The Art of Therapy
Watkins Body Mind Spirit Issue 53
An Art-Nature Retreat with Roseline de Thélin by Alexander de Cadenet
I came to Roseline de Thélin’s work in the most obvious way: through a Google search of ‘Light Sculpture’.
Her work stuck out from many others – I was struck by the exceptional aesthetic originality of her works and how they communicated so directly and immediately something about the sacredness and the vastness of our own human lives.
Her well known Homos Luminosos installation works, which make up human forms out of little nodes of star-like lights, were created in 2008 and have been exhibited since then. These have been widely shown, including at the Kinetica Art fair and museum in 2010 and 2012. Her work was also part of the touring exhibition “Illusion” in 2013, curated by the Science Gallery Museum, Dublin; a show that travelled through the USA, Asia and Europe. In 2016 her Homos Luminosos were featured in the 8-month exhibition “Persona” in the musée du quai Branly, Paris.
After talking with Roseline, she kindly extended an invitation for me to visither studio in Ibiza, to learn more about her practice as an artist and to experience first-hand an ‘intensive transformative journey’ where she helps others to “find freedom of expression for themselves” through both experiencing and creating art as well as experiencing and communing with nature. On entering her darkened studio, one is immediately impacted by one of her light sculptures.
After a few moments of reflection it’s as if you have entered a portal - there’s a sense of having been transported to a different dimension; you have accessed a place where it’s possibleto see your own relationship to the stars and existing as a ‘being of light’. It’s a place neither fully tangible or intangible, but a quiet, sacred space of manifestation, where time stands still and we can glimpse the source of consciousness. For myself, her works were, at their root, a meditation on meditation itself.
“Wonder reveals things in a new light and helps us grasp the mysteries and paradoxes of existence.” -Roseline de Thélin
After many years of creating bespoke pieces for private and public places, Roseline found she could not fully honour the full dimension of the creative process, as a space of exploration, discovery and healing. This is when she decided to train professionally as a creative coach and art therapist, to share with others the transformational benefit of art, which she has herself experienced within the creative process.
She described this to me in person: “There was increasing tension between what my soul wanted to do and the dynamic of commercial pressures… I needed to free myself from that”. Her thesis for her MA in Expressive Arts focuses on the role of wonder in the artistic process, she wrote:
“While the professional artist is mostly focused on the end result and its ‘perfection’, the therapeutic approach to the arts removes
the stress of the end result as achievement in shifting focus to the process of creation and its gifts…giving myself permission to create works of art that might never be for sale was central to my becoming a therapist and coach.”
It was the feeling that Roseline’s artworks gave her audience that she wished to develop and enhance – in a way that was immediate and personal for both the participant and for herself. She wanted to find a way to offer an experience that would unblock creative channels and activate an inner healing process.
It became clear that to facilitate artistic experiences for others and allow them to enter a deeper dimension was the next step after the Homos Luminosos series of light sculptures. Those works were forerunners of how Roseline has been sharing herself with the world – her goal - to bring light (awareness) into other people’s lives.
My own four-day experience of the ‘Inner Transformational Journey’ with Roseline was focused on art and nature, in both her art studio and out in less well-known places of natural beauty that she has discovered through living on the island for the past twenty-five years.The therapeutic activities in the studio ranged from Jungian Mandala Sand creations, spontaneous acrylic painting and drawing sessions, dream discussion with analysis and even connecting to her pet Chihuahua, Minny. Yet, it was by experiencing everyday activities with Roseline, in a state of conscious awareness, such as silently walking with her through the Ibiza landscape to a secret beach, drawing mandalas in the sand beneath windswept pine trees overlooking the shore, watching the sun from the ‘eagle’s nest’ cliff face as it slowly crept beneath the horizon or swimming around‘crocodile island’, that I personally received most nourishment.
Similar to the Japanese concept of shinrin-yoku (forest bathing), walks in Roseline’s presence highlight our connection to natural phenomena; her therapy is about removing the cataracts that disable us from seeing beauty. Roseline’s practice as a therapist is about facilitating an integral, safe and trusting space; thereby creating a portal for people to experience a sense of aliveness and joy of being. It’s a deeper dimension of being that is one of her ways of bringing light into the world.
MEET THE AUTHORS:
ROSELINE DE THÉLIN is an interdisciplinary visual artist, a creative coach and art therapist. The subject of Light has been central in her artistic and philosophical inquiry.Her work plays with illusion and perceptions combining a diversity of digital and hands on media. Passionate on how all modalities of artistic expression can support the expansion of self, personal healing and life transformation, she facilitates Art Retreats for groups and individuals that foster creative investigation, discovery, embodied self-awareness and innovation. On the web: www.roselinedethelin.com
ALEXANDER DE CADENET is an artist working primarily with sculpture, photography and painting. His artworks explore philosophical and spiritual themes which often combine a mischievous, humorous tone with deeper, more profound insights. In 2017, he set up The Awakened Artists Group, inspired by a meeting with Eckhart Tolle, which is a platform for artists to share the spiritual dimension of their art practice. On the web: alexanderdecadenet.com