After interviewing art therapist, Elana Kaiser, she invited me to come to her studio and do some art with her. I’ve never been a super artistic or artistically talented person, but after taking ceramics, art, and art therapy at school, I’ve developed an interest in art. I was super excited to get the invitation and jumped on the opportunity. I was a bit anxious going into the experience because I didn’t really know what to expect or if what I would create would be anything good.
Elana welcomed me to her studio and gave me a bunch of options of different mediums that I could work with. Colored pencils, oil pastels, paint, or collaging. She also gave me the idea of picking an image from a magazine and using that as a jumping off point. I saw an image of a galaxy which caught my eye, so I ended up cutting out a circle of that and glued it right in the middle of the canvas Elana gave me. Then Elana got me some different colored paints to work with. And I kind of just started, I picked up a brush and my brain kind of shut off while my hand took over.
Since Elana and I are family friends and I’ve known her forever we were talking about each of our families and what has been going on. We basically caught up for a while, with Elana interjecting every so often commenting on something that I had done in my painting. All I was doing was pretty much taking a color and painting a section of the canvas and then blending in another color next to it. Nothing too intricate or impressive, but in the end it came together.
Throughout the process of painting I felt myself really slow down, relax, and just let go. Even though Elana and I were talking about some of the stressors in my life, I was able to do it in a really easy manner. My thoughts all slowed down and I was able to just paint without really having to think. It was a really interesting experience and by the time I finished I couldn’t believe an hour had passed.
When I finished Elana and I began to analyze the finished product a bit. Surprisingly, I was able to find a lot of meaning behind the piece even though I had no desired outcome planned in my head. The center of the painting, the dark galaxy kind of serves as the unknown in my life with the surrounding colors serving as the path to get there and the rest of my life. Elana asked me to just spill all of thoughts onto a piece of paper after painting and this is what I came up with.
“It’s crazy how without even trying or consciously thinking about it, I created an art piece that can symbolize my life at this moment in time. The dark/scary unknown in the center surrounded by the cohesive galaxy of colors. Not being an artist intimidated me going into this, but the absolute release and free that comes with is incredible. The space on the canvas doesn’t judge what gets put on it and is there for expression. I like that it is abstract, kind of like me. It leaves more room for interpretation.”
I took a happiness reflection before and after my art session with Elana. Overall, all my numbers improved. I felt much lighter after my session, I felt like my thoughts were much clearer and really calm. It was a great experience and a total release from everything that I had been thinking, feeling, and holding onto. It allowed me to just fully express myself, and I can confidently say that I felt happier leaving the studio than when I walked in.
This is my final piece along with some things I found in Elana’s art studio: