Painting with Words

Having trained as an Art Therapist, I have found that everyone, from my close friends and family, to my therapist are always encouraging me to paint or draw myself out of my pain. But I cannot. There seems to exist a block that prevents me from releasing that way. What a hypocrite, right? Encouraging others to use art as a form of therapy when, I simply cannot.

Well, hypocrite perhaps but, I prefer to write. Write through the pain, the discomfort, the memories, the hate, the wounds… Write till my fingers hurt and the tears on my cheeks become salt.

andre petterson

andre petterson


“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” 

 Ernest Hemingway


To me writing is a form of art which flows from me more naturally than drawings or paintings do. It stops me during the day, forcing me to grab a pen and paper. It is a natural healer. I cannot speak what I feel but somehow, I can write it down.

Since childhood journaling has been a part of my life, a way of connecting with what I feel and what I do not feel. A way of digging up the suppressed, hidden parts of myself.

Sharing my writing and encouraging others to write is the next step in my process and as a result I began an instagram account (@lisforliesl) to post my poetry, hoping that perhaps it would speak to someone else, reach them at their painful place, and help them heal.

Even at art school, my final year project consisted of journaling for months and then recreating random moments from those journals in photographs. Writing has always been my art, my center, my therapist, my punching bag and my closest friend.

liesl poem
liesl "tissues" 2007

As Laub states, “One has to know one's buried truth in order to be able to live one's life" (as cited in Anderson & MacCurdy, 2000).

Everyone’s journey is different, find the art form that feels right for you and dive into the healing process – save yourself from drowning.




*Cover thumbnail and Typewriter photos reprinted with permission: Andre Petterson, Vancouver, British Columbia Canada