Transformation Art- Art That Heals, Art That Brings Closure and Change
“Doorway” by Brad Silberberg Chalk Pastels
“I made this drawing with the intention of opening up my spiritual energy. I started with the idea of drawing a portal to access what my Soul had already built on the Spirit Side from a succession of lifetimes and letting it come through. I put into the drawing symbols, shapes, and colors that felt like they ‘belonged’ without much conscious thought.
Others who viewed this drawing commented that it seemed that certain energies were also going out the door while others were coming in, representing the release of that which I no longer needed. At the bottom of the doorway, water is flowing in, a representation of calm emotions which are encouraging new growth (represented by the green plants). While I was making the drawing, I felt a lot of movement in my Being’s energy systems. I experienced a growing calmness and continuing expansion of my physical energy and willingness to act in the days and weeks after I made the drawing. A friend and psychic who was present when I made the drawing said that I had indeed brought through some but not all of my spiritual potential by creating it.”
Making art can heal and transform you. With the process of Transformation Art, holding that intention makes it so.
People today make works of art for a variety of reasons. Some people make art because it relaxes them, brings a sense of accomplishment, or a joyful feeling into their life. For others, creating works of art is a way to convey ideas or deep emotions that would otherwise remain pent up, yet can be satisfactorily expressed somehow through the non-verbal symbology of art. It can also be a powerful way to connect to and swim with the flow of Creation and, by entering that stream of perfect Light, undergo healing metamorphosis. This is the process of “Transformation Art”, art that through its very creation opens portals to spiritual change and personal growth. We are not talking about “art therapy” here like that practiced in mainstream clinical psychology settings. There, people are coaxed to draw or paint in order to encourage creativity, access feelings they have cut themselves off from, or so that it may act as a diagnostic tool to uncover buried trauma. Transformation Art as we practice it is a tool for manifestation and a form of the spiritual healing process called Soul Retrieval, where disassociated parts of the Self are recovered and reintegrated at a very deep level. It is truly art that heals.
Where did “Art” come from?
No one can really say how or when the practice of art-making originated, but it likely started as a shamanic practice to connect with spiritual forces, express the complex feelings of spirituality, and transcend time. Ancient healers, magicians, and holy men came to know that symbols and images held and connected with the powerful primordial energies of Creation and invoked them to conjure the future. Pictures of hunting scenes were drawn on rock walls in an effort to elicit good fortune by depicting an impending kill, thus ensuring the hunters’ success in feeding their tribe.
“Untethered Spirits” by Kate Silberberg Chalk Pastels
“I made the drawing with the idea of releasing my parents’ energies from this earth plane. They are both deceased, and I wanted to do a piece of art that would allow their energies to be free from earthly constraints. They were both strong individuals and very connected to each other, which is why I happened to ‘wrap’ them together in the rope I drew. As I drew the fibers I talked to my parents spirits, myself, and to the universe. I celebrated their togetherness as they lived, and displayed their individuality in two distinct and separate colors (their favorites). As I released them, I felt a shift inside of myself, a surprising lightness and a lifting sensation within and around me. As I made the chalk lines and moved towards the unraveling of the rope, I had the sense that I was sending energy to them, and that they were able to go freely on to do whatever else their spirits are called to do. The wonderful extra is that I felt no sadness, or grief; just love, warmth, and joy at this letting go. This feeling has stayed with me, long after I made the drawing.”
In its beginnings art was not for decoration or adornment, but a way to contact and connect with the unseen world of Spirit through focused intention, beseeching those with power to help those earthbound and in need. Ancient Shamans would connect with their spiritual helpers and bring through their magic to put into signs and talismans that could be used by their people as connecting points or devices to access that power themselves. They may have used drawings or rudimentary carvings in rituals to control the elemental forces of Nature and to commemorate or convey the past, recording it visually in a time before written language existed. As Human consciousness developed, art, music, and dance emerged to express complex feelings for which there were no words.
Making what came to be called “art” was also a way of tapping into and becoming part of the beautiful process of Creation that ancient peoples constantly felt and observed going on all around them. Because they were so instinctual and close to nature, they were much more aware of this process than those of us living in a increasingly mechanized world have become over a period of only a few thousand years of “progress”. Making expressive images and objects gave them a way to participate in the purposeful bringing into form of ideas and ideals rather than the simple manufacturing of functional items.
Over the millennia, art became a codified form of communication and commerce as well. As people settled into agrarian societies and stayed in one place, picture writing developed and spread. Since people had more time and the resources to do so, the practice of making everyday objects beautiful increased as beauty came to be recognized as the natural order of Creation, something that is often overlooked or forgotten today. As the social structure of cities arose, that appreciation of beauty allowed for skilled people to produce art just for the pleasure and pride of ownership on the part of their patrons and themselves. Still, shamans and priests continued to use made objects as part of spiritual practices, relying on their ability to imbue magic and help them find channels of connection with their gods.
