Yolanda Grier | Abstract Artist & Author
A monthly column that keeps its finger on the pulse of Forsyth’s artists and their inspiring stories
This month’s featured artist and author, Yolanda Grier, shares her perspective and journey of finding beauty in the broken, sharing the wholeness that healing brings in each of her works..
How would you describe your work?
I would describe my art as expressive healing art.
My paintings are informed by color, form and rhythm that lead to conversations about life and thriving. There are layers of stories in many of my paintings. These layers may or may not be seen, but they add depth and history to the building of the art. As a survivor of trauma and abuse, I found joy and healing in art and art journaling. The cheerful colors I use in my painting is a stark contrast to the dark place I was. I didn’t know that’s where my heart was leading me. I just had to trust the journey of creativity.
What influences your art most?
I am influenced by rhythm – the rhythm of life, of seasons, of relationships. The rhythm of brokenness. The rhythm of being made whole. I am influenced by shared life experiences that lead to conversations about overcoming challenges and learning to be brave. So, the rhythm of a mark leads to a brush stroke and the rhythm of the brush stroke responds to a new color choice. Therefore, the painting evolves after the push and pull, cover-up and reveal rhythm of my hands or mark-making tools.
Many of my titles reflect the commonalities we all share as we heal and become the person we are meant to be. Yet, as we continue to evolve so does the painting, as each viewer experiences something different.
How have you evolved, personally, as an artist?
I realized that the work of healing was up to me. Regardless of the trauma I experienced, it was up to me to do the work. I had to forgive and then forgive again. I had to have conversations with myself and be more open while writing in my journal. I evolved from being afraid and waiting for permission, to being courageous and welcoming challenges.
I was writing and creating art and these creations were personal and shared with no one. I began to notice that time moved differently while I was creating. The creative space was sacred. I remember praying and asking God to help me. I couldn’t imagine not thriving for the rest of my life. I realized that art placed me on a path to healing. I had to embrace my own creativity and then share it, first with my family and then with the world. Creating a personal art journal was one thing, but sharing my art with the world was another. Sharing honest art created safe spaces for honest conversations.
As an artist and an author, how do you combine your two talents together most often?
As a creative, it feels seamless to write and create art especially in my art journal. Art journaling as a means to self-care and wellbeing is powerful. It gives room to play, discover and reflect. Combining words, colors and images can be relaxing, reflective and engaging. Often after teaching art journaling classes, women share with me about their own discoveries and epiphanies about life.
How do you carve out time to be creative?
My creative time is very important, so I carve out time on purpose. Years ago, I read the book, Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod. Though I knew my creative cup was easily filled in the early morning hours, this book helped me realize the power of consistency. I have a reminder note in my studio that reads, “Show-up.” I often remind my students of the time they have to work on their art, not necessarily to finish. I, too, show up to move or find rhythm in my studio, because movement will inevitably lead to finishing.
What are you working on that excites you right now?
Currently, I am working on a collection of art and my 3rd book titled, “Whispered Stories.” This project has challenged everything I proclaim about being free and living boldly. I am excited because this project is bigger than me. I believe in the healing power of art and journaling, as this is life giving and life changing. My first book, Heart in Pieces Made Whole and my second, The Other Side of Whole paved the way for this collaboration of art and the written word.
What is one piece of advice you’d like to share with fellow artists?
Show up consistently while spending time with yourself, getting to know yourself better so that you create the most honest art you can. Get to know yourself and then share with the world.
If you are interested in learning more about Yolanda Grier you can follow her on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/YolandaGrierArt/ on Instagram @yolanda_grier_art as well as find her work online at www.yolandagrierart.com.