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A Happy Heart: How Trauma Can Inspire Beauty

“The real joy is being in the rhythm of nature”  Pam Gregory

In this video, I share the inspiration behind my latest oil on canvas which is called “a happy heart” and my personal story which inspired it. A Happy Heart is part of my new series Beautiful Trauma, inspired by Pink.

In an interview for The Guardian, Pink explained, “I named the album Beautiful Trauma because life is fucking traumatic. There’s natural disasters at every turn”. She continued, “but there’s beautiful people [sic] in the world that are having a blast and being good to each other and helping others. Because I can be dark, I try to constantly remind myself that there’s more good than bad.”

As always, I hope it is helpful to you.

You may also enjoy: Beautiful Trauma: Ode to Joan Mitchell Recently at the end of one of my Fun, Fab and Fearless art classes, I encouraged students to create a group painting to use up all the paints. I encouraged them to “go wild, bold and free and to feel deeply,” as I played Pink’s beautiful trauma song.

In this video, you will see them creating, playfully and spontaneously. I had to make a few splices in the video as one of my lady artists had some not-so-beautiful trauma having had surgery on her face the day prior and was bandaged and still healing.  

Violets | Cassandra Gaisford, The Joyful Artist in the studio I was playing around with my oil paints the other day in the studio. It was great to remove the ‘fear’ of not remembering how to use them after so many years of painting with acrylics. I have a long ways to go with this piece but I did so enjoy the feeling of working with oils again and look forward to continuing the journey

The vibrant whole-hearted passion of Joan Mitchell’s lyrical, gestural paintings also inspired the painting. I also drew inspiration from Pink’s album Beautiful Trauma and the rain-drenched camellias, hibiscus and other flowers in my artist’s garden outside the studio as I painted on a rainy Easter Sunday during my Dancing in a Field of Flowers art exhibition.

I searched for beautiful trauma in the flower garden and then began to paint. I’ve received lovely feedback about this painting.

“Wow this is lovely 💃🏽the colour palette, the energy, and movement really appeals to me -it’s pure joyful creative abandonment 💫💃🏽🙏🏽”

“It just says LIFE to me 🙂”

“Exquisite work.”

beautiful trauma flowers

Rediscovering the joy of painting with oils

“I use oil paints for the sake of their gratitude. The oils are noble, offer great work possibilities, and do not dry immediately, which is very important for me. I usually work on a picture for a certain period of time, or put it aside to come back to later. Oil paints work best with such a system. I also work expressively and like the effect of oils. As I paint, I explore the same areas over and over again, coating the canvas with additional layers of paint, always discovering new color qualities, light and dynamism.”

~ Artist Unknown

It’s been a long while since I played with my oil paints and I woke up during Easter thinking I really feel like doing a violet and green painting and guess what…I found that I had several tubes of violet, waiting for me in the studio. What joy. What flow.

I’ve been overjoyed by the wonderful responses after my play date with oils and encouraged to continue. Harmonia was my second painting with oil.

“Absolutely gorgeous!!! Love, love, love it 😍”

Thank you 💜🤦‍♀️🧘‍♀️

Violets, 720 mm x 720 mm, oil on canvas

Inspired by all my loves – painting with oils, colour, flowers, nature, the American gestural colourist, Joan Mitchell, and the beautiful abstracts of Cy Twombly, Violets dances with vivid violets contrasting with mellow greens, intensifying the brilliance of the flowers.

You may enjoy this video where I was working on the many layers that went into the finished piece. At the time I was playing around with my oil paints in the studio. It was great to remove the ‘fear’ of not remembering how to use them after so many years of painting with acrylics.

At the time I commented that I had a long way to go with this piece but I did so enjoy the feeling of working with oils again and look forward to continuing the journey. My muse Joan Mitchell said, “Painting is made with feeling,” and there is something soul-enriching about painting in the old ways of the masters, like Vincent Van Gogh, Joan Mitchell and Claude Monet and the modern ways of artists I admire like Brian Rutenberg. I just wish the cleaning up was easier!

Joan Mitchell was very moved by poetry and once said, “My paintings are reminiscent of a feeling of lake Michigan or water or fields—more like a poem. That’s what I want to paint.” They were very lyrical like music and gestural like calligraphy.

You may enjoy this archival video about Joan>>

Many moons ago before we left Wellington in search of the sun, I wrote this poem, Today was a grey day in “the winterless north” so the lesson is mindset


grey skies

everywhere I look – grey,

grey streets,

grey houses,

grey hills,

grey sky

and black – too much black,

black in the faces of the people on the street –

in their clothes,

their expressions,

their dissatisfaction with life,

their apathy and resignation,

their complaints and their excuses,

grey in the face of my lover,

the poison of years of neglect,

of disappointment,

passive resistance,

of nights on the rum – when it all gets too much,

grey in the darkness that envelopes his soul,

as life crushes his spirit, and steals his soul

grey in the silver cars that cruise the streets,

me here in yellow shoes – violet dress – fuchsia lipstick,

bracing myself for the icy cold

the southerly soon to come

but within the grey, if one strains to see it

allows it to be seen,

wills its presence


like the violet tinged wing of a butterfly,

sent from afar


spirit, spirituality, in-spirit, inspired

no matter what the climate – make real, that which one longs for

How wonderful it is to paint in oils. In the video below, you’ll see me repurposing several canvases painted in acrylics. You’ll see some painting demonstrations, and learn more about the fun and freedom of painting abstracts.

Please like this video and subscribe to my channel for more content like this.

If you want more information about my books, my artworks, creativity tips, online courses and in-person art retreats please visit my website; https://www.thejoyfulartist.co.nz

Come and paint with me. LEARN TO PAINT AMAZING ABSTRACTS… Friday 23 June to Sunday 25, 2023. Indulge in a little art therapy and bring the thrill of painting, colour and a new hue to add a happy change to your life. https://www.thejoyfulartist.co.nz/wor…

Commission a special, truly original artwork that reflects your vibe and mood: https://www.thejoyfulartist.co.nz/commissions/

Thank you for enjoying my work!! I appreciate you so much!

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A Happy Heart: How Trauma Can Inspire Beauty

The Joyful Artist

I am an artist, storyteller, intuitive guide, mentor and Reiki master. All my creations are infused with positive energy , inspiration, and light. I believe in magic and the power of beauty, joy, love, purpose, and creativity to transform your life. My greatest joy is helping your realize your dreams. That makes my soul sing!

P: +64 (0) 21 873 833
E: hello@thejoyfulartist.co.nz


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