Art as Therapy

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Art as Therapy

A Painting Becomes Part of Beth Miller’s Therapeutic Journey

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Beth Miller

When a friend of Beth Miller’s invited her to the opening night of the Art as Therapy show on March 6 at Nickel Plate Arts, she kindly declined, but when the night arrived she had a change of heart and decided to stop by the gallery. It was her third time.

Art as Therapy featured art that has an emotional significance to the artist or represents a healing journey. Beth had some experience in this area, having been on her own personal and spiritual journey for the last few years.

Beth walked into the Judge Stone House gallery and her eyes fixed on one painting. She glanced at her friend and knew the room as buzzing with other people and works of art, but it was a dozen dandelions and a brilliant blue sky that held her attention.

“There was just so much joy and beauty and magic of life in the painting,” Beth says. The light bursting through darkness, the feeling of sparklers and fireworks, and the hopeful dandelion all spoke to Beth.

“You found your painting,” her friend said to her, and although Beth had no intention of buying art that night, she simply had to have it. Meeting the artist sealed the deal.

Painted on silk, “New Beginnings” is by artist Sharon Clarke, a Noblesville resident who started painting at age 57 and wonders why she started so late. Friends tell her that her pieces make them feel happy and that is her goal in life, to help people feel happy.

Following the theme of “Art as Therapy,” Sharon’s description of the piece included the story behind it:

“A few years ago, I went through a painful divorce. I decided to close the door on love because the pain was just not worth it. I kept that door closed for eight years. In January of this year, I met a man who changed all of that. He brought love and trust back into my life and taught me that there are always new beginnings.”

Beth could relate to Sharon’s journey. Six years ago, Beth felt disconnected from her own life, so she began taking steps to revive the person she used to be, grow her self-awareness and shape the person she is today.

She turned to the international-bestselling book “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron to help guide her.

“Anything, I think, you’re doing with your hands can be very therapeutic,” Beth says. Inside her home, hoops, handles and bins of reed show Beth’s love of basket weaving, an art she’s carried out for about 25 years. Over the past few years, she’s also taken up journaling and collage making.

Her artistic taste is eclectic, from folk art windows with inspirational sayings to modern photography and spiritual effigies.

“It’s whatever moves me,” she says. “You either love it and it calls to you, or it doesn’t.” When you are open to being moved, art is indeed powerful.

Casey Kenley
casey@caseykenley.com