How Art Heals


How art heals the weary soul:

Healing Through Art

by Vyacheslav Shevchenko

In the summer of 1992, I just returned from one of my trips to the mountains. I brought home a series of paintings, and as I was looking through them, I got a phone call. It was a friend of mine - an art critic. He told me that there is a man who wants to visit my studio - a man who holds an important position in the government. I said yes, and we met with him next day in my studio.

We had a warm, intimate conversation in front of my works. My visitor was President's top advisor in economics. He was about 20 years older than me. I asked him what brought him to my studio, why did he pick me out of many other artists. And he told me that recently he spent a whole evening contemplating my landscape. That landscape hung in his friend's house, and as they had a conversation with a glass of wine, he couldn't get his eyes off that work.

That piece was also painted in the mountains, and it was called "Night Comet". It was silver-green in color, and by my advice, its owner hung it in a shadow. It had a soft, mysterious presence.

My visitor told me that looking at mystery and calmness of that work, he felt he wanted to own a painting that would have a similar effect on him.

Seeing that he loves and understands art, I offered him to look through the paintings that I just brought from my trip.

As he was looking, I asked him "What is your purpose in buying art? Do you want to add to your collection, to make your house more beautiful, or it's something else?" And he told me: "I have a very hard work. It's not physically hard, but it's very hard psychologically. I feel totally exhausted emotionally when I come home. In my house, there is a room where I have an armchair, my favorite music, and my favorite artwork. There, for an hour or two, listening to the beautiful music, I look at the paintings, and calm down, replenishing my energy. All my worries and stresses go away, and my soul starts to sing."

When I heard that, I was deeply touched. I didn't know that art could have this effect on people.

That day, he picked a small work with a peaceful mountain waterfall and a running brook that filled a tub. He liked that piece, but he asked me to paint another variation of it, of a slightly bigger size.

I was painting the piece he commissioned for a few weeks. Every day I was working on it for two-three hours, putting in it feelings that I experienced when I saw that waterfall.

When the painting was finished, my new friend came to my studio again. Imagine my surprise and excitement, when he exclaimed after seeing the work: "I've been there! I saw that waterfall and I swam in that tub!"

After that experience, I made a conclusion that visual art, same as music and literature, not only brings beauty, but also has a power of healing.

Vyacheslav Shevchenko is an internationally acclaimed artist and art professor. To learn more about him and his work, please visit http://www.MaestroArtServicesIntl.com

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