Embracing your inner artist

We don’t often get the chance to express our thoughts. This is my way of doing so.


Evanthia Stirou, Artistic Director

Towards the beginning of this school year, when I was experiencing some emotional turbulence, I left my home for a change of scenery and to visit my uncle and aunt. I stayed at their house for a few days, taking the time to talk through my feelings and do my best to de-stress.

My aunt is a painter. She has an entire art studio dedicated to her craft, and what I admire most about her is her flexibility when it comes to her art. She loves trying new things, whether it be new techniques or unconventional tools. She can turn anything around her into art.

For my aunt, painting is a sort of spiritual experience. She uses her art as a means to express or simply experience her emotions in the moment. Her art is exploratory in a deep, emotional way.

I often spend time painting with my aunt in her studio, and this visit was no different. Well, except for one thing. This time, my aunt taught me how to paint what I was feeling, and to truly listen to myself when doing so. She told me that in order to do this, I needed to paint without judging myself. Whatever I felt like putting on the canvas, I should do without a second thought. I should avoid thinking about how it will look and whether it will be ugly or not.

At first it was difficult. Whenever I had an idea, I could hear myself say, “hmm.. that wouldn’t look right.” Although it was hard to ignore, I tried my best to go with my gut and just paint. It was a long, peaceful process. I felt as if I was in a trance. I didn’t pick colors because I wanted to, I picked them because I could feel what I needed to paint coming from within me. When the process was over, I stepped back and looked at what I had done.

The painting was cluttered. There were black streaks and speckles of red and gold everywhere. Random shapes overlapped each other, and there was nothing really cohesive on the canvas. For some reason, my aunt and uncle thought it looked beautiful and interesting. I, for one, thought it was really ugly. I first described it as an hour spent “throwing up onto a page and calling it art,” but that had been the whole point of the activity. It wasn’t really about the end result. Instead it was about the process of creating the painting.

I felt as if painting this really gave me the opportunity to slow down and live in the moment. It was almost like a form of mediation, moving slowly, thoughtlessly stroking here and there with whatever random color I chose. It honestly felt very freeing, and when it was over I felt much better than I had before.

Now, whenever I feel like I have unresolved feelings or strong emotions, I paint my feelings. Painting your feelings is like having a conversation with yourself. It’s a time when you can get your emotions out without having to over complicate it.

I really suggest this method as a form of unconventional therapy to help put your mind at ease and to better understand yourself. Remember, it doesn’t have to be pretty, and anyone can do it. All that matters is that it comes straight from your heart without any hesitation or judgement.