We had the chance to sit down with talented artist Rachel Comeau the other day to talk about her inspiration, her works and the difficult past that led to these beautiful pieces.
If you’ve ever had the chance to watch a painter, it’s quite a mesmerizing and inspiring process. To watch a beautiful image come to life from the depths of a person’s imagination and spill onto a canvas to tell a unique story. You would never guess when looking at Rachel Comeau’s paintings that such beautiful imagery could be from someone who has dealt with so much suffering, but according to Rachel, that’s the beauty and healing potential of art which has been one of the key factors that’s kept her sober over the last 5 years.
As Rachel talks about her past it’s understandable to see her become emotional, from eating out of dumpsters to being poisoned and shot and almost dead several times. She tells as at one point she was only sleeping and eating four times a month because of her drug use. It was a path that she never envisioned herself on but one that many become stuck on. That is the path of addiction and mental illness.
One of the main problems for addicts can be a lack of self worth and feeling unlovable, “That’s what it really comes down to is loving yourself. When you’re on drugs you begin to hate yourself. People are telling you you’re no good and you believe it. It’s not true at all, everybody’s worth it.” Said Rachel who is now working with others to help them with addiction and mental illness.
Sometimes loving ourselves can start with identifying a passion and beginning to work towards letting that passion express itself in your life. That’s what Rachel did and it has paid off in ways she could have never imagined. “Ive always had a passion for drawing and painting and stuff like that but I didn’t think it would have such a big impact on my life as it does today. It’s a way to stay sober. Ive had art work in the Museum of Saint John, I did a speech at UNB with my art work. Ive been pretty successful, one of my paintings has been chosen for the cover of addiction and mental health booklet that they did.” Said Rachel.
This is just the beginning for Rachel and she truly hopes her story can help others who are struggling with addiction, mental illness or problems with self worth. She encourages people to get creative and express yourself. “It makes you feel proud, you have something to actually be proud of and be known for something other than being oh look she used to be a drug addict. Instead people say, she’s turned her life around, she’s an artist and she paints really great.”
So remember Rachel’s story if you feel like you have no value or that your story is too difficult to turn around, “You’ve just got to love life, love yourself. There’s much more to life!”
For more info or to see some of Rachel’s painting check out her facebook page RachelComeauSpilledPaint