Art is my first love. My mom was an artist and when I was little, I wanted to be just like her.
As I grew up, other interests took over and my passion for art was swept aside. It took a life-changing event to bring that passion back – and in a big way. I had struggled with mental illness for years and in my early twenties, I was finally diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder. It was a name and an explanation for my struggles. Recovery was a tough road but through art, I found my voice.
Decades have passed and I’ve followed in my mother’s footsteps. For several years, I was a drawing/painting machine. I was cranking out the work and doing shows almost every month. It was pretty crazy and I had to dial it back a few notches when I got pregnant.
Then I completely stopped. Maybe I just needed a break. That was seven years ago.
Present day: covid restrictions are dropped, I’m happy and healthy, and I’m finally back at work. I work for a supportive arts program where I facilitate art, writing, and music groups for people in recovery from mental illness and/or addiction disorders. It’s literally my dream job.
My participants encourage me just as much as I encourage them, and a few months ago, my love for art was revitalized.
I’ve started painting a lot at work, and it’s sort of an experiment. I have muscle tremors in my hands from a medication I take that makes it really difficult to use a paintbrush. I really want to paint so it was time to improvise. I’ve discovered that I have a little more control when I lose the paintbrush and put my fingers directly on the canvas. Now I just paint with my fingers every day and experiment to see what I can do. It’s different but it is incredibly satisfying to get my hands dirty.
Experimenting with finger painting inspired me to experiment with other aspects as well — especially color.
You know who else loves finger painting? My six-year-old daughter. I paint at work and then I come home and paint with my daughter.
This is really different than before. I’m not cranking out paintings for shows. I’m not even planning on entering any shows. I’m exploring the medium. I’m relaxed. I’m just really enjoying myself – the painting and the company. I’ve learned that art is just an amazing way to connect with others.
I’m thinking this is how art should be.
I’d love to hear from other artists. What’s your story? What are you into?