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Art ’n’ Soul Maui

Local artist Beth Marcil teaches expression and healing through art.

September 8, 2011
Summer Richardson

Her current focus is art as a transformational tool, which she teaches through her evolving Art ’n’ Soul Maui program.

“It began as the result of a theme show at the Hui No‘eau Visual Arts Center called ‘Shrines: the Intersection of Art & Ritual,’” Beth said. “It was the first time I did a piece that was so personal and from the gut. That’s when I realized how deeply transformative the process of creating art can be. I wanted to make that possible for anyone, not just ‘artists.’”

Beth’s realization changed the way she works and led her to teach more about the creative process itself through two courses: “Visual Art Journaling” and a technique called “SoulCollage.” Both are powerful tools for exploring our inner realms, and can be therapeutic as well as creative and fun. Everyone can benefit from them, and they can also be especially helpful during times of transition.

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Maui artist Beth Marcil teaches about the creative process through two unique classes.

“Both modalities have been proven valuable for couples, elders, group work, hospice patients and workers, and at-risk teens,” said Beth. “A number of people in my classes who are dealing with difficult life transitions find the work helpful. As a wedding or baby shower activity, SoulCollage is a beautiful and imaginative way to honor the bride or mother-to-be.”

“Both ‘Visual Art Journaling’ and ‘SoulCollage’ are remarkable tools for creative self-expression, each standing beautifully on its own” said Beth. “The combination of the two, however, adds an additional dimension to the work. The insights gleaned from creating can be channeled directly into mixed-media journaling, greatly enhancing the entire process. It is not unusual for group bonding to occur.”

“It is like yoga for your soul!” said student Cindy Stanton, a nursing supervisor who reports that she feels recharged as a result of Beth’s workshops.

In the journaling workshops, students are encouraged to add visual content to their words by experimenting with finger painting, layering and scraping away paint. Altered photographs, photo transfers and image collages are also used to create compelling mixed-media pages. Surprisingly, it is not necessary to be able to draw or paint to make these art journals. While formal aspects of color, design and composition may come into play, the focus is expression, without the pressure of making it look “pretty.”

SoulCollage focuses on image collage using pictures from magazines, calendars and other sources that are cut out and rearranged in personal ways, often bypassing the logical mind. The mini-collages are glued to greeting card-sized pieces of matte board to become a personal deck. The creation of the cards is just the beginning of the process. Interacting with the imagery through role-play is an integral part of the SoulCollage structure. This step often leads to an “aha” moment, where we may realize why we brought the chosen images together.

In summing up my own experience as a participant of both classes, I must say that Beth’s enthusiasm is contagious—she inspires her students to reveal what is in their hearts and wants to be expressed. She has an ability to reveal the artist within everyone. In the supportive environment she creates, extraordinary things emerge.

An introductory workshop will be held on, Sunday, Sept. 11, from 12:30 to 5 p.m. at Makawao Union Church on Baldwin Avenue above Pā‘ia. The cost is $60, but Beth opens one scholarship space in each class for someone in need of financial assistance or support through a difficult life transition.

Beth’s artwork is regularly exhibited at Viewpoints Gallery in Makawao, Village Gallery in Lahaina, and Hāna Coast Gallery. She is also published by Island Heritage.



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