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Monday, 4 July 2016

Art Therapy 7: Relationships Following The Primary Command - Love Your Neighbour (Part 2/3)

There are so many of who are struggling to maintain healthy relationships that we thought it a good idea to do a blog series on relationships. We take a Biblical perspective, using Jesus' teaching on what the greatest command is in Mark 12:30-31. In the second blog of the three part series, we look at the second command which Jesus put next to the primary one of loving God, namely loving our 'neighbours'. This is seldom easy and we explore alternative approaches to this very common problem.

As we will be using some heavy paints for this journal project, we need to make sure to use strong paper as our foundation, that will be able to withstand the wet paint. This blog is not intended for people who do not believe in Jesus as it very strongly links with His teachings. It is therefore important that we should also have a strong spiritual foundation as well.
What gives you the knowledge and certainty that your spiritual foundation is a strong one?
What can you do to increase this strength even further?

After securing the paper to the board with masking tape, I use charcoal to draw a see-saw on the paper. Feel free to use any drawing medium you feel comfortable with.
What memories do you have of a seesaw?
Do you have a particular friend or sibling you associate with a seesaw?

As this blog is about our relationship with other people, we draw two figures on the seesaw, one representing ourselves, and the other representing all other people as individuals.

I add sleeves to the dresses and heads to the bodies.

I then add arms and hands with a handlebar to hold on to. With regards this blog series, where we are looking at our relationships with others in the light of our relationship with God, this handlebar can be compared to our faith in God. The firmer we hold on to that, the less likely we are to fall off as a result of the actions of other people in our lives.
What colour do you imagine this handle to be that will make it stand out and remind you of the strength of your own faith?

Knowing that we are inspecting our love for our fellow human beings from the perspective of a Christian, we add the sun we drew in the previous blog in the sky of this blog. God is ever present in our relationships and we give ourselves a visual reminder of this fact.
How does the knowledge that God is ever present in our relationships contribute to how you shape your relationships with others?

I then use a clean dry brush to wipe away any excess charcoal. This is a good time for introspection. What things are standing in your way of having healthy relationships with people. Is it some childhood trauma. Have you made decisions in life that hinders this? Is there an outside influence exercising a negative impact?
How do you feel about this?
How does this influence your relationship with yourself?
How does this influence your relationship with God?
Do you need to deal with this?
Who can assist you?
How could you benefit from removing this from your life?

Loving the bright colours of Dala Craft Paint, I will again use these to paint my picture with. Feel free to use any medium you are comfortable with.

I start by once again painting my grass Lime Green, reminding myself that God is the source of Life.

The sky is once again painted a pale Duck Egg, much like a clear sunny sky would appear. When attempting to drive clouds from our relationships, there is little sense in adding them into the picture.

I then dress my figures in Warm Red and Purple dresses respectively.

Their shoes are painted Turquoise and Green respectively.

I then paint the seesaw brown. The reason I chose a seesaw is because our actions in life has a direct influence on the lives of others and we need to live our lives aware of this fact. In order to have fun on a seesaw, we need to be in balance with the person on the other end. Where the interests of one party weighs too much, the seesaw does not work effectively. I also love that the seesaw acknowledges that we all go through ups and downs in life. When we are up, it is in our power to help those who are down. The reverse is also true.
On the other hand, it is also true that the person at the bottom is 'grounding' the person at the top, and that the one at the bottom needs to take action for the one at the top to feel grounded again, by balancing the seesaw.

The person on the other end of your seesaw can not be you. It is important that we paint them to have their own features and hair. Allowing people to define themselves, instead of forcing them into precast molds, is the beginning of building healthy relationships with them.
What steps do you take to allow others to have their own identity?
How often do you judge others for acting, thinking or speaking differently from yourself?
How do you benefit from others being different to you?

You may choose to paint the skin on your two figures in different colours. I was forced for practical reasons to use the same colour as I was not at home and worked with limited supplies.

With all the blank spaces on my page coloured, I turn to the sun and paint it in the same colours I used in the first blog in the series, namely Custard Yellow with Burnt Orange edges. As this sun represents God in my painting, I am reminded of the passage that states that God is eternally the same; yesterday, today and tomorrow.

Now that I have painted the sun, I turn my attention towards adding detail to my painting. I start by adding the blessings of the first blog's painting in this one as well. I make green dots for the centers of the flowers I will be adding.

The petals of the flowers are painted in bright Red. Of course you can choose your own colours to paint the petals in, but ask yourself why you choose those colours.

I also paint detail on the dress of one of my figures. I love how this is added only after we added 'God' (symbolically) to the painting. It is only His light that we become aware of the beauty in others. We see people the way He sees them. And, we can only see colour when there is light!

But it is not only true for others. Our own beauty is also illuminated by the glory of God. That is why I paint detail on the dress of the other figure as well.

I add even more frills and detail to the dresses in the next step. There is no limit to the depths of beauty there is to discover in others when we take our own prejudices out of the way and choose to see them the way God does.
How much richer would your life be if you embraced people's differences rather than judging or dismissing them?

When the paint has dried, I add the journaling with a Black artists pen: "You shall love your neighbour ..." Mark 12:31.

I add more journaling in the center of the sun: "Seeing others as God does."

On the seesaw I write these words: "There for each other through life's ups and downs."

I then use the same pen to draw unique facial features on each of my figures.

I swap my pen for a black marker with a brush tip to outline the painting. Once again, my new found knowledge has defined a better way for me to approach relationships.

I also use a white marker with a brush tip to add highlights to the painting, reminding me that God's light is ever present in my relationships with others.

Carefully remove the masking tape from the paper where it secures the paper to the board.

Allow this painting to be a continual visual reminder of how to improve your relationships with others.

Melette Els (Clinical Social Work) can be contacted via the webpage, or by email at, or by phone at 082 776 1536.
Melette Els B.A. (SocSc) M. (Th) 
BHF Pr Nr.: 089 000 00 28754 SACSSP Reg.Nr.: 10-17310

Marietjie Uys (Miekie) is a published author. You can buy the books here:
You can purchase Designs By Miekie 1 here.
Jy kan Kom Ons Teken en Verf Tuinstories hier koop.
Jy kan Kom Ons Kleur Tuinstories In hier koop.
Jy kan Tuinstories hier koop.
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