Maryland artist uses painting to cope with PTSD

Nai Turner's artwork is unique. It's bold, striking and it will make you think. But her personal life, just like her artwork, has a deeper meaning that makes the finished product even more special.

Turner will tell you there's more to a painting than just colors.

"I wanted to show the rage, and like really make the image pop, so I just played with the colors really," said Turner.

Several of her pieces have made it into Art Avenue -- A renowned gallery at the National Harbor.

"There's work like Picasso and, you know, there's a lot of great artists so I really like wanted to get my work in here for a while," said Turner.

Just like her work, Turner, too, is more than just a canvas.

"The most important thing is the eyes because the eyes are very important. It's like the window to the soul they say," said Turner.

She began painting just a few years ago, right after she was discharged from the United States Army.

She served for four years, but it was four years of memories that she just couldn't shake.

"Outside of the military, I did see my best friend get killed and I guess the military increased the stress of that... like, it reminded me of things and I kept reliving the situation," said Turner.

She was discharged for what the military called a severe case of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Home with nothing to occupy her time, Turner's mood began to change. She became isolated and started losing sleep. Her life began to take on a new shade of gray.

"I didn't want to admit to that so I kind of strayed away but then it kept happening," said Turner.

That is until she picked up a paintbrush -- a hobby she always wanted to pursue.

"It was soothing. Like very calm. It kept me calm. It was like my breakthrough to freedom. You just escape from everything. Everything just turns off," said Turner.

After taking lessons from YouTube, Turner learned how to paint. Soon, she developed a style that resonated with her fans.

"I try to put a statement out there that'll force people to have an opinion about it or spark a conversation," said Turner.

Turner says her checkered past helped create a new life that she now loves. Her paintings speak for themselves and her followers are listening.

And if you want to know her proudest moment, it's when she met Angela Davis. Davos made a personal visit to sign one of her pieces of art.

"I looked up to her a lot. I read a lot about her, learned a lot about her so meeting her was just like everything to me," said Turner.

Turner's creations can be found at Art Avenue at the National Harbor.

She says she plans to continue painting with the dream of getting into more galleries.