Don’t let creativity die: It needs to be fed

From time to time I’m going to talk about teaching art to people in care. I will use the experience I gained from teaching painting in a nursing home for over 6 years.

Don't miss the opportunity to enhance creativity just because someone is restricted to limited physical activity. Creativity is in the head, in the way we see the world. And there is much that can be done to keep creative thoughts alive.

I learnt this from my mother who was exceptionally creative and cultivated this in her children. As she aged and had the time, my mother took up painting though as a dressmaker she had always been engaged in various kinds of needlework all her life. As she aged towards 100 years, for much of the time the enjoyment was in describing what she was going to paint and how she was going to tackle her idea, rather than the end product. Often we would just talk about a painting we had made in our head which never saw paper. If you’re sitting with someone who is bed bound describe what you have “seen” today. "Mum, on the way here today I saw a woman in the most beautiful dress. It was dark blue with patches of mauve and was patterned in pink, white and navy blue flowers." Use a sketchbook to record what you saw and no you don't have to be able to draw-just use stick figures and basic shapes. You will find your Mum remembering that she had a similar dress or she might start describing her favourite dress.

Use pencil to record shapes you have seen of a plant, a flower, a tree. Don’t be critical of the end product -it's the conversation that is important and what is going on inside your head. Describe what is in your head and have the other person attempt to draw it. I can guarantee this activity will bring amusement. There are many people in our society who spend most of their day looking out a window- give them a purpose to their “looking”.

Anne Newman

Oil Painter in realistic genre style, predominantly buildings and people. To continue the discussion contact Anne on anewman@netspace.net.au or phone +61 407 516 522

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

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