Healing Artist’s Biography
Denise VanDomselaar is soul artist, creating works of art that inspire and heal. She is a Child and Youth Care Counsellor and Certified Expressive Arts Practitioner with Clinical Pastoral training who has been working with children, youth and families for over 25 years. Denise also has training in Expressive Play Therapy and Peace Circle Keeping. Denise has worked extensively in school settings, most notably in junior and senior high schools, utilizing Expressive Arts and Peace Circle Keeping in her work with students in conflict. She has been awarded by the Edmonton Public School Board for this work. She has been a presenter for the National Restorative Justice Association on her work combining Expressive Arts with Conflict Resolution in pubic junior and senior high schools. Denise has used Expressive Arts combined with Circle to co-facilitate the Indigenous Youth Roundtable discussion for Pawatamowin Child, Youth and Family Wellbeing Project at the University of Alberta Law Centre.
Denise is passionate about people and art. She believes that art is an expression of the soul. Her focus is on the magic that making art produces in the hearts and minds of artists. Denise believes that everyone is creative and artistic and seeks to help others find their muse. Denise blends her love of colour, form and artistic expression with her passion for bringing out the best in people. She uses various media including acrylic, water colour, pastel, collage, clay, poetry and visual journaling to assist others in “sculpting” themselves. Participants in her workshops and one-to-one Expressive Arts sessions have expressed a greater sense of enjoyment, self-awareness and well being.
The Expressive Arts focus more on process than product with the understanding that the act of making art is, in and of itself, a healing and life-affirming activity. Therefore, Denise provides participants in her workshops with basic skills in the use and manipulation of media, while encouraging an engagement with the process rather than focus on creating a masterpiece worthy of hanging. In the process, sometimes beautiful works are created and that is a happy by-product of the pleasure and joy found in engagement with the creative process.
Denise’s own art pieces have a strong theme of the Divine Feminine. She paints “intuitively” which means that she plays with colour and form, allowing spirit to work through her. Her works speak of a deep spirituality and passion for life that resonates with soul in others. There is a healing quality to her pieces that touch the viewer with a sense of mystery and magic. Denise largely works in acrylic and multi-media collage.
Denise spent an afternoon facilitating a hands-on introductory session for my Bachelor of Social Work class at the University of Calgary on the theory and practice of Expressive Arts (EA) Therapy. Denise led the class through a series of activities in a light, fun and informative manner, which promoted self-discovery, insight and growth. Throughout, Denise created an environment that was respectful, inspiring, comfortable and non-invasive. The activities Denise facilitated allowed participants the freedom either to delve deep into self-exploration or to simply observe and learn about the process. The creative and thought-provoking therapeutic exercises also encouraged interaction, sharing and connection with others in a meaningful way. EA proved to be a fresh, innovative, and productive process, which stimulated lasting conversation and the evolution of self. "
--Raelan Barbosa, BSW RSW