Real Stories

Art and Mental Health

Art helps me express things I find difficult to put into writing. It helps give a voice to the emotions I can’t verbalize.

Do you know when you’re driving down a familiar road and you zone out but end up at your destination without realizing it? Most art sessions are like that for me – I am able to completely zone out and let my mind rest – the action of painting becomes second nature. That’s not to say that I don’t have a plan compositionally or a color scheme in mind, but I like to let the paint go where it wants.

Most of the time my work is not conceptually driven, but instead process driven. The act of creating is what is most important to me – especially when I am taking my mental health into consideration. ​I see a direct correlation with my anxiety and creative lulls. When I go months without creating my mental health often suffers. When I am feeling low, I hardly create. The two go hand in hand. I try not to judge myself too harshly when I am in a creative dry spell. Creating comes in seasons just like everything else and the breaks are just as important as the creative moments.

Putting paint to canvas, color mixing, or just being in my studio gives me a happiness boost. ​When I can’t sleep I either journal or go into my studio and create something. Some of my favorite pieces have been created at 2 am. Creating art provides exactly what I need in the moment whether that is to be completely present with the artwork I’m creating or to completely zone out. It can offer a moment of pause. Meditation. Tranquility. Release.

I am trying to let go of my need for perfection – both in my life and in my artwork.

I find it so powerful to spend hours creating something but not letting myself get too attached to the “finished product.” A piece can change and evolve over time and I never consider a piece finished until it is sold and out of my studio. This is a value I try to carry over into my personal life – Imperfection. Adjustments. A growth mindset.

​Don’t be too precious with time or materials. Don’t wait until its perfect. I share my work as is just as I share myself in progress.

by Kayla Ackelson

Hey all! My name is Kayla and I am a 20 something living day by day. I’m happy to share my experiences as I’m experiencing them!

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