While art can be used very effectively in therapy while under the guidance of an art therapist, separate, on its own, made personally, it’s often not.
Art can be made to represent times of distress, but it doesn’t replace those times in the artists psyche. Moreover, it cements them, memorializes them, it hopefully, someday, is the only remaining memory of them.
“But for most art there is no client, and in making it you lay bare a truth you perhaps never anticipated: that by your very contact with what you love, you have exposed yourself to the world.”– DAVID BAYLES AND TED ORLAND, ART & FEAR: OBSERVATIONS ON THE PERILS (AND REWARDS) OF ARTMAKING
The key, if you do want to use art practices in a calming way, is to step away from your primary form of art. If you plan your pieces, don’t plan before you want a relaxing time in your creation. Look into intuitive painting, or intuitive any kind of medium really. Take your camera out in nature and photograph only what is before you, no props, no additional lights. Let what comes come without judgement.
You can decide after the fact if what you made is art or not. But that’s not the goal here. The goal in periods you choose to set aside for reflection and relaxation is just that. To get out what you need to express for your own sake, or to set aside the stressors of the day. Do not let external judgement, yours or others, get in the way of what you make.
Also read – Own What You Do