A Story on Abstract Art As Healing Theme

(Art Therapy)

“A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words”
sometimes personal, sometimes collective, all times mysterious and fascinating…

To share about my art therapy through abstract art I want to tell a story. 

I was that kinda crazy sister that lived in California.  So upon the visit of one of my 6 sisters from the solid, salt of the earth State of Minnesota, where I was also raised, I was excited to show her the work I had been creating.  As we flipped through my journal of dreams, stories and pictures a glazed look came over her eyes.  I could sense what she was feeling but too polite to say – “these are so bizarre and strange”.  However, as I explained my process and went more in depth about where I was in my life at the time of the various pictures and what images showed up in my artwork, a glint of understanding began to arise and shine within her eyes.

After finishing the Pictorial Journey Journal she was eager to try the process herself.  I pulled out my watercolor paper and caran d’ ache watercolor crayons which I loved using at the time for their childlike ease.  The consistency could be as watery as watercolor or as thick as acrylic paint.  The only requirement of the process was to not try to create a specific picture and to just allow the choice of colors to be spontaneous as well as where and how they were applied on the paper.

We worked side by side and when our creations were completed the next step was to sit back and with soft eyes look at the imagery and sense the messages that were coming through.  My sister’s painting was interesting in that she noted and we both clearly saw a figure with a crown of thorns around it’s head.  She related to me that in her life she felt forsaken and betrayed by the recent breakup of her marriage that had produced 5 children she dearly missed seeing everyday. 

Having moved a short distance away from her family homestead to a small and sparse apartment she had more time to herself and soon realized she had no idea what made her happy or how to have fun.  She had been living a life of sacrifice to her entire family while hiding heartbreaking betrayal.  Through this dark period it came to her to choose only “LOVE”” above all else.  She embarked upon her healing journey, joined a book club where “A Course in Miracles” was being discussed, became a Reiki master, a Healing Touch Practitioner and opened her own healing center.  She often used the abstract pictures done with color crayons with many of her clients as part of her work in helping them to access where they were in their lives and the messages in the images they produced. 

All stories come to an end and the picture my sister first created would become a healing theme in her life.  As a devout Christian Scientist she felt strongly that the nodule in her breast would be healed.  Indeed she did have a healing and in fact many miraculous healings, mostly related to her interpersonal relationships within her family, but not of the stage 4 breast cancer.  In a conversation we have several months before she passed she felt the unrelenting piercing of that crown of thorns around her head but carried on with the utmost strength, courage and conviction.  These themes or archetypes play out in our lives, are honored, healed and released forever more.  (Cynthia Marie Borrell 1957 – 2012).

©Marsha Bakko 2015