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.