Local artist expands practice to include art therapy

By Kathy Gallant
July 11, 2018 - 12:00pm

Jinny Nieviadomy, the owner and force behind Meadow Lake’s gallery Artistic Incidents is guiding creative healing sessions not just with words, but with art. 

The artist, who already has a Bachelor in Art Education and a Masters in Arts, recently completed her own six-month journey to become certified in Expressive Arts Therapy Training Level 1. The class, which she had to travel to Calgary to take, was an intensive blend of class and studio practice. It consisted of creative writing, art therapy, drama therapy, music therapy, and community building sessions, and the students themselves of course had to go through the process on their own, conveying their own feelings through their work in a final presentation.

While there are few limits on what can be discussed during a creative therapy session, people who take a session can share as little or as much as they feel comfortable, and could deal with grief, stress, change, relationships. The art could be pictures from magazines, paint, pastels, textures, poetry.

“Each one I think I would start very differently,” Nieviadomy said. “It’s about feelings, expressing them, I guide the person to be their own guide. It’s learning to let go of stigma, stereotypes or preconceptions of ‘what is supposed to be.’ I encourage people to trust themselves. And have a whole building of supplies to work with. We dive right in.”

She said she looks forward to helping the community by offering this service, as it will help residents by way of personal development.

“It shuts off your brain and takes it out of your body,” Nieviadomy said. “The feelings come to the surface through the expression of the art.”

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Kathy’s Creative Healing Session

I’m fortunate to be able to tell stories through listening, witnessing, and then forming words into a narrative. But sometimes, I get to participate in the activity at hand and, through that, can articulate something a bit  more through experience.

I was fortunate enough to go through one of Jinny’s healing sessions on Tuesday, July 10. I didn’t have any expectations, and did my best to go in with an open mind. I was definitely feeling nervous at what feelings and thoughts were going to come up, wondering if my art would ‘make sense’ or ‘look nice.’ But of course, it’s not about that.

Jinny brought me a blank canvas and some pieces of prose, and encouraged me to pick out words and phrases that spoke to me.

So I started.

Themes like love, music, worry, and acceptance came up. Once I was done choosing the words and pasting them on the blank surface, the colours came out, purples, blues, teals and greens.

I told her about halfway through that I had a sensation in the pit of my stomach that wasn’t a pain, just a presence.

At one point, I remember not thinking at all, just moving, dipping the brush paint and making strokes with the brushes, mixing water. Not thinking is not a strong suit of mine, so this was a freeing feeling.

After I was done, Jinny asked me to explain my thoughts and feelings, she explained to me what she thought some of the brush strokes and colour choices meant and represented, as well as the words I chose and what they meant.

One comment in particular stood out. A subtle circle amongst haphazard lines and colours was evident to her. She said it shows how everything is connected, always moving, always evolving.

 

 

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