self-expression

The Link Between Art, Life and Our Mental Health

If I asked you - 'Do you think of yourself as being creative?', how would you answer, honestly?

The answer inevitably reveals just two camps: 'Yes, I've always been a creative' and 'Nope, not a creative molecule in sight!'.  

At the risk of being a broken record and shouting to the rooftops, WE ARE ALL CREATIVE, we just forget...

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Beginning March of this year, I am going to be attempting something pretty darn big after having taken antidepressants for many years - I'm going to try to come off them gradually and document this journey using art and video diaries.  You can read more on this here.  

Anyway, in an attempt to 'prepare' I'm learning a lot on this topic and I feel we underestimate the mental health benefits of tapping into our creativity in a more conscious and deliberate way.

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Below is a quote from an article I read from the Guardian - 'Art and Soul how sparking your creativity helps you stay well':

We need to remind ourselves that creativity can be as simple as playing or doing things differently, so that we give ourselves permission to open the door to other activities and usher in all the benefits that come with this – from time to reflect or overcoming perfectionism to communicating or simply having fun.
— https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/nov/05/art-and-soul-how-sparking-creativity-helps-you-stay-well

Below is another snippet of an article from the Guardian...

So, whether you are picking up a paintbrush, a piece of clay, kneading bread, planting Spring bulbs, writing a journal, don't underestimate the power of your creativity - the many benefits to your soul, physical health and your mental health.  It's not a luxury, it's a necessity.

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So, I hope you would now think of yourself firmly in the 'Yes' camp to thinking of yourself as creative and just a quick thought - how can you make your creativity a priority?  I'd love to hear from you. 

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5 Tips On How To You Let YOUR Art Come Through + Free Portrait Video

I'm sharing a little video with you today that is just 5 mins long.   

As I've been busy adding content to my upcoming ecourse Portraits In Time, I took some time out to play and explore and the video below is the end result.  It took about 20 minutes to complete but I've speeded the whole thing up to just 5 mins.  At the end of the video, I've also shared a complete supplies list should you be interested. 

If I create from the heart, nearly everything works: if from the head, almost nothing.
— Marc Chagall

I often get asked 'How do you let your art, your 'unique you' come through to the canvas/paper?'  

So five thoughts on this:

  • The boring bit is just to practice, play and be brave.  It's about putting in the time and commitment to learning how to draw/paint and with time, your 'unique' vision will come through. I always remember learning to drive and realising that we all have our own little ways of driving but overall, the core skill is the same.
  • Know that there will be 'off' days and 'off' pieces of art that frankly just need to be binned or painted over.  That's okay and totally normal.  Give yourself permission to make mistakes and try again (and again).
  • Listen to your inner voice and add a splash of bright pink there, a scribble over here and a bit of collage there.  Yes, the process involves risk but this is where the magic happens. 
  • Know that you're always evolving and so is your art and that's normal, so pay attention to what is real for you in this time and space.
  • Let go of perfection and say 'hello' to play and truth in the process.  

I do hope you enjoy this video and that you'll be inspired to have a go yourself.  If you'd like to create some art with me, please purchase my upcoming portrait class - the classroom opens on 11th September. 

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What if you gave yourself the gift of self expression?

gift of self-expression Wow, I don't know about you, but it's been a busy, busy summer with not a lot of time for creativity and self expression.  Next week our boys return to school (Joseph starts high school - eek), so Summer is nearly over.

I've noticed in amongst the busyness, that when I don't have as much time for self-expression and creativity, whether that be writing in my journal, creating art, using my camera, going for walks in nature or just having a moment in prayer or reflection, I really feel it.  You know, REALLY. FEEL. IT... - and that's if everything's going great! (he, he).

In the making of Embrace, this special inter-connection of beauty, creativity and the world about us, ourselves, loved ones and our dreams really struck home for me.  You know the old adage, you teach what you need to know and I think this was so true for me.

The truth is, when we pour our hearts out in our journal, write a haiku poem, take a selfie, tend our garden, make art, a quilt, cook a special dinner for our families - we're tapping into a part of us that needs expressing.  When it comes from the heart, whatever it may be, is always worthwhile.

Let the beauty we love be what we do. There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.

~Rumi

I really don't think 'self-expression' has to sound so scary or 'arty-farty'!

As the above Rumi quote hints at, there are a myriad ways to embrace life and express ourselves.

What would life look like for you if you made time to express yourself regularly?

* Do what calls you in the middle of the night. 
* Do what is on your heart when you find yourself day-dreaming. 
* Do what you're scared to do but know you will be forever changed by - it's important...
So, only you know the key to unlocking these vital pieces of yourself - so come on, don't be afraid, don't put it off - do yourself and the world a favour and 'just do it' as Nike would say - yes, give yourself the gift of self-expression.
We'll love you for it, truly.

Jane x0

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Receive my 'Heart Letters' & + enjoy optional extras: Free access to the 'Inspiration Library', 20% off online classes, Free prints, art videos + more...