I didn't take up painting seriously until I was 40. I had just lost my father, my marriage, and all my money, ending up in terrible debt. I took it up as therapy, and it enabled me to be a good mom and deal with the torment going on in my life.
I find art very therapeutic when I'm in pain or under stress. Even when I'm just drawing or sketching or sculpting I go to a spiritual place. You allow your emotions to flow through your body and you instinctively feel and see color, shape, and form. You have a different eye on the world and can see beauty in everything. Whether someone sees it or buys it is not the issue. The experience of creating it is what's important.
I'm also a social painter. I have painting parties and invite others to paint with me – it's not something I have to do in a solitary place. Once I'm in the image I'm working on, I'm totally focused on that, it's the same as acting. There may be thousands of people watching, but the focus is such that I don't see anything else that is going on. In acting, you're just part of a huge production whereas in painting, it's all mine, nobody edits it.
I never wanted to show [my work] or part with it, but then my husband said it's a shame to stash them in the garage. And then galleries and two museums showed interest, the Butler Institute of American Art in Ohio and the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington ... and people wanted to buy them. There was something exciting about communicating through visual arts with other people that stimulates them, or makes them laugh or cry or feel something, so that's why I share them.
• Jane Seymour is a contestant on 'Dancing with the Stars' Mondays on ABC, 8 p.m. ET. Her artwork can be viewed at her website: www.janeseymour.com