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Healing through Art Therapy

Published on

Cathy Dobson

Sharleen Stock isn’t usually one to ask for help.

“I’m more the kind of person who is good at waking up in the morning and making a conscious decision to be happy even if I’m struggling,” said the 33-year-old social worker.

So when her heart was breaking from the loss of three people close to her in only 18 months, she worked hard to find something within herself to ease the grief.

She soon discovered that her lifelong habit of doodling could be deeply therapeutic.

“I’ve always doodled while I’m on the phone, in a meeting or at class. My binders were always covered in high school,” said Stock, who grew up in Sarnia and went to Northern Collegiate.

In 2017, while she was living with her 38-year-old boyfriend in Richmond Hill, he suddenly died. Stock moved home and tried to heal. Sadly, her grandmother, Sarnia artist Jane Stock, died a few months later. And then, when she’d just started to feel some sense of normalcy, news came that Stock’s 19-year-old cousin Liam died by suicide in December 2017.

“My doodling started to change. It became more detailed and very repetitive,” she explained. “It became a way for me to zone out or, sometimes, to check in with myself and force myself to process things.”

Either way, it helped her cope.

Stock’s good friend, Sarnia artist Laura Kreviazuk, urged her to regard her drawings less as doodling and more as art.

“They evoke emotion and definitely bring art and therapy together,” said Kreviazuk.

Together the two hatched an idea for a show and silent art auction they call Art Therapy, taking place on First Friday Dec. 7.

Local artists were asked to donate their work for the event, to raise money for the popular Sarnia Speaks series where social issues are discussed openly and without judgment.

More than 30 artists including David Moore, Jenny Rome, Cathy Earle, Lynne Brogden, Trevor Jamieson and others, are contributing pieces for the auction.

Everything from paintings and photos to prints and pottery will be available for bidding.

Several of Stock’s more evocative art doodles will also be up for auction and for sale. But there are others that she’s not ready to let go because they are so personal.

“We are overwhelmed but not surprised by the number of artists that have responded,” said Stock. “It’s about double what we expected. That says a lot about our artistic community.”

Local musician Josh Walters will provide acoustic and vocal entertainment while volunteers from Sarnia Speaks will facilitate discussion.

Kreviazuk will do a live painting that will be raffled off at the end of the event.

“Shar inspires me,” said Kreviazuk. “She is resilient. Every day I am awed by her spirit and her strength.”

Stock hopes that Art Therapy will encourage others who may find themselves struggling emotionally to dig deep for a healthy way to cope.

“A lot of traditional supports (like counselling services) are overwhelmed,” she said. “So events like Sarnia Speaks are a great place to turn.

“When something shakes your world, it’s hard to process it, and turning to art, yoga, music, others who connect with you… whatever healthy mechanism that works for you, will help you cope.”

Following Art Therapy, Sharleen Stock’s art will be displayed at Refined Fool on Davis Street for the month of December.



WHAT: Art Therapy, a silent art auction to celebrate the therapeutic properties of artistic expression

WHEN: First Friday, Dec. 7.  6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

WHERE: TheStory, 179 Christina St.

DETAILS: Event is free and open to the public






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