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Kitty on counter
cat on counter courtesy of Big Stock Photo
Gina Quarles : The Tools Within My Art Box

Healing Through Creativity

The Tools Within My Art Box

By Gina Quarles

One thing that I practice when I am writing, drawing or creating a piece of poetry, is using my senses to lead me. What do I smell? What do I see? What does is feel like? It the texture of any use for me now? This can present itself in many art forms. One in particular that I like to use is my imagination. It sounds so vague at first, I know. But what would it be like if I were a cat? Where would I go? Would I hunt? Or would I stay in my safety zone?

If I were a cat, would I stroll in my safe home and explore my surroundings? Where would I go first? Would it be a swift jump up on the counter (where I know I am not allowed?) but hey, no one is home. I am going for it! I sit and ponder if I can gracefully leap with a calm landing where I want to be. After all I am a cat and must be graceful. I can, I will do this. I leap. I land. I see crumbs. Let's go give them a smell. Hmmm, possibly leftovers from a tuna sandwich perhaps? I like it up here. I slowly walk with my catlike stride over to the coffee maker. Nope, not interested. But, I do spy a crumbled up receipt obviously left behind by my owner. How dare she leave me!

I walk slowly, noticing all the scents and objects in close proximity. I want that receipt and those crumbled up pieces of papers! Aaah, here it is! Fun to pass around. I pat it, I push it. It falls to the ground. I gracefully leap down and bat it across the cold tile floor. It goes under the refrigerator. Now what? Do I dare put my lovely paws under to try and retrieve it?

You get the idea. Do you see where I am going with this? I just pretended I was a cat. I imagined what they would do and how they would behave. I imagined what or how they would make their decisions. Sometimes, just warming up the mind with a little imagination play while engaging all of your senses can open brand new doors to the mind. You do not have to be a cat. You can be a flower budding and opening up to the warm rays of sunshine and feeling your first petal pop out. You can be a raindrop that travels down the veins of a maple tree.You can be a fish a beautiful aquarium.

There are so many natural prompts for us to use if we begin in our own minds and engage all of our senses. That is what creates a wonderful atmosphere for the setting of a story. It can provide a background for the empty canvas you are staring at in wonder. It can be the first words in your poetry piece. It can be the first design you begin to form as your pottery wheel is spinning without and idea and or direction.

Cooking a meal is another tool I use. The power of smell is amazing. When I make a specific meal, maybe it was one that was handed down to me from my grandmother, I am brought back in time. I remember her kitchen. I remember the sounds or music if you will, as she hit the pots with her cooking spoons. There are some tunes I remember from those very moments that can be made into music. There is a story I can now have a setting for with vivid detail which will engage my reader with as she begins her journey with me.

When you write or create from your imagination and it is persona, l think it makes for an automatic hit. I know when I look at pieces I have written that come from emotions that stems from writing from my heart, those are the ones most read. They are my treasures. I go back to them and read them over and over to inspire myself and get to that sacred place that is able to create. It is there. It just needs to be jump-started at times.

Listening to music is another mood inducer. It can bring to surface many feelings if that song represents a specific memory for you. It can also take you back to certain places, people and so much more. All of the arts, when combined with our gifts of imagination or reminiscing can be extremely powerful tools. We often forget what tools we have readily available to us.They are our art toolbox.

Pull out some old photographs and look them. Where were you? Who were you with? How old were you? Does any emotions begin to come to surface? If so, use them. See where they want to take you. They are there for a reason. Share them with others in your art. All humans beings can appreciate emotional pieces, as we are emotional beings. They immediately can relate to your piece. You as the artist have to decide what you want to be made obvious to your viewers. Maybe you want them to wonder and seek more and contemplate what you were trying to express? That is okay as well. You are the one who decides.

That is the beauty of any art form, we can reveal as much as we wish as we are the creator of the piece. Art is a certain kind of power. It can send a message. It can be for pure beauty. It can create atmosphere. It can tell a story. It can promote curiosity which in return often creates and idea for another artist to build upon. It stirs up emotions in others. Let's stir up nice ones. Are you passionate about a cause? Express it in your art. Is there a spiritual message you would like to share? Get it out there. Art is a powerful tool and makes an unseen impact on people. But it always will send a message.

Share your art. Use the tool of all of your senses. Be an animal, a plant, a person, or an emotion. They are all wonderful prompts for you to use as the basis for your newest masterpiece. I cannot wait to see what pops up next for me. So go choose a medium and get ready! The ideas are just waiting to express themselves. They want to be seen and heard. •

© 2013 Gina Quarles. All rights reserved.

Gina QuarlesGina Quarles is a mom, wife and a creative soul who is passionate about the art of writing. She's currently recovering from a near-death auto accident and working on a book, which is an outlet for her healing. She encourages others along the way through kindness and hope. More »