Building Self-Esteem: The Magic of Art

Rivky Shimon

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The most phenomenal aspect of art is how it builds character. In more ways than one, it can actually help you know more about yourself and it can help you feel better about yourself as well. It is not widely discussed or even widely known, but art actually builds great self-esteem.

When you are looking at a canvas, it is blank. It has nothing on it. What you are about to accomplish is the transformation from nothing to something special. That’s creation at its best.

But, many individuals don’t know they have that in them. They have to look deep within themselves to find the courage it takes to start an art project. No, it shouldn’t be scary and it shouldn’t take any courage. It should be something inspirational that drives a person to creativity. But, what happens is sort of like stage fright. Holding yourself back has a huge impact on your self-esteem. The more you hold yourself back, the less you feel you can accomplish. It really damages your beliefs in yourself.

That’s why art builds self-esteem. Your mind might start out as blank as that canvas staring back at you, but the ideas will come. You get a glimpse of your art project and you begin to form an idea. You focus on it and you hone in on it. I like to think of it as torque. When you use torque, it is a precision motion. You have to find the exact torque. Focus, hone in, torque are all the same descriptors I like to use for bringing your artwork to the canvas.

The more you torque it, the clearer it gets. You see it develop right in front of you. Now instead of looking at a blank canvas, you are looking at the actual start of something. It still may not look like much. But, you’ve just got started. Your work is becoming. The more you work it, the more it becomes.

Your artwork is taking form and you are no longer hesitant about approaching your canvas. In fact, if this is a project that is taking several days, it is all you think about. You work. You run errands. You make dinner and you do what you have to do every day to get everything out of your way just so you have time for your artwork. It is in the back of your brain all day and you can’t wait to get in front of your canvas and make things happen.

Your self-esteem is no longer questioning your ability to achieve. It is now wondering what you are going to do next. This is healing for your self-esteem. This is what you’ve needed to know about yourself all along.

You finish your project. You step back and look at it. You have never felt this good in all your life. The only problem you have at this point is the feeling that it is over. That’s a strong emotion, slightly depressing. But, it is easy to pass because you can begin a new project. Then you feel overwhelmed again. You feel lost again until you have a subject. But then, you are back to work battling through the thought processes and making a new piece of art come to life. That’s the process and it makes you stronger every time.

There are so many byproducts to the practice of art. Therapeutic, enlightening, productive, the benefits of art will always be a long and distinguished list that more people ought to notice. When a person lacks self-esteem, put a brush in their hand and point them to the canvas. It’s far more effective than years of therapy.

An internationally known artist as well as a mother of six, Rivky Shimon founded Rivky's Art Workshop in New York. Rivky’s step-by-step method for teaching children how to create and enjoy art has earned high praise from students, teachers and parents alike. Through her new training series, Rivky plans to teach artists from across the country how to duplicate her success. Not only to ensure that art education remains a vital part of every child’s life, but also to enforce the reality that “The Rivky Method" tm works the same magic for adults as well.


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