What is Expressive Art?

Expressive Art is the use of art in a therapeutic manner. Where its power lies is in the process of doing art and not the final product as we are traditionally accustomed. By allowing our bodies to lead us, by listening within ourselves and trusting this, precious buried treasures are unearthed. This has been absolutely invaluable to me! It has clearly demonstrated to me that this is where my strength and wisdom come – from inside of me and not externally. Doing Expressive Art helped me form a habit of looking inside myself for the answers I needed. It’s proven to not only be a successful form of therapy but is also highly gratifying and enjoyable too and because of this it is now being successfully used and appreciated in hospitals, nursing homes, hospice, cancer centers and mental health facilities, churches, schools and many other facilities and homes all over the world helping people in various ways. It’s forever growing in popularity as more people have discovered its strength and capabilities.

Expressive Art is a tool I used to help foster my inner growth to assist me with both my emotional and physical healing. Because it helps each person in the way that each individual needs, its benefits are truly limitless by allowing everyone to access deeply-buried feelings and memories (or whatever they need to see) and examine them in a non-threatening and often pleasurable way. Things that may be negatively affecting us that we don’t even have words for, or we cannot even remember surface and decreases our stress. Buried and often painful memories that were hidden within my body have come forth through my art. By successfully freeing them through my art they no longer had the ability to harm or torment me.

Everyone can improve their lives using Expressive Art. You don’t need to be an artist, but you only have to be willing to take the time to slow down and allow your bodies to take the lead. Many of us are in the habit of continually pushing ourselves to do more but here it’s very important that we relax. Over time many of us have gotten “used to” the daily stress in their lives and eventually our bodies will get depleted and fatigued. Expressive Art helps us to slow down and find answers within ourselves. It also helped me become more aware of my intuitive abilities and to efficiently access them and use them to my advantage. The easier and more natural this process became, the stronger my instincts grew and the better decisions I made that naturally helped to improve my health.

Today there are many people who call Expressive Art the language of the soul because it allows us, “to have a conversation and communion with the One,” wrote Jan Richardson, artist and author of In Wisdom’s Path: Discovering the Sacred in Every Season. Having experienced many conversations with “the One” helped guide me through my illnesses and the many heart-wrenched challenges that I encountered. Following this loving and gentle guidance has now become as natural to me as breathing. And people don’t need to believe in a God or Higher Power to receive its many benefits. This is available and helpful to everyone.

In 1993, I painted and erased a mural titled “The Temple of the Soul” because I “somehow” knew I had to paint it and share what I learned from coming so close to death. From among the approximately ten thousand viewers who came to the Hoxie Gallery, in my local library, in the small town of Westerly, in the smallest State of the Union just to see this one piece of art, two women stepped forward from the crowd one day named Barbara Gamin and Susan Fox. “I’d like to interview you for a book that I’m writing on Expressive Art,” said Barbara. “Sure!” I responded enthusiastically for I immediately liked these two women. “But what’s Expressive Art?” Their expressions turned to unified shock as their eyes opened widely. For the next moment they just looked at one another while trying to respectfully compose themselves. “You just did it in a very big way!” Susan explained while grinning widely. To my surprise, they both taught what they called Expressive Art at Salve Regina University, less than an hour from where I lived. As soon as possible, I studied with them. For their grace, dignity and respect and the knowledge that they humbly shared with me, I’ll always be grateful and feel indebted. They both call themselves Expressive Arts educators and are quick to explain, “We don’t teach this. No one really can. We are more like midwives who help others give birth to what’s within them. And it’s truly such an honor.”

The immune system –our inner power source of healing and wellness — is suppressed by stress-producing negative thoughts, unresolved emotions, anger, anxiety, and fear. Our verbal thoughts keep our bodies in a state of stress most of the time. When our imagery, expressed through some form of art, is focused on sending a soothing, stress-releasing message to the body, the immune system is freed to activate the healing process. When art is used on a regular basis, we begin to live lives of inner peace and harmony — the keys to long term healing” Barbara Gamin has since written.

What I’d been doing naturally for many years, I’d finally discovered there was a name for it and that others also understood that art is healing – and that our strength comes from our inner voice, our own Inner Guide which is accessible using Expressive Art! I plan to be offering Expressive Art online classes in the not-too-distant future.

~ Testimonials ~

I really enjoyed Sandi Gold’s “Achieving Happiness” Expressive Art workshop! Sandi’s artistic and intuitive gifts were very therapeutic.” ~ Jessica

I’ve been totally unaware of the subtle awareness aspect of happiness. This workshop was really eye-opening! At different times in my life happiness came from external events; goals, approval, achievements, etc. The thought that I could just be happy didn’t ever occur to me. I left with a real satisfaction in knowing that I am in charge of my own happiness.” ~ Thomas

“I felt very connected to this workshop. It made me see how my highs and lows can be expressed through art. I left with love in my heart! ~ Anonymous

In this workshop, which I found to be both a fun and rewarding way to spend an afternoon, Sandi Gold talked about anger and the ways it can affect us and how we can change the way we react to it. We then had a chance to do pictures that expressed our emotions. This was a very helpful and insightful workshop! ~ Charlene

This class was very informative and interesting. I liked the selection of all the materials for the art project. I really liked this class!” ~ Jeannie

I had no idea what to expect at this workshop, so I went in with an open mind. I experienced relaxation and a deep understanding of the emotion of anger and what it can do for us as human beings. I left the class with a beautiful piece of art too that will help me to remember to take a deep breath and set healthy boundaries.” ~ Inge

Sandi Gold facilitates so that the creativity easily comes thru. She creates a safe and nurturing space. I recommend to all that they experience her workshops.” ~ Jana