The sessions that I am running at the lovely new mental health unit Hafan Y Coed have evolved into a combination of writing and art. As this is a new venture for me, it has been interesting to see how the planning of the course translates into practice.
We have taken a generic theme for each session, and this week was ‘weather’. As mindfulness is really useful in cultivating creativity, I’ve tried to incorporate it into the sessions. Learners initially used pictorial prompts as a focus, imagining themselves into various natural scenes, engaging all the senses through a short guided visualization. From this, they did some free-writing – jotting down anything that came to mind without worrying about punctuation or spelling or whether it seemed relevant – anything at all. This free-writing often leads to some unexpected story seeds and associations that can be developed later into a poem or short prose piece.
We read poems by some well known poets relating to the weather, and discussed how we felt about each piece. Then I presented a few examples of expressive art such as Frank Auerbach’s series of drawings he made after walking on Primrose Hill, and Georgia O’Keeffe’s watercolour, ‘Sunrise’.
Working Drawings for ‘Primrose Hill’ 1968. Coloured chalks and black pencil on cartridge paper.
Sunrise, 1916 – Georgia O’Keeffe
As we had access to the resources in the art therapy room, there was a good variety of mediums for learners to choose from to create their own weather-inspired art works. Within the work, they could incorporate their favourite words or phrases from those they had written earlier.
Two wonderful landscapes with text, using acrylic paint and coloured pencils.