Daily Art Practice

We may have discussed this before, but I would really like to encourage you to have a personal daily art practice.

First, what is a daily art practice?  My definition is to create something daily.

Whether that is a drawing, painting, multi-media piece, fabric art, photography, coloring pages, pastels, spray painting, cake decorating, writing, musical instrument or vocal work, dance, scrapbooking, anything that requires you to use your creativity to create something.  The actual medium used is not important.  That you are engaging in a creative endeavor is.

Why is the daily use of creativity so important?  The root word for creativity is “to grow”.  We need to use our creativity to grow as people.  We need to be creative to make life interesting and fulfilling.  We need to be creative to reach our potential while we travel this world for the brief time we’re here.  Art, and all creative endeavors, enhance our lives and improve our health, both mentally and physically.

In short, we feel better when we create stuff.

Some of us are struggling with tremendous challenges.  Our physical and mental health might not be what we would like.  Things like depression, anxiety