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Art Saves • by Joana Carvalho

Joana Carvalho Carrying the Weight of Artist
Never in my life I thought I could paint. What changed? Me.

I’ve always been interested in arts, some way or another, but being an Artist … that title carried a lot of weight in my mind. Artists were cool, original, a little bit crazy, and dressed in an “artsy” way. Not me at all! Plus, the first rule to paint—I thought at the time—was to be able to draw. And I couldn’t draw. So I couldn’t paint.

Not Abiding By the Rules
So I went to college and majored in Graphic Design—the closest thing to art I could find. And it was great; I loved it. But even during college I suffered from fear of not being good enough. My boyfriend (who is my husband today) was (is! ) a tremendous artist and could (can!) draw like crazy, so I was always a little embarrassed to show him my stuff.

It wasn’t until many years and two kids later that I heard of mixed-media, and that alone started to change my perspective of how art was “supposed” to be. Art and “supposed to” don’t go together. Art is the very essence of self- expression and freedom, and that doesn’t have to abide by any rules.

Letting Go of What Other People Think
Yes, I can mix techniques and materials. Yes, I can paint something that is not a landscape. Yes, I can use my hands. Yes, I can paint.

The most important thing, in my opinion, is to enjoy what you’re doing at the time you’re doing it. Let go of the outcome, let go of what other people will think. If you like it—I promise you—somebody else will too.

To learn more about Joana Carvalho, visit


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