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Art as a healing journey

Student hopes her art invites others to embark on a journey of self–discovery, tap into their creativity and embrace the healing power of art

A painter stands besides her easel with your paint brush and palette in hand with the ocean in the backgrond.
Arylue Jones paints by the ocean.
Photo by Yui Leung

With every stroke of her brush, pencil or crayon, Arylue Jones said she explores deep into her inner world, exploring the depths of her emotions, thoughts and experiences. As an artist, Jones, a junior majoring in painting and illustration from Idaho, said she has discovered the profound power of art as a transformative tool for healing from within. Her artistic journey has become a sanctuary. A place where she finds solace, self-expression and a profound connection with herself, expressed Jones.

In the realm of Jones’ artistry, colors come alive, lines weave stories, and the canvas becomes a sanctuary for healing. With unwavering passion and a commitment to self-exploration, Jones said she continues to paint, draw, sketch and color, embracing the transformative nature of art and inspiring others to embark on their own voyage of healing through the creative process.

Art as a hobby

However, Jones’ artistic expression doesn’t stop at painting. She said she also finds solace and joy in drawing, sketching and coloring. “I do love the style of art of portraits. I can use any medium, but I enjoy drawing portraits especially,” explained Jones.

With a simple pencil in her hand, she captures intricate details of a person and the essence of her surroundings. “Before I moved here to Hawaii, I grew up in a [predominantly] white area. ... I wanted to learn about other cultures.

“So, one of my favorite things about coming here is being exposed to different cultures, meaning being able to draw them, because I feel that takes me to a much more intimate level of appreciation. I love drawing cultural features, which I think is so cool. It just makes me appreciate people even more,” said Jones.

Through her drawings, she said she unveils the beauty in the ordinary, finding inspiration in the mundane and infusing it with her unique perspective. Whether it’s a delicate pencil sketch or a vibrant coloring creation, Jones said her artistry shined through, inviting others to see the world through her eyes.

“With portraits, there’s beauty to everyone. Coming from a close-minded small town, there was one idea [of what] the beauty standard [is]. Since coming here, it opened my eyes that there is no one beauty standard. People are beautiful regardless of how they look and their features are what makes them interesting. So, if I could inspire people through my portraits, I would want that,” expressed Jones.

Jones said she loves to do “en plein air painting.” This is a French expression that means “in the open air,” which refers to the act of painting a landscape outside, while the word has also been applied to the finished works. She added, “I love looking at the pink clouds when I go to watch [the] sunrise in the morning. I specifically wanted to paint the clouds because when the sun first hits, it’s so beautiful. That was also when I decided to take risks, have fun and not be so worried about if I was making it look right. It was more about the process than about the finished result.”

The artist's painting of a sunrise sits on a stand by the ocean.
The artist's painting of a sunrise sits on a stand by the ocean.
Photo by Yui Lueng

Healing through art

Jones said she feels grounded and at peace by creating art from scratch. For her, it is a way of escape from social media and realization of how much time has passed, making her feel more connected to herself.

“Growing up, I didn’t have lot of ways to healthily express my anger. After taking the creative arts therapy class with Dr. [Eric] Orr, I realized I can use art as an outlet to release catharsis, and it is very therapeutic. It is so relieving to let out all my bottled-up emotions and anger. [I can] create something beautiful or not even beautiful, but just aesthetic to look at,” expressed Jones

Tabitha Hanson, a best friend of Jones and a senior from Florida double majoring in psychology and intercultural peace building, said Jones embodies kindness and love in everything she does. Hanson said, “She is always willing to lend a helping hand or offer words of encouragement. Her artistic talents are nothing short of astounding, bringing life to her creations with a vibrant palette and meticulous attention to detail. Her art is not only visually captivating but also possesses a depth that resonates with all of us. [It leaves] a lasting impact on anyone fortunate enough to experience it. She continues to inspire me every day by expressing herself through her beautiful art.”

Sierra Dawn, an alumna of BYUH said, “[Jones’] art highlights the beauty and diversity of the natural world as well as the wide range of people that inhabit it. Her work inspires me because she is not afraid to depict the realities of being a woman in a patriarchal society.”

Sunset painting of AryLue Jones.
Photo by Yui Leung

Creation of art and styles

Painting is her primary medium of choice, which allowed her to create vibrant and evocative works of art that speak directly to the viewer’s soul, Jones said. She explained she liked to work with oil painting, charcoal and pastels, which are chalks.

Jones was a part of the Women’s History Month Art Exhibition that honored women from the past, present and future. She also won second place for her art piece in the artwork section for the BYU–Hawaii Kula Manu Journal. As her brush dances across the canvas, it releases her innermost emotions and experiences onto the surface, she shared.

Through the vivid interplay of colors and textures, Jones said she communicated her joys, her sorrows, her triumphs and her vulnerabilities. “My favorite thing is that it’s thick, and it brings a lot of texture. I get to use a palette knife and carve stuff in really thick paper. It feels cool.” Each brushstroke represented a step towards healing, an act of self-discovery and a celebration of the human spirit, expressed Jones.

Early childhood

“My older brother, Daniel, was an artist in high school. I remember always watching him sit on our kitchen counter, and I’d be watching him paint. My grandmother paints as well. So as soon as I got older, I actually started doing art. My dad used to paint too, and he would take me to my grandmother’s house. We would go and do drawing together. It was fun because I got to bond with my dad,” said Jones.

Art has become a cathartic process, said Jones. She said it was a way to confront her inner demons, embrace her vulnerabilities and channel her energy towards personal growth. Throughout the years and her artistic endeavors, she said she found liberation, a release from the shackles of everyday life, and an avenue to express her true self.

The creative process became a form of meditation and is a means to navigate the labyrinth of her thoughts and emotions, she said. She explained, ultimately, it is to find a sense of harmony and wholeness.

AryLue Jones smiling to the camera during sunset.
Photo by Yui Leung

Future career plans and dreams

“I want to learn as much as I can. I don’t think I’d actually want to make a career of it, because I feel as soon as you try to start profiting off of something you love, it takes away that desire. I’ve done commissions in the past and it suddenly turned into work, and it’s no longer something I love. So if anything, I would still want to be surrounded by art,” said Jones.

For a long time, the plan has been to go to graduate school, said Jones. “I want to get my master’s at Florence Academy of Art, Italy. I eventually want to live in Greece and have my own little studio and just paint,” Jones said.

Self - reflection

“I think anybody can be an artist. Art speaks for you. It’s just about how much work you put in. Some people may have more talent than others, but that doesn’t mean talent can’t be developed,” emphasized Jones. She said she is a lot more experimental, impulsive and carefree. Jones added she is an artist who take risks and does something even if it turns out badly. She said she’d rather take risks instead of being afraid.

“Life is a journey, and I’m constantly exposing myself to new things and not holding myself back [out] of fear.

“I am willing to change. I always want to be growing. I don’t ever want to be stagnant. I think it’s really important for us to grow and change and to constantly be trying new things,” said Jones.