You will know Pierce Brosnan as the famous movie actor. Probably the best James Bond, in my opinion, and many other movie roles. But did you know that he is also an accomplished artist? Pierce Brosnan is a prolific painter influenced by Post-Impressionists like Matisse and Bonnard. There is more to this story as well. What can we learn from Pierce Brosnan about painting? Let's find out.
Painting as Therapy
Yes, Pierce Brosnan could let go of the James Bond role. But when it comes to painting, well - how could he let it go? (That’s my first and last Abba reference.)
Pierce says that he always loved art, but it was in 1987 when he took up painting again. This was his response to the trauma he was going through when his then wife, Cassandra Harris, was suffering from cancer.
One night, when he was feeling particularly desperate, he picked up his brushes and started painting. This had such a powerful therapeutic effect for him that he has remained painting ever since. Sadly his wife did pass away in 1991, but painting gave Pierce some outlet to cope with this tragedy.
After years of painting he took the next step and recently Pierce Brosnan held his first solo exhibition in Los Angeles to great success.
So what are the lessons we can take away from Pierce’s experience?
1. The Healing Power of Art:
Painting is an effective outlet for grief, anger and a host of negative emotions. This is proven to be so powerful that painting is often used as therapy for trauma victims including soldiers suffering from PTSD. See my interview with an Iraq war veteran.
Art forms such as painting and journaling are transformative because they channel negative emotions out of our systems. This creates an immediate release of these damaging emotions.
2. Painting as a Personal Journey:
Painting becomes a personal journey of self-discovery. Ability is not the issue. The journey is everything. I am sure Pierce Brosnan never imagined back in 1987 that he would be hosting a glamorous exhibition in 2023. What has he dealt with in that time and how has his painting helped him? It seems that creativity through painting and drawing became a vital outlet for him.
The beauty of this journey is that the bar to entry is very low. A few basic drawing instruments are enough. A couple cheap brushes and acrylic paints can do wonders. There is nothing stopping anyone except their own fears. Which brings me to the next important point.
3. Banishing Fear
Pierce Brosnan was already a famous actor by 1987 and his stardom has increased ever since. But taking the step to reveal his paintings to the world was still risky. What if his works were not well received? Importantly Brosnan did not let his ego get in the way. Should you fear ridicule or harbor imposter syndrome and hide your paintings from the world? Of course not, yet fear is a powerful emotion. Fear has crushed many dreams and ventures.
Take heart and know that your fears are your mind’s way of protecting you. The risks are imagined. No matter your level of skill you have nothing to fear about taking up a brush and starting to paint. The rewards are much greater than any risks.
4. The Importance of Self-Expression:
Transforming thoughts into action and creating a tangible work of art is very powerful and satisfying. When you express those ideas, thoughts and emotions in a visual way you gain power and control over them. You are in charge and you can control those feelings. It is almost like deflecting the object that is trying to harm you. Do not delay this any longer.
5. Cultivating Mindfulness
Meditation is hard for many people. I could not get it right and lost interest very quickly. But painting keeps me engaged for hours in a meditative state. I can focus on the task and keep annoying thoughts at bay. That is being in the moment and how I achieve mindfulness. You can do this too just as Pierce Brosnan uses painting to keep his mind free of troubles.
6. Take Action - Embracing Creativity in Daily Life:
The importance of taking action cannot be overstated. Humans are meant to take action, not sit around brooding. Healthy mind and body requires physical and mental action on a regular basis. Painting does demand that you take action to achieve a result.
If Pierce Brosnan sank into despair and did nothing to alleviate that state, he would not be the successful man he is today. I am sure his late wife is proud of him for taking up his passion for art. It is a wonderful achievement. The great part is that we can all participate in this activity. Just 18 minutes a day will get you on the right track.
Draw, sketch, paint - it is up to you, but start as soon as possible. You will feel immediate benefits. Who knows where the journey may take you?
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Malcolm Dewey: Artist. Country: South Africa