Category: Healing

Art as Healing

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I want to share my personal story of the art journey that has lead me here….

Life is not easy, I don’t care what station in life you hold… life holds challenges that you are meant to work through and learn a lesson from and hopefully build character.

This quote is close to expressing that with my edit being that ART does.

“He took his pain and turned it into something beautiful. Into something that people connect to. And that’s what good music does. It speaks to you. It changes you.”
― Hannah HarringtonSaving June

So, I took my pain and made something worth sharing and that turned it into beauty instead of an ugly scar that marked my life at age 40.  I lost a son with a sudden jolt and there was no turning back the clock to what was and no barter could restore that precious life back to me.  Everything became slow motion and intense and numb… all at the same time.  It was a state of one step at a time for days, months, and I dare say years; it marked me as a parent who grieves.

I had painted, kind of, before the loss but it was in an attempt to reproduce reality.  Now reality was tainted and glum and I needed something to pull me back into faith in happy tomorrows.  I reached for my paints (actually pastels) in an attempt to do portraiture… it was an exercise in touching what I had lost, in tracing my fingers over the strong jawbone and the intensity of the eyes looking back at me from the paper.  I remember lots of tears and in the end I never felt like I achieved the likeness but what I did do for myself was to hold my own hand through the painful journey.  I woke in the middle of the night with poetry and wrote it down to release it.  I “created” to replace the creation I had lost.

Now, life is drastically different.  I have new coping skills and they are tested often therefore I know I am alive and well.  I have grandchildren that bring sunlight and joy back into the family and I have reason to share hope and story with them.  And, I paint….

The difference in my paint now is that I “let” it talk to me… to guide me.  This is a recent revelation to my art.  We spent a full 6 months in a tiny RV after our home sold and I spent each day with inspired art videos on YouTube each morning and “played” with paint for a couple hours each day.  I took a couple small workshops and started to connect with other artists.  I experimented.  I meditated using a Zentangle process and loved the way it unplugged me and gave me permission to just be with my art.

One day I pulled out some marbled paper that I had created at a workshop by Art Placement (Saskatoon) that I had put away for several months; I took my micron pen and started to track the patterns.  Something “other” guided my pen; I call this my intuitive process but in essence it is my MUSE coming to play.  The reason I know that it is my MUSE is that what started to unfold were feathers, then a headdress and then my OMG moment where I recognized what was being shown to me.

Spirit Walker - 2014

Spirit Walker – 2014

My “Spirit-Walker” was there to teach me that I was not alone and there was more to learn if I just let go and didn’t hold my perfectionism to such high regard.  He also lead me into a exploration of my soul from a place of forgiveness and acceptance and for the first time I felt like I was communicating openly and honestly.

What is the saying… What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger?  Well, I am definitely stronger and more in tune with my journey and accepting of the path that unfolds.  All things happen for a reason that we do not need to know but we do need an avenue to process and allow.  Life is a beautiful thing…

“You must have chaos within you to give birth to a dancing star.”

Friedrich Nietzsche

The Best in Life unfolds in it's own timing.... Corla McGillivray