Discovering my heightened artistic nature came about like a happy little rainstorm after a long drought.
2009 I was newly single with a three-and-a-half-year-old and a whole lot of healing to get through.
(This blog post contains many of my early unnamed artworks.)
My son was off to his father’s every other weekend, leaving me with the worst separation anxiety to boot.This new empty circumstance coupled with the daily tasks of navigating manipulation and major life changes, was kicking the crap out of my energy levels.
By month two of being single, most weekends were filled with long deep rest.
By the end of the eighth month, I found myself rested and restless. Tiny pieces of my forgotten personality were beginning to cut through my old skin like shards of brilliant rainbow-reflecting crystal.
Awakening, I started to notice art, music, dance, and colour everywhere. The novelties that had disappeared altogether from my life were arriving in vibrancy. Purples carried jewel tones and shed their gray.
As I studied and imagined brushstrokes, I considered where this creative need had been hiding throughout my life and realized it had been there all along:
1988, it was there at six-years old in the snow-covered trees in a winter wonderland of Crayola colours; my winning colouring contest submission.I recalled analyzing the 5 pack of crayons, then deciding green was not going to work. I turned that five pack into a fifteen and coloured the trees blues, purples and pinks. 1994, it was there when I got lost in Fabricland and White Rose with my Granny. Emerging to create my own patterns to sew dresses on her machine.1995, it was there when I crafted intricate chokers and necklaces and gifted them all loving the idea of wearable art.1998, it was also there throughout high school art class, only I was too preoccupied to see. Compliments from classmates were met with ‘well you can have it if you like it’; knowing I could recreate it in a heartbeat.
2000, it was there when I went off to study journalism and ended up taking electives in art theory, on top of my already full and deadline-riddled course load.2004, it was there during pregnancy when I croucheted a king-sized blanket while at work in a call centre, dying from the monotony and seeking approval from my supervisor to create.2005, it was there when I knitted unique scarfs for each one of my six sisters and hats for my four bothers.
After all this reflection, I decide to buy cheap canvas and dollar store paint. As brush met canvas my subconscious reigned supreme and I surprised myself.
2010, painting was my little secret for over a year. Eventually I couldn’t hide the canvas that were piling up. Friends and family would ask me if they could turn them to see the paintings. I’d answer no.
Each one was a piece of my soul after all. My pain, love and uncertainty where laid out in vibrancy.
2011, Eventually I began turning the paintings around. Soon, they were all turned and I was inviting friends over for painting and a glass of wine.
I challenged myself to learn new techniques and avenues of painting my visions.Visiting art galleries, I could tell that I was years behind.
Investing in better supplies and tools, I entered an art fair and even hung a peace in a gallery. A strange sensation.
2019, now I paint weekly and show openly. It took me almost nine years to get here; a place where I’m confident enough to call myself an artist and not feel like an imposter for not having focused on studying art in an institute of higher learning.
Despite not having all the technical skills, painting has consistently remained my method for self-healing and personal expression.
When attending my social art classes and crafting workshops, you will find new forms of expression and encouragement for self-care, intermingled with fun, in a no-pressure style of artistic exploration.
True, there are natural healing benefits that come though art participation. What separates me from other teachers is that I compliment those with intentional healing components as well.
Learn more and sign up for a free class here:
Rhiannon Barry – Art Therapist in training