Soothing art: Sandra Correia explores art and mental health, creating art works with neutral tones and abstract shapes

The artist wants her work to convey a sense of calm and tranquillity

– December 2, 2023 | Text Beatriz Maio
©Beatriz Maio, Open Media Group

A nurse for over 20 years, Sandra Correia has been splitting her time between health and art, two passions that in recent years have gone hand in hand in her life.

She was born in Portimão, is a mother of three, an entrepreneur, and, recently, an artist. She has been interested in this area since she was a child – crafts were her favourite subject at school – but she had never developed it on a professional level until a year ago.

A collector of art books, she has always also enjoyed DIY (Do It Yourself) online pages and had an interest in decorating. Even if she only decided to start selling her work recently, her first paintings date back to 2020, when the Covid-19 pandemic began.

“I’ve always loved art, museums, and painting,” she stressed. The restrictions led Sandra to explore her creative side and experiment for the first time, from paintings to textured pots. Since then, she has never stopped and now she shares her works on the Instagram page “Art Mind Studio”, an account she uses to inspire others and share a little bit of her artistic side, which was “forgotten for so many years”.

Not only does she wish to convey a sense of calm, tranquillity, and well-being to those who appreciate her paintings, but she also aims to pass on a message about mental health, since she works in psychiatry and it is something she deals with closely.

Handicrafts can be a good hobby that works as a therapy. Exploring creativity brings benefits for mental health,” the artist emphasised, mentioning the importance of “expressing feelings and emotions, self-connection and reducing stress”, but it does not stop here. Creative work has advantages such as helping you connect with your inner self, increased concentration, and the promotion of relaxation.

Anxiety at work, caused by a long-lasting crisis in the Portuguese national health system, together with monitoring cases of burnout among colleagues and complaints from patients, led Sandra to look for a “mechanism” to deal with the pressure.

It all started with old items she had at home that she no longer identified with, so she challenged herself to give them “a new life”.

Even though Sandra created original pots that would look marvellous in any room, she preferred to dedicate herself solely to painting, discovering more techniques and realising how far her imagination could go. And so, her first painting was born, in black and white, with abstract shapes and a unique texture.

She works spontaneously and naturally with acrylic paints on canvas. “I let the idea flow, even if it comes out completely different from what I initially imagined. It doesn’t usually happen that I don’t like the result. If it does, I just repaint everything white and start again,” she shared happily. “As I never define exactly what I’m going to paint, in the end, it’s a surprise,” she confessed, adding that she uses bitumen to get the desired consistency and makes shapes with her hands or handmade K-line moulds (a rigid, ultra-light material), when she is looking for a more concrete effect. “It allows me to create textures and make singular shapes, which immediately capture anyone’s attention,” she underlined.

Currently, Sandra receives orders for paintings of all sizes and colours, but she prefers to paint in neutral colours because she believes they convey “serenity, peace and comfort”, and she identifies them with Nordic decor.

“I feel a sense of cosiness when I’m painting, it’s a very good feeling and that’s what I want people to feel,” she expressed, admitting that, from the beginning, she has had “very good feedback”, which is “gratifying”.

Even though she paints the same idea several times when asked to by clients, she constantly feels the “need to create something new”. Nature is her biggest inspiration, which is why it is possible to often identify various elements in her paintings, such as sand, waves, or flowers, “even if everyone interprets abstract art in their own way”, she emphasised, highlighting that in her Ciao Bella painting, “some people see scales, others see petals”.

Despite the fact that she has no formal artistic training, she has taken some online art and painting courses and has always kept up with trends.

“Knowing more and more has led me to paint better and to share my paintings on social media,” Sandra said, revealing that she initially began by publishing photographs of her decorative items, made with the hand-woven knotting technique, macramé.

Although for now, Sandra’s focus is solely on painting, she does not rule out the possibility of continuing to explore decorative items and investing in ceramics or moulding paste pieces, for instance.

Her main goal is to reach as many people as possible, not only by expanding her business from the virtual world to the real, by exhibiting her items in various physical spaces, as well as by creating a beginner’s course in texture painting, which she is already planning.

Follow Sandra on Instagram.

Author: Inside Magazines

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