Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, videos and more!
Start Your Free Trial

Rita Loyd

Published:

Rita Loyd
Women Singing Earth by Mary Southard

I began to paint HEALING ART years ago as a way to cope with chronic illness. At that time in my life, I had lost my ability to love myself because I could no longer do the things that I had once been able to do. I felt myself disappearing into depression, and I needed to find an anchor of support. My art and creative process became that anchor of support; they became my teacher, healer and friend.

When I first began to paint, I didn’t know the meaning of self-love. My only intention was to paint images that would lift my spirit and reassure me that everything was going to be okay. But, to create this kind of art, I first had to look inward and examine the areas of my life that needed lifting. That meant that I had to examine my pain and where it was coming from. Unfortunately, being honest with ourselves is not always easy because if we feel criticized or judged during the process, even from ourselves, it can trigger feelings of defensiveness, which can shut us down. So, it was vital that I first create a safe space of observation before looking inward.

Women Singing Earth by Mary Southard
Paintings and prints on the wall are by Lindy Longhurst, Regina Lord, Lindy Gaskill, Mara Friedman, Rosemary Freedman, and Rita Loyd. Ceramic vase by Guadalupe Robinson.

This safe space of observation is created when I promise myself to look inward as a curious and neutral observer rather than as a critical judge; I am not allowed to be negative or judgmental during the duration of this exercise. Once I create this safe space of observation, I ask myself questions such as, “How do I feel?” and “What is bothering me?” and “How can I look at this from a different perspective?” Then, I search my spiritual studies and my own collected wisdom for advice. Once I realize the advice that I need to take, I think of the symbolism to convey that message and that is what I paint.

Rita Loyd
Love Yourself Unconditionally by Rita Loyd

“Unconditional self-love is a teacher. As we learn to give to ourselves what we need, we learn what others need as well.

— Rita Loyd

One day after many years of painting in this way, I looked down at the sketch I was drawing. It was of a woman with her hands over her heart, and heart bubbles surrounded her. Inside each bubble was a message of encouragement and support. Suddenly, I had an epiphany! I realized this painting was about self-love, but how could that be? I thought I didn’t know the meaning of self-love?

Rita Loyd
Indigo by Autumn Skye

And then, the answer became clear. My art and creative process were teaching me how to love myself, and each painting was a reflection of that journey! This was an amazing discovery! Within the boundaries of creating art, I was learning how to love myself! My next step was to learn how to expand self-love into all areas of my life. To accomplish this goal, I knew I had to examine self-love further, and this is what I learned:

• There are two kinds of self-love. There is ego-based self-love and spirit-based self-love. Ego-based self-love only cares about what the ego cares about, and its love is conditional. Spirit-based self-love cares about the whole person, and its love is unconditional.
• Unconditional self-love is about the relationship that we have with ourselves, and it’s expressed by how we speak to ourselves, treat ourselves and see ourselves.
• Unconditional self-love is about paying attention to what we need instead of ignoring, avoiding or neglecting those needs. Unconditional self-love is not something to be earned or deserved. It is simply a seed planted within us waiting to be nurtured to grow. But, sometimes self-hate gets nurtured instead.
• Unconditional self-love is a continual process that deepens with time and practice.

Rita Loyd
When You Close Your Eyes by Lucy Campbell

Each time I sat down to think of what to paint next, my creative process was giving me the motivation and permission to: slow down, look inward, ask myself questions, know myself better, look for positive solutions, silence my inner-critic, honor my thoughts and feelings, trust myself, be patient and kind with myself, embrace my sensitivity and allow myself to speak.

Now that I have learned how to nurture unconditional self-love, it has become a daily practice in my everyday mindfulness. When I remember to align with self-love, it brings me back to the present moment because self-love is about asking myself, “What do I need right now in order to live a healthier and happier life? What can I tell myself right now to feel encouraged and supported? How can I treat myself right now with respect and kindness?”

Rita Loyd
Spirit of Flight by Josephine Wall

My art not only has taught me to love myself, but it has given me a meaningful way to help other people. Using my art, I have created a greeting card line and a message card deck, plus, I have written a book entitled, Unconditional Self-Love: What It Is, Why It’s Important and How to Nurture It In Your Life. This book is even being used in domestic violence centers to help survivors of abuse.

I strongly believe in the healing power of art whether healing is gained through the creative process or from meditating on the message of the finished piece. That is why I chose to interview my favorite painters of healing art. These interviews are available on my website for you to enjoy at NurturingArt.com. I have interviewed many talented artists including Mary Southard, Autumn Skye Morrison, Helena Nelson-Reed, Josephine Wall and Lucy Campbell. Their paintings, along with my own, adorn the pages of this article.

Rita Loyd
Daughter of the Waters by Helena Nelson-Reed

“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”

—Rumi

What a journey it’s been! It all began with wanting to create art that lifted my spirit, and now, I am teaching unconditional self-love and sharing the stories of other painters of healing art! It just goes to show the beautiful way life can unfold when we get out of our own way. Thanks to unconditional self-love!

