The past few days I've been sorting through magazines and came across info about boosting creativity and the benefits art has on our health. For instance, the November 2011 Good Housekeeping magazine (page 45) comments on research done in Norway on more than 50,000 people that found that "engaging in arts and culture--watching as well as doing--was linked with higher self-scores of physical and emotional health". Think about it... not only are we (people who enjoy creating art) benefiting our own physical and emotional health when we engage in our chosen form of art, but we are also contributing to the improved health of our viewing audience! Wow. That is, to me, the ultimate of 'win-win' and a strong motivator to keep creating and putting my art out for other people to see.
Speaking of colour, I had coffee a few days ago with a friend with whom I have wonderful conversations about the emotional benefit of art. She is someone who has experienced some very traumatic things early on in life. She did not think of herself as artistic, but in the past few years someone convinced her to give painting a try. Long story short, she loved the experience of painting, continues to find it very therapeutic and produces some lovely works in acrylic. I asked her what painting had done for her life. Without much hesitation she explained that previously life had felt grey and colourless but painting literally and figuratively brought colour to her life.
For myself, once I got past the fear of putting paint on paper, I found the process of stroking the paint onto the paper (or canvas as the case may be) to be calming and relaxing. I can get completely absorbed in the process and lose track of time. Just last week I got so involved with a painting I was two hours late having dinner even though twice I told myself, "I'm hungry... I really have to stop and eat..." I've come to the conclusion that the phrase, "starving artist" may not have been coined strictly to describe artists having a hard time financially. Rather, it may have become popular to describe artists who got so involved in their work they forget to eat! (Who would have ever thought I would get so 'into' what I was doing I could forget to eat!!! lol...) This past week I also discovered a pretty fool proof way of measuring when I've been focussed on my painting long enough and need a break... It's time to stop when I find myself washing out my paintbrush in my cold cup of tea!! : )
This past week I spent some really enjoyable time with a relative down at the waterfront. At the time I had not read the articles on boosting creativity, but I intuitively did both of the recommended things--spent time with a loved one and gazed at the colour blue (the ocean), and it was a very uplifting time that sparked some creativity. How could you not feel creative looking at the beautiful colours of fall...
... observing other people's humorous handiwork...
As for painting, I am still working on the watercolour-on-canvas picture of the forest stream. It has indeed proved to be challenging! I took it to art class this morning quite convinced that I'd ruined it but the teacher suggested one or two changes and I am now quite a bit happier with the way it is looking. Once it's finished I'll take a photo and post it here so you can see how it turned out.
I'm curious... What are some of the benefits you personally find from engaging in creating art? Does it lift your spirits? Perhaps it helps you escape from stress? Do you find it brings physical relief from pain or discomfort? If you'd care to share, I'd love to hear your experience.
I hope all is going well for each of you. Time for me to sign off... I hear my paint brush calling... lol!!
: ) Fern