“The Burning Bed” by Brad Silberberg Chalk Pastels
“It was close to the anniversary of the date when my first wife nearly died from the chronic ailment that eventually took her life. She had been sick and went to bed early that evening. When I came to check on her later, she didn’t respond to my voice or touch. I was finally able to arouse her and get her to the hospital. She spent her last three months on Earth there, eventually crossing over to the Spirit Side after a failed liver transplant. After her death, I realized that she had been in the process of dying that Labor Day weekend and I had interrupted it. All she had wanted was to die at home in her own bed, but the doctors, her family, and I convinced her that a transplant was the right thing to do. A peaceful death was not an option.
I had already been feeling a growing disturbance when I realized that this holiday anniversary was approaching again. My intention with this drawing was to depict my first wife’s passing at home that September night and release any remaining guilt, remorse, or connection I might have been harboring. I knew exactly what to draw, and as I drew it I felt a lot of energy flowing in and out of my body and aura. I felt clearer and calmer afterwards. The drawing was done in a class intended to expand artistic creativity through Mediumship by making contact with great artists who had passed into Spirit. Our teacher (a very gifted psychic) looked at me and the drawing and said that not only had I freed myself from the experience of stopping my first wife from trying to die, there had also been a release for her Soul as well, represented by the red flames turning into the white Light of Spirit. It was the creation of this drawing that led us to the concept of Transformation Art as a healing modality.”
During the Age of Reason, competition became stiff and mainstream art became the domain of the highly skilled few who could accurately represent nature through two or three dimensional means. In European culture, art became a way to record people, religious stories, and the natural world as well as turning courtly, academic, and exclusive. Meanwhile, in surviving tribal systems the invocation of nature in artistic depictions was still used to access the forces of Creation for the maker and their people.
In our 21st century world, art has lost most of its connection with magic and the natural world of Spirit. To many, art and its making are simply a commodity seen as a superfluous “luxury”, rather than a necessary part of life. With the advent of computer graphics, anyone can cobble together two dimensional images to make beautiful “artwork” without much skill or understanding of the feel and spiritual connection of hand-making. Art is no longer taught as a symbol-language for our unconscious minds to express what cannot be said or written in words and has been systematically removed from school curriculums in favor of computer classes and teach-to-the-test standards. Children are now exposed to the experience of it for only a few hours a month (if at all) and that experience is often sanitized by reducing art class to the study of art history without much substantive hands-on practice. With the rising popularity of internet “Cyber schools”, art becomes a second hand experience for children when they only get to watch some “expert” make it instead of creating art themselves. This is simply not enough time or effort to devote to the basic Human need for creative expression.
Often, children stop drawing as they reach a level of cognitive maturity where they begin to understand that their stick-figure drawings don’t look “real” to them or the adults around them. Without proper instruction in the alphabet of shape-symbols used for drawing and how to assemble them into something recognizable, children suffer emotionally and quickly shut down creative energies. Many of us adults may be experiencing the long term emotional or developmental consequences of our inner mind’s frustration of not knowing the basics of the symbol system involved in representational drawing.
“Out of Bondage” by Kate Silberberg Chalk Pastels
“I made this drawing to help me heal my lungs. I have had asthma symptoms since childhood, and I would like to be symptom free. While creating it, I allowed my hand to be led by my inner knowing, Spirit Guides, and my inner healer. I had no preconceived notion of what this might look like... it just happened. I just sort of watched as I allowed the colors, shapes, and movement to be guided by something that seemed ‘outside’ of me.
As I made this drawing, I was ‘seeing’ my lungs as though they were overworked, stressed and strained. Their colors, were dull, turbulent, and troubled. I wanted to ‘breathe new life into them’. As I drew the pink spiral, I was imagining the newness of life, without wheezing and gasping for breath. I imagined I was drawing new cells with the fresh pink tones, healing and unifying my breath and life. I wanted to symbolize a new ‘me’ growing from the old. When I finished it I felt very calm and more at peace with my healing. I found the making of this drawing one kind of learning and healing about myself, and looking at it, studying it, another . I see the potential for more drawings that could follow as a series representing further growth toward being healed and whole. ”
There is a part of all of us that misses being able to converse in the shamanic language of art to release or attract to us energies on the level of Spirit or Soul. Many adults shy away from making art or are downright fearful about it simply because they were not taught its language of two or three dimensional representation when they were young and cannot cope with the feelings of inferiority or defeat they experience when their attempts at what they consider “good art” fail. In a way, not learning to draw is like not learning to write or speak, yet it is not seen that way by our educational system. Many of us could imagine how frustrating it would be to be unable to communicate without words, but are unaware of what is missing for us personally by not engaging in visual art because we are unwilling or unable to find out.
What constitutes Transformation Art?
Music, dance, drama, and all forms of creative expression can be transformative for the artist and the viewer. What we call “Transformation Art” is the making of drawings, paintings (etc.), or 3-dimensional objects that by their very creation cause a release of pent up emotion or trauma energy, a recovery of energy or consciousness, (Soul Light lost during Life’s impossible-to-tolerate moments) or the direct precipitation of a desired yet previously unmanifested healing outcome. It is approached as a shamanic act of clearing one’s own Soul by co-creating with something greater than the Self. This is accomplished (in part) through a process of conscious and intentional connection with the higher realms of Spirit, the flow of Creation, and our own inner Being before and during their making.
