Art Therapy – Resources

Module 1

1- Introduction – What is Art Therapy and its use

2- Art History – Ruprest Art

3- Preliminary Exercises – Movement exercises-Balance

4- Form Drawing

1- Introduction

Art is the most ancient tool of mankind to express their innermost feeling, thoughts and needs. The creative process is from the earliest times connect to nature and with the divine, the deities, Gods and religions. Art is the bridge that connects earth and heaven.

Throughout the art history, artists gain great technical mastery and art became an increasingly accurate reproducer of nature. But the mere reproduction of nature did not satisfy him as creator. The artists sought again in the simplicity of the elements and in themselves, as the expression of the beautiful, of the divine. Art is no longer subjugated by the perfect laws of nature. The essence of human nature becomes the ideal, what is the most valuable and true. That is when art therapy emerged at the beginning of the 20th century. Art is a healing method for all . We are all artists of ourselves and are able to create our own art history. Art help us to work in our inner life and change our biography for the better.

2- Art History

There are so many resources in the internet and also valuable art history books to research. Here, I am just going to mention a little bit the development of art history.

Art was born about 25.000 years ago. Since then, man has acquired the faculty, the ability of creating. Mainly, through painting, sculpture and architecture many man’s habits and beliefs are known throughout history. Through the ruprestart man and animals were created from painting, , drawings and sculptures. Many historians believe that drawing animals pierced by arrows, man would ensure a good hunt. Through these legacies it can be observed how much the man experienced in himself the forces of nature. As far as utility is concerned, there was no difference for the early civilizations between building a house or making images of Gods.. Their huts not only sheltered them from cold and rain, but also from the spirits that spawned them, like the images, which protect them against other powers that were as real as nature (Gombrich,1983).

Fear and respect were very simply represented. In early civilizations, drawings, paintings, sculptures, and architectural constructions were created to act as a supernatural forces of magic. The Gods manifested themselves in the forces of nature and lived fully bound to them. Man felt embedded within a world of which he had no autonomy. They belong to a group.

Prehistoric mythical figures are still studied as being manifested in different cultures and times. Art shows a deep connection that the humankind has to the different cultures.

3- Preliminary Exercises

This chapter introduces to basic movements that can help with the difficulties that children, adolescents and adults face throughout life causing learning disabilities and low selfesteem.

The first exercises are going to be focused on the balance. It is very important to have good balance to develop a healthy sense of orientation and equilibrium.


Balance board
Balance beam

Balance board: 5 to 7 minutes daily in the morning is very good for concentration. Specially for children before going to school or before class.

Balance beam: Piece of wood 5 inches width 2 inches height and 90 inches long12 cm//2.5 cm/2.30 m)

Walking on the balance beam forward and backward – you can add speech when you find a good balance. For example each step can be a letter of the alphabet – ABCDEF….forward and backward.

Rope: Simple version of the balance beam

The exercises have to be done first with eyes open . Once the balance is good do the same with eyes closed. You are going to experience that to balance without the vision is harder, much harder. Preferably do this exercises barefoot, stimulates the tactile sense.

Checking Balance

Ask to stand in one foot and then change – add speech – with eyes open
Ask to stand with one foot and then change – add speech – with eyes closed


4- Form Drawing

Form drawings are very used in the first years of Waldorf schools. They prepare for the writing and also for the many other abilities that children need to acquire as spatial orientation and fine motor skills. For adolescents and adults are very therapeutically for breathing, concentration, inner balance and calm. They can be done for 5 to 7 minutes daily.

Let start with a quote of Kepler, the great astronomer:

“…God in His ineffable resolve chose straightness and roundness in order to endow the world with the signature of the Divine. Thus the All-wise originated the world of form, the total essence of which is encompassed in the contrasts of the straight and rounded line.”

Materials: Cheap paper (Butcher paper, journal) 12×17 inches/A3 size.
Tape, soft pencils(up 2B), color pencil, crayons or any material available.

Sit in a comfortable position with both feet on the floor – so the shoulders are free and in balance to work.
It is important to do calmly and breathing- rhythm is very important while doing these exercises.

It is also possible to do standing or to have an table easel to do it. The paper has to have its middle in front of the heart.

Exercise 1 – Straight lines – graphite, color pencil or crayons

Frame the paper
From heaven to the earth, that means from above to below draw a straight line.
Draw a second shorter
Draw a third shorter
Draw a forth shorter

Then start all over again

Exercise 2 – Straight lines – The same as the first one but horizontal

Frame the paper
Start the straight line from left to the right
Draw a second shorter
Draw a third shorter
Draw a forth shorter and then repeat

Then start all over again

Hint: You can create all sort of rhythms that you want. The sequences can vary according to the different possibilities and rhythms. Add a story if you want. For example on the exercise one you can tell:

Once there was a king
Then came the queen
Then came the prince
Then came the princess

But the king  (you are starting all over again)
Called the queen
The queen asked the prince
To tell the princess to have dinner
And then the king sat on the table……….

For adults ask then what is the difference between doing a straight line form above to below and below to above or from left to right or right to left. It is very interesting!

Vertical line – more active, presence, personality
Horizontal –more passive, stable, calm
Diagonal- between both above, indicates movement.

Find qualities to describe them!

How to make a perfect straight line by hand? Draw one dot at the beginning of the line and another one where you want to end it. Connect!

Observations of an extra lesson teacher – Remedial Education
How to make form drawing with children up 8 years old:

1. First observe the child posture, the soles of the feet should touch the ground. It is very important that the feet are not twisted between the feet of the chair or intertwined with each other or worse, suspended wit the child sitting on top. The feet should remain parallel and straight.
The child should sit more on the edge of the seat, creating a space behind them and not leaning against the back of the chair. The front of the body should also have a space. Do not let the children lean against the chest at the table where she will do the drawing.

2. The paper used is A3 format, which is twice the common paper sheet we find most easily on the market, and so if you do not find A3, you can do on plain paper that should be fastened with tape, in a comfortable reach for each child’s arm.

3. Do not use the paper directly on the table that has any type of texture that can create an obstacle to the fluidity required for the drawing. If you do not have a flat cardboard to put underneath, improvise with other stacked sheets of paper.

4. Avoid using old newspaper sheets because they create an unpleasant shadows and the drawing environment should be as clean as possible. In addition, the sheets of newspaper exude a strong smell of paint, which for many children represents a serious impediment.

5. Drawing – Basic elements of drawing: Point/ line/surface

Point – static
Line – dynamic/movement
Surface – contrast/volume/atmosphere
Representational drawing – realism – refers to drawing the reality as objects, people and etc.
Nonrepresentational drawing – abstract – refers to shapes, forms and values that are not identified with our perception of the physical world.

Before we start with our first exercise let’s see how we hold a pencil or any other similar material while drawing.

How to hold a pencil: