Carissa Stewart / Featured Artist

The Healing Power of Art

What is art? According to the dictionary, art is “the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power.” However, for many people, art is so much more than simply painting colors on a canvas or shaping clay. For instance, according to Carissa Stewart, a 28-year-old woman from Montana, art is a lifesaver. To her, art is a form of self-expression that conveys her thoughts and emotions in a way that words can not. 

Carissa’s story begins about a year and a half ago when she broke the calcaneus in her right foot. After the fracture, complications started to develop with her left foot as well, and she soon was confined to a wheelchair. That lasted almost an entire year and Carissa’s mental health soon began to suffer due to the fact that she was no longer able to maintain the active lifestyle she was used to. Before she knew it, she found herself confined to her home and her mental health and stability was rapidly declining (Carissa suffers from borderline personality disorder and PTSD which complicated the matter further). Thankfully, she found healing in her artwork that she had recently taken an interest in right before her health issues occurred and without it, she admits that she might not be here today. 

Luckily for her, Carissa had started to dabble in acrylic painting shortly before her calcaneus fracture but did not become completely emerged in the art until she was homebound. While binge-watching Bob Ross videos on YouTube; Carissa started learning how to paint some of the places that she so deeply missed being able to go to. Soon it seemed like the only time she wasn’t in pain was while she was painting. Carissa states that she, “ would become completely lost in it for hours.” Moreover, during the times when she could not paint she would practice her crocheting and even started to learn how to needlepoint lace and Irish crochet to occupy her mind. Taking a tangled thread and producing clothing from it helps her to untangle her thoughts and heal mentally. With that being said, after an entire year in a wheelchair, Carissa began physical therapy, and although she is now closer to having regained her life, she is certain that her art will continue to inspire herself to be a better person both mentally and physically. Furthermore, she hopes art and painting will continue to be a major asset in living with her mental health for the rest of her life. She stands by the ideology that art is necessary for well being and lifesaver. Below are some samples of her work:

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