Sue Thomas is using art and meditation to help troubled or unhappy teens feel good about themselves.
The Thirlmere artist and holistic well-being coach spends time each week at Elizabeth Macarthur High School working with students who may be disengaged from school, to help them maximise their potential.
“We do meditation and art to help them realise what career path or subject choices they want to take or we work on their relationships with their friends or family,” Ms Thomas said.
“Being still or meditating allows the creativity to flow and it helps the students to create their own art.”
Pieces created by two students will be displayed alongside her own work at an art exhibition in Bowral from next week.
Year 9 student Max Milne said he learnt new skills and enjoyed meditation.
“I absolutely hated art in year 7,” he said. “My love of science and particularly quantum mechanics became part of the coaching [sessions].
“[We started] brainstorming ideas around what I liked to do, my passions and how that fitted with science, maths, art and technology.”
Max along with three other students built a robot, which will be on display at the exhibition, and he said “I actually like art now”.
Ms Thomas said the students and their parents were “ecstatic” to be in the show.
“One student has benefited academically and socially and called himself an actual artist,” she said. “Working with students has helped their self-esteem.”
Ms Thomas also worked with Camden High School students last year.
Her art, under the name Susan Jackson Thomas, draws on the Chinese philosophical tradition of Taoism, colour and nature.
Ms Thomas is a mixed media artist and her exhibition, at the Bowral and District Art Society gallery from February 15 to 20, will showcase paintings, photography, sculptures, print making and textiles.
She said her exhibition came together after she travelled to China to study Qigong and learn more about indigo dyeing and textile sculptures.
Qigong master Simon Blow will officially open the exhibition on Friday, February 16 from 6.30pm.