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Finding The Light

An insightful, artistic micro documentary by Lucian Vasile & Emily Howard

"I carry all my story with me through everything I create. 
Each painting has my entire journey within it."

- Emily Howard

I started my my journey as an artist just like every other child, with crayons and markers.  I always found such comfort in colouring and sketching. Naturally I moved on to watercolour paints on paper and then to acrylic on canvas. That’s where I felt the most at home. Still now, hearing the paint move across the tooth of a canvas with my palette knife instantly relaxes my shoulders and all thoughts just drift away. 


I had been a professional artist for many years before something happened that would forever alter my world. I lost my sister.


Tragedy has a way of giving you a clear perspective of what matters in life. All within an instant,  pointless worries, fears and empty goals just vanish. You not longer care about the size of your house or how many times you went to the gym that week. All that matters in the end is how much we connected with the people we love. 


For me, it was at the easel, in my deep grief, where I learned how to take the weight I was feeling and reshape it onto the canvas. I learned that I can take a heavy emotion and shine light on it, allow it to float for a while, then let the altered energy of that emotion dry into the paint. I had spent so many years  painting in my teens and 20’s attempting to ease my anxiety which at times was debilitating. It wasn’t until my journey through grief that I realized just how powerful, my daily painting practice was for my mental health. Over the years since, this has been my unfailing approach to my work as an artist and ultimately, to healing myself. 


The only way I am able to portray light in my work is because I have witnessed the darkness. Not a star in the sky. Anyone who has been through a dark night knows that even the smallest light at first can be blinding. Slowly your eyes adjust and before you know it there’s more and more light appearing around you. 


Because I have watched people I love walk through the darkest of nights and couldn’t guide them out, I now try to be a lighthouse for those who are lost in the dark. I hope little glimpses of light can be seen in work I have created and reach the people who need it most. 

My process is so much bigger and longer than the first brush stroke to the last of a piece. I carry all my story with me through everything I create. Each painting has my entire journey in it, right from the crayons and coloring books. 

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about this micro-doc

Having an anxiety disorder is something that I always used to hide, but now I’m so much more open to sharing about it. It's part of me that will never go away. I’ve learned to dance with it. Part of how I cope is through meditation - not in the traditional sense, but in the meditative state that creating beautiful imagery brings. 

As I watched the people I love walk through their darkest nights and I didn’t have the ability to save them, I try to be a lighthouse for those others who are lost in the dark. I hope little glimpses of light can be seen in work I have made and reach people who need it.  

view more from Finding The Light

A vulnerable interview about the why behind the film and a glimpse into the life of the artist.

Finding the Light - Emily Howard Interview 2023
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