Paint your heart out
Paint your heart out!
So many times have I heard not to paint what I paint. Especially from people working in psychiatric care. ”Don’t paint that, that will make your psychosis worse. Paint sunsets and kittens, that will make you feel better.”
I wish they were more interested in my art than rejecting me and my needs. My art tells YOU how I feel.
All paintings can’t be butterflies, flowers and cute little kittens. Sometimes you need to paint your heart out. Let your demons get stuck on the canvas.
5 things I want people, including health care people, to know is…
1. I paint what is in my heart. If my heart is dark, the paintings are too. When I am going psychotic, you can see that in my paintings. My paintings are as valid as journaling with letters.
2. Painting kittens does not take my pain away. It hibernates it. I have a feeling that many find painful art disturbing and want to see easy feelings art. I guess, to protect themselves from the uneasy and provoking art because they don’t know the appropriate reaction to it. You can’t say “nice” or “cute” to a demon breathing fire.
3. Rejecting the pain makes it stronger. Think about a toothache. Can you ignore it? In the beginning yes, but it gets worse. Finally, you can’t stand the pain anymore, something needs to be done. You see the dentist. I paint, before I’m in so much pain that I can’t stand it anymore.
4. Painting my pain is therapeutic, it helps me focus and relax. Focus makes voices muffled and tactile hallucinations to a minimum. Maybe you think I should read a book instead of painting scary art? That is very hard for me to do with the cognitive challenges that schizophrenia causes me. Painting does not need thinking. It only needs feelings.
5. Paintings tell a story. The paintings tell you what I am not able to say with words. Some people are lyrics others are painters or crafters. My paintings tell you the same story I would have if I was able to keep a journal.
There is a reason art is so diverse. Every piece of art tells a story. Good or painful. It’s the artist’s own story. Even the dark and scary ones. The art might make you uneasy or afraid. That is exactly what I feel inside of me. Hear me! See my pain!
Don’t be afraid to ask me and help me to explain how I am when a piece of art makes a chain of reactions in you. Chances are that I want to tell you how I feel but can’t do that with words.
For you fellow artists, don’t be afraid to be you. Don’t give up communicating in your own way.
Paint your heart out!