ARTIST & ART THERAPIST
About The Artist
I am an abstract impressionist painter that often incorporates realistic drawings into my work. I’m inspired by nature, dreams, and outer space. I use bold colours and lots of texture to express joy and beauty, as I feel there needs to be more of that in this world. Though I have experience in many mediums, after attending an abstract art painting class at the Alberta University of the Arts, I realized abstract painting is my true passion. At the Christmas Calgary Market Collective I sold out of all my original paintings. This prompted me to focus more on my passion for art and talent for providing an empathic ear. Since then, I have graduated as an Art Therapist after attending the Vancouver Art Therapy Institute and completing 430 practicum hours. While in school, I placed as a finalist in the 2017 Art Here Competition, with over 3,000 initial artworks in for the running. After completing my coursework, I attended the Emily Carr University of Art + Design’s course specializing in painting techniques which helped me further fine tune my skills. I continue to work on my art daily and am working on making a career as an Artist and Art Therapist. I currently reside in Coquitlam, British Columbia, Canada.
"I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn't say any other way - things I had no words for"
Art Therapy Case Study
Vancouver Art Therapy Institute Clinic
There was a lot going on for my client this day. They were working through feelings of being overwhelmed with work, school and personal life. The letters represented how they felt everything was coming down on them. And the colours coming out of their mouth represented all the emotions and feelings they wanted to express but couldn't verbally.
My client set out to make something ugly, which was incredibility freeing. They explored materials and textures and even sounds. It was nice for them to not have to create something beautiful for a change, compared to their own art practice where they wouldn't stop painting until they thought it was good enough to hang in their own home.
My client came into this session rather grumpy so they wanted to work on that and create something that showed how they felt. Soft and comforting on the outside, but filled with things that prick inside.
Working through some feelings of anxiety my client created a piece that showed how they were feeling, with a life-line (string) coming out of the middle so someone, or themselves could rescue them. The knotted yarn in the middle representing their anxiety, the fire representing the wall they have built around their anxiety, and the water representing their ability to calm themselves down.
This piece is around my client struggling with some tough decisions around finding a job and next steps in their life after graduation. The umbrella is a metaphor for their support system who protect them from all the negative words and things raining down on them.
My client wanted to represent herself with flowers. They had always brought her joy and she had a particularly good week. When discussing her artwork past family experiences were brought up and discussed on how they affect her today.
What is Art Therapy?
Art therapy uses the process of artistic creation to facilitate self-expression, self-exploration, and transformation. The goal of art-making is to access one's inner world and emotions. Sometimes there are no words that can properly express what you are feeling, and that's where the use of paint, clay, crayons, markers, feathers, and buttons come in. Different mediums can help express what is inside.
Art therapy can be used with people of all ages; in groups, one-on-one, couples, and families. It can help with a wide range of personal and relationship issues, but can also be used for personal growth, improving well-being, and creative exploration. Participating in art therapy does not require skill or prior experience in art as it is primarily about personal expression.
What Could an Art Therapy Session Look Like?
A session can go two ways. It can be approached with an art directive (an art project) or the client can create whatever they like. Sometimes an art directive is used when the client is perhaps not feeling as creative. Art directives can help guide a client through the art-making process and can help the client focus on a certain issue. Whether an art directive is used or not an hour-long one-on-one session with me generally looks like this:
Opening - I may start with a poem, a quick breathing exercise and a check-in regarding how the client is feeling and what they may want to concentrate on today
Middle - The client works on art (any medium), and often there is talk therapy during the process of making art
Review - Before the session ends, I will ask the client to tell me about the art they created. I'll have questions and provide support
Closing - I will usually end with a grounding exercise so the client leaves feeling grounded and ready to take on the day
There are of course group sessions as well, which would follow a similar pattern, however accounting for the fact that there are more people, so sessions are often longer than a one-on-one session. Groups tend to have a common theme, such as a depression group, or addictions group.
Does Art Therapy Work?
Yes, art therapy works. But just like any therapy, the true work lies with the client being ready to work on their issues. Having clear goals that are developed along side the Art Therapist can help guide the sessions and help with healing. The very process of making art can behave as a buffer between the therapist and the client, making the client feel more comfortable to talk about their issues as sometimes anxiety can hinder the client from opening up, the art can act as a calming technique.
Coquitlam, BC, Canada