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"Art has given me a greater awareness of myself on a deeper level"

Charlotte from Portsmouth tells us how painting has helped her better understand her own emotions and shares a few of the benefits she has experienced from her painting practice.

Charlotte from Portsmouth

The relationship between art and mental wellbeing inspires my painting practice and plays a huge part in the way I live my life. I am an artist and yoga teacher combining meditation and other yogic practices into my creative world. Art has given me a greater awareness of myself on a deeper level and has allowed me to understand and process my emotions better. I am grateful for the ability to express my true self from the depth of my heart and hopefully bring joy to others who experience my work.

To the best of my ability I apply my creativity and mindfulness to every task I do from cooking to gardening. I find it makes my life more interesting and I feel calm and grounded. If painting or drawing doesn’t appeal to you there are endless possibilities of activities where you can explore your creativity and reap up the benefits. Good intention is important so be present, be focused, be open and feel the creativity flow! Here are a few of the benefits I have experienced from my painting practice.

1) Relaxing

I find painting a very relaxing activity where I can zone out from the world around me for hours at a time. It’s a great opportunity to become the observer of my thought patterns and tune into my current emotions. I mainly choose colours based on how I'm feeling and find the movement of the paint across the paper is very therapeutic and satisfying even when the end result doesn't always come out as planned.

2) Being present

When I am in my creative space I am completely focused on what I am doing, connecting my mind to my body and manifesting onto the paper what I see in my mind and feel in my heart. I am in the current mo

Art is a welcome escape from anxiety and worry

ment, not dwelling on the past or worrying about the future and in this place I find calmness, contentment and happiness. I often bring my attention to the breath when painting and match my brush strokes to the inh

Painting is relaxing for Charlotte

alations and exhalations of my breath, which helps me stay present and connected to the painting process. This is sometimes very challenging and my mind will wonder off when I have a busy schedule or lots going on in my head but I remind myself I am doing my best and it is all part of the process of overcoming obstacles.

3) Create something tangible

One of the most exciting parts of art is being able to see an idea, thought or feeling transform into something physical that can then be shared with those around you. I love being part of the creative community, supporting and encouraging each other to keep on making and sharing. Seeing other peoples artwork is just as important as the painting process for me, as it helps me feel inspired, connected and moved by other peoples creations.

4) Challenging

Just like anything worth doing, art isn't always an easy process. Painting often brings up a lot of mental challenges for me where I question my self worth or I question who I am making my work for and why, however, I always have trust in the journey. I find meditation helpful before I paint so I am able to set positive intentions and any negative thoughts can come and go leaving me ready to begin creating from a calm and peaceful mindset. Painting has taught me to let go of things I can’t control in life. I work in an abstract style which means mistakes happen and the paint often moves in unexpected ways which is usually when the most beautiful parts of the painting happen. Art has helped with my self confidence and I have learnt to trust myself and my intuition.

5) Seeing progress 

Charlottes painting helps her mental health

I enjoy looking back at old artworks like a diary as I can see how much I have improved and how far I have come. I can remember exactly where I was and how I was feeling in all of my old paintings. A painting can hold so much information and I find they help me express far more than words ever could. When I am not feeling myself, I often become uninterested in things I used to love, my paintings help me to connect to things which at some point fascinated me enough to spend the time studying and painting them. If I spend too much time looking at my work I usually start to criticise myself and at this point I need to put the painting away out of sight until I have fresh eyes to look at it again. Nevertheless I will always find gratitude and thank myself for dedicating time to paint.

I would encourage everyone to bring a creative practice into their life as it brings so many benefits to our mental wellbeing. Everybody has access to creative energy, you just need to be open to it. Creating art is about enjoying the process, speaking your truth and creating something for yourself.

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