Sacramento’s Farm-to-Fork Festival is scheduled for September 26th, and I just realized that I will be unable to make it. I had hoped to spend the day tasting my way through the annual festival and establishing connections with the farmers from my region whose lifestyle is the focal point of my artwork. I’m like a modern day Grandma Moses but instead of painting on fire boards, some of my work is done on paper plates.
The Foundation for Art and Healing is an organization that was founded to perpetuate general awareness about the healing power of art. Ongoing research about how engagement with the creative processes impacts the likelihood of recovery from disease and traumatic events is compelling, and the Foundation’s aim is to convey the knowledge about the relationship between art and healing and provide active and ongoing support to communities and individuals.
Whether it is expressive writing, music, movement or visual arts, all share the ability to change people’s perspectives, moods, and overall health. In 1860, Florence Nightingale wrote about the effect of “beautiful objects” on sickness and recovery. “Little as we know about the way in which we are affected by form, by color and light, we do know this, that they have an actual physical effect.” Creating art stimulates our neurology, and that stimulation makes us feel good.
The healing power of art was evident to me long before the concept was popularized. My self-directed art education and healing practice started at the age of six when, out of a need to find refuge from the bouts of domestic violence that occurred in our home, I would hide in a closet with paper, pencils, and crayons to create art.
Today, watercolor, pencil, and charcoal are the primary medium that I work with to create contemporary landscape images on paper. I am inspired by the scenery of places that I’ve actually visited, or photographs of places or objects that elicit an emotional response. That spark of emotion is what starts the authentic creative process for me and also influences the colors that I select for each of my paintings.
October Hillside – 11″x 13″ watercolor on mixed media paper. © 2013 Theresa Funk