Mental Health: Discovering Art as a Healing Tool

Realizing just how powerful art is for the artist, as well as the viewer.

Mental Health has not always been a focus in my art. If anything, I avoided mixing the two. I would only draw or paint if I was in the best of moods because in my mind that’s what gave me the best results — the perfect lines. It took a traumatic event in my life for me to see the uses of making art on my worst days. Without realizing it, creating art was actually helping to ease my mind and put the risidual feelings of that awful event into understanding.

The first painting that helped with this was a self portrait I had been working on. I remember feeling as though everything I had been interested in previously, that had made me happy and warm inside was now no longer…within me. It felt like those things had left my body and was no longer in a reachable place. I painted myself as a grey figure with all of those things above me. After a few months, I took a step back from my painting and gasped, I realized I had begun to put some of the color from the “things that give me life” into the representation of myself. I had put warmth into the skin, and in that moment I knew the healing process was well underway.

I never completed this painting. I didn’t feel like I needed to. I dabbled in it from time-to-time in the months that followed, but I felt like it had served its purpose for me. It wasn’t meant to be finished, it was meant to teach me lessons, be there for me when I needed to, and harness what I needed to get out.

Art truly heals, and it should be an available source to anyone who needs it.

stay strange,

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