by Debbie Schroder
As it got close to 6:00 on Monday evening I could feel my eagerness to begin painting. Every Monday evening the in-state art therapy interns and I engaged in amazing relationships with our canvases. We painted for an hour, then shared our work and talked for the rest of each class.
The process involved each of us staying with our canvas through the whole ten weeks. As relationships were developed at their internship sites, so were relationships developed with canvases and paint.
I learned this painting process years ago while teaching at Mt. Mary. I was excited to introduce it to our interns this spring. Art therapist Abbe Miller writes about a version of this process (perhaps the original?) in the Journal of the American Art Therapy Association (Volume 29, Number 4, 2012).
My own experience of the process has always been unavoidably powerful. I used this process to deal with my divorce and the truths present in that painting from so long ago still grab my heart when I look at it.
My students seemed to reach equally powerful places while engaging with their images. I share with their permission the pictures taken of their paintings on Week 10. The pictures of the paintings in process seem too private to share.
I have my own painting from this quarter with me in my office. My painting process reflected the dramatic ups and downs of a difficult quarter and the longer I’m in relationship with my painting the more I seem to understand ten weeks of life, contained and held by canvas.