Monday, March 13, 2017

Healing with the Arts

Jessica Ann Lane Massingill
Healing with the Arts Final Project
I was diagnosed with major depression and anxiety several years ago, although I have had it my whole life.  For the past year, I have been separated from my husband with an impending divorce.  I experienced a major depressive episode with suicidal ideation.  I was hospitalized twice.  The second hospitalization was a lifesaver because they  changed my medication to something that helped.  With the new medication, I came out of the major depressive episode and could work on healing.  In the past, I used visual arts to heal as I am a mixed media artist by trade.  During the major depressive episode, I lost all interest in painting and journaling.  Since the change in my medication, I have painted everyday and it feels good.  Since I have recently come out of this state of being, I wanted to paint the feelings of depression and happiness using mixed media techniques on canvas, music, and lyrics.  Music evokes such strong feelings while you are painting.  Lyrics are like poetry and convey such deep meaning.  Painting is the physical manifestation of the music and the lyrics.  That is why I chose to create two canvases that actually become one.  Each side visually represents the emotions of depression and happiness.  Each canvas holds half a girl and when put together create a whole person.  For the first canvas representing depression and sadness, I used lyrics from songs by Counting Crows (“Round Here”), Evanescence (“Lithium”), and a poem by Olivia B. (“Demons of Darkness”).  I wrote these lyrics and words directly on the canvas and used paints and inks to partially cover them.  I used red to represent what I felt during this time.  On top of the runny black and white inks, I used the lyrics “Tired of life” and “Broken” to represent the painting in itself.  Then I added the half of the girl that represented depressing and made her cry black tears of ink.  For the second canvas representing happiness, I used lyrics from Rachel Platten (“Fight Song’), Pharrell Williams (“Happy”), and Katy Perry (“Fight Song”).I did the same as before and wrote these lyrics directly onto the canvas before painting with acrylics.  I then used inks and paints in colors that represented happiness to me.  I added the half of the face that represented happiness with flowers and the lyric “Happiness is the truth”.  I liked starting with the canvas for depression because it reminded me where I had come from this past year.  I was more comfortable with this painting because I had spent so long in this depressive state.  Part of the healing process for me was acknowledging this part of me and then recognizing the progress of my healing and the state of happiness I am now in.  It was very easy to create the painting of happiness and made me realize how far I had come in just a couple of months.  I like that you can put the two canvases together and see the opposite ends of my emotional spectrum.  I can also see progress and healing in my project.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016


I haven't been able to post in a while.  I just moved back to Conway from Terra Studios where I was an artist in residence.  It was a great opportunity but I ended up coming home due to depression from being away from my friends and family for the 5 months I was there.  Anyhow, I am back and in a new place to live with a new studio.

This weekend I have two workshops.  First, there is a figure drawing class at the new art supply shop that recently opened in Conway.  I have never had live models to draw from so this will be a new experience.  Second, I am attending a "She Did It Anyway" workshop in Little Rock at Soul Road.

I have been recently working to get ready for the Winter Market at Two Rivers Park in Little Rock on November 19th. I would love to see some of you out there.  Stop by my booth and visit!

I have also been getting ready for my trip the first week of November with my BFF Elizabeth Duke to go to Lucky Star Art Camp in Texas as well.  I will post about this later.  I think there are a couple of spots left!

I also rescued a litter of kittens and momma cat from under the trash bin where I live through Out of the Woods.  They all have homes and momma is spayed and resleased.  I, however, bonded with one of the kittens (of course) and decided to keep him.  His name is Othello.  I have two other cats named Hamlet and Romeo.  They all get along splendidly!

I also have redone my website which you can find at  .  I decided to go with a shopify site and integrated my blogspot blog into it.  I am giving it a try and we will see how much I like it over my old WordPress site.  

Ciao for now!  MessyJessy

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Get Messy Art Journal Introspection Week 3

Get Messy Art Journal Introspection Week 3

This week included two art prompts and two journaling prompts.  I chose to only use the first set.  The art prompt asked us to use bright colors (here I used Golden Fluid Acrylics in Primary Yellow and Pyrrole Orange) as well as creating a mind map with our journaling prompts (Are you the person you want to be?).  Recently, I had to come up with my values in life and narrowed it down to four overall values (that was very tough)- Family, beauty, self acceptance, and health.  These, to me, were the overall themes that I could put more values into.  For this spread, I used mini file folders and alphabet stickers to create my mind map on the pages.  Inside, I wrote a little about each value and how I will accomplish them.  I also included a file folder with an Instax photo of myself with an overall statement about my goals in life.  This was a simple spread (I have recently been in an artist's rut) but I am pleased with how it turned out and it is a reminder to me of what is important in life.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Get Messy Art Journaling Introspection Week 2

Get Messy Art Journaling Introspection Week 2

This week I combined the two art prompts and two journal prompts into one art journal spread.  We all have shortcomings and so I used mine to collage into the background.  Next, I used a Neocolor II crayon to put a light wash onto the background.  I then used a Scribe-All All-Surface Pencil to draw my figure.  It is water soluble so I used a paint brush and water to blend the lines a little.  Last, I used a Posca Paint Pen to write the Lewis Carroll quote into her hair.   

It is a bit freeing to put your flaws onto paper and then use them to think about the question proposed by Lewis Carroll.  Who in the world am I?  None of us are perfect and we all have shortcomings and that is part of who we are.  If you are aware of your shortcomings, you may be able to help yourself better in the long run by consciously doing and saying things contrary to what you normally would.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Get Messy Art Journaling Introspection Week 1

This week started a new season over at Get Messy Art Journaling.  The season is about introspection and had several art and writing prompts to choose from.  

First, I used Golden fluid acrylics in Payne's Grey to try the ink blot technique suggested as one of the art prompts.

Next, I added a magazine image to collage in a representation of myself.  This was also a suggested art prompt.

After that, I added journaling.  One of the journal prompts was about your identity.  I made a list of who I am and used Posca paint markers to fill the page with my identifying titles.  I used the quote that was suggested for this week by Aristotle. 

Last, I added a border with Posca pen and collaged in the title for the beginning of the season and the page using scrapbook paper and a number 1 tag.