Rita Loyd
Women Singing Earth by Mary Southard

I began to paint HEALING ART years ago as a way to cope with chronic illness. At that time in my life, I had lost my ability to love myself because I could no longer do the things that I had once been able to do. I felt myself disappearing into depression, and I needed to find an anchor of support. My art and creative process became that anchor of support; they became my teacher, healer and friend.

When I first began to paint, I didn’t know the meaning of self-love. My only intention was to paint images that would lift my spirit and reassure me that everything was going to be okay. But, to create this kind of art, I first had to look inward and examine the areas of my life that needed lifting. That meant that I had to examine my pain and where it was coming from. Unfortunately, being honest with ourselves is not always easy because if we feel criticized or judged during the process, even from ourselves, it can trigger feelings of defensiveness, which can shut us down. So, it was vital that I first create a safe space of observation before looking inward.

Women Singing Earth by Mary Southard
Paintings and prints on the wall are by Lindy Longhurst, Regina Lord, Lindy Gaskill, Mara Friedman, Rosemary Freedman, and Rita Loyd. Ceramic vase by Guadalupe Robinson.

This safe space of observation is created when I promise myself to look inward as a curious and neutral observer rather than as a critical judge; I am not allowed to be negative or judgmental during the duration of this exercise. Once I create this safe space of observation, I ask myself questions such as, “How do I feel?” and “What is bothering me?” and “How can I look at this from a different perspective?” Then, I search my spiritual studies and my own collected wisdom for advice. Once I realize the advice that I need to take, I think of the symbolism to convey that message and that is what I paint.

Rita Loyd
Love Yourself Unconditionally by Rita Loyd

“Unconditional self-love is a teacher. As we learn to give to ourselves what we need, we learn what others need as well.

— Rita Loyd

One day after many years of painting in this way, I looked down at the sketch I was drawing. It was of a woman with her hands over her heart, and heart bubbles surrounded her. Inside each bubble was a message of encouragement and support. Suddenly, I had an epiphany! I realized this painting was about self-love, but how could that be? I thought I didn’t know the meaning of self-love?

Rita Loyd
Indigo by Autumn Skye

And then, the answer became clear. My art and creative process were teaching me how to love myself, and each painting was a reflection of that journey! This was an amazing discovery! Within the boundaries of creating art, I was learning how to love myself! My next step was to learn how to expand self-love into all areas of my life. To accomplish this goal, I knew I had to examine self-love further, and this is what I learned:

• There are two kinds of self-love. There is ego-based self-love and spirit-based self-love. Ego-based self-love only cares about what the ego cares about, and its love is conditional. Spirit-based self-love cares about the whole person, and its love is unconditional.
• Unconditional self-love is about the relationship that we have with ourselves, and it’s expressed by how we speak to ourselves, treat ourselves and see ourselves.
• Unconditional self-love is about paying attention to what we need instead of ignoring, avoiding or neglecting those needs. Unconditional self-love is not something to be earned or deserved. It is simply a seed planted within us waiting to be nurtured to grow. But, sometimes self-hate gets nurtured instead.
• Unconditional self-love is a continual process that deepens with time and practice.

Rita Loyd
When You Close Your Eyes by Lucy Campbell

Each time I sat down to think of what to paint next, my creative process was giving me the motivation and permission to: slow down, look inward, ask myself questions, know myself better, look for positive solutions, silence my inner-critic, honor my thoughts and feelings, trust myself, be patient and kind with myself, embrace my sensitivity and allow myself to speak.

Now that I have learned how to nurture unconditional self-love, it has become a daily practice in my everyday mindfulness. When I remember to align with self-love, it brings me back to the present moment because self-love is about asking myself, “What do I need right now in order to live a healthier and happier life? What can I tell myself right now to feel encouraged and supported? How can I treat myself right now with respect and kindness?”

Rita Loyd
Spirit of Flight by Josephine Wall

My art not only has taught me to love myself, but it has given me a meaningful way to help other people. Using my art, I have created a greeting card line and a message card deck, plus, I have written a book entitled, Unconditional Self-Love: What It Is, Why It’s Important and How to Nurture It In Your Life. This book is even being used in domestic violence centers to help survivors of abuse.

I strongly believe in the healing power of art whether healing is gained through the creative process or from meditating on the message of the finished piece. That is why I chose to interview my favorite painters of healing art. These interviews are available on my website for you to enjoy at NurturingArt.com. I have interviewed many talented artists including Mary Southard, Autumn Skye Morrison, Helena Nelson-Reed, Josephine Wall and Lucy Campbell. Their paintings, along with my own, adorn the pages of this article.

Rita Loyd
Daughter of the Waters by Helena Nelson-Reed

“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”

—Rumi

What a journey it’s been! It all began with wanting to create art that lifted my spirit, and now, I am teaching unconditional self-love and sharing the stories of other painters of healing art! It just goes to show the beautiful way life can unfold when we get out of our own way. Thanks to unconditional self-love!