Synopses & Reviews
Art is a spiritual path—not a religion, but a practice that helps us knit together the ideals and convictions that guide our lives. Creating art can be prayer, ritual, and remembrance of the Divine. And the sharing of this creativity with others in small groups can serve as sanctuary, asylum, ashram, therapy group, think tank, and village square. Pat Allen has developed a reliable guide for walking the path of art through a series of simple practices that combine drawing, painting, and sculpture with journal writing. Designed for readers at any level of artistic experience, the book shows how to:
• awaken the creative force and connect with the divine source of creativity
• access inner wisdom and intuition about life issues, including both personal and community concerns
• find a path to meaning that includes honoring, celebrating, and giving thanks
• explore the images and symbols of traditions such as Catholicism, Judaism, shamanism, and Goddess worship
• join in spiritual community with others who are following the path of art
• discover that artmaking can help us live our ideals and be of service in the world
Detailed examples from the author's own practice of art, plus the stories and images of several other people, are presented to illustrate how art becomes a spiritual path in action. At the author's virtual studio, www.patballen.com, readers can post their images and writings, communicate with the author, and subscribe to an electronic newsletter. The site also contains an archive of the images in this book in full color.
"Allen (Art Is a Way of Knowing) offers a particular paradigm for making art, a model for meditation in action designed to help artists deepen their relationship with 'the Creative Source' and to 'become vessels for new wisdom.' The paradigm's first step is to craft a specific intention to guide 'how we manifest our thoughts, beliefs, and desires' during that art-making session. The next step is actually making the art through inquiry, engagement and celebration. The final step is that of 'witness,' in which the artist concludes the session by engaging in dialogue with the image and writing down the 'deepest truth' the image is conveying. Allen provides frequent examples of these 'witness dialogues,' which read as actual q&a sessions between artists and their work. The rest of the book comprises specific examples of the transformative effect this approach has had on Allen and her students vis--vis specific issues, such as dealing with gender roles and inherited religious traditions. Although Allen outlines a detailed methodology for art as a spiritual path, the book is more a reflection on the benefits of the paradigm than a how-to primer. In fact, the writing while insightful and often eloquent can become discursive, at times leaving the reader at loose ends. This makes the book best suited for practicing artists or those making art in a studio setting with a teacher and guide." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
About the Author
Pat B. Allen Ph.D., ATR, is an artist and a registered art therapist who teaches at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She produces workshops, events, and collaborative projects around the country and directs an online image community at www.patballen.com, where readers can post their images and writings, communicate with the author and one another, and subscribe to an electronic newsletter.