A Palette of Possibilities in the World of Artistic Exploration

There is sunlight pouring from the window and cold wind on your skin. There’s a pungent rubber smell in the air mixed with paper and disinfectant. You’re sitting among crumpled sheets with colorful hands holding wrinkled paper with incomplete brush strokes. You accidentally knock off a glass cup with blue-black water and think it’s okay. Why is it okay? How does it feel to think that everything is going to be okay?

There has always been a joy in artistry and creativity. Though the adjective “joy” is often used to describe the feeling of using colors on a canvas, “contentment” is not so much. This special feeling of peace is often the result of self-growth.

Self-development and art are intricately connected. This is because of how art affects your perception and how you understand the world and yourself. Through art, it is possible to discover the unknown ways you can grow by perceiving yourself in a different light. 

Art is hard to define but very cathartic. Why does a few strokes of brushes and pencils matter so much? Why do some people cry in front of a painting? Why can art rouse emotions and challenge thoughts? Why can it move even the toughest of people? The road to emotional and spiritual development is possible through art. Answer all these questions and find out how to start this journey as you read further.

The psychology of art and personal development

Before you get to the ‘how,’ you must understand the ‘what’ and ‘why.’ Art has always been quite personal. Many artists rejected fame and fortune solely because of how intimate their art was to them. In this section, you will understand how art affects personality and the ways it transforms lives.

Changing personality traits

Contrary to popular beliefs, personality traits are not all that inflexible. Research has shown that participating in art programs or simply practicing art deliberately can help create traits like extraversion and conscientiousness. The malleability of personality and the effect art has on the self can bring about positive changes.

Understanding emotional cues

Artistic creativity can improve emotional well-being by helping you express emotions freely. Art doesn’t leave space for doubts, stereotypes, and misconceptions; it has always been for freedom of expression. This can not only make opening up to your loved ones easier, but it can also help you better understand your thoughts and feelings.

Discovering the elusive self

Simply learning about art can also lead to surprising discoveries of self. Cindy A. Taylor, a Ph.D. student at Georgia State University, demonstrated this through her research on art and self-discovery.

Cindy says that through art, she was able to explore and interpret her experience of the world and express her understanding and voice. She found that art can seep beneath the surface and bring out an uncommon picture and meaning for your experience. She even found insight into her cognitive process, worldly perception, and sentience as a human.

Now that you know how art can affect you, look into how art affects society and the self.

Transforming your life’s canvas

Art can lead to such a variety of transformations that it’s hard to comprehend why its positive impact is not as well known. 

Reflecting on a way out

Art can inspire reflection and prompt you to reconsider your preconceptions due to its expressive and thought-provoking nature. Alternative points of view can be presented through artistic works, disrupting social norms and challenging the current status quo. In doing so, it can upend long-standing narratives and create fresh opportunities for development and change.

The COVID-19 pandemic created a shift that led the entire world to reflect. People were actively looking back on their lives, which led to them reconciling with their present state and dreaming freely about their future. 

One of the most popular instruments to do this was art. Writing, making music, and creating visual art are examples of pursuits people pursued during the pandemic. Pursuits that provided them a window into the various aspects of life, real and imagined.

Read more: What ‘Life Satisfaction’ Truly Means 

Connection and belonging strengthened when people expressed their thoughts about art with one another, and it continues to do so today.

Growing clinically better

Art is not just a tool of self-growth, it has also been long used in the scientific field for serious health issues. 

A 2017 research study found that chronic illness patients felt “more positive, less stressed, less anxious, and more self-confident” after a 45-minute art therapy session. These feelings are quite universal. 

Another research at Walter Reed found that creative expression positively changed the perceptions, relationships, and life situations of the participants.

Art has been used as a healer of sorts for a long time. People’s emotions are complex and indecisive, but art is also ever-changing, which makes it an evergreen solution.

From inspiration to insight: the creative journey

Now that you know about the exciting benefits of art, why don’t you try to experience them firsthand?

You have already been introduced to art therapy, a type of psychotherapy used to explore and treat issues related to psychological and physiological health. 

Through artistic expression, art therapy can help you access your inner thoughts, feelings, and experiences. This can make challenging emotional and physical situations more bearable. It can also help individuals feel more independent and self-sufficient.

The best part about art therapy is the sheer number of creative strategies you can practice on your own! Here are some of them:

Scribble drawing

You know how to scribble. You most likely have been doing it for a very long time. This activity can induce a calming or easygoing effect as it helps you focus on the present moment.

All you need for this activity is a piece of paper and any writing/drawing stationary. With this method, you must close your eyes and scribble all over the paper. Once finished, you can repeat this procedure with different colors and expand upon it by coloring in various shapes or drawing a picture inside the scribbling.

Body prints

Do you remember coloring your palm and fingers in paint and printing them on a canvas? The body print activity is similar. It can create different sensations, provoke imagination, and relieve your mind from stress and negative thoughts.

Only paper and paints are needed — not even brushes are required. The goal of this activity is to make artwork with your body. You can use any part for this, including your hands, fingers, toes, and feet. Then, use your shapes to produce a genuinely one-of-a-kind piece of art and savor the feeling of uniqueness.

A collage of paintings

You have probably tried paper collage before. But have you tried making art using art?

Create a picture first. Use whatever paints you have on hand with any cardboard, paper, or other material. Once your image is finished, cut or tear it into any desired shape, such as squares, stripes, or ripped pieces of any size. After that, utilize the elements of the original work to experiment and produce a new collage artwork.

And then, repeat! Keep up the cycle till you feel completely comfortable. It facilitates the feelings of being okay with letting go of the old and accepting the new.

Art projects

Art projects are a bit of a novel idea, especially for people who don’t consider themselves “artsy.” But there are different little art projects you can take up to explore who you are and how you see the world. Some of these projects can be:

  • Drawing yourself as an animal
  • Drawing a fairytale about yourself
  • Drawing yourself as a tree
  • Drawing yourself as your role model
  • Drawing your emotions and how they look to you

These projects will help you look at yourself from a different point of view, maybe helping you find a side you didn’t know existed. These discoveries can help you reinvent yourself if you wish to.

That’s it! Though these options may seem like a lot, they are fun and freeing. Go ahead and transform yourself with these techniques for the better – and hopefully forever.

Read more: How to Leverage the Power of Personal Growth Initiative 

In conclusion

Artistry has long existed among humans as a tradition, passion, and consolation. It’s very intricately connected to the species’ thoughts and emotions. It’s been like this for centuries and probably will continue till the end of time. 

Individuals around the world have often expressed feelings of freedom, relief, and solace when indulging in an art form that best suits them. Art, in many ways, is a necessity — an outlet for all those who cannot express themselves in other ways.

It affects personality, society, and life deeply. It has the fiction-like power to transform, inspire, heal, and make people reflect. Art has also seeped into other fields and led to the creation of a therapy that has helped transform many.

With how powerful artistic expression is, it’s no surprise that self-development through art is possible. Stain your palette and find a brand new self among the colors today.

If you would like to see more resources on art, check out the Personal Science Labs. The lab uses the research of the Institute for Life Management Science to produce courses, certifications, podcasts, videos, and other tools. Visit the Personal Science Labs today.

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