ArtCare Programs provide a variety of classes for children and adults. The programs bring therapeutic benefits through personal artistic expression. The artistic exercises make use of three main modalities: painting, handwork and drawing, which effect the realms of feeling, willing and thinking. They awaken the health-giving creative principle and rekindle the strength to bring harmony and balance to the whole human being.
Colours speak a language more universal and archetypal than any spoken word. We communicate non-verbally when we speak and hear colour. The colour medium that is closest to pure coloured light is transparent watercolour. Watercolour painting is therefore the medium of choice for painting or colour therapy. We use either the wet-on-wet or veil painting methods.
Wet-on-wet has a loosening and strengthening effect. In this method of painting, liquid colour is applied to moistened paper. Water, the bearer of life, facilitates the movement and intermingling of the colours as they create new colours among themselves. Form flows into being, and can dissolve out of it again. The process remains fluid until we choose to stop and let it dry.
Neurophysiologists have determined that handwork stimulates the dense nerve endings in our fingertips, which in turn nourishes the brain and improves our all around development. Knitting, sewing and felting perhaps most directly develop and train our fingers and the form building capacity of the hand muscles.
Younger children work with brightly colored beeswax, while older children and teens model clay. Forming and transforming substance is the central activity of modeling. Older students are encouraged to feel both the outside forces pushing into the material to create concave surfaces, and the inside forces pushing out into convex surfaces. When working with clay, the primary challenge is to bring life into a dead material. Students observe this process in the plant world, immerse themselves in it, then "create the way nature does." (Goethe)
Fairy tales, myths and legends inspire the younger children, who then draw scenes from the stories with brightly colored beeswax crayons. Older children, teens and adults learn the grayscale through charcoal drawing and the more difficult medium of scratchboard. Drawing exercises train fine motor skills, develop hand/eye coordination and have a calming effect on the inner life.
Black and white drawing exercises focus on line and form and the dynamic interplay of light and darkness. Pencil drawing, in particular, with its fine, clear line "sharpens" the intellect; our faculty of objective thinking. Drawings using continuous, unbroken lines work with the fluid, formative qualities found in nature. When using broken lines we call upon the will and intellect. Studies in light, darkness and shadow speak more to our feelings. One technique that we use is shaded drawing where light-infused forms are created by applying parallel, oblique pencil strokes, bringing darkness into the light with pencil on white paper. This technique is highly meditative and ego strengthening.
Form Drawing with colored pencils calls on the inner intelligence hidden in each human being. Geometry and math have educated mankind's intelligence throughout history. In the form of a spiral we have all the directions of space contained in a movement - left-right, above-below, in-out, forward and back. Seeing such forms, the child senses these qualities; they relate him to the past and bring him into relationship with the true and beautiful.