The process of creating art is a method in which one may transform perceptions about challenging conditions and experiences. Artists (and all of us) have a myriad of tools in the form of colors, shapes, subjects and styles in their vocabulary to express any observation, emotion or thought. It is often the most powerful positive arsenal at their fingertips that combats negativity. To illustrate these points, I present the art and statements of Carol Berning and Mary Musick, two artists who entered our Manhattan Arts International exhibition The Healing Power of ART. They both submitted artwork that express how they feel about those they love. Their poignant images and articulate descriptions provide insight to help us understand the human experience and art as a healing modality.
Carol Berning is an artist from Lascassas, Tennessee. She is fascinated by “how light and shadow create form, bringing a one-dimensional image on canvas to life.” When she submitted her entries she offered this statement: “Art is my healthy passion, sometimes reflecting those who struggle with illness.” About her pastel piece titled “Shave and a Haircut” she wrote, “Daddy, recovering from grueling surgery, too weak to stand to shave, appears in hurried pastel strokes.”
About “Vietnam Veteran”, Berning wrote: “My husband, suffering from PTSD, diabetes, and heart disease resulting from Agent Orange exposure in Vietnam, appears in stark charcoal.”
Visit Carol Berning’s website www.carolberning.com
Mary Musick, an artist from Paris, Texas, wrote: “This is a series of collaborative acrylic paintings called, ‘Yoked’. The paintings are done with my three year old daughter Atlas Elizabeth. I have Ehlers Danlos Syndrome. I have had 30 surgeries and cannot be active with her, but we can create art.”
Musick continued, “Despite my illness this is something we are bonded together to do. She paints the background and then I paint a moment of our lives on top of her work. The definition of yoked means bonded together, which describes my relationship with Atlas perfectly.”
Visit Mary Musick’s website www.mgmcustomart.com/yoked-series.html
Learning about Carol Berning and Mary Musick will hopefully encourage you to turn to art materials as a source of self-healing during challenging times.
You may want to read a related article about Frida Kahlo. Through her art she reflected and transcended her suffering and loss. Her paintings were a type of catharsis, releasing sorrow and pain.