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Hey Sister! Using Art & Creativity as a Path for Healing

The pursuit of art and creativity can be powerful tools when we are wading through difficult emotions and a journey of healing.  Today on the Hey Sister! show we discuss how art can help us look at scripture in fresh ways, how visuals can be a form of prayer, and how the act of practicing all forms of creativity can foster growth and strength.

Gayla Irwin, author of Creative Moments of Grace, explains what major life event thrust her into a deeply painful place and what role art played in her own life as she dealt with her overwhelming grief.

Further connect with Gayla on her website or on Instagram @artmeditations

You can listen to our conversation on art and creativity as a path to healing on iTunes  here.

Here are some things you heard on the show:

Gayla’s Book: Creative Moments of Grace

The Artist’s Way – Julia Cameron

Parker Palmer Quote:

“The soul is like a wild animal – tough, resilient, savvy, self-sufficient and yet exceedingly shy.  If we want to see a wild animal, the last thing we should do is to go crashing through the woods, shouting for the creature to come out.  But if we are willing to walk quietly into the woods and sit silently for an hour or two at the base of a tree, the creature we are waiting for may well emerge, and out of the corner of an eye we will catch a glimpse of the precious wildness we seek.”

Contemplative Vision – A Guide to Christian Art and Prayer

James Tissot

James Tissot Images

Podcast Episode: How to Journey Through Grief and Loss

9×12 Journal

Suggestions for Journaling:

  • Illustrate a verse or a passage of scripture that grabs your heart in some way. Slowly write out the passage in fun/fancy letters and then use colored pencils to add simple drawings over the words.
  • When you are reading a story from the Bible, try using Google Images (or something similar) to see paintings that illustrate a scene or idea from that story. For example, type in “prodigal son” or “prodigal son, Rembrandt” to see the images.
  • Write/draw/doodle good quotes from books, articles or poetry.
  • Make a gratitude page, using fancy letters and simple pictures and add to it every day. Draw little pictures of people you love, or logos of a favorite coffee shop or a quote or comment that blesses you.
  • Spend time in nature. Draw something small you see, like a flower and a bug. Pay attention to how God speaks to you through the intricacy of His creation.
  • Write or draw something about an issue you are wrestling with. For example, read through 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 to read about Paul’s “thorn”. Consider your own thorns as draw a few thorn-covered stems.
  • Buy an old hymnal at a used bookstore or online. In fancy letters, write a line or verse from an old hymn or your own words of praise. Or cut out parts of the hymn that you really like and glue it into your journal.
  • Write/draw/doodle a beautiful prayer of your own or one written by someone else. Have a journal page with a specific prayer theme you add to each day.
  • Use your 5 senses whenever possible, as you spend time with Jesus. Try these simple ideas: burn a candle, smell a flower, listen to music that stirs your soul, hold onto a smooth stone, drink a cup of coffee or tea, go outside and pay attention to the various sounds around you. Our senses help us engage with our imaginations, and engaging our imaginations can help us access our souls.
  • Solitude – I try to get away for one longer solitude time each month, either ½ or full day. Part of that time I try to do one or more of these ideas, using my journal, markers, watercolor pencils or colored pencils to record and process what I am thinking and feeling, and what I am sensing from the Lord.

Some resources from Gayla to encourage your brilliant ideas…

Guides to art:

  • Truth and the Christian Imagination series (5 books in the series), by Alister McGrath
  • Seeing Salvation, by Neil MacGregor with Erika Langmuir
  • 120 Great Paintings of the Life of Jesus, published by Dover Platinum (DVD included)
  • The Christian Story: Five Asian Artists Today, by Pongracz, Kuster, and Cook
  • The Art of Faith: A Guide to Understanding Christian Images, by Judith Couchman

Check out the paintings on Biblical stories & themes from these artists (there are SO many others as well!):

  • Paintings from the catacombs in Italy
  • Peter Paul Rubens
  • Caravaggio
  • Rembrandt
  • James Tissot
  • Rubens
  • El Greco
  • Georges Rouault
  • William Blake
  • Van Gogh
  • He Qi
  • Daniel Bonnell

Creativity and faith:

  • The Creative Call, by Janice Elsheimer
  • Space for God, by Don Postema
  • Praying in Color, by Sybil MacBeth
  • Awaken Your Senses, by Beth Booram
  • Dwelling with Philippians, edited by Halstead, Detterman, Borger, and Witvliet

Getting your creative juices flowing:

  • Art Before Breakfast, by Danny Gregory
  • Drawing Lab, by Carla Sonheim
  • 1000 Artist Journal Pages, by Dawn DeVries Sokol

Thank you to the partner of today’s show:  Her Memory of Music by Redemption Press

This new novel delves into the multi-layered emotional nuances of contemporary relationships from single motherhood to infertility, domestic abuse, and even human trafficking. Katherine Scott Jones’ debut novel, Her Memory of Music, introduces a young mother, Ally Brennan, whose past catches up with her and threatens the stability of her new life with her young son. A burglary sets off situations that increase Ally’s vulnerability in a small village on an island in Puget Sound. Her secret fears and the regret for the musical career and family relationships she abandoned shadow her as she makes new friends. Dark moments and disappointments are deftly balanced with hope and grace as Ally learns to open her heart to trust God and others. Katherine Scott Jones, a blogger and freelance writer, says, “Like many women, I wrestle with fear, at the root of which is a distrust of God’s goodness.” She hopes readers will identify with Ally’s story and realize God fights our battles and makes a way even when we don’t see a way.



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