Spectrum Bay 9 News features Painting Your Soul

Expressive art therapy to enhance quality of life

By Melissa Eichman
December 23, 2023

PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. — Every brush stroke helps brings Karen Hanlon peace.

“I love the fact that I can be free when I’m doing this,” said Hanlon about painting. “It’s a way to connect, and when I connect, I feel a sense of peace.”

What You Need To Know

  • Former educator Karen Hanlon founded Painting Your Soul to help people struggling with mental health issues
  • She said she saw the impact that art had on her students
  • Hanlon says it’s not necessarily about the artistry, but about letting go through the art
  • Hanlon says that peace helps connect with her soul and put it on canvas.

“Painting, it gives me the ability to look at my soul in color,” she said. “I can actually connect without analyzing.”

The former educator says long ago, she saw the impact art had on her students. She would discover the calming and anxiety-reducing benefits she says she saw in the classroom personally.

“Ten years ago, I went through a very difficult transition in my life and I gravitated to art and journaling, specifically to help with letting go and help me with some anxiety that I was dealing with and a lot of the unknown with what was next and it calmed me and it helped me feel better,” Hanlon said.

To help others feel better, Hanlon founded Painting Your Soul, an artistic self-care kit that takes users on a journey of self-expression.

“Painting Your Soul is a very unique process that helps you really connect deeply with yourself through art and journaling, essential oils, affirmations and mediation,” said Hanlon.

The art therapy practitioner says it’s not necessarily about the artistry, but about letting go through the art.

“You get real quiet with yourself when you’re painting,” she said. “And you can actually find some of these answers when you’re that quiet.”

Hanlon says she found writing and painting worked well together.

“Both of them together will help you connect, find a sense of peace, a new perspective and the possibility of some new beginnings,” she said.

Jennifer Winchester, a small business owner, embraces the opportunity to just stop and take time for herself.

“Sometimes, we don’t really take the time to acknowledge the progress that we’ve done for ourselves and it’s really helped to bring that up for me,” said Winchester as she painted.

It’s that self-care that can lead to self-discovery, says Hanlon.

“The mission is to help people let go and connect through creative expression,” Hanlon said of everyone creating a new path, creating their personal masterpiece.