Maryse_Gauthier_Amoritz - Vanilla

In February 20, 2017, I turned 40 years old, but before it happened, I decided to celebrate by doing something I feared. I dreaded drawing and painting quite intensely, hence my choice to tackle this phobia.

I discovered Paint Nite events. They happen in bars or restaurants, and are two hour events where you choose the event for the painting that will be performed at that date and place. I rather made my choice for the proximity of the event to my birthday, thus, happened on the 19th.

The first hour, I felt dizzy with some difficulty to breathe because of the anxiety and I just wanted to get up and leave promptly. Instead, I focused on deep breathing, telling myself there was nothing dangerous or threatening. In the second hour, I was surprised to find myself focused on doing the details, all relaxed. I was relieved to realize I could finally paint!

I went to two other events and after that, I decided to experiment on my own. I was really excited to know that I could now paint freely, as my mind is always filled with images and I wanted to express these on canvases.

I understood why I was so afraid of painting. Expressing myself in any way has always been a huge challenge. It just made sense that doing so in painting was terrifying too because it is very explicit.

In 2014, I was admitted in a therapy center for psychotic adults after a psychiatrist told me about this place. It has been the best occurence of my life. I have one to three meetings per week, of which there is a psychoanalytic session. It took me two years of hard work to start seeing some changes and from there, I kept having great breakthroughs that allow me to live better in relation with reality and others. There is also an art studio at the center. They believe that art is a great therapy tool. It is only in 2017 that I dared to start using it.

Another user of the center posted a sign in the art studio to find someone to illustrate an electronic music album he created. I thought it would be a great opportunity to put my name. I thought the worse that could happen is failure, so no big deal. For the rest of the story, read this post. It became my first painting outside of Paint Nite. I did little things in the studio but mostly experimenting. My lack of experience made it very long to do simple things, so, experimenting was essential.

In June 2017, I saw an endocrinologist for the first time and after some blood tests, he diagnosed Hashimoto, an auto-immune disease causing hypothyroidism. He is the best specialist in the field of thyroid illnesses because he does a lot of research, and instead of treating me with synthroid, he suggested we do it with food. He asked that I avoid all food containing gluten, dairy and soy. He said it would be longer to get back to normal and that keeping good results would be less stable, but it would be far more beneficial. I accepted with joy. I reached the objective two years later, in June 2019!

Back to my first visit to the endocrinologist, he casually asked me what activities I did. I told him I started painting and showed him what I had done for the music album, but also, a few other drawings like a psychological portrait of myself. He really liked the way I perceived and illustrated ideas and asked if I would make a painting to illustrate thyroid illnesses. He wanted to be my first paid customer, he said. I accepted but it took me forever to come up with something and then make it. I was able to deliver the work by the end of 2018. 

I always wanted to create more paintings, but never really got at it. When we got to the end of 2018 and that it was time to make plans for 2019, I decided to commit to one painting per month for the whole year of 2019. I have been diligent to the task and I really enjoyed the experience; furthermore, I wanted to continue past 2019, and maybe, scale to two paintings a month.

My production came to a halt with huge changes in my life. I got separated from my 13 year spouse by November 2019. I decided to accept that I might never meet someone with whom I can really connect as I never was able to connect with my 13 year spouse or anyone else. I conceded to live on my own from now on. It was then that I unexpectedly met someone with who I connect so well on all aspects, so much that I never dared to wish for this. I moved in with him in a tiny apartment in February 2020. I also finished my college education training and started a new job in my study field from home because of Covid. There was plenty of adaptation despite being positive and fulfilling changes. We will move in a bigger apartment in June 2021 where there will be a dedicated space for creating and painting. I can't wait to get back to painting again! I still managed to make two small paintings but the dedicated space at my new apartment will make the experience far more effective and comfortable.

I decided to create this website to share my journey. I get strong reactions from the people to whom I show my paintings and some express the desire to purchase prints. This website serves to share my work and allow the possibility to purchase prints. 

Painting has been a great ally to my psychoanalytic therapy and I'm discovering more and more my true essence.

Thanks for taking the time to read my story.

My hope is that what you discover here will benefit you too, in some way or another.