Shellie Sylla—Using Art as Therapy
As far back as I can remember, I have always been artistic, but never found anything in particular I enjoyed. I love watching Bob Ross, so I thought maybe oil painting is my thing. But after trying a couple of paintings with him, I did not have happy trees. I, in fact, had rage-filled trees because that clearly wasn’t my medium. Drawing? Fine, meh whatever. Then I picked up a paintbrush and some watercolor paints. Instant love story.
I started in earnest in Marchaprilmay of 2020—it’s hard to pick a time as that all blended into one seemingly never-ending Ground Hog Day. I didn’t stick with the sourdough bread making, homemade pasta making or the workout at home in front of your TV craze of 2020. But I DID fall deeply in love with watercolor.
With the pandemic, lockdowns, bleak images on the news, not being able to go church or anywhere and the death of my father, I kept painting as a therapeutic stress reliever. Almost two years now and I’m still painting, not just for its therapeutic nature (which trust me is still needed) but also just for the sheer love of it.
The thing I love most about watercolor is in its nature. I don’t so much tell the paint and water what they’re going to do, they tell me. I offer suggestions and technique, but ultimately I’m really not the one who’s calling the shots. It’s the beauty in the chaos that I love. And why I think I’ve embraced watercolor more than any other art form; The YOLO’ness of it.
I am inspired by nature; plants, flowers and animals. And I enjoy painting for several hours a day. My art has been displayed at exhibitions at my local art center and for sale at our local cultural art museum. I am grateful for the support I’ve received from family, friends and people on the internet for embracing my art and I don’t see myself stopping anytime soon. ~ @shellie_art_therapy
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