Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Creating Art

This past week we had an Art Show for the Art Group I coordinate at the Stroke Recovery Association of Manitoba.

We get together every Wednesday morning at the Stroke Recovery center. We put out lots of different art supplies and participants are able to work on anything they want to. This is certainly not an art class but an opportunity for self expression. Some enjoy the details and work on the same project for a period of weeks while others might produce several pieces in a morning.  I try to offer a new idea, technique or medium each month and encourage participants to give it a try. You never know when something new might turn out to be an activity you will love doing. The creative arts have a special role in helping us find joy and well being in our lives.

The group was originally organized by an Art Therapist and focused on a psychological therapeutic model. When she left the group continued on as a social and peer support group that enjoyed creating art. Eventually I began to help with the group. As a Recreation Therapist I try to support the social, emotional, cognitive and physical needs of the group members but always... enjoyment and fun need to be the priorities at our art mornings.

I try to encourage participants to try new things and engage in learning new skills.  We try to use weaker hands and eyes to gain improved control and strength and we try to work on any left neglect issues that might have occured with strokes.

Decision making, focusing attention, spatial processing, sequencing and planning as well as other cognitive skills can begin to improve as we work on creating art. We assist individuals in trying new tricks and adaptive methods to reach their goals. Something as simple as using painters tape can keep the art paper from sliding away and a Masonite board can increase options for supporting the paper at different, more comfortable angles, kind of like a clipboard. That painters tape can even result in an attractive border strip around a painting!

We share our friendship. We express ourselves through conversation and also with our art. We create. We share our accomplishments and we feel proud of what we achieve.

P.S. One of the ladies at the art show said I needed a picture of me at the art show. I was trying to get pictures of my artists but had not even thought of getting a picture of myself. The picture above was Vera's first attempt to take a picture with a phone and I think it is wonderful!

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