The Healing Power of Art

The Healing Power of Art

The Psychology of Art and Colour

Do you love to be surrounded by art and colour? We do - and this was the inspiration for Koh Living’s range of art-inspired products. We want to be able to bring beautiful art into everyone’s lives, every day. We want to take art off the wall and bring it into your life to love – on a water bottle, a mug or cup or a journal. So why is art so special and why is it good for us? To answer this question we need to consider the psychology of art and colour. Creativity and self-expression in art is actually one of the oldest forms of therapy. The enjoyment and creation of art is used to help promote personal growth and expression, recovery from grief and trauma and re-build confidence and self-esteem. This has much to do with the freedom that comes from creativity, but also the healing power of colour. Compare the way you have felt on a walk during the isolation of COVID-19 lockdown. A day that is grey, cloudy and overcast is unlikely to have lifted your mood. But a walk in bright sunshine, with clear blue skies overhead, instantly brings a feeling of health and wellness.

Anxiety, Depression and Art

Art and colour has been proven to heal time and time again. In fact research has proven that a trip to an art gallery or a museum can actually have a positive impact on your health and well-being in several ways, like lowering anxiety and depression and boosting critical thinking skills. A research study in Norway, known as the Nord-Trondelag Health Study, collected information from 130,000 Norwegians ages 13 and up. The study questioned more than 50,000 men and women about how often they participated in cultural activities like attending galleries and museums or viewing films. Specifically, 84 percent of those who participated in at least four art-related activities reported good health, and 91 percent reported a high level of satisfaction in their lives - the healing power of art. The study concluded that these benefits were found in people who both created or consumed the arts - so people who enjoy looking at art get the exact same health benefits as people who enjoy making art.

How Art Can Help Our Emotional Well-Being

Art therapist and author Cathy Malchiodi states in her book The Art Therapy Sourcebook, that art therapy is “based on the idea that the creative process of art making is healing and life enhancing, and that it is a potent form of communication. It utilises the creative process… to promote growth, self-expression, emotional reparation, conflict resolution and transformation.” According to Malchiodi, the healing power of art is beneficial in several ways: • Visually deals with traumatic emotions can feel safer then dealing with them in words. • Allows us to express things we cannot express in words. • Helpful in releasing emotions. • A powerful therapeutic process that has meaning and comes directly from our own feelings and imagination. • Allows us to know ourselves better. • Available to everyone. • Enhances our lives and reduces stress.

From an Artists’ Perspective

Our artists, Anna Blatman, Kathleen Buzzacott and Melanie Hava all speak of how therapeutic it is for them to spend time creating something beautiful. In our special Wildlife Journals and Dreamtime Stories Journals, Anna and Kathleen have shared special reflections on their art and inspiration. Anna is constantly inspired by colour. She loves the way people react differently to art and colour, and how it is a very personal experience. As she says, what one person wants on their wall or in their home is quite different to another. Take our Anna Blatman water bottles, for instance. The beautiful blues behind our Wilma the Wombat bottle design reminds many of our customers of their love of being near the water. So every day, wherever they are, this colour brings them joy. Other customers tell us they love the bold, magnificent red Sturt Desert Peas, an iconic Australian image, found in our Australian Wildflower collection. Many customers choose this design to remind them of a trip to the Australian outback, or because the colour red makes them feel more alive and vibrant. So just as the research study in Norway found, we know that looking at art is just as effective as creating art. When you choose a colourful art-inspired gift from Koh Living, you have the best of both worlds – something artistic, useful and colourful along with the power of healing.

Aboriginal Art and the Use of Colour

Have you ever wondered how the kaleidoscope of colours we enjoy in Koh Living’s art-inspired products were first invented? We actually have pre-historic artists to thank for this. All colours began from a base of just five – red, yellow, brown, black and white. The first pigments of colour were invented many thousands of years ago, created from a combination of soil, animal fat, burnt charcoal and chalk. In Australia, Indigenous artists created ochre paints. The first use for ochre paints is marked in Arnhem Land and East Kimberley. Artists used ochre and iron clay pigments from local lands to produce white, yellow and red, as well as black from charcoal. Some of these very first pigments of colour were used to tell stories of the Dreamtime in rock art, the oldest firmly dated example being in Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory from 28,000 years ago.

Aboriginal Artist Kathleen Buzzacott

Traditionally paintings were drawn on rock walls, ceremonial articles, as body paint and most significantly drawn in dirt or sand together with songs or stories. The artwork we see today on canvas and board from amazing artists like Kathleen Buzzacott commenced merely 50 years ago. Kathleen draws her inspiration from her childhood, growing up in remote Central Australia. Her designs are inspired by life experiences in a time free of modern technology. Treasured family times were spent out bush on hunting trips, searching for bush tucker, seeking out desert waterholes and playing with desert creatures. Kathleen still lives in the bush with her husband and their two sons on her husband’s maternal land west of Alice Springs.

The Koh Living Dreamtime Stories range includes a design that represents the ancient Finke River, a source of life for Aboriginal people living in the desert. After the rains, there is fun and fishing. The colours streaming from the Finke River also reflect changes in the landscape. Why not discover what colour and art really means to you, by receiving the healing power of art and choosing your favourite art-inspired product from Koh Living?