I visit Corbenic four times a year for four days at a time – usually shortly after the main Festival times of Christmas, Easter, St John's, and Michaelmas.

Painting sessions take place with groups of residents and co workers. Occasionally I work with individuals on their own if the group situation does not suit them.

We work with a story – either a fairy tale, folk tale, myth, or legend in some way connected to the Festival time. This might involve the season, times of day or night, transformation, renewal, or such archetypal emotions as courage, loyalty or love.

The story holds images which give us a starting point for painting. The painting method is wet on wet i.e. Watercolour on wet paper. Watercolours have a light quality and the colours mix and blend creating more beautiful colours. The wet paper allows the colours to flow and mix easily.

Sessions last about an hour and we try and make sure everyone paints at least twice.

The story and the painting encourage the imagination. There is an experience of creating colours and form on the page, and making judgements and decisions about one's own painting. Each group has to listen to the story, follow directions and work quietly in the room with others.

At the end of each session we look at what everyone has done. The paintings are always individual, and it is interesting to see how each person has expressed themselves. Sharing this is an important part of the social painting experience.

Sheila Mackay, Art Therapist


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