I think I will end up doing a series on this topic as I am still continuing to process the type of art I do and facilitate. As I’ve been trying to define what it is that I do and how I engage others in this process – the only word that kept coming to mind was “reflective.”
In my “day job” – I am a big fan of reflective practice and Donald Schön’s work around becoming a “Reflective Practitioner.” The book is great and there are many resources online to explore this topic further. I will share my understanding and application.
Being a reflective practitioner means that I am constantly assessing and learning, Schön defines reflection as “knowing-in-action.” This knowing-in-action requires one to deliberately reflect, not just have experiences but reflect on them both in the moment and in retrospect.
As I have embarked on this creative journey, I have taken this concept into painting – what am I experiencing? How am I feeling (being out of control, not knowing what is going to happen, with those colors not doing what I expected)? How am I responding to those feelings (walking away, staying engaged, starting over)?
As I engage with participants in my classes, I carry some of those same questions into their process as well – I ask them to sit in discomfort and look at it – analyzing where it is coming from and what it might mimic in their everyday lives. I encourage them to try, to take risks, and to continue working with a canvas/piece until they are satisfied.
I am not an art therapist, I am not a counselor, but I am a facilitator of self reflection. This role is an honor and leads me to engage with my own feelings around various prompts as well. It has been a wonderful addition to my life and my soul!
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