Hatteberg's People - Painting From Grief: Amy Kear

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Sunday, March 18, 2012

Amy Kear has been a social worker for 14 years. Five years ago, the birth of her first child sent her into severe postpartum depression. It was then she discovered she had artistic talent and began to paint the pain. Now, those paintings are on display in a gallery in downtown Wichita and a new career has Amy helping others in a surprising way.

"Sometimes it feels more exposed than I expected," Kear said. "Since this is new, it was a very vulneralbe feeling to have people stand there and look. I've accumulated a lot of pain after being a social worker for so long and this is how it has come out."

With no art background, she discovered painting. She transferred her feelings and emotions directly onto canvas. She painted the spiritual journey people take – through grief, loss, happiness and love.

Evan is the child who changed Amy's life forever. When he was born, Amy went into a deep postpartum depression. Here was a woman whose career was helping others, but, for a time, couldn't help herself.

“I felt a little bit like the essence of Amy had been taken away and I didn't know where it went. So that is very emotional for me. Postpartum was horrible and extremely exhausting”.

"I will always recognize that woman. It makes me sad because I know there are a lot of people who feel like that. There are so many people in the world who are suffering every day and they keep on going and they are so resilient in their spirit".

"I also suffered from two miscarriages during that time and so I was struggling to take care of my son and myself. I think I was being tested to see if I can bounce back from this."

She can climb back and she is, with the love of family, her little boy, and what she calls a guiding spirit.

"Once I got quiet, I had this feeling that something was there and something was helping me. Something was guiding me."

Her art is personal, representing her emotional experiences, as well as with her clients. The pain evident in screaming color.

“Experiencing postpartum I believe happened for a reason, maybe it happened to wake me up, so that I can motifate other people to reach out and help others."

Another work involves words her father said to her. Words that hurt and caused pain and consequences.

"He was a person that yelled a lot and so I think that children can be tense and anxious when they are yelled at so it makes me feel incredibly aware of the child and how vulnerable they are."

This art, of Heart and Soul, so personal, is touching others in ways she never dreamed her social work could.

"It's just worth it. If you are a social worker you know you are not being paid for the work you are doing, you're in it because you have a big heart and you love people and you care about them and you want to create a better world."

"It is my therapy, it has been wonderful and I feel like I have done something beyond me."

The galley of Amy's pictures is located at 228 N. Market St. above the Shopkeepers Antique Mall and in their art gallery. Her show is called Super Resilient. On March 30 from 5 to 9 p.m., speakers will be on hand to discuss their own resilience as well as their clients'.

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