If you're feeling the symptoms of stress or anxiety, you're not alone...
We live in a fast paced world and when we don't take the time to restore ourselves, we can feel overwhelmed and unable to relax even when we need and want to. This can all to easily lead to feelings of anxiety, restlessness and in some cases depression.
Today, I want to encourage you and say that we can ALL create art that feeds our soul. If you can pick up a brush and apply paint, you can make art! Please don't think you have to be an 'artist' in order to create art that lights you up or nurtures YOU.
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If you're feeling overwhelmed and in need of de-stressing, look no further than a set of paints, paper and some brushes.
You don't need to be a professional artist to make art and to see the benefits that making art can have on your life.
Art helps you to slow down and put to one side feelings of anxiety, internal chatter and worry and instead put your attention to really seeing what is in front of you - it's very meditative.
Here are just some ways to start getting creative and making some art just for you:
Paint Outdoors - bring a small bag of supplies including watercolour paints, watercolour reservoir brush, art journal, pencil, eraser and paper towel. More tips here... Begin by drawing something small like a wild flower, some clouds, pebbles, your dog, a person or a tree. Next 'colour in' using your paints or coloured pencils. Above is an example of a watercolour sketch a did at an RHS garden nearby. The sculptural bench was both a challenge but also meditative as I couldn't not give it my full attention and by doing this, it puts aside the things of life for a little bit (which sometimes feels a relief...)
Clay - air drying paper clay is brilliant for creating a little pinch pot. Clay is so tactile and lovely to work with, you can't help but slow down and feel the cathartic benefits when you devote a little time.
Colouring In - if painting your own scene isn't for you, there are so many beautiful colouring books out there and they are a lovely way to do a little creating in front of the television (or not) and enjoy the meditative benefits.
Colour - as we all know colour is very emotive - just think of a red dress versus a pale blue one. Ordinarily red, orange and yellow are warm colours and usually associated with happiness and joy but equally may represent anger. Try 'feeling' your way with colour on paper. For instance you may ask yourself, 'Do I resonate with dark blue, light pink or violet today?'. Whichever colour you choose, paint it on your paper and sit with the colours, close your eyes and take a deep breath.
Paint A Face - the process of painting a face never ceases to amaze me. It's difficult to put into words but when drawing faces, it's like you're looking at a part of yourself and this allows you to self reflect and get to know yourself and your feelings better.
Collage - use torn bits of magazine paper (see photo to the left), old books or any other papers you have and enjoy creating a simple scene, flower, a bird or a torn paper landscape. I also have an online class on the topic of collage called Fragments Of Joy and a personal project I'm mid-way through called Heads Up 50 (see photo above).
Pattern - the creation of repetitive shapes can be very calming and satisfying. The process becomes a meditative act and can help you to reduce feelings of anxiety by using repetition ie. circles, triangles.
Create With Friends - you can do all of the above and more with friends. Gather some materials, some tea and with good company you'll be creating all sorts of things before you know it! Think quilting bees and the camaraderie from creating together.
Soulful Release Art - when I'm struggling with overwhelm or worry, I like to write out what's on my heart without any sensor and then I simply paint over it after having taken some time to pray and reflect. The idea is to 'cover over' the 'rubbish' and instead replace it with goodness, truth and beauty. I might listen to some relaxing music, drink some tea, sit out in the garden or just close my eyes before covering over what I've written. The process is always sacred, restorative and heart-felt (see right). I may write out a bible verse, quote or poem that also helps to bring about calm, comfort or wise words.