Is Pain Part of Creativity?

Despair, 16 x 16 cm, pigment pen and colour pencils on paper

Is pain part of creativity? It seems to be for me. Often, I begin creating a piece of art because I’m in psychological pain and it can transform that pain into healing. The drawing above began on the anniversary of my father’s suicide. Despair was what I was feeling and, somehow, I was able to tap into that feeling and watch it take shape on paper. By externalising it and writing in my journal about it, I could understand it more. I wrote a blog post about the beginning of this process.

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Connection versus Despair and the Winner is… Connection

Drawing despair – work in progress – pigment pen on paper

The Pain of Remembrance

The day before yesterday I was ready to throw in the towel and go back to Brighton; back to my cosy flat where I don’t have to plan where I’m going to sleep, or shower, or get water from (I’m living in my van for a couple of weeks whilst visiting university in person). It got too hard, especially when Boris Johnson announced new Covid-related restrictions. As I sat in the university library trying to work out how the new restrictions would affect me, I felt horribly alone.

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Seeing is believing: how an expressive art grief ritual helped me gain clarity and strength

Last night was the anniversary of my dad’s suicide in 1980. Most years I just ignored it and tried to carry on, but this year I decided to do a letter writing ritual. My ‘letter’ turned out to be a piece of expressive art as I followed my intuition and did what I needed to do throughout the process.

My expressive art ‘letter’ to my dad who killed himself 39 years ago.
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