Therapeutic Art


"Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep” Scott Adams – cartoonist.

Today I would like to speak about art and why I find it to be both therapeutic and freeing.

Art is a subject close to my heart, when drawing or painting an image, I can get lost, absorbed into a world of creation. The process from beginning to end, captivates a part of me like no other. An idea stimulates a plan to create a visual expression of what is inside and how to bring it out. I play games in my mind, considering how far I will push myself in this next creation, I wonder if I can actually do it, and whether it will work out the way that I visualise it.

I notice that it is made harder for thoughts to enter or disturb the creativity once I’m there, like a trance that becomes obsessed with creating something meaningful. The technicalities, the colour, the angle, amending or remoulding a mistake, all taking me far away from my day to day thoughts or worries.

While I’m thinking of ways to create, my mind slows down and becomes focused.

Once a creation is complete, it can have so many meanings, sometimes I see how the painting reflects my mood, a memory or tells a story that I would otherwise struggle to verbalise. Along the way sometimes I battle with the way I create, which mirrors other areas in my life… my need to be right, my need to finish quickly, how I feel when the artwork is not as expected or becomes difficult.


Even whilst writing this blog, I am aware of the difficulty to express my meaning via words, unlike the picture that I create, it paints a thousand words. My mind is able to feel free knowing that the reaction or impression is owned by the viewer, that is solely theirs, not a misunderstanding of words written or verbalised.

Whether you are a vivid artist or simply creating a pattern or marks, the process can be the same. Concentrated work, to create meaning without thinking too much about why. I believe Art is the pathway to the subconscious and at its minimum, a stretch for the mind.

They say that happiness is in the moment, the here and now, by taking part in a creative activity, both your mind and body are present and focused on just one thing and everything else floats away. Yes, art, for me, is fantastic therapy.


If you’d like to know more about art therapy or my paintings, please give me a call.

Zoe O’Reilly