Acrylic Painting through the eyes of depression

Read more from Amber Johnson at  Always Amber Online

Read more from Amber Johnson at Always Amber Online

Guest contribution by Amber Johnson

Arrays of blues and greens swirl leisurely around the lustrous porcelain. Foaming bubbles in hues of pinks and yellows graze the blue and green swirls in a tranquilizing waltz down the drain as a waterfall hides them away as they trudge their way down their destined path. I use my forearm to wipe my brow as I concentrate on the task at hand.

Arrays of color freckle my skin from the day’s adventures. I sigh as I begin to battle the next brush. Each one has its own unique task and requires the most delicate, precise care. Each brush goes through a vigorous cleanse.

They are first rinsed in cold water, colors running with the stream. With a gentle soap, I bathe the brush, running and pressing my fingers into all of the nooks and crannies of the bristles. Once again, they are met with the waterfall, allowing remaining colors to make their way into their waltz.

They go through their final rinse cycle under the running water before laid carefully and spaciously next to its neighbor to dry.

When all the brushes are laid to dry, I rinse away the remaining waltzing colors. All of the moments of the day’s events are stripped away for another day.

This is a constant cycle every day. Battling depression is like battling the creatures hidden away amongst the pictures I create. I fight to get the perfect line; the perfect stroke, the perfect color and I fight with myself to sink the choking feeling of rising depression.


Acrylic painting has given me a voice. It has given me an escape from my depression to sink deep into the depths of my mind to create something beautiful. With painting, I am at peace with all and myself that is around me.

Having depression is deafening. It’s as if it’s screaming at you and you’re trying to block out the horrible noises it creates, but it just gets louder and louder.

With acrylic painting, the screaming silences as the colors of the paints splattering across your hands are screaming in all of its vibrancy and adventures that are coming to life in front of you.

Suffering from a mental illness that takes a large toll on your daily life and tasks can be difficult to handle in a positive way. Sometimes, I can barely get out of bed to get dressed and get myself prepared for the day. Some days, I don’t brush my hair or my teeth and I hide away because the world is too much to handle.

However, painting is always my positive outlet. Watching something beautiful that I have created come to life in front of me and getting such positive reinforcements for it can brighten any depressive day I have. I do have painter’s block at times, where I just don’t know what to paint, but I let my mind go and the brush do the guiding.


Finding a positive outlet like I did with acrylic painting is a good source to look into. Whether you draw, write, paint, create music, get into video making, or whatever else your heart desires, it can be an outlet to any mental illness you have no control over.

Trading a negative outlet, like eating disorders or cutting, with a positive outlet like painting or creating music can make a big change on your mental health. Though sometimes it seems easier said than done, having that positive outlet can truly help get a handle on your mental illness and make it less unbearably uncontrollable.

You’re mental illness does not define you or own you.

Find that positive outlet like I have with acrylic painting and know that it does not have to be perfect, you do not have to be perfect. You are imperfectly perfect just as you are.  Never be afraid to create in your darkest times, because that can be the most beautiful outcome.