At the age of 7, my bedroom was plastered with my own creations – multiple pencil drawings of horses and at least one acrylic on paper painting of a Hereford cow. My room was my sanctuary and I loved nothing more than to sit cross legged on my bed and draw (or if I could get away with it…paint!).
I dreamed of being an artist. Others even told me I’d be a great one.
Somewhere along the way of my early life, this dream was lost. In fact it took several career deviations, loss and 24 years before I even reconsidered it.
I never went to art school, instead I went to vet school because I loved animals and the idea of healing them…
I gave up an awful lot to go to vet school. Income, years of time and having to travel and live apart from my newly married husband and the haven that was our home…
Unfortunately, the reality of the veterinary profession didn’t sit well with me. I love animals, animals do NOT love vets. Veterinary clinics are corporate run businesses with emphasis on throughput and dollars, not caring and healing.
On top of this realization was the sense of loss that came from not one, but two miscarriages. My life was at a low point. I lost my sense of purpose.
I was thrilled to eventually become successfully pregnant so I left my job to take up full time motherhood. It was at this time that I found art again. I joined a painting group and this gave me back a sense of purpose and direction. A means to uplift and express myself.
As an introvert who derives energy from peace and quiet, drawing and/or painting took me back to my happy place. It gave me a break from life’s unexpected curved balls. A break that I could have within my own home.
I began exhibiting my artwork and realized that there were others out there who wanted my upbeat artwork…and that was the point when I realized my childhood passion could actually become my career (and almost twenty years on - the rest ‘is history’).
Learning to derive my sense of self through art has been my greatest lesson in life.
It took me a long time to rid myself of the sense of guilt from ‘giving up’ a ‘very good career’. In fact over eight years, I suffered from two frozen shoulders – one after the other, with the surgeon rating the first one as the worst he’d ever encountered.
I realize now how therapeutic drawing and painting have been through this and other challenges of my life.
I take life seriously, that is my nature. My father and others often told me to ‘smile’ when in fact I was actually fine! It has been the ability to ‘lighten up’ or uplift myself through both the process of creating artwork and my actual artwork that have brought, and continue to bring me joy, within the haven of my own home. This has helped me throughout my life.
Now I have taken this idea of using the arts to uplift into studying Arts Therapy. As of November 2020 I am a qualified Group Arts Therapist and I am now studying to become a fully registered Arts Therapist. This involves using a wide range of art-based modalities (not just painting and drawing) to help empower others so watch this space :)