Bedbound to Gallery Opening: How Art Saved Me

Aloha everyone! I’m sure you have seen me around the group for two years now, after getting my start much like many of you. The journey wasn’t easy, but I want to share how I went from bed bound, to now opening my own art gallery and studio. 

Like a lot of you, I picked up art as therapy to overcome a traumatic event. In my case, the event was chronic Lyme Disease that left my hospitalized in the ICU with sepsis for a week. After being discharged from the hospital, my body was severely damaged and I spent the majority of my days in bed. It was here that I stumbled down the rabbit hole of acrylic pouring and fluid art. With only a few minutes of mobility a day I did my first fluid pour and was immediately hooked on the art form. 

From there I spent all my time researching the medium, ordering supplies from bed, and gathering energy to paint. I posted my third painting online a few weeks later, and to my surprise someone asked to purchase it. I was floored that someone wanted my art in their home; and this only fueled my desire to create. Slowly I started painting more, and spending more and more time on my feet. The more I painted, the more my body healed, and the more I was able to deal with the debilitating chronic pain. Pain is something I will deal with for the rest of my life, and painting has proven to be the best medicine for healing. 

It was a month into painting that I started my art presence online, a dedicated social media account on instagram. I started from zero and grew 75,000 followers my first year, and up to 175,000 followers my second year. This social media page allowed me the ability to connect directly to my audience and sell my art on a broader scale. Outside of this it connected me to like minded people who were using fluid art in meaningful ways in their life. 

It was shortly after this that I moved from just acrylic pouring to working with resin, where I really felt was my art home. Having just moved away from Hawaii, our home, I felt resin was the best way to capture the feeling of the beaches that I loved so much. So much of who I was as a person is rooted in Hawaii and in the Aloha spirit, so art not only saved my body, but connected me back to the home.

Ann Upton Hawaii inspired series
On the kickstarter page (link below) you’ll find art pieces inspired by each island and descriptions as well as many other pieces available

Along the way of this creative journey, I began teaching, creating content and “how to’s” for the Acrylic Pouring group; perhaps you have even watched my tutorials. I also released the first of its kind resin class teaching in depth how to create resin art like I do. Teaching others how to create brought my journey full circle, and was the greatest source of satisfaction with my art. Like many of you, I was not formally trained, and started this as a hobby. Also like many of you, I am a wife, mom to five children, and my first job in life was to support my family. So knowing that I can be an inspiration to others in a similar place in life is the greatest part of this career path. I truly believe that we can accomplish anything—and that you don’t have to have a Fine Arts Degree to have your work taken seriously. All you have to have is heart, lots of hard work, and believe in yourself. 

I’m now just over two years into my art journey and am proud to announce I’m opening an art gallery and studio in my hometown of Huntsville, Alabama. I started working in my garage and attic, before outgrowing my home studio space. On an absolute sheer moment of luck, we found a space in our historic town square that would make the perfect gallery and studio. So like every other part of my art journey, which was unexpected and unplanned, our family jumped. We signed a lease and dove headfirst into building this gallery and studio all on our own. We will open in September, but not before a complete overhaul of this historic building from the 1950’s. Once we do open I will have 1,500 square feet of gallery space to host local and international artists, and have solo exhibitions for others who are pursuing their dreams. On top of this I have an additional 1,500 sqft of space dedicated to a working studio. Here I’ll work full time, teach classes, host events and share my love of art and the aloha spirit with the art community near and far. 

Ann Upton with Hawaii painting series for kickstarter

To bring this dream to life, I’m currently doing a kickstarter project to complete all the necessary renovations. My husband is a 100% disabled veteran and this studio is the ultimate step towards our family working together. Art saved me, it truly did, and I’m thankful to even have this opportunity to share my art and love with those who need to hear it. I would love if you helped join me in this to help make this dream a reality. I truly cannot reach this part of my dream without the help of those around me, and this Kickstarter is the way for me to reach it. 

To all of you painters out there, those who are just starting, those who are veterans, those who are selling art, and those who do this for themselves—I want you to know that art can save you too. That acrylic pouring can bring you healing and can inspire you to what you thought impossible. No matter what your medium and what you create, as long as you are doing so with love, you will never go wrong. 

You can pledge to my Kickstarter here!

Join me in painting with “Love + Aloha”

Ann Upton

Owner of Love+Aloha Art Gallery & Studio



4 thoughts on “Bedbound to Gallery Opening: How Art Saved Me”

  1. Omg! I was reading your story, and trying to trick my brain into believing that “I too can do this” only to be blown away by the fact that you’re opening your gallery IN HUNTSVILLE! Welcome! Oops …ALOHA! It’s not Hawaii, but it’s not too bad! I hope you enjoy life here! I’m sure you will do so well! I will be looking for you!

  2. A revealing and inspiring story. I appreciate your truthfulness beyond words. I wish you all good things in your future quests. Tell your husband “THANK YOU” from the bottom of my heart for his service.

  3. I’ve seen your art throughout the year, popping up on my FB newsfeed – so beautiful! But I never knew your story. Congratulations on healing as well as following your heart and opening your studio – good luck!

  4. Would you be interested in showing any pottery pieces in your gallery once you get it open? I live in and have a shop, Clay Potential Pottery, in a very small rural town in Oregon and need to sell more outside my area. My shop has turned more into a teaching facility for the high school kids and locals in the area, and my gallery area just doesnt sell a bunch from here.

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