Painting through the pain

Published: Dec. 3, 2020 at 8:53 PM CST
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Imagine starting a new life after 15 years in an abusive marriage. One local woman shares her story of how a blank canvas, a paintbrush and prayer got her through the dark days and helped jumpstart a new career.

Malinda Adams loves a blank canvas. Because for her, it’s a way to make something beautiful out of nothing.

A feeling she says she’s all too familiar with.

“In November 2014, I was blindsided the day after my 15-year anniversary that my husband wanted a divorce,” said Adams.

She says it was an abusive marriage that left her empty inside.

“He had been abusing me for many, many years, but I just didn’t want to acknowledge it because in my mind it wasn’t that bad,” said Adams. “I knew other women had suffered way more than me because he never punched me. I’d get pushed up against the wall; he would rape me; he would limit where I went, how I did things; I had no freedoms whatsoever.”

When the couple separated, Adams says she fell into a deep depression. That’s when a friend she had known years before encouraged her to paint.

“She said you’ve always been artistic. I’ve been doing art therapy for myself, why don’t you try it?” said Adams.

Even though they were separated, Adams’ now ex-husband controlled what she could spend. But she found a way around that.

“My ex-husband wouldn’t let me buy canvas. So for my first painting, it was a $5 frame that I had gotten at a garage sale, and I had taken an old bed sheet and wrapped it around it and used wall paint and craft paint,” said Adams.

She posted the finished product on Facebook, and it got noticed.

“So to have people be interested in what I was making and creating was just something foreign to me,” said Adams.

But she noticed something about herself.

“I started painting and for a few hours, everything would disappear, and it was just me, God and my canvas,” said Adams. “When I was painting, everything would fade away.”

Adams only paints what she says is beautiful.

“I would paint the things that would reflect the peace that I wanted in my heart,” said Adams. “I would pray over my canvases asking God for the wisdom and the strength and the ability to paint the things that I wanted.”

Obviously, those prayers were answered.

“People really started to take notice of my art,” said Adams. “They were like, ‘Oh are you selling it?’ And I was like I don’t think I’m good enough for that. So that really shocked me that people wanted to buy it, because for one, I had no formal training, and for two, I just didn’t think I was good enough; I didn’t think I was good enough for anything.”

She says painting is where she found herself.

“It was like this process of discovering, along with God, who I was and what I was created to do. I create works of art, and I love doing it, and my creator created me to create.”

Many of her works aren’t just created with paint. Sometimes she uses fabric, and she even has an owl made from wood chips.

Adams remarried in 2018, and one ballet dancer she painted will always remind her of that day.

“The skirt in that is the fabric, a remnant piece of my wedding dress,” said Adams.

If you have something specific in mind, Adams can more than likely create it for you.

“I do commissions; I do landscapes; I do pet portraits,” said Adams.

If she can get the mixed media into some of those it makes her day.

“It’s fun to take something that is like discarded, cause that’s how I feel,” said Adams. “I feel like I was somebody discarded, and I made something beautiful out of it.”

Adams has an art show taking place at the Sheraton in Panama City Beach through the end of December where you can check out some of her work.

If you’d like to get in touch with Adams or check out her work, you can find her on Facebook at Malinda Ann Studios or Malinda Adams.

She’s also on Instagram.

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