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Art therapy sessions

Stephen Legari, art therapist at the MMFA, shares a variety of workshops you can do at home during the lockdown that are themed on the COVID-19 pandemic.

Transition

Meryl McMaster (born in 1988), Harbinger of Sudden Departures Variation II

Meryl McMaster (born in 1988), ‘‘Harbinger of Sudden Departures Variation II,” from the series “InBetween Worlds”, 2015, chromogenic print, ⅖. MMFA, purchase, Geraldine C. Chisholm Bequest

ART THERAPY | Transition

Meryl McMaster, "Harbinger of Sudden Departures Variation II", from the series “InBetween Worlds”, 2015. MMFA, purchase, Geraldine C. Chisholm Bequest

  • Get some drawing materials along with a white piece of paper or a picture you can draw on.
  • Start the video.
  • Let yourself be inspired by Meryl McMaster’s work to create your own piece, a symbol of transition.

The bridge

For this workshop exploring the symbolism of the bridge, all you’ll need is drawing material.

Get comfortable, listen to the audio instructions, and let yourself be inspired and guided by Albert Lebourg’s work. Once you’ve finished your drawing, take some time to write down your reflections and date the work so as to connect it to the present moment.

Albert Lebourg, The Pont Marie at Sunset, Paris

Albert Lebourg, The Pont Marie at Sunset, Paris, between 1900 and 1905. MMFA, gift of Nicole B. Latourelle. Photo MMFA, Christine Guest

ART THERAPY | The bridge

The Pont Marie at Sunset, ParisAlbert Lebourg, The Pont Marie at Sunset, Paris, between 1900 and 1905. MMFA, gift of Nicole B. Latourelle. Photo MMFA, Christine Guest

Yellow

Maurice Denis, Yellow Evening over Fourqueux

Maurice Denis, Yellow Evening over Fourqueux, 1890. MMFA, anonymous gift. Photo MMFA, Brian Merrett

ART THERAPY | Yellow

Maurice Denis, Yellow Evening over Fourqueux, 1890. MMFA, anonymous gift. Photo MMFA, Brian Merrett

Gather together some yellow materials and supplies you have on hand (paint, markers, paper, etc.). Then, create a landscape in which yellow is the dominant colour.

Open your window to the world outside

In these times of confinement, the daily scene playing out outside our windows has become a familiar one: a cat wandering about, neighbours taking in the early morning sun on their front steps, the burgeoning buds announcing spring…

Stephen Legari invites us to change our perspective on these details to see them as living works of art.

  • Go to the window and observe your outdoor surroundings.
  • Take the time to sketch or paint this familiar scene.
  • As your neighbourhood comes to life on the page, send some positive thoughts to those who live there.
James Wilson Morrice, Red House

James Wilson Morrice, Red House, Venice, about 1906. MMFA, gift of James Wilson Morrice Estate. Photo MMFA

ART THERAPY | Open your window to the world outside

James Wilson Morrice, Red House, Venice, about 1906. MMFA, gift of James Wilson Morrice Estate. Photo MMFA

Co-creating with nature

CALIFORNIA, WEST COAST, Chumash, whale Effigy

CALIFORNIA, WEST COAST, Chumash, whale Effigy, about 1200-1600, steatite, shell inlay. MMFA, purchase, gift of F. Cleveland Morgan. Photo MMFA, Jean-François Brière

ART THERAPY | Co-creating with nature

CALIFORNIA, WEST COAST, Chumash, whale Effigy, about 1200-1600, steatite, shell inlay. MMFA, purchase, gift of F. Cleveland Morgan. Photo MMFA, Jean-François Brière

For this art therapy workshop, you will need a rock and some art supplies (paint, chalk, felt pens, etc.).

Nature is already beautiful as it is, so the goal here is to work with this beauty to transform your rock into a masterpiece, inspired by this happy whale.

Writing

Escape through writing!

  • Simply look at the artwork without trying to analyze it.
  • Hit Play and let yourself be guided.
Prudence Heward, Mountain Scene, 1930s. MMFA, gift of the artist's family. Photo MMFA, Brian Merrett

Prudence Heward, Mountain Scene, 1930s. MMFA, gift of the artist's family. Photo MMFA, Brian Merrett

ART THERAPY | Writing

Prudence Heward, Mountain Scene, 1930s. MMFA, gift of the artist's family. Photo MMFA, Brian Merrett

Playing with colours

Fritz Brandtner, Road to Gaspé, no date. MMFA, gift of Marc Régnier and Claudette Picard. Photo MMFA, Christine Guest

Fritz Brandtner, Road to Gaspé, no date. MMFA, gift of Marc Régnier and Claudette Picard. Photo MMFA, Christine Guest

ART THERAPY | Playing with colours

Fritz Brandtner, Road to Gaspé, no date. MMFA, gift of Marc Régnier and Claudette Picard. Photo MMFA, Christine Guest

This activity is designed for people of all ages.

  • Take some markers, pencil crayons or pastels.
  • Scribble lines on a sheet of paper, and then colour in the shapes formed by the lines.
  • Repeat with your eyes closed.
  • Try the same exercise with the right hand, then the left.
  • Share the activity with someone by taking turns colouring.
  • Try to find familiar forms in the final drawing.

The art of photography

  • Grab a camera or your cell phone.⁣⁣
  • Bring yourself into the present moment.⁣⁣
  • Let yourself be led by whatever naturally draws your eye.⁣⁣
  • Capture the moment.⁣⁣
Raymonde April (born in 1953), “Self-portrait with Curtain,” from the group “My Gaze Is Clear Like a Sunflower,”

Raymonde April (born in 1953), “Self-portrait with Curtain,” from the group “My Gaze Is Clear Like a Sunflower,” 1991, digital chromogenic print from a film negative. MMFA, gift of the artist

ART THERAPY | The art of photography

Raymonde April (born in 1953), “Self-portrait with Curtain,” from the group “My Gaze Is Clear Like a Sunflower,” 1991, digital chromogenic print from a film negative. MMFA, gift of the artist

The mandala
  • ⁣Take any circular object you have on hand, like a bowl or plate, and trace a circle on your sheet of paper.⁣
  • ⁣Fill it in by setting your imagination free: you can use different-coloured markers or paint, or even explore a single shade, like in this work by Louis Archambault (see opposite).
  • ⁣For a fun family activity, take turns filling in the circle with natural or found materials, such as shells, stones, old macaroni. ⁣
Louis Archambault, Untitled [Orange Circle], 1971.⁣ MMFA, gift of the artist in memory of his wife, Mariette.
Credit

The natural world

This meditation activity consists of immersing yourself in a work of art to nourish your inner peace.⁣

  • Read the short text below.⁣
  • Hit Play and let your imagination take over. ⁣

The spring sun returns to nourish the living world around us, the buds appear on the trees, the birds return and each day the sun stays a little longer.⁣ While we all work hard indoors, we can let our imaginations travel to the places in nature that matter most to us. ⁣

Arthur Lismer, Springtime on the Farm, 1917.⁣ MMFA, purchase, A. Sidney Dawes Fund. Photo MMFA

Arthur Lismer, Springtime on the Farm, 1917.⁣ MMFA, purchase, A. Sidney Dawes Fund. Photo MMFA

ART THERAPY | The natural world

Arthur Lismer, Springtime on the Farm, 1917.⁣ MMFA, purchase, A. Sidney Dawes Fund. Photo MMFA

Sharing the love⁣

There are a thousand ways we can continue to take care of each other from a distance.⁣⁣

  • Think of someone you’d like to send some encouraging words to.⁣
  • Make a postcard using inspiring materials you have on hand – it could be as basic as piece of paper and pencil – and write your message.⁣
  • Take a photo of the card with your phone and send it to the person virtually.⁣ ⁣ The key is to focus on the pleasure of creating. Try not to judge or analyze what you’re doing – it’s about enjoying the process. So, turn off the news, take some time for yourself, and relax.⁣
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