Painting is proven to be a benefit to your mental health and I would like to share my story with you on how painting saved mine.
There’s a certain stigma about mental health which can often make it difficult to have a transparent conversation about how we truly feel. In my mid thirties I suffered a 3 year period of extreme debilitating depression.
I struggled to do anything normal, even getting myself dressed in the morning felt like a huge task. I couldn't focus on anything, everything seemed exhausting, like I was drowning in treacle. Just finishing my own sentences was difficult! I was prescribed medication which I reacted badly to, making the whole situation worse. In those desperate moments on the brink, l realised that I HAD to do something to help myself.
I knew I had to get out of the house and out of my own head. I needed something to focus on that didn’t ask too much of me. So I enrolled in local painting classes. I had no expectations in the beginning.
But that was it.
Like so many people when it comes to creative hobbies, I never thought it would or could be anything more. Even when I got praise from the art teacher who told me I had potential and should pursue an art career, I still thought: “I’m not good enough at it, so what’s the point in trying to make a living from it?”
All that mattered to me at the time was that I kept going and used the classes to distract myself…There was just one problem though. I ended up falling totally in love with painting, specifically with landscape painting.
I found that through painting I could really connect with the landscape, the sea, the fresh air - and be present to it. It stopped me from thinking about the stresses and the worries of my everyday world. And I didn’t want that feeling to stop.
Still not thinking about anything beyond my mental health, I enrolled in a full time Art & Design Foundation diploma and I LOVED every second of it! I was like a sponge soaking it all up! The more I threw myself into it, the better I felt. I went on to study Fine Art Painting at the West Wales School of the Arts…and gained a first-class honours degree!
From there, my career as a professional artist took on a life of its own.My first exhibition was a sell-out show, which launched me into painting full-time, and I haven’t looked back since! I love what I do and it makes me happy and healthy.
Painting is proven to be a benefit to your mental health. Even though I’m now free from my depression, my paintings continue to be extremely important to me.
They’re like poetry; an outpouring of personal feelings and sense of my place in the world. They’re not abstract, but they are expressive and open to interpretation.
They often use the sensations of the landscape to ‘metaphorically’ describe my thoughts and emotions. Those sensations are sometimes calm, restorative, or spiritually uplifting, and at other times, wild, dynamic, rejuvenating, and mentally energising.
If you would like to experience painting for yourself, but have not really taken the plunge, then take a look at some of my workshops and classes. There's something for everyone, even if you are just looking for a gentle introduction.