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Art Soothed My Soul • by Julie Johnson

When I was a six, I wanted to be an artist. My childhood was shattered when my mom experienced horrific postpartum depression, and committed suicide. I was 9. I let go of the artist dream in high school, swamped with a heavy load, and involved in choir, orchestra and band. My schedule didn't allow for an art class, and I was too busy making everyone else happy.

Secretly Wishing to be an Artist
I was overloaded and overstressed, and wound up in an adolescent crisis unit for two weeks. I chose to go the “safe, make everyone happy route” in college. I studied English Literature and Elementary Education. I secretly wished I could be an artist, but it was too late. I was on tract to become a teacher.

Four years of teaching, four kids later, and the loss of my second mother, I am now an artist. My canvas has shifted over the years. I went from being a creative teacher to a creative mom to a creative decorator in our home. My babies are six now, and in kindergarten. Initially I grieved the shift in my roles, but now I’m starting to find myself again.

Feeling Worthy
I created a studio this winter — you can see pictures on my blog — and prepared three mixed-media pieces for an art show in my hometown. I sold two on the opening night, and for the first time in my life, I feel worthy of saying, “I am an artist.” Art has soothed my soul, and comforted me in the darkest of days. I’ve lost two moms in 36 years, one to suicide and one to kidney cancer. My paper, pencils and scissors, have become appendages that take simple materials to a whole new meaning and purpose. When I create, I'm in a mode, with no idea how the end will really evolve. The process of creating has saved me over and over again. Art truly saves.

Julie Johnson is mixed-media artist who lives in Illinois. To learn more about Julie, visit her blog at She may be reached by e-mail at


I am sorry, for the loss of your Mom;you were so young!
Life has many detours, I am glad you found a way back to your
soul's passion. Passion and purpose, what we are good at, are what makes us unique. I, too closed off my passion, then I lost my way. The detour to please others, created more sadness for me. We have to be who we are and wear that hat, proudly!
I am happy you can call yourself an Artist. Be proud of your talent, it makes you, YOU! xXx

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