Hi, I'm Joanne Deaker, the founder of 'EmpowerArt', and this is my story...
At the age of 7, my bedroom was plastered with my own creations – multiple pencil drawings of horses and at least one acrylic on paper painting of a Hereford cow. My room was my sanctuary and I loved nothing more than to sit cross legged on my bed and draw (or if I could get away with it…paint!).
I dreamed of being an artist.
Somewhere along the way of my early life, this dream was lost. In fact it took several career deviations, loss and 24 years before I even reconsidered it.
I never went to art school, instead I went to vet school because I loved animals and the idea of healing them…
I gave up an awful lot to go to vet school. Income, years of time and having to travel and live apart from my newly married husband and the haven that was our home…
Unfortunately, the reality of the veterinary profession didn’t sit well with me. I love animals, animals do NOT love vets. Veterinary clinics are corporate run businesses with emphasis on throughput and dollars, not caring and healing.
On top of this realization was the sense of loss that came from not one, but two miscarriages. My life was at a low point. I lost my sense of purpose.
I was thrilled to eventually become successfully pregnant so I left my job to take up full time motherhood. It was at this time that I found art again. I joined a painting group and this gave me back a sense of purpose and direction. A means to uplift, express and find myself.
As an introvert who derives energy from peace and quiet, drawing and/or painting took me back to my happy place. It gave me a break from life’s unexpected curved balls.
I began exhibiting my artwork and realized that there were others out there who wanted my artwork…and that was the point when I realized my childhood passion could actually become my career (and almost twenty years on - the rest ‘is history’).
Learning to derive my sense of self through the arts has been my greatest lesson in life.
It took me a long time to rid myself of the sense of guilt from ‘giving up’ a ‘very good career’. In fact over eight years, I suffered from two frozen shoulders – one after the other, with the surgeon rating the first one as the worst he’d ever encountered. It was drawing, painting and writing that got me through this debilitating period of my life, and helped me derive a sense of my 'self'.
I realize now how therapeutic the various arts modalities are and have helped many people learn the skills of drawing and painting. In the last few years I have gone another step further by bringing psychology into art by learning arts therapy. This combines my interest in spirituality and personal development with my science and arts backgrounds. I have two years training in arts therapy and now hold a Postgraduate Diploma in Arts Therapy. I began working with clients six months ago and am now making myself available to take on clients online via zoom. It is my aim to help clients reconnect with their inner self/divinity through the arts* just as I have been able to do.
*'arts' includes many modalities eg visualisation, movement, sound, nature-based, drama, writing, poetry, collage, sculpture - as well as drawing and painting.