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Thread: Therapeutic painting

  1. #1

    Default Therapeutic painting

    I was just thinking about how happy I am that miniature painting came in to my life. I am the first to admit to having depression and anxiety, they are illnesses like any other, but unlike most physical illnesses, they can be treated with tiny plastic and metal figures and some paint.

    My first set was an impulse buy from a local game and comic shop, a set of GW Vampire Knights, I had always seen the sets displayed there and I figured that it couldn't hurt to just try painting one set for fun. At the time I was stuck inside, under blankets of Massachussets snow, it had taken me half an hour to walk five blocks to the shop thanks to the Hoth-like conditions alone. The weather was takeing a toll on my emotional health, SAD is a hell of a thing, and it was negatively effecting my schoolwork.

    That all ended when I began to paint. It was more satisfying than squeezing a stress ball or doing breathing excersizes. Miniature painting kept my hands busy and my mind focused on something other than the feelings of negativity and loneliness. And it wasn't only that, I was producing something to be proud of, something I could look at and hold afterwards, a physical object that I had poured whatever emotions I had been feeling in to, good and bad.

    that was two years ago, and while I still fight with both of my illnesses every day I can always rely on a tiny space marine or a skeletal horseman to help me overcome.

    What are some of your guy's stories about how the hobby helps or has helped you? Whether that be painting or wargaming in general!

  2. #2


    It helps me a lot. I think I am really in a positive upward spiral now and that has me super excited about miniatures again which adds to the upward spiral. It's just so relaxing and fulfilling to paint.

  3. #3


    while I have no depression or similar, but painting minis help me relax and get away from work/daily stress.
    Also to keep me a bit offline in today's world to get away from the usual things.
    Forgot, that it works again.

  4. #4


    With the anxiety and depression playing as a nasty tag team, it's nice to have the painting to pull out and whack them with. Odd choice of words, I'm not a big wrestling fan. Have found that a thing though, we draw upon analogies and metaphors to describe our gribbly conditions when the vocabulary doesn't exist. Like Avelorn's "upward spiral". All our pigeon steps back up to health are positive increments we can be proud of, and with painting we have tangible evidence in the form of painted minis.

    I find it can be difficult sometimes to find the motivation. When those occasions strike I have to sidle up on it. Make it less overwhelming by bashing out some tabletop quality minis, takes the pressure off from aiming too high and re-establishes the habit of painting.

    I still struggle with a loss of focus. In that I can only paint for 30-60 minutes at a time. Important not to give ourselves a hard time over things like that, and remain positive that any effort is better than none.
    The timescale kinda works for well for me though, with boredom being a constant looming state threatening to propel the spiral back down. Flitting from activity to activity helps hold that off. Having a podcast, audio-book, long youtube vid, or episode of a familiar tv show on in the background helps the mind stay busy too.

    Aside from the physical activity of painting, the hobby generally has a positive effect. Gives us an extra thing to engage in. That's one of the differences between a hobby and a pastime as it was explained to me years ago, a hobby is more than the act of doing, its all the reading and thinking about it, plans, imagining the possibilities.
    New toys get us looking forward. That charge of popping the cap off a new brush, or trying a new paint to learn its qualities has worked more powerfully than any medication I've tried so far.

  5. #5
    Superfreak!!! Dragonsreach's Avatar
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    Apr 2002
    Bolton, Lancs, UK (A Geordie in Exile)
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    A couple of years ago I was in a bad place. Painting helped, as did therapy.
    There are so many way to retain or regain a balance, if painting is that starting stone out of darkness for you GOOD.
    Embrace it but don't discount therapy in conjunction.
    I believe in Karma, what you give, is what you get returned. Affirmation; Savage Garden
    Oh look my IQ results came in:-
    , and proud of it.

  6. #6


    Painting helps so much. Keeps the voices at bay :P Also when i can't paint i feel the stress and sadness even more so I have a little watercolor travel kit that i bring with me everywhere just in case.
    "Remember, you can't spell paint without a little pain."

  7. #7
    Brushlicker gohkm's Avatar
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    Sep 2002
    Singapore / Australia
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    Many of the folks I got to know on groups in Facebook all credit painting with their partial recovery. The most serious case was a veteran who got shot in the head. He survived, but suffered PTSD and couldn't control his movements. Miniature painting helped him to focus enough so that he could control his hands somewhat.

    For me, painting is a way to relax. There's terrible things I would have done at work if I didn't have this release.
    Models completed in 2016 so far: 16
    Models in WIP: 22


  8. #8


    This is pretty much why I stuck with it, a few years back I bought a space marine box and some paints on impulse but found it helped me stop feeling negative, right now I hadnt painted for about 2 months and was noticeably more depressed but over the last week I've been easing back into it, it was hard at first because of feeling down I wasn't really getting into it as much as I used to but after a few nights of 1-2 hours I'm starting to get that feeling of being excited to get to sit down and paint for a bit

  9. #9


    Same as Mike i was in a horrible place a few years ago and painting save me. I find painting for competitions helps with motivation and focus.
    1. 'Painting is a companion with whom one may hope to walk a great part of life's journey.' W. Churchill
    Thank you for asking but I don't do commissions.

  10. #10


    Def can empathize in 2011 a nasty bout I was in (my fourth) came to a screech and an abrupt stop my shoulder was as if a bomb went off. No more fight camps, no more weight training regimes he'll I can never even fully use my dominant arm again (limited motion) so life for 28 years came to a tragic demise. All I knew and all that made me me including a $74,000.00 job as a combat sports coach was fibrin a second. So I gave more thought into the only other thing I had been decent at which gave me happiness since I was 9 years old. THE HOBBY OF PAINTING MINIATURE!!!. I started to read and practice watch every video I could find and practice somemore. Than I did painting groups with friends and some better than average people . And after all this I found "cooolmimiornot FORUMS"!!! Even with all the room id slid backwards I could always physically paint. On these forums I met great artists and amazing friends. Since that time when I first cane on until now I've amassed 12 international painting awards , 56 publications in white dwarf, visions ,3 C'MON annual hardback books. And now most notablesy ill be having an article in figure painter magazine.thank you C'MON (Dragonsreach,ten ball,SKELS,baily,AndyG, sprocket and all the rest who helped me along with my tragedy become complacent again.ling live miniature painting and ling live the C'MON FAMILY!!!

  11. #11


    miniature painting makes me angry most of the time. if you want real relaxation, play videogames!

  12. #12


    Oh yes I play Eternal Crusade all the time and I never hear any nerd rage on there at all - very relaxing o_O
    "Remember, you can't spell paint without a little pain."

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