Susy Sanders is a licensed clinical psychologist by profession who has been drawn to art from an early age.

“Different images emerge as I paint and I don’t just paint the first ones I see,” Sanders said. “In the end, you may not see even one square inch of the original background of a painting.”

Sanders, a licensed psychologist in both Maine and Washington state, owns Morning Bridge Center in Phillips, Maine. She offers a number of psychological services for individuals, couples and families, specializing in trauma and mood disorders.

Sanders has a doctorate in educational psychology from the University of Washington. Within her psychology practice, Sanders also explores art therapy.

An exhibit of art she has created, which she uses to access her unconscious, is on view at the Lander University Monsanto Fine Art Gallery, beginning Thursday. The reception is 5-7 p.m. Thursday.

The exhibit is titled “Emerging Images and Mercurial Myths.”

“It’s really a fantastic method for many to heal from grief and trauma and integrating parts of the self,” Sanders said of her approach to painting. “My paintings are like waking dreams.”

The art gallery is located inside the cultural center on campus.

For Sanders, creatures often show themselves in her paintings.

“The paintings are childlike in essence,” Sanders said. “The paintings are rich in symbolism because the unconscious mind speaks in symbols.”

From folktales to mythology, various imagery is repeated all over the world, Sanders said.

“That can give us ideas about what symbols from the unconscious mind actually mean,” Sanders said. “For me, these images can be healing to paint.”

Sanders took an online class with a painting instructor almost 10 years ago and continued to paint.

“In 2011-2012, I started playing with this idea of emerging images from the unconscious mind,” Sanders said. “Mistakes show through and always bring something else to the whole picture.”

Square canvases and bright, vibrant jewel tones bring Sanders’ paintings to life. While she’s in the process of painting, canvases can be turned, clockwise, to enable images to emerge, particular to each viewer.

Sanders said her emerging imagery painting illustrates Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung’s method for accessing the unconscious, through active imagination.

“There are all kinds of parts to interpreting a painting,” Sanders said, noting images that show themselves might be giant whales or a warrior horse. “If the mood strikes, I will paint, but I have a full practice.”

This exhibit at Lander marks the first time Sanders has exhibited pieces from this group of paintings outside the state of Maine, but she has taught, lectured and exhibited quite a bit.

“I sell stretched canvas prints and archival paper prints,” Sanders said.

Contact St. Claire Donaghy at 864-943-2518