recorded and communicated things about life and survival.

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It is my belief that the colors or sounds or sights that we react to in a visceral way go directly towards that right side of the brain, that is the spiritual, ethereal and deeply healing side of us. Unlike the left side, that is the logical side. When I was learning to quilt my teacher couldn't grasp my innate sense of color and design since here I was trained and educated in left brain activity, reacting in a very artistic right brained way. All my life the two have intertwined themselves. I paint with words to hopefully allow those who can't see as clearly with their artistic eye the beauty around them. Colors with all the nuances of tones and shades, combined with shapes can allow me and escape for hours!
Ginger

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