Art holds different meanings for different people. To some people art is beauty; some see it as an escape. For artist Emily Newman, art is a form of healing.
Even as a child Emily Newman always knew she wanted to be an artist, although her path to get there was not an easy one. She suffered from severe depression, and at age eighteen she attempted suicide. Her healing journey finally took shape when she started using art as a way to process her emotions.
“It really functioned as therapy,” Emily shares. “The whole point of art for me is healing and processing emotions instead of pushing things to the side and not dealing with them.” Handling her feelings through artwork has healed her and given her freedom as well as a lucrative career in art.
ABOVE: Emily allows herself to be vulnerable while creating, to bring peace to her mind and soul in a process that she calls cathartic.
Early on, Emily wanted to make art her career, but she didn’t think it was possible. After working as a hairstylist for ten years and then being put on bed rest following the birth of her third child, she fell back into darkness and hit rock bottom a second time. Medication changed her life and helped her pick up a paintbrush again. She immediately fell back in love with creating. “The process is more important to me than the finished product,” Emily says. Her painting process helped her heal and cope with mental illness. “Mental illness is a prevalent and real thing,” Emily explains. “Sometimes people don’t understand unless they’ve been there, so a huge part of my mission with my artwork is to let people know they’re not alone in what they’re going through.”
When she finally shared her work with the world, she soon realized she didn’t need to go to art school to become an artist. People are drawn to her art not only for its beauty, but also for the mission behind it. Art can heal, whether it’s the process behind it or the meaning it holds to the viewer.
“Emily’s open approach makes her art unique,” notes Jamie Foreman, owner of Menagerie on Main, an art gallery in Canton. She continues about Emily, “She is her art, and her art is her. I believe this to be true for all artists, but Emily is unique in how much she puts herself out there. She shares her vulnerability, which creates connection, and we all long for connection. With Emily it was clear that she was completely genuine, sharing her story through her work. If you’ve met Emily, you know she has a lovable and honest personality. Her work is a reflection of that.”
Emily’s art imitates life and vice versa. It is abstract, evolving, a little messy, but most of all, beautiful. She combines a variety of mediums to create movement, structure, and dimension. She believes her art is vital to her mental health and more. “I also know that being a mom and everything else in my life is essential to my art, because it is what inspires me,” Emily says.
To begin her unique process, Emily always starts with watercolor. “It reminds me that I’m not in control,” Emily explains. “I choose the pigments, mix them with water, and let them lay the foundation for the piece.” Next she uses charcoal, markers, or pastels for mark-making and linework. She then gives life to each piece and makes it jump off the canvas with heavy-body acrylics or modeling paste.
Emily shows people all over the world that creativity can be therapy. She shares her artistic, abstract healing process through one-on-one classes online and also teaches in-person classes at Menagerie on Main. She has taught people all over the globe, from Australia to Brazil.
Jamie says, “I think it’s worth noting that abstract art is often thought of as easy to create—it isn’t. There is a level of self-trust required that’s different from other styles. Emily demonstrates this point really well. I had the pleasure of taking one of her classes recently.
I highly recommend it.”
ABOVE: Emily’s in-home studio allows her to balance life and art while keeping her close to her muse of emotions and the changing seasons of life. Pictured are pieces from her Dreamscapes collection.
Emily shares her artistic approach with her children as well. Last winter she collaborated with her four-year-old son, Theodore, lovingly dubbed Teddy, on a collection titled This Season. It was a difficult and trying time for Emily and Teddy. “We were going through a long evaluation process with him. He is on the autism spectrum and struggles with extreme behavioral challenges. In that season it was really difficult for me too,” Emily recalls.
Emily and Teddy worked together on the collection, and Teddy had his hand in every piece. “Art was my safe place, and I thought maybe it would be therapeutic for him as well,” Emily says. She was right. Teddy loves creating with his mother and still asks to help her when she is working in her home studio. Not only is it Emily’s therapy, but it is also now a safe space for her son. “He’s an extremely gifted artist and a perfectionist. It’s fun to bring him into the process,” Emily remarks. “It’s pretty cool to say that a four-year-old has sold paintings for six hundred dollars.”
This Season, an extremely special collection, sold out quickly after it launched. “It’s probably the collection that means the most to me. I have a piece from that collection in my living room that I will never sell,” Emily expresses. “It has that much personal value.” Emily’s mother bought a piece from This Season called “stimming.” “She bought it because it meant so much to her. Stimming is something kids on the spectrum typically do. It’s repeated behavior that helps them regulate their emotions and their physical being. It was a piece Teddy and I worked on together, and it was definitely my favorite piece in that collection,” Emily explains. For her personal collection she has kept many of her favorite pieces over the years, including “restored,” which depicts Emily’s journey from depression to healing, darkness fading into beauty.
Emily has made her mark beyond paint and a canvas in the creation of logos as well as specialty tattoo designs. Often consisting of birth-month flowers and fine lines to honor loved ones, her tattoo designs can be commissioned on her website.
The owners of Eden, an establishment that serves smoothies, juices, and more, commissioned Emily to create a logo for its new downtown Woodstock storefront. Emily recalls, “They told me what they wanted, and we clicked. We saw eye to eye. I drew the Eden apple and helped with some of the branding for the rest of their designs. I grew up in Woodstock and have been here my whole life, so it’s surreal to see my work there.”
ABOVE: Delicate watercolor flowers from Emily’s 2021 collection, Collection of Poppies. She shares that she loves the warmth the collection inspires, especially when bathed in evening sunlight.
Emily releases three to four major collections each year with a few smaller collections in between. Her artwork is available at Tranquility Fine Arts Gallery in Woodstock, Menagerie on Main in Canton, Muse & Co. Fine Art in Marietta, and online at EmilyAnneArtStudio.com.
To learn more about Emily’s local classes, reach out to Jamie at Menagerie on Main. “Jamie is the best,” exclaims Emily. “I’ve considered also teaching line drawing and watercolor there, but we haven’t gotten those into the works yet. Something Jamie and I are collaborating on right now is a Social Media Marketing Workshop for artists to teach tips and tricks for marketing. We are excited about it.”
Emily and her story are as unique as her art. As her story continues, be sure to visit EmilyAnneArtStudio.com to learn more and follow her on Instagram (@emilyanneartstudio) to stay in the know about new collection releases.