Updated: Jan 23
Approaching the Fall Season with the closing of Summer, one wonders what awaits us with the shifting colours of the leaves. I took a few weeks break from leading Expressive Arts sessions with older adults to renew my body, mind, and soul alongside a change of scenery in a trip to visit family in another Canadian province.
A while back I read an article in which change from familiarity (particularly in location) can help jump-start the inner creative battery that keeps those imagination juices flowing. Well, with the virus it was not possible until recently. As I travelled to my destination, I reflected upon the impact of leading older adults in the Expressive Arts has had on me through the online Zoom experience. I discovered that I was carrying the art process, meaning making methods, and memories created with my group members with me on the journey.
The first impression I gathered after a few online Zoom Expressive Arts sessions was that I needed to adapt the creative process and framework to optimize the use of video internet technology, to expand the landscape of imagination beyond the computer screen. By narrowing the number of art modalities (art forms) down to visual art making, creative writing, and story-telling, I was able to explore a greater variety of life themes beneficial to the age-group population I am working with. Inviting group members to use their own art materials helped to make each session that much more personal and meaningful to their life experience.
During the sharing, or harvest phase of each session, the group members and I began to notice a common thread and underlying message to the online Expressive Arts experience. Though physical restrictions had been imposed upon our lives in this year of 2020, our worldly outlook and self-perception has grown beyond our enclosed boundaries, spanning a huge distance. For many group members it was as though time and space disappeared, and joy in the present moment reappeared as a feast of luminescent colour.
It is noted that fear and sadness are often described as dark and gloomy shades of existence. And as new and returning participants flowed through the months of Expressive Arts exploration, the uniting revelation was the return of a life filled with colour. This was evident in the sharing of stories, events, and ponderings over the countless aspects of their lives, stemming from the art process and product.
As I drove through the fields, foothills, and mountains, I realized that as an Expressive Arts Facilitator, colour and intuitive flow has also watered and renewed my own internal creative landscape. No longer bound to the confines of a box screen in front of me, I am expanding and reaching over obstacles otherwise unimaginable before.