Give each patient a half a sheet of black paper and a pack of oil pastels. Show them Van Gogh’s Starry Night painting and talk about the history of the painting. Discuss with patients the following discussion questions. Give Pt. time to complete their artwork, and process what they included in their picture.
Van Gogh painted this during a difficult time in his life. For hope and inspiration he looked to the stars. What do you look to for help in difficult times? What is helping you in your current situation? –Talk about the symbolism of the color on the black paper and relate the color they choose to their hope and inspiration during a dark time.
Note for the CTRS:
As the Pt. completes their pastel have them think about these questions and allow them to add pictures, symbols, or words to their starry night to represent the things that give them hope.
History of the Painting:
In September 1888, before his December breakdown that resulted in his hospitalization in Arles, he painted Starry Night Over the Rhone. Van Gogh wrote about this painting:
"... it does me good to do what’s difficult. That doesn’t stop me having a tremendous need for, shall I say the word – for religion – so I go outside at night to paint the stars.'"
The painting depicts the view outside his sanitarium room window at Saint-Rémy-de-Provence (located in southern France) at night, although it was painted from memory during the day.