Liala served 12 yrs in the Canadian Armed Forces as an army logistics officer. About 6 months into the pandemic she started to explore art again, something that she had stopped making time for in those 12 years she served. She bought some watercolours and started to learn to paint with them. Not long after that she started to explore other art mediums.
When Liala was in the process of being medically released she was finding great struggle in finding new meaning. She knew that she still wanted to help people, that’s why she joined the military in the first place, but she didn’t know what that looked like. She knew that with her medical conditions that she needed to find flexibility, but also wanted something different than what she did in the military. This was an opportunity to try something else.
Liala feels that art therapy saved her. On a personal level, it has helped her begin to heal from her own traumas, and also in helping her find new purpose. She is also an Art Psychotherapy student, in her final year, and she’s been co-facilitating virtual art therapy groups with veterans for her practicum. “Being able to be a part of someone’s healing journey is a true honour, and witnessing art therapy help people grow, is affirming for me that I’m in the right place.”
Liala likes to work with mixed media. She incorporates a variety of materials including collage using mono printed papers which she also makes herself. These layered art pieces are created intuitively, there is never a plan on what it will look like. The act of letting it “just happen” in the artwork is healing for her because it is freeing to not have to feel like she needs to be in control of every situation, a common experience after experiencing trauma. Liala likes to use bright colours in her artwork because they make her feel happy. Being able to shift a mindset is important when feeling distressed. She also incorporates texture into the artwork, because being able to feel the bumps and ridges on the canvas is kind of like a calming sensory experience for her.
This art piece is titled “Weathering the Storm”. Liala said at one point in her layering process she noticed a sailboat, with fish coming out of the waves. The sailboat is headed in the direction of light and leaving behind a storm. She feels the sailboat weathered a really rough storm. This piece really resonated with her as she dealt with difficult events a month prior and the messaging to her, was that there were brighter things ahead.
More of Liala's artwork and ongoing story can be found at @artesandminds on Instagram Thank you for your wonderful work and perspective Liala!
Three gents in the midst of shifting gears focused on tenets of adventure, comradery, peace, good food and the pursuit of artistic purpose.