“The Hammer” by Brad Silberberg Chalk Pastels
“This drawing was done to help me release fear and anxiety over making art. As a child, I suffered repeated abuse from my father for using his tools without permission. The rule was that I wasn’t supposed to use those tools without him present, but he was seldom home. All I wanted to do was be like him and be creative, yet when he discovered my transgressions, his fury would erupt with shouting and pummeling.
One of his tools was a mysterious hammer with his first initial (‘M’) written in weld bead on the head. The image I drew of this tool connected to my memories of getting ‘hammered’ by my dad, but also related to art making and the concept of wielding power. As I was drawing it I could feel my hand on the end of the handle, out of sight in my drawing. I felt the sense of raising that hammer over my head in readiness to strike, not necessarily in anger or retaliation, but to bring through creative power. Others who saw this drawing commented that they could feel that energy.”
The transformation drawings shown on this page were done quickly and without a lot of thinking. They were made by holding the intention that healing of the artist’s Spirit would occur from making them. The help of famous artists from the past (who have crossed over to the Spirit World) was at times invoked and engaged by consciously connecting with their spiritual presence and energy for greater access to the Creative Stream. Here, the artist/shaman acted as a channel, pipeline, or conductor of their higher energies, surfing on their more directly accessed flow while allowing it to come through and into the drawing. As a result, shifting energy, healing, upliftment, relief, and expansion of consciousness immediately occurred with pronounced and lasting benefits.
What makes great art “great” is its universal appeal. This stems not only from the connection of the viewer to the artist through the work of art, but also from that of the artist to their own Soul, the Creative Stream, and Universal Spirit that occurred during its making. By viewing the art, one is able to tap into the artist’s connection, energy, emotions, and experience vicariously what they did in the making of it. The same may be true of Transformation Art, even though it is made expressly for the experience of the maker. In truth, we are all here on this Earth to be creative, mirroring That Which Created us.
How can I go about making works of Transformation Art?
The process can be really quite simple. Gather together supplies for drawing or painting. We like to use chalk pastels (this can be a basic set or deluxe assortment) because they are very direct, they can be used fast and furiously to cover a lot of ground, and their vibrant colors allow color energy to be included in the process. Chalk pastels can also be blended and smeared to make new colors right on the paper and create the indefinite, gauzy energy that corresponds to the transitional zone between our world and the Higher Realms. Have a supply of drawing paper ready in different colors (including black) to choose from as this will create the background of the drawing, affect the way the chalk covers, and evoke a mood. Dark papers will hold a more somber energy but show greater contrast with light colored chalk. Light colored papers hold more Light to begin with yet may not match up with the gravity of what is to be released, regained, or manifested.
Set the intention about what you want to release, regain, or manifest (see our examples) before you start and turn your attention to connecting spiritually, however you are able to do so. We often just close our eyes and turn our thoughts to “being there” in the Spirit World. It may help you to use a famous artist from the past as a connecting point for you. Look at pictures of that artist’s work in a book, poster, or postcards and imagine being them or sitting next to them as they painted, drew, or sculpted. Envision bringing this energy and connection down into your body through the top of your head or through your heart. Mimicking the artist’s style of working as you draw may also help you connect to their energy.
“Seated Woman” by Kate Silberberg Finger Paint on Paper
“As part of a class about creative mediumship taught by an artist friend who is a psychic, I painted this seated woman. We were consciously connecting with a ‘spirit artist’ of our choice and bringing their energies in to help us paint like that artist. A lot of us felt uncomfortable using finger paints and I wanted to get past that to express myself, stretching beyond my own limitations. I focused on R.C. Gorman, a Native American artist known for his portraits of seated native women. To my surprise, not only did I successfully ‘shift gears’ and break out of my personal limits, I was able to connect with the artist and paint with his energy, which I felt as I worked on the painting. It was an exhilarating experience that has stayed with me, and inspired me to continue to stretch as an artist.”
Allow yourself to believe that the drawing does not have to be “a great work of art”, acknowledge any fear you have of the process, and push past it, focusing on the idea that you will be healing yourself or manifesting what you want. Set a timer for say, ten minutes, and hold your healing/manifesting intention in your mind as you begin to work. Allow your hand to be guided by something beyond yourself. Go fast without thinking or judging and create an image of something that would constitute a healing/manifest result for you. (If you wanted to let go of a particular fear, for instance, you might draw it as a bird flying away.) You might start making a drawing of a traumatic circumstance in order to depict it resolving into a better outcome or just to have it “witnessed” and released.
Suspend judgment about your drawing and your artistic skills as you work and avoid stopping and thinking about what you are doing as much as possible. Notice your emotions and body energy sensations as you draw and after the timer goes off. You may want to share your drawing with a trusted friend or fellow artist to find out what they see in it or journal about your experience in order to more firmly understand and integrate what occurred. Be mindful of what happens over the next days and weeks as it is our experience with all healing and all ceremony that desired results may emerge slowly. You may not experience any great difference right away, but within a few days revelations and changes will make themselves apparent.
If you want to learn more about our work with Transformation Art or purchase prints of our work, please call 724-947-3097 or email.