In 2013 I received a grant from the Welsh Arts Council to pursue my interest in to Arts and Health. I travelled to Manchester and completed a foundation course in Art Therapy organised by the British Association Of Art Therapy.
I learnt a lot from the course and how art can be used in a powerful way that can literally change lives. We heard from a variety of different art therapists each working in different fields; palliative care, young people with eating disorders, drug and alcohol misuse, children and young people and the elderly. Each art therapist used the medium of art to empower their clients/patients to communicate their feelings and experience of which were to difficult to put into words.
At the time I was running art classes at a Psychiatric Hospital in Swansea on an all secure male ward. My time there was an eye opener to mental health and how people can become easily institutionalised. Most patients looked lost often stuck in a rut. Missing basic support of community and human interaction. The art classes I ran were very rewarding it brought patients together developing a sense of belonging with a shared experience and interest in art.
With all this experience I gained around art therapy and working with people who suffered mental health issues. My own personal art practice changed from photography to painting. I wanted to fill my paintings with colour and movement. I began buying cheap wall art from superstores. And started painting, my technique unfolded by using a variety of paints, inks, pastel oils and layering over the image already on the canvas. I like to see it has putting the sole back into the picture.