Yesterday was a day of delight, play, art and connection. The Chiropractic First team had an outing at Jenni Doherty’s art studio.

We arrived at her stunning home in the tranquil greenery of Wellington Mill at 10am. She welcomed us into her spacious studio (which is an integral part of her purpose-built home). We sipped tea and ate delicious blueberry muffins courtesy of Lynda while Jenni gave us an overview of the day’s activities.

We started by apologising to each other in advance before attempting to draw the person we were standing opposite on large sheets of brown paper. After a few minutes we skipped around to the next position, and added to the existing drawing, this time of a different person. It was a great ice breaker.

The next activity involved ‘contour’ drawing, which for a novice like me I didn’t know what this meant. We attempted to draw the person opposite us, however we were only to draw when we were looking at the person. If we looked down at our paper, we had to stop drawing. Jenni explained that this was all about really noticing, and it was true, all sorts of details of the persons face came out and there was plenty of laughter.  There was a strong element of mindfulness involved.

The last warm up activity involved holding a texta in our right hands and then the person next to us would use their left hand to control our right hand and draw.

We moved onto drawing a dried artichoke flower and then creating a lino cutting of parts of our drawing. I was relieved that all of us kept our fingers intact during this exercise!

We used these lino cuttings to add texture to a canvas, which we later painted. The accompanying photo shows the end result.

We paused for lunch out on the balcony. The backdrop of the Wellington State Forrest was peaceful, we enjoyed recounting how we all came to be together and soon it was time to pick up a paint brush.

We had a lesson on mixing paint colours from the primary colours of yellow, red and blue along with some white paint to allow varying intensity.

What I learned yesterday is that the creative activity is as much about the process as it is about the result. Personally, I don’t like the colour yellow, so I was intrigued to discover it is behind many of my favourite colours. I loved the layering of textures and colours of paint. Restoration of health is a lot like this, it involves correcting layers of dysfunction that have often built up over many years.

I was reminded how important it is to hush our inner critic when we pick up a paint brush – it is important to do this often in life too if we want to achieve something important.

No two paintings are the same, just as no two people are the same and we all perceive what we see and experience differently.

Jenni is a talented artist, a friendly host, an excellent teacher, an encouraging coach. Every moment of our day was sensational.