Healing through art
by Will Bowen
Jan 11, 2011 | 1171 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Dr. John Diamond’s paintings are on exhibit at the Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park until Feb. 27. Photo by Will Bowen
Dr. John Diamond’s paintings are on exhibit at the Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park until Feb. 27. Photo by Will Bowen
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Dr. John Diamond thinks the act of painting can be healing to the body, mind and soul of the painter. But Diamond also believes that in the future we will know how to compose paintings that can heal the viewer as well as the creator. Diamond hopes that art of this nature will be placed in clinics and hospitals where it will facilitate patient healing by the mere act of being viewed.

Although Diamond acknowledges there are many works of art that have a powerful and moving effect on us, he said no one before him has actually set out to create art that was deliberately made for healing purposes. Diamond considers himself a pioneer who is helping to open up a whole new field.

A collection of Diamond’s paintings titled “East Meets West: Still Point Paintings,” which profess healing power and therapeutic action, are on exhibit at the Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park, adjacent the Organ Pavilion, until Feb. 27. The Friendship Garden is showing Diamond’s paintings because of their similarity to traditional Japanese painting, and because the staff feels a resonance with his life philosophy.

Diamond was born and raised in Australia. He was trained in the western medical tradition and became a psychiatrist. His first job was at a mental hospital where he took the unique approach of focusing on building on the good he could find in each patient. Diamond’s theory is that most patients “have two wheels on dry land and two stuck in the mud. My job is to get all four on dry land.” He does this by helping them find “their deep soul through opening up their creative energies.”

Over the years of his medical practice, Diamond branched out to incorporate all forms of healing, including alternative and holistic medicine. He founded the Arts-Health Institute and the Institute for Life Energy, authored more than 20 books and has exhibited his art and photography throughout the world.

Diamond’s exhibit is an assortment of different-size paintings, mostly in black and white, with circular flowing brush strokes and a distinctive calligraphy feel. When he uses color, which he admits he is still learning about, it is in dense kaleidoscopic patches, which seem to have a certain depth.

Diamond said his work is most similar to the Japanese Manga school of painting, which derived from the Chinese Southern School of the Sung Dynasty. But Diamond has no training in these methods or any other. He is completely self-taught and humbly admits, “I have no idea what I am doing. I don’t know how I do it or how it happens. It just happens as if it is being done through me.”

In his pamphlet “A Few Words on Art,” Diamond writes, “I am primarily a healer — not an artist. I believe that the primary purpose of art is to enhance the spirit of all.”

Diamond said the purpose of his paintings is “to make it a little easier to see the spirit everywhere.”

For more information, call (619) 232-2721 or visit www.niwa.org or www.drjohndiamond.com.

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