Kindling the Spark

Kindling the Spark

The Healing Power of Expressive Arts

By Cathy Malchiodi

March/April 2019

For as long as I can remember, I’ve experienced the arts through my body. My earliest memories are of creating drawings filled with lines and colors that I experienced as visceral sensations in my limbs, torso, gut, and heart. From the time I could hold a brush, marker, or crayon, I made marks on anything I could find, including the blank pages of my parents’ books. One day, in an attempt to rescue the family library, my father gave me a set of paintbrushes, cans of old house paint, and a special wall in the basement to use as a canvas. That basement became a young artist’s first studio, where I was set free to experiment with whatever shapes flowed forth. I moved my brushes around with a sense of play and delight, and eventually covered every inch of that wall.

I can easily recall the sensuality of my first encounters with paints, the textures of pastels on paper, and clay on a potter’s wheel. Though visual art came easily to me throughout adolescence, I joined singing groups, played musical instruments, and participated in a small theater troupe. What I remember most about these experiences is how wonderfully alive they made me feel, despite the challenges of growing up in a single-income family living paycheck to paycheck. Even when illness or threats of losing our house loomed, those moments at a piano, or in an art class, or moving across a stage, allowed me to go inward, to untangle, often without realizing it, confusing emotions I had no words for. By the…

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1 Comment

Monday, March 11, 2019 6:26:59 PM | posted by Diana S Ball-Rosa