Andrew Marr, the Importance of Drawing as Therapy

Broadcaster, recently shared his struggle to recover from a near fatal stroke and how art helped move him beyond this difficult experience. The Daily Mail’s thorough article on this process showcases Marr’s beautiful artwork from this difficult period, as Marr himself makes comment on the importance of art in his life, and how this difficult experience filled him with a remarkable ability to trust his creative instincts.

Marr’s book, A Short Book About Drawing, is the backdrop for this story, while his account of drawing and his struggles with a stroke show his resolve in the face of difficult circumstances. Art served as essential for Marr’s recovery, helping him find hope, a message he seeks to share with his many fans who’ve watched him over the years.

[quote]Above all, I hope it will persuade you, whether you draw or not, to pick up a pencil and face the horrifying blankness of a sheet of A4. And then plunge ahead…[/quote]

Andrew Marr

[Photo Credit-Andrew Marr via The Daily Mail]

Marr’s lesson teaches us that living involves the desire to create. When one begins the journey toward recovery, it must include a desire to live, to hope, and to dream. Certainly, all of these elements must be present to create artwork, which is why it makes sense that creating art, whether it be writing, sketching, painting, or composing music, encouages us to live again. It is that hope that seems to be the lesson of Marr’s experience.

Many artists have faced difficult cirumstances. One thinks of Jackson Pollock’s struggles with depression, or the writer William Styron, author of Darkness Visible, who both used their artwork as a way of living through their inner turmoil.

Art teaches us to begin again, even after life’s troubles seem to stop us in our tracks. It is often hard to imagine, when in the thick of a life altering event like a chronic illness, or when faced with the certainty of death, that something good can come from those experiences.

Like Andrew Marr, many artists know that they cannot give up living, so in an act of bravery, they find the strength to survive wherever they can. As Marr encourages us to pick up pencil, pressing it to paper to create, we honor the artist’s struggle by heeding his call to action. Tell us about your own struggles in our comments section. What difficult life situations has art helped you to move beyond?

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