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Sarah at her desk painting

Artist and doctor sisters co-author art book promoting wellbeing through creativity

An artist and doctor family team have co-authored an art book due to be published later in June aimed at promoting readers’ wellbeing and mental health through creativity.

Full-time artist, Emily Powell, and her GP sister, Dr Sarah Moore, both from Devon, have combined their affinity for art and wellbeing and produced a book to get the nation painting. As an artist, Emily is renowned for her uplifting pieces and her strong command of colour. Sarah is an Exeter-based GP who also does research at the University of Exeter, where she specialises in early cancer diagnosis.

The book, ‘Start Painting Now’, has been written to help readers find joy in the process of painting and to get back to a hands-on approach to creativity.

Artist Emily Powell said: “I spent a lot of time working out how best to teach my sister to let go of her inhibitions and enjoy painting. We both learnt so much from the process that we wanted to share this with others.”

“We’d already done some workshops that were great fun and very well received and we thought if we wrote it all down, we’d be able to share it with more people."

‘Start Painting Now’ contains a wealth of creative tips and tools, nurturing the reader’s creative side in a way that promotes relaxation and self-care, to help keep the stresses of daily life at bay. It is aimed at everybody, from those completely new to painting to those who paint professionally and are looking for a creative boost.

Emily and Sarah have packed the book with ideas to help the reader let go of their concerns and get hands on with creativity. One of the techniques used to achieve this is ‘automatic painting’, which entails painting whatever comes into your head without thinking about the consequences. The result is often a fun, abstract and surrealist piece.

Dr Sarah Moore, of the University of Exeter, said: “I rediscovered my love for painting when I took a year out of my medical and research work to complete a full time Art Access course at Exeter College, and I haven’t stopped creating since. I’ve always loved writing and having the chance to share knowledge, so this was a dream opportunity.

“I didn’t realise how important creativity was for my wellbeing at medical school and my early years as a junior doctor. It became apparent only when I became completely burnt out and took some time away from work to recover. That granted me the time and space needed to rediscover the power of creativity to reduce stress and focus on my wellbeing. Art was an essential tool in that journey for me.

“I enjoyed the challenge of presenting the combination of psychology, wellbeing, art history and creative advice in a friendly and accessible way. We hope our readers rediscover the joy of creating art in an uninhibited, relaxed way that enhances their wellbeing!”

Ian Fussell, Associate Dean of Education at the University of Exeter Medical School, said: “The value of arts and humanities in medicine cannot be underestimated in helping health professionals manage their wellbeing better throughout their training and careers. We value wide educational experiences in our curriculum and the teachings this book contains certainly feeds into this ethos.”

To pre-order ‘Start Painting Now’ visit here

Date: 27 June 2022

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