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Heather Thompson

Heather Thompson 

There are terms to describe my creativity…words like “Synesthesia, Acquired Savantismand Accidental Genius" are all thrown about among experts talking about how I suddenly discovered the ability to paint in 2011.  But this isn't just a story of painting; it is my experience of transformation.

I was an award-winning entrepreneur and nationally recognized business strategist in home health and hospice before the “mild” traumatic brain injury that changed my life. I was married at the time, at the pinnacle of my career, with a 2 year old daughter.  Just a few months after the injury, my neighbor Mac encouraged me to paint. He had just completed whole brain radiation for Stage 4 lung cancer. He brought me flowers every day to check in on me and gently nudged me toward art.   I honestly thought Mac was crazy, because I was not an artist before the accident.  In fact, I loved to look at paintings, because artists could express things that I found unimaginable.  Then, with an abundance of courage one day, I gave it a try.  Quickly, I discovered that my hands simply knew what to do when given colors and white space.  It was as easy as breathing.

With a new language - that of color - I transformed into an insatiable artist overnight. This is what it means to be an Acquired Savant. I am self-taught, and I have never taken an art class. I simply sat on the floor of the art store and allowed my hands to explore what felt right. That was the Summer of 2011. I am very fortunate that I do not have many of the tradeoffs that go with Acquired Savantism; Dr. Treffert calls this scenario "Accidental Genius." 

 My journey through art continues to heal me, and I feel called to help others discover the profound healing power of art…something that I only discovered by accident. Almost all of my abstract paintings are done with my fingers or a palate knife.  The mixed media pieces are completed with tiny brushes.

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