The Different Mediums for Artistic Expression

Art therapy allows both children and adults to engage with different types of materials and mediums. The three most common types used by the Palette and Paintbrush are paint, clay and textiles.

Working with paint inspires creative thinking and design. It stimulates the areas in the mind that non-expressive exercises can’t and thereby help the child to develop into a more balanced and well rounded individual.

Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.

Thomas Merton

Paint is movable and allows for almost unlimited creativity.  It can be:

  • Spread
  • Spattered
  • Used to draw
  • Used to cover space
  • Used to make patterns

Children need lots of experience with paint to develop creative instincts and to allow them to express themselves.

Our art therapy classes provide pots of pre-mixed paints and a range of brushes, scrapers such as cards, glue spreaders, rollers and suggest the use of fingers. The children can spoon the paint onto the surface and spread it with the tools to mix the colours, lay one colour over another and scrape colours away to reveal colour beneath. Children can work individually or within a group as they want to. Art therapy benefits include that it encourages patience, tolerance, turn taking and can be incorporated into many activities.

Creative art therapy programs include the making of murals by pasting large sheets of papers or Perspex onto a wall. We allow the children to explore with cotton reels, paintbrushes, corks, sticks, stiff card and sponges.

Clay is probably the most satisfying three-dimensional medium to offer as art therapy for children. The most common clays to work with are red and grey.

Clay can be:

  • Squeezed and pinched into shapes and forms
  • Patterned and pressed or textured
  • Very forgiving. If you do not like what you have made, you can start again.

Children work with clay at a table or on a covered surface on the floor. They are also provided with tools that can be used to shape the clay – from a potter’s shop to plastic knives and forks.

When first working with clay, children are fascinated with touching and pinching. They then proceed to using tools and can then fully express themselves with this art medium.

Working with different textiles allows children to create works of art that are very expressive and unique.

Wool, threads, sequins and fabrics are also used in art therapy for children. Children love working with it as it offers both texture and colour.

It can be used to complement other art activities or can be used on its own.  To work creatively children need to work with textiles by feeling them.

The following techniques are used with textiles:

  • Wrapping
  • Weaving
  • Wool winding
  • Sewing

The world needs creative thinkers as well as thinkers that have creative skills. Art is not just pictures. It is about thinking creatively and implementing creative processes to express those thoughts.