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Art Coaching Introduction

Updated: Aug 26, 2023

Over the years I have come to rely on Art to heal my heart and soul. After spending a good portion of my growing up years using graphite pencil and charcoal to draw animals and people, I soon branched out into the world of paint, settling on acrylics. Then I was given the opportunity to teach art to 30 students in 3rd and 4th grades. I started with drawing which was how I was introduced to art at that same age. But as I continued to find more and more ways to introduce fine art to these kids it also expanded my personal art practice. I was pushed into areas of art that I had found daunting, that I didn’t feel I was good at so I avoided it or just dabbled and wished I could do better. Finding ways to teach art brought me to a whole new level of understanding of what I needed in order to continue my healing journey.

As I taught, I saw two things occurring simultaneously that brought me to the place I am at today, using Art as a form of Life Coaching. First, I saw the impact that art had on my students. It taught them perseverance and gave them confidence. They began to believe in their ability to be creative beings. I had the opportunity to coach them and encourage them to be creative, which is something I still enjoy doing with all ages through my Art Coaching.

Secondly, teaching art helped me overcome my own obstacles of feelings that were holding me back from a life fully lived. I discovered new media and techniques that I was drawn to in my own creative journey. I noticed that when I allowed my art to flow without confining the outcome, it served a deeper purpose in creating to release emotions that I could not put into words. I found myself drawn to watercolors specifically, and the way the colors collided and ran into each other when they were applied directly onto wet paper. I was mesmerized by this flow and found a peace and calm in just letting the colors do their thing. I also began to study the meanings behind the different colors and I noticed I kept picking the same colors over and over. From there I progressed to patterns and mark making over the top of these watercolor backgrounds and again I noticed the same patterns of circles and flowing lines occurring over and over again. Just when I was about to dismiss these patterns and lines and abandon them with the message “I can’t just keep creating the same thing over and over, who wants to look at this?” I changed my thought pattern instead to “why do I keep doing these marks over and over? What does it mean to me?” I gave myself permission to keep making as many circles and flowing lines as I wanted and for as long as I wanted. It changed everything. As I made these pieces of art I learned things about myself that I don’t believe I would have understood without the expression of colors, lines and patterns. My art was telling a story that I could not have put into words.

I recently had the amazing opportunity of conversing with Dr. Wess Stafford, CEO and founder of Compassion International. I was able to hear his story in an interview and read two of his books Just a Minute and Too Small to Ignore. His story, so close to my own, inspired me so greatly that I reached out to him and we exchanged a few emails. As we discussed the needs of children and the importance of art therapy, Dr. Stafford mentioned how important art had been as they met with children shortly after the 1994 Rwanda genocide. "Compassion sought to rescue and restore desperately broken orphaned children that although they refused to speak of the horrors they had experienced, or even look us in the eye, they would, with tear filled eyes, draw on paper what was in their hearts!”

A few years ago I was introduced to the book The Voice of the Heart a Call to Full Living by Chip Dodd. This book changed my view on emotions and most importantly what to do with them. He narrows down our emotions into 8 categories: Fear, Hurt, Sadness, Loneliness, Shame, Anger, Guilt and Gladness. I have read and reread this book and feel that What Mr. Dodd has to say about emotions is so valuable that I have integrated it into my art coaching sessions. Being aware of our emotions and then knowing how to handle them is crucial to growth and healing. Combining colors and elements of art together to process these emotions creates a vivid, timeless and positive message; it is the foundation to all my coaching sessions.

Art heals, it speaks for us when we have no words, when our hearts are breaking or overwhelmed. Through patterns, lines and flowing colors our souls tell our stories. The more we create art, the more we understand the cries in our hearts and become more aware of our needs and how to process our emotions without hurting ourselves or others in the process. Art is not just for the artist, it is for everyone whether you believe yourself to be creative or not, it is in you and it must be expressed. Just as we must exhale to continue the cycle of breathing and to live; creating art is the exhaling of our soul.

37 views2 comments


Jun 04, 2023

a very thought provoking piece Gina. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this. Barbs


Ian Grice
Ian Grice
May 30, 2023

Looking forward to you continuing to share your experience with those who are in need of this therapy Gina 😍

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