Exploring The Word In Colour and Speech

A Synthesis of Anthroposophical Speech and Painting Therapy

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Larissa St
Ringwood 3134
VIC AU
Tel 0061 413 770 020

Disabilities Partnerships 2004-2006

Client's Art 2

For more information, please contact Katherine Rudolph at info@exploringtheword.com.au or on 0061 413 770 020.

See below for artwork by this client. Also see Clients' Art 3 for further examples.

PROGRESS REPORT

MARCH 1, 2006

RECREATION THERAPY

THERAPIST - KATHERINE RUDOLPH

CLIENT - MATTHEW, AN AQUIRED HEAD INJURY CLIENT, AGE 33

INJURY ACQUIRED 14+ YEARS AGO, MUTE, WITH THE BASIC USE OF HIS LEFT HAND

EXPLORING THE WORD IN COLOUR AND SPEECH

JULY, 2004 - MARCH , 2006

In the duration of time that I have been working with Matthew, he has been doing painting, clay modelling, and pastels. He has been interested and involved especially in the painting, although he did enjoy working with the Platonic Solids in clay. We made a pyramid which reminded him of a visit he had made as a child, to the pyramids in Mexico. Of the five Platonic Solids, he was able to experience the cube best of all. When I placed two pyramids base to base, the octahedral form was experienced. The work helps to develop the centre and to create balance.

His first attempts with red and yellow are memorable because they so readily resemble the sun motif in painting. The red and yellow especially bring the blood circulation to the brain, which is good for his condition, and helps him awaken to colour.

All of the colour exercises are designed to stimulate the consciousness of the individual, through centre-periphery, up-down, right-left, enhancement in the colour-wheel progression, polarity, and complementary colours in the warm and cool elements.

Matthew always had an individual approach and knew what he wanted. He enjoyed blending the colour and was interested in the appearance of dark and light. His brush stroke gradually became more steady as time went on. The "wet-on-wet, or wet-on-damp" approaches created his best painting; although some work on dry paper and with pastels gave him the opportunity to have more control. However he found it difficult to master the technique. It is hard for him to paint with the board upright.

Matthew has painted over 300 paintings in the time we have worked together. He almost never tired. It is his means of self-expression. The fiery aspect of his character comes forward in his painting movement. This is healthy for him. Any particular frustrations or annoyances are painted into the movement and taken care of.

His joy in blending colour and his fascination with the various hues has often been transformed into story form. As he painted, I would often describe the "colour events" which were occurring. They were transformed into conversation, and sometimes vowels or music. Immediately, the innate social life in colours came to consciousness. This is a way of communicating for Matthew, in his individual forming process. He is very musical in the sense that the life of his colours remains a colour representation, rather than a depiction of the outer world or an imagination. If it appears to be a landscape, it comes out of the colours. There is no depiction or illustrative design present.

I have helped Matthew to balance his tendency to blend all of the colours together. The balance of pure rainbow colours to the earth colours, creates a healthy painting. Although at first, the colour appears chaotic, it becomes transformed. This "chaos" is an important happening, without which there would not be the constant variation which eventually will lead to beauty. When order is brought to this chaotic appearing colour weaving, in the approach which I outlined earlier, then beauty is attained. With beauty comes the furthering of the healing impulse for it implies a harmony which resolves the dissonance, a steadying of the focus and an appreciation of art in the social- therapeutic sense. Matthew had an ever-changing view of colour.

Spiral forms going inward have helped to find Matthew. "The centre is in the middle". Formed representations of earth, water, air, and fire have also been introduced at times. Animal forms have been cut out and superimposed on the painted surface. Sometimes they were removed after having been painted over, and at other times they were left on the painting as a relief. This has been done in the attempt to help him see the contours. Matthew is at home in the colour movement, but his sense of form has not been developed enough. Such development would allow him to have more of an overview of the process that he is in.

I have shown Matthew illustrated fairy tales, such as " The Queen Bee" by the brothers Grimm. He seems to " breathe it in" like nourishment. This kind of stimulation could be continued, for he seems to understand the story. At some future time, perhaps he could even consciously paint the mood behind the story.

Another approach to form has been penmanship. He likes writing his name or the names of friends and relatives. Sometimes he has done this with the paintbrush.

In the last terms work, an approach has been essayed to paint on a white metal screen. The colours have been applied in symmetrical dots. Matthew has made journeys with the paintbrush from one dot to another. The story dialogue is like "visiting" friends in distant lands. When "blue" journeys to meet "red", "red" introduces "mauve" who then sets out to visit the new friend across the way. A party, a dance or, a circus ensues in the imagination which I vocalise for him. At a certain point, a white sheet of paper is placed over the screen and pressed down. Mark's outer activity is replaced by the question; "What will it look like?". Then the sheet is removed and the imprint is seen. It is now at rest. This is a result of the interweaving of colours, which has just occurred. A few white spaces are left. In a controlled way they are bridged by colour which Matthew then observes, or the work is allowed to dry. Then a" wash" of colour, like a background is applied over the imprint. This can be done before the imprint is taken so that there is already a background.

One especially practical aspect of this technique, which has come into being through Mark's therapy, has been that a relatively inexpensive paper can be used. The metal screen is the " field of play" and the imprint can be set aside to dry. The colour expenditure is a bit more, however.

The consciousness gained by Matthew in this approach is apparent. He always registers surprise and attention, looking at the imprint. The eye rests and absorbs the colour. In the previous activity, the lens of the eye was continually focussing and moving. The paintbrush is “speaking". Afterwards, the “listening" process can occur, in the sense of letting the colour work back, in an actively passive manner. The "give and take" in conversation is experienced.

Matthew has only spoken to me a few times since I have known him. He has said, "Hello". But through the making of his CD's ; and the printing of his greeting cards, Matthew can easily say "Hello" to the world, and I believe that he is aware of that.

Thus, I would, of course, recommend more painting for Matthew at a time in the future when that can be accomplished.

Katherine Rudolph

Exploring The Word In Colour and Speech

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