Geelong artist Steph Chapman picked up a paintbrush for the first time in 18 years, in early 2019. She was 32 and had just found out she had a complicated heart condition.“I no longer trusted my body to just… work,” Steph said. “I felt helpless, anxious and betrayed”.
Encouraged to take up a hobby to distract her mind from her fast-approaching cardiac operation, Steph started painting. “It brought me instant comfort and peace,” said the pink-haired 33-year-old. Painting quickly became my creative saviour and a life-changing obsession.”
Steph, who is a full-time strategic communications professional, admits writing and editing are her first loves.
“I had always pigeon-holed myself as a writer/editor. I studied it. Built a career around it. I love it. But nothing is as spiritually and creatively fulfilling as painting.”
Since Steph started weaving colour, she has conjured vibrant and quirky worlds on canvas. Her work is fun and feminine, with the colour pink and abstract florals often appearing in her pieces.
“I didn’t expect my little healing hobby to attract the attention it has. But creating art is the real pleasure. Selling it is just a bonus.”
“I found painting in my darkest hour. It comforted me after I was diagnosed with my heart condition. It calmed me in the stressful, sleepless lead-up to my first and second cardiac operations. It’s been there for me through many lonely, sad hours during the COVID-19 pandemic (I live on my own). It has literally pulled me from the grips of depression and anxiety. Painting is magical.”
“I encourage anyone who is sad, stressed, lonely, healing from trauma or heartache, to start painting. You don’t have to be good at it to benefit from its therapy.”
“And if painting just isn’t for you, buy art you like looking at. Surround yourself with colours that call to you. I honestly think it’s good for the soul.”
Humans in Geelong Photo: Supplied