The healing power of art – let’s get people talking about mental health

Derbyshire artist Kate Smith is exhibiting a series of paintings in two venues in Derbyshire; there are six paintings at Ilkeston Community Hospital and an exhibition at The Elephant Rooms in Draycott.  The exhibitions are to mark World Mental Health Day on Monday 10 October.

Kate, an artist, designer, children’s illustrator and workshop leader, has a mental health condition called acute & transient psychotic disorder. She has decided to share her mental health journey through a project supported by Arts Council England by creating a series of watercolours, each one depicting different reflections on how her mental health manifests itself.

She hopes the paintings will raise awareness of, and get people talking about, mental health, not just on World Mental Health Day but every day.

Kate said: “I’ve always enjoyed art and I started to use drawing and painting as a coping tool when I was in hospital. When I was in a dark place, art helped.”

The artwork represents the positive and negative experiences that Kate has with mental health.

Kate has a vivid memory of a shampoo bottle from when she was in hospital, this was one of her first drawings, she drew the shape over and over, it provided her with a focus; it is one of the positive paintings. Butterflies feature in many of Kate’s paintings – they represent the butterflies you get with anxiety, but they also remind Kate of happy memories in Cornwall, watching blue butterflies on flowers.

Kate’s favourite flower is a tulip, a yellow tulip represents strength. The tulips also remind Kate of her Grandma teaching her how to arrange tulips to make sure they do not droop – stand up and stay strong.

The negative drawings represent psychotic clouds and the storm of psychosis, psychosis crosses and intrusive thoughts, and anxiety.

The drawings will be up in the main corridor of Ilkeston Community Hospital throughout October and everyone is welcome to drop in to view the exhibition during the month.

The paintings at The Elephant Rooms will be on display from Monday 10 October to Friday 21 October and can be viewed Monday to Friday between 9.00am – 6.00pm.


Kate Smith 07950 781948