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Art Nourishes and Renews

Consider this: making art can be as important to your health as regular exercise, a balanced diet, sleep, or meditation. Creatively expressing yourself through art affords a wonderful tool to relieve stress, discharge negative emotions, and recharge vital energy. Caretakers, many times drained by long-term care commitments, can benefit through engaging in the arts.

Imagery and imagination have been shown to produce tangible physical and chemical changes in the body, and to help individuals cope with illness and everyday challenges. Creative activities can produce enhanced brain function, relief from stress, and increased alpha wave patterns—the alert, relaxed state induced through meditation.

The power of healing and discovery can be found most directly in the imagery and imagination in the art of collage. Cutting easy-to-find magazine photos and assembling them into very personal compositions can be used for self-expression, activating imagination, personal growth and healing.

These are questions to ask yourself: How are you connected to your art? What are you trying to say? Collaging provides a direct and powerful way of approaching your inner world and engaging imagination by combining the art of collage with the art of dialogue. The images and archetypes that artists work with are universal, but they combine in unlimited combinations to inform each of us in a very personal way. What artists attempt to do is to create a flow between different levels of the psyche to learn more about their deepest thoughts and feelings, and who they are as individuals. Engaging in the single-pointed practice of perusing and selecting images, cutting them out and composing them serves to relax the mind, and by extension, the body.

Collage points to imagery as a metaphor for significant aspects of personal discovery, as well as a tool for living a psychologically- and spiritually-engaged life. Collaging invites us to uncover the ways in which the tools, techniques, images, and kinesthetic involvement so naturally correspond to the various dimensions in life, relationships, inner journeys, personal healing, and spiritual connection. How we tap into “flow” moves us into the deeper currents where we encounter ourselves, where the collage artists experience a way to animate their life stories through the power of art, and to share those stories with each other.

In a wonderful metaphor for transformation, new things are made from the many pieces of our lives as art nourishes and renews us.

Lindsay Whiting Lindsay Whiting is the author of Living into Art, Journeys Through Collage. With a background in journalism and publishing, Whiting was inspired to write the book through her own experience collaging at the Sonoma Collage Studio over a period of six years.

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