“Mermaid at Lake Minnetonka” by Douglas Blue


Watercolor Pencil on Paper

A life without art would be a marriage without emotions.

One of the wisest and most self-compassionate decisions I ever made was to study art at Normandale Community College. I studied Studio Art and some Art History as well. It was a formative time for me, where I felt like I had come home from being lost for a long time. Art makes me feel whole. I feel like I know who I am when I am drawing. I remember feeling exhilarated and excited to draw objects realistically, and it left me wanting more and more.

Drawing for me is meditation, communing with my materials. When I am drawing and making my art I am at the height of my existence, fully functioning at my highest ability. My drawings are generally on paper. I also use oil crayons on canvas. I like to create portraits, whether of people or objects. My style is between realism and abstract expressionism. I am drawing what I feel.

My goal is to draw every day. I am looking for more feedback and exposure. I have shown with Artability, local coffee shops, and Avivo ArtWorks. I am ready to commit to my art practice and move forward in expanding my techniques and the venues I show my work in.


Avivo Artworks

Since 2004, Avivo ArtWorks, formerly Spectrum ArtWorks, has been working to support professional artists living with mental illness. Located at the Lighthouse, a Community Support Program in Minneapolis, the program meets its mission through a community-focused and recovery-based approach. Its multi-faceted art studio and programming assists artists at reaching and maintaining their artist-related goals such as making new art, connecting with other artists, and accessing exhibition and grant opportunities.

In addition to this, each year the program organizes a new exhibition that aims to meet its mission to challenge stigma and raise mental health awareness. In 2015, the program partnered with the Minneapolis Institute of Art to bring “In Conversation,” a residency and exhibition that featured 17 artists from the program. Each participant created a new piece of art that was in conversation with an object or artwork in the museum’s collection. In 2017, Avivo ArtWorks facilitated “The Big Picture,” a group exhibition that presented artwork that explored wellness in recovery through art. “To Really See,” opening August 2017 at the Hennepin County Library – Central Minneapolis, is Avivo ArtWorks first every traveling group exhibition. The show explores the medication-taking experience and will feature artwork from artists who use Avivo ArtWorks services and artists from across the state of Minnesota.


Jes Reyes, MA
Arts Specialist
Avivo ArtWorks 
612-752-8282 | jes.reyes@avivomn.org