Heal Your Inner Child with Visual Art

Heal Your Inner Child with Visual Art


One writer’s experience in an unconventional art class opened healing pathways for her inner child. Learn how your inner child can benefit from visual art too.

When I saw the final itinerary for a press trip exploring Thurston County in Washington State included a “Painting Party at InGenius! Gallery & Boutique in Yelm,” I groaned.

For as long as I can remember, my attempts to create “art” garnered responses ranging from gentle teasing to trash-talking. Hence, the thought of spending close to two hours making art (at 9:30 a.m., no less) struck me as yet another opportunity to remind myself that I have no talent in the visual arts.

When I entered this hyperlocal gallery and met artist Andrea Levanti, my heaviness lifted a bit. She welcomed us with the story of how she and her partner Diego created the gallery during the pandemic as an act of healing. As pandemic restrictions loosened and people began to come into the store, she observed how intimately they connected with the local art on display.

Why Nurture the Inner Child with Art?

Levanti also kept hearing stories of people who took art classes only to be informed that, like me, they lacked the necessary talent required to be a true visual artist. Levanti took to heart Brené Brown’s comments about the scars we carry around with us based on negative stories told to us during childhood. As Brown reflects: “Like our lovability and divinity, we must care for and nurture the stories we tell ourselves about our creativity and ability. Just because we didn’t measure up to some standard of achievement doesn’t mean that we don’t possess gifts and talents that only we can bring to the world. Just because someone failed to see the value in what we can create or achieve doesn’t change its worth or ours.”

Levanti decided she would create more intuitive ways for people to connect to their inner artists that would prove these naysayers wrong. “I wanted to pull people in who are otherwise afraid to do art by creating classes where there was no final project. Since I wasn’t telling people the correct way to draw, everybody’s painting would be different.”

What It’s Like Empowering the Inner Child Through Art

In both her Zoom and in-person classes, Levanti strives to empower her students to do this work on their own by showing them how simple creating a watercolor drawing can be. She demonstrates various ways they can play with water, paint, and paper. Then she lets them go. Like many of Levanti’s other students, I found myself sliding into a state of childlike bliss. I felt I was back at my childhood kitchen table drawing with the Crayola crayons my mom gave me as a means of distracting me so she could attend to her household duties.

As Levanti continued to guide us gently, our art workshop became more like playtime and less like a structured, serious art class. I felt like I was finger painting for fun rather than creating a serious work of art. As the session progressed, I became so focused on the beauty of the colors unfolding with each brush stroke that I no longer heard my inner critic judging my output. But I could hear my inner child yelling loud and clear, grateful I had allowed her out to play today.

3 Steps to Support Your Inner Child with Art

Create a safe space to play. Before a class, Levanti prepares each artist’s station with the right tools needed to create our watercolor project. In addition to brushes, water, and paper, she made sure we had ample snacks on hand like cookies, coffee, and sparkling water.

Keep it simple. The simple act of having a stenciled drawing I could then decorate as I pleased felt liberating. I was no longer bound to the anxiety of creating a professional-looking piece and could turn my attention towards doing what felt good in my body.

Go back to kindergarten. The feeling of lightness evoked by Levanti’s workshop seemed to ignite my soul, as I connected to the freeing playfulness I used to experience when making art as a toddler before time and trauma stifled my desire to create.

Creating Art as a Healing Tool

As Levanti reminded me, connecting with our inner self can be soul-healing. “We’re naturally creative beings. When that is criticized, cut off, and denied expression, we still have this hope of reconnecting to this spirit,” she reflects.

Levanti likes to view creating art not as a professional obligation but as a hobby. This reframing takes us away from the grind to produce. Instead, we can learn to nurture our inner child by giving ourselves enough free space to enjoy the process of creating. As Levanti reminds me of the value of this childlike approach to creating visual art, “Children have years of just exploring and experiencing things without any end goal in mind. We find healing when we are in a safe space led by someone who can help guide us to experience art through our childlike eyes.”

Explore how to practice color meditation to help soothe anxiety.

Heal Your Inner Child with Visual Art

Enjoying this content?

Get this article and many more delivered straight to your inbox weekly.