I'm a big fan of those Paint Night Venues that have popped up all around town over the last few years and often find myself reflecting on how relevant painting is to dealing with mental health concerns. In many ways, a person is a blank canvas, colored in by experiences, trauma, accomplishments, love and other interactions in life. However, people forget or behave as if they are not truly aware that its up to themselves to create who they are even though they have been impressed, “colored in” or tainted by external forces.
Our personality and life canvas is initially colored in during our childhood years by interactions with our parents, teachers, peers or whomever we view as an objective or subjective guide in life. As we grow older, we may cover up previously accepted colors (traits) or depicted scenes (experiences) that we do not like or no longer accept. We may change scenes to match our ever evolving sense of self and morals or we may create confusing chaos on a previously “ideal” life canvas.
Changing our canvas can be as simple or as complicate as we make it; however it is still up to us to step back at times and be real as we assess our lives and obtain a different perspective our “life canvas”. In viewing art, I’ve found that sometimes a painting can look quite different from up close than it can look from afar. So in looking at your own life, remember to view it from different perspectives to get a better understanding of if you are projecting a view of yourself that you truly accept and admire. You are in control and you can change your life canvas even if it seems to be beyond repaint or repair. Yes, negative experiences are colors on our soul that affects our view of who we are and what we consider beautiful. But they do not have to define who we will always be, your self esteem and what we show to the world. So step back, take a breath and allow yourself to repaint your canvas and rediscovered the ever evolving beauty of your life.
If you hear a voice within you say “you cannot paint,” then by all means
paint, and that voice will be silenced.
~Vincent Van Gogh~
DeAne Matthew, MA, LMHC