For my capstone art project, I chose to explore my own experience with anxiety. It was through my graduate studies in Art Therapy I came to understand that, unbeknownst to me, for most of my life, I have been experiencing pervasive anxiety. I wanted to use art media to explore how it is that I had learned to protect myself from and to cope with anxiety. I chose oil paint as it is one of the original media that I was classically trained with from the age of 14 and it is an affective media that can be controlled or not controlled depending on the tools used to apply it and the surface to which it is applied.
I have not used oil paint since my early 20’s: I am 47 now. Therefore, there was an initial obstacle of anxiety inherent in my process which resulted in the first piece (Anxiety 1) being done with chalk pastels, a familiar and comfortable medium. Pieces 2-4 were completed in oil with palette knives. I decided to use images of rock crevices for my subject as they symbolize the many years of building defenses to combat and deflect my experiences of anxiety. The crevices in the rocks represent the exploration into my anxiety and the cracking open of the soft and sensitive internal world that I have been protecting. I chose to paint on wood as it is the rough, hard surface that provides necessary feedback for me in my painting process and it reflects the facade of defense that I have constructed to manage my anxiety and my desire to receive concrete, clear information about my experiences of anxiety through this exploration.