Read the story behind the launch of Tranquil Canvas Academy and how I came about to me a mixed media painter
Today, I want to talk about how I started doing what I do now - helping you master ways to paint your way to well-being.
But I wasn’t always an art educator with an expertise in painting for well-being - I used to be a lecturer at a leading Australian University. In 2009, I was still struggling to control mental health issues linked to a multitude of health, work and personal challenges. Plus I was trying to complete my doctoral studies.
Some of you may have heard bits and pieces of this story, but here’s the full story of how I started doing what I do.
It all started in 2009 when I was a very busy woman with ‘a lot on my plate’.
That year the aggravation of chronic health issues severely impacted on all other areas of life from work to personal life. Truth is the downward spiral of health had started many years prior when I ignored health warnings to achieve career and other life goals.
The severity of health issues was such that it limited many of the avenues I could have taken up to maintain physical and mental well-being. Tests indicated that there was irreparable damage in my body. The prognosis was that it wouldn’t be long before I’d be using a wheelchair. To buy time and prevent further damage I needed to give up on one of my dreams of having a baby. I was only few years shy of 30.
That year I realized that I’d failed myself by not choosing me first. I further plunged into depression.
BUT…I was fortunate in that dark period to find an experienced counselor who directed me to 'ACT-BELONG-COMMIT' resources which led me to join a community art group. This group and art then became my lifeline. I discovered that painting was a fun way to direct negative emotions and find a positive state of well-being.
I realized that physical and mental health is inextricably linked. Both need to be nurtured equally. The more I painted the more I lifted my spirits and motivation to fight through my illness and find solutions to respond to my life challenges. From then on painting became a therapeutic process of expressionism and I followed my heart into it as a profession.
And so began 'Tranquil Canvas'.
Here are the 3 biggest reasons why I decided to help women (with a lot on their plate) with learning to paint as a way to nourish well-being:
I realized that I had something huge to share with the world – I had applied my fine art training with a new method based in Expressive Arts Therapy to create a method suitable for learners of mixed skill levels. The method emphasizes enjoying the process of creation rather than worrying over the end product. It also encourages affirming positive mindsets and working with serendipity as part of the creative process.
However, I recognize not everyone is familiar with the idea of using creativity as a way to well-being. So I created a mini-course to introduce you to the idea of nourishing one’s well-being as part of creative process. If you’re not ready to paint just yet or want to start small, then this course is for you.
Here’s the link: PAINT YOUR HAPPY
Fast forward to the present – by getting into painting I brought myself time…time to complete my doctorate, have a baby and launch my art practice. My physical health challenges continue. But art lends me the mental clarity and motivation to lead and encourage the body to take just one more step forward closer to my other dreams. With the health issues I have, this is wa…ay more than I could have dreamed of in 2009.
I am sharing my story to inspire you to put yourself first. And to remind you that mental and physical health are inextricably linked. Art is ‘yoga for your mind’. Make more art.
As a wise one said…” You can’t pour from an empty cup”. So take that first step to better you by investing time for creativity.
Soma M Datta
Founder of www.tranquilcanvas.com.au