Once I discovered painting, my world changed.
By Amy Oestreicher | 7/6/15
Iam what some doctors have called a “surgical disaster.” I never had any health problems — theatre was my entire universe and I performed professionally all of my life — then in April of my high school senior year, I abruptly developed a blood clot, my stomach exploded (it actually hit the ceiling of the OR), and after both my lungs collapsed, I almost died. Months later, I woke up from a coma covered in tubes, bags, and drains, and was told that I had no stomach anymore, I could not eat or drink, and no one could tell me when or if I would ever be able to again. It took 27 surgeries and over three years, but I eventually was miraculously reconstructed and with the intestines I had left, was given a system that digests food.
Once I discovered painting, my world changed. I had found a way to express things that were too painful, complicated and overwhelming for words. Suddenly, when the uncertainty around me seemed frighteningly unmanageable, the strokes of my paintbrush could soothe me as I created a peaceful world that my soul longed to rest in as a place of peaceful solace. My passion could ignite instead of my anger and despair. And slowly, the good feelings overwhelmed the bad because I could control the positive world portrayed on my canvases with what my subconscious chose to create. And I still believe that attitude is everything.
Life may always be predictable, but art can always find the beauty in the detours. Soon, I was creating obsessively, turning an old storage room into a studio and spending hours painting every day. A few months later I put up an art show of 70 of my mixed media creations and called the show “Journey Into Daylight.” This was the first time I had used my “voice” to communicate what I had been through to the outside world — for the first time, I was connecting with others through my passion and disclosing what I had been through. Putting my art out there inspired me as it inspired others — it gave me the courage to speak my truth and paint even more. I started documenting my daily painting process on my blog AllspiceAndAcrylics and amassed an even greater following.
Today, my works are in dozens of galleries around the area, I am selling prints, posters, cards of my work as well as the originals on my website amyoes.com. My goal is to set up a foundation advocating for the arts and healing. I’ve found beauty in the teardrops, in beautiful blue strokes of paint, and I feel like I can help others through my own experience, and inspire others to create as well. •