I am all for 'celebrating life' but we all know, that life doesn't always go as smoothly as we would like... I am no exception...
I believe that sharing our life stories can heal not only ourselves but others too...
If you have a 'Story of Hope' that you would like to share, then please email me: email@example.com
Please download this PDF for the Guidelines for submission.
***Shared Stories of Hope...***
Sharing their story today is Petrea Hansen Adamidis of ArtTherapist
Petrea Hansen Adamidis R.C.A.T. is a Registered Art Therapist, mom, artist and an avid nature nut. Petrea has over 19 years of experience working with children, families and adults. Join her at ArtTherapist.ca where she offers a free e-course “Free Your Inner Child” plus other creative resources to draw the self out.
Petrea can be found at:
For Art’s Sake!
I grew up the youngest of three girls. My eldest sister who was 5 years my senior, bloomed as an “artist” in her teens. Funny enough I don't remember her earlier work only that when she was in high school a different one from me, she was a clothing designer. She was considered to be the artist of the family.
In my younger days I recall being quite proud of my drawings and the detail I would add. I considered myself to be a “good artist”. I remembered receiving praise from my teachers about the figures I would draw and was asked to illustrate for class projects in elementary school.
When high school approached I maintained an interest and confidence in art, pursuing it as one of my optional credits. I still remember my art teacher Mr. Horkits who clearly enjoyed his work and was a wonderful mentor encouraging all of us to keep at our art.
A small group of my peers were also enthusiastic about art. Art was after all an optional course so we were all there because we felt an affinity of hearts with art. Though we didn’t “hang out” together regularly like I did with my main friends, we formed an alliance even outside our class, there was an unspoken connection and understanding we all shared. I remember their names: Rachel who liked doing portraits. Michael Harris who is currently a professional artist, Marc who went on to become an architect.
From grade nine to thirteen I watched my peers grow in their skill, yet I did not see myself as growing in skill the same way. I loved art, but was somewhat of an underachiever. My confidence was dwindling. Not only was I comparing myself to my peers but to my older sister as well.
Then one day I was awarded an achievement certificate for the artwork I had done during my art class in grade eleven. I was ecstatic that my work was being recognized and seen as “good”. I remember getting a gift certificate for $50 to spend at the art store (a lot at that time, about 30 years ago). Some of those supplies that I got I kept for a long time never really using them. I still have the large vinyl portfolio, which I had picked out.
I internalized this certificate of achievement as “proof” that I was “good” at art. Unfortunately this also meant that I internalized the message that art is only worth creating if others recognize it as worthy enough to be rewarded with praise and good marks.
At the same time, my sister’s art began to focus on clothing design and was gaining recognition by the public. Art’s meaning began to change for me. It became something that was judged outside myself and eventually I began to take on the role of judge too.
In my late teens I began to join my sister at the shows she would do to sell her clothing and jewelry. I would help her out as well. I began to make a different kind of art, one that was directed at pleasing others. I painted pots and boxes decoratively. And although I enjoyed it and the positive response I received from others, it was far removed from the art I had made for myself as a younger child and even in my early teens. It was more of a production than a process of expression. It was more for others, than it was for me.
Art’s vitality began to diminish for me. The pleasure was dwindling. The connection to self was no longer there. It became defined by the perimeters of society, or rather I let it be. Then one day when I was studying psychology in my undergraduate degree, I stumbled across Art Therapy while looking for a type of therapy to present on.
I found myself begin to awaken to the deep possibilities that art-making offered. I began to let myself play with art more, with less concern for what others might think. This was a turning point for me. I began to explore my internal life through journaling, both writing and art. I began to gain back my confidence in exploring my life through art. I began to let go of expectations, self-imposed and perceived about what art is. I began to fall in love with my art again.
I went on to train as an Art Therapist, and continue to practice as one now almost 20 years later. In using art to work with others who are struggling with different life issues, I hope to help others find that internal strength through their creativity and self-expression that I have found.
Today I sometimes still struggle with letting go and making art for my eyes only, with no worries about how it looks. But it is fewer and farther between. I can now identify more quickly when those fears hold me back and face them anyway.