Artist Statement

I am a visual artist and my practice is firmly rooted in the arts but I belong with a growing tradition of artists who have chosen to commit their lives to art's expansive energies and healing aspects

As an artist I am first and foremost interested in the transformative power of art. In my work with groups of people, be they children or adults, ‘normal’ or ‘special’, I place great importance on the following elements:

  • the creative energy within the group including the clients, staff, the facilitator and the assistant/s if any;
  • the space where the art is made;
  • what each participant brings to the space and time spent together;
  • the transformation that occurs in all the people working together;
  • the body of artwork produced on which to reflect and celebrate.

I work with many different groups of people in a wide variety of settings; arts, education, community and health.

Gradually I have built up a personal methodology of work based on the creation of safe places where the individuals, supported by the group they are part of, are encouraged to express creatively and freely.

Wherever I work I strive to set up the best possible environment, a physical space that provides the right atmosphere. Such a place must be conductive to ‘hold’ the energies and time necessary for the creative process to unfold naturally.

It is in such places that I watch as image after image unfold one after another while the participants gradually grow in confidence and self-esteem. As the images take on a life of their own they also become the ‘guides’ as well as the catalysts for transformation and healing. Refraining from analyses we enter into ‘conversation’ with our paintings trusting them to lead us to the places we need to travel to in order to come back regenerated and transformed.

-Jole Bortoli

The video / documentary was produced by multi-media artist Don Peter Kelly during the Art to Heart’s course on Lake Como, April 2014


Images come through us like children, and their inherited biological and psychic traits. But like children, they have autonomous lives and souls that quickly begin to influence and change the lives of their makers. Shaun McNiff