I met A’driane at BlogHer last year and we became fast Facebook buds. Her paintings and work centered on women of color and mental illness drew me in as a loyal fan. One day looking at her paintings it made me ask if her painting was more than simply her craft.
A’driane’s answer: Ah yes! I have. That’s honestly how I started painting-4.5yrs ago, my therapist at the time encouraged me to find something constructive to do with my hands that would help me manage the intensity of my hypomania symptoms + keep me from self-harming. I’ve always been a writer or into performing arts growing up-visual Art was never my primary means of creative expression, but now it is. It overtook writing, even. It’s as crucial to my treatment plan and mental health as lithium & Lamictal. Like, I cannot NOT paint. I have to or my mental health suffers. So that’s how it lead me to start pursuing it as a career.
Name: A’Driane Nieves (addyeB)
Noire Care practice: Painting + art journaling
How long I’ve been practicing: 4.5 years
What introduced me: my therapist suggesting I find something constructive to do with my hands. I went to the store looking for yarn to take up crocheting and on a whim picked up some cheap paint, brushes, and canvas boards in the aisle over. (In Walmart)
Like, I cannot NOT paint. I have to or my mental health suffers.
-some water colors or student grade acrylic paint
-oil pastel crayons
-bag of brushes
…..and just play around with the different mediums, see what feels good. Explore and play around. Find some videos on YouTube strictly for inspiration (not for learning or technique initially). My advice: just play. see if you like it before diving into learning technique. It’s ok to get cheaper materials for this. You can also do collage work with cement glue and magazine clippings. I personally believe anyone and everyone is suited for art journaling or painting. Maybe not everyone will like doing them, or a person might take to one more than the other, but I truly believe it’s something anyone can do-even people who don’t think they are an “artist”. Everyone is creative. EVERYONE.
How often do you practice: Daily
How it makes me better: It allows me to decompress, process thoughts and feelings, gives me something constructive to do that I enjoy, and keeps my creativity flowing. It keeps me rooted and connected to myself and my identity outside of motherhood. It makes me a healthier, happier person.
Others or solitude: I don’t mind painting or art journaling with others, but I prefer solitude.
Did you grow up witnessing your mother, aunties or any women in your life consistently taking time to do something just for them? Not really, to be honest.
How do you help your children understand the need to practice self care?
I make sure to be vocal about how I need time for myself, how mothers need time to themselves to focus on things they like or love, and stress the importance of both making connections with others but also having moments or periods of solitude. Just as I do with being honest with them about taking medication, having a mental illness, and going to therapy, I do my best to just be expressive, be vocal, be honest with them about why I paint, why I need a break, and how also how much I love doing it. I do my best to just normalize it. I don’t want them to think that once someone becomes a parent, they have to give up every other part of themselves to be a good one, you know? I’m all about encouraging them to be WHOLE people.
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