Sonshine Art - Why we do what we do
This is our logo
I designed it using letters written by Max; Eldest Sonshine, when he was 9 years old. I remember him writing this and being so proud as it was the first time he'd written every letter without physical (hand over hand) support.
There is a running theme through our website, our social media posts and the art itself of rainbows on a black background.
The idea of having rainbows on a black background is to represent how creativity can bring light and energy and colour into a dark space. Because all of us have moments of darkness, moments where we need to find relief and find peace and balance and joy, and that's what our art does for us.
I've written on many social media posts about the transformational power of our art. It is the core of what Sonshine Art is. Our creativity connects us to ourselves, our emotions and our ability to heal. This is particularly true for Maximus - Eldest Sonshine. He has in the last few years been through some very tough times. Being in his mind and body has been hard. He is 14 and growing FAST. His hormones have been playing havoc, he's had growing pains and issues with his emotional regulation. But he has had so much support from us, from his teachers, from our friends and family and from a couple of brilliant people in CAMHS and the paediatrics team here in Buckinghamshire. During those tough times Callum (Daddy Sonshine) and I have given him endless love, comfort and affection alongside offers to engage in sensory play, gentle exercise, games and of course art. Very often he chooses to paint. He LOVES painting. I often video him 'at joy' (I don't say 'artist at work' anymore as that didn't feel appropriate to the energy of the act of creativity) and many have been able to see the calm focus, contentment, calm and joy on his face while he's painting. I've witnessed over and over how he can start a painting feeling stressed, frustrated, sad, overwhelmed, uncomfortable or angry and by the end he is peaceful, satisfied, often giggly and really happy.
Max paints very intuitively; mostly abstracts and sometimes loosely-representational. He can also copy images very well when he is in the mood. Max has very limited verbal capacity. He has a small number of words he can say, but he understands so much more than he can output in speech and he expresses a lot of who he is and how he feels through his art. It is a way to know him and for him to make his mark in this world; something we all have the right to do. The fact that the end results of these paintings is so extraordinary is a wonderful bonus and I'm always so happy to share the results and hear what you all think, but the point is the process, and it is for all of us.
For Tristan; Youngest Sonshine, his creativity takes many forms and he loves it all! He is a really happy soul, full of curiosity and imagination. He is incredibly sociable and verbal and his creativity shows itself through drawing, painting, crafting, character design and storytelling. He is inspired hugely from information he gathers day to day in his life; what he sees us do, what he watches, stories he hears. He's not a fan of copying from pictures nor abstracts. His creativity is full of character and - like his brother - it really shows you who he is; which is an incredibly adorable, smart, funny, kind child. In recent months (at time of writing in January 2023) Tristan is mostly engaging in creating characters and writing stories and together we are writing a collection of short stories with his and Max's characters. It's a while away from finished and will be a long process to get it published - but I think it'll be worth it and I'll keep you all in the loop with its progress.
And as for me, my art is my soothing balm. When people tell me what they think of me the vast majority of the time I'm told that I'm endlessly positive and oozing enthusiasm and smiles and kindness and that all makes me feel great and grateful - but no one can be that all the time, and I don't pretend that I am. I have tough emotions to deal with too but I have a base of self love that runs deep to my core thanks to my upbringing and a lot of the reason I'm as happy as I am is because I choose to make time for myself and do what makes me happy every day. It's easier some days than others, but every day I am sure to do at least a little something for myself purely because it makes me happy. My art makes me happy. I love photography, painting, drawing and sewing. As so many artists are; I am inspired hugely by the wonder of nature - I watch nature programmes all the time, what would our world be without David Attenborough I ask you?! My art is gentle and inspiring and peaceful and engaging and connects me to myself and to what I find wonderful in the world. Some of my art is continuous line drawings, some is painting with rich texture and colour and detail, some is sewing accents and new features into a canvas. All of it is a meditation for me. When you find something you love and allow yourself the time to get in the zone with it, the transformation of that can be massive. I've started a drawing in tears and ten minutes later been breathing deeply and steadily with resolve and peace. I've started a painting frustrated and cross and ended up grinning and jumping up and down desperate to show someone!
We're finding peace
I wish the same for you.
I'm going to be sharing some simple and fun art activities to dip your toes into the world or art as therapy. If you've drawn nothing more than a stick man in a game of Pictionary since school and are curious how any of this might help you, stick around. We are all creative.