Charlene Happel, glory bound, 2017, water and ink
Who am i….to stand for creativity?
I believe that art is medicine. That creativity allows you to tap into the power of your heart in a way that defies logic. And that accessing your ability to create is one of the keys to healing. Art is how i fly.
I have been an artist/creator for many years. The desire to create has been an important part of me for as long as i can remember. Prior to my cancer diagnosis and treatment, i experimented with printmaking and painting as a respite from the overflow of thoughts in a day. That part of me was put on hold as i maneuvered life during treatment. After my treatment was complete, it took about a year for my creative desire to push to the front again. I knew that i wanted art back in my life and that it had to be simple and something new. I wanted it to be grounded in gentle curiosity and based in who i was in that moment, rather than who i used to be. I decided to explore the idea of a daily creative journal.
I starting with sketching and painting simple designs and images using markers, pencils and watercolor in a travel journal. My creative play quickly turned into watercolor paintings of all types of flowers. Before i realized it, i was painting flowers as though my life depended upon it. Little did i know that there was a deeper truth ready to show up for me. It wasn’t really my life that was at stake anymore, but my heart.
My paintings began to reflect my emotional journey back to my true self. They became the map points of my curiosity and exploration. Each painting a story that reflected some aspect of that exploration. The imagery became more and more abstract as my paintings echoed the essence of my healing. Recently my poetry showed up to add another dimension to the story and deeper meaning to the visual. My paintings have now become more than just the images or the words. They are symbols of my movement through the world and they tell the story of my flight to home.
The Crow (wingspan)
Who am i
To say i want that.
Here with my heart out.
To be loved,
By the beauty and the pain
Of this place.
I am enough
And i am filled
With light and dark
– Charlene Happel
The invitation to be part of this conference, has allowed to me reflect on how my “art as medicine” journey began. I’m currently developing my own creativity journal, using my paintings and poetry as inspiration with space to write, paint or sketch. I’ll be one of the exhibitors during the conference and i would love for you to come by and say hello….maybe we could create something together. Let’s fly.