*Three Flowers – A simple, playful exploration of color. Art on Acrylic on canvas. 24” x 36”

“When my daughter was about seven years old, she asked me one day what I did at work. I told her I worked at the college – that my job was to teach people how to draw. She stared back at me, incredulous, and said, “You mean they forget?”  Howard Ikemoto

Somehow over the years, I took up the absurd notion that artists were lucky people who had sprung from the womb with a blissful confidence and created masterpieces with their first box of Crayolas. For a long time, I was envious of anyone who could put on canvas or paper exactly what they saw in their minds. Envy is an awful thing, but it can show you what you want for yourself.

And that it did; it allowed me to notice my growing need to hold an artistic confidence. As a first step, I sought out a kind and patient instructor because I knew that my journey would require a skilled and compassionate guide. Thus harnessed with support, I leaped into a reawakening and found a part of myself that I had been missing – the playful and imaginative spirit of childhood. The process was not easy because I quickly remembered that I had put away artistic expression because of dark feelings: self-criticism and the fear of not being perfect. Chipping away at the tyranny of my own self-evaluation and moving forward when unsure, has allowed me to say that I am an artist because now, I create art.

“Thinking over all of this it occurred to me that preconceived ideas about beauty in drawing might have a limiting effect of one’s freedom of expression…” Marion Milner

My continued efforts at painting and being an artist often remind me of my work as a therapist because the beginning painter and the beginning patient hold much in common. Those first sessions on the therapist’s couch ultimately require safety, comfort and a creative willingness to explore. New patients might think, “What will my therapist think of me? Will she think I am crazy? What if I say something that no one has heard before? What if I do it wrong?” In my work as a therapist, I ask patients that we consider these questions together. By allowing the therapist to be the canvas and by allowing the patient to explore different parts of their life experience, new ways of being can be brought into the light. Through this collaboration, the patient can thus begin to create new attitudes and form more expansive relationships on the basis of growing powers of insight.

Art making is simply an act of Faith. And when we do it, even in the smallest increments of time, we receive restoration. Restoration of who we are… Art making is part of the deeper answer that we often are too busy to ask. It is the Yes. Our art is just waiting, ever so patiently, for our return. We just must begin, in any small way we can. Again.” Nicholas Wilton

Learning to engage in life creatively and authentically is part of a personal and ongoing renaissance. Where do you say Yes? Where are you too busy to say Yes? Where does something wait for you to return? What are the roadblocks that are stopping you?

If you feel inspired to seek out a guide or the metaphorical canvas to help answer these questions and others, please do not hesitate to contact us at (424) 371-5191 to schedule an intake with one of our therapists here at WILA.




I’m Nicole Flowers, one of the therapists you could see at Wright Institute Los Angeles where we offer Affordable Therapy for Everyday People!

Nicole is a doctoral candidate at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology. She has experience working with adults and couples who seek a greater experience of themselves. One of Nicole’s passions is the intersection of art as a window to the unconscious.


The WILA blog is brought to you by the heart and expert wordsmithing of our Blog Countess, Eva Patrick, PsyD. “My passion for blogging is tied to my appetite for practicing psychotherapy  – they both allow me to surrender to the uncertainty of life, and to find my way out through words, stories and the discovery of new ideas for doing, being and telling these stories in the world.”