Heartfelt Art

by Jeannie Vansickle

Jeannie has a Master’s degree in Educational Psychology.  She has experience as an educator, administrator, trainer and speaker.  

She is a graduate of the University of Connecticut and the University of Illinois.  Jeannie is a certified “From Heartbreak to Happiness”(R) grief coach.
She developed and taught a course “Writing Down the Memories” for seniors at Parkland College. 
She is the author of “Lizzie’s Legacy”, a collection of family recipes and memories.
Jeannie lives in Champaign, Illinois with her naughty cat, Lulu. She spends as much time as she can at her cottage at the Connecticut shore.  Lulu gets to go too.

She enjoys reading, writing , creating art, cooking, entertaining and traveling while attempting to keep up with the yard work.

"There was a time when I thought I would never be happy again. After my husband died
suddenly, I was left to figure out a new life for myself. It was now me, no us. Me not we.
I was devastated and terrified at the prospect of being only me. We had been a unit, taking strength from each other, sharing dreams.

I found myself drawn to savoring the memories we had made. I was keeping a journal and
making memory pieces with photographs and ephemera (love this word!). Soon I was adding
paint and more embellishments. Without realizing it, I had invited my artist to join me on my
 journey through grief.

Eventually, as the pain eased, my art pieces became less focused on Larry and I began to
experiment with work that was more of an expression of myself....as me. At the same time, I
used my journal entries to write a book about my journey: THE LONG RIDE HOME, A Journey
through. Grief to Peace and Happiness.

Since then, I have created a studio in my basement, held art workshops, presented at a
conference and hosted an art show. 

Without ever intending to, I used art as my therapist. It nurtured my wounded soul, provided an
outlet for my frustrations and fears and opened avenues I had never considered.

I now can actually say the words: I am an artist. My memories sustain me. Peace and
happiness are my companions as I create in my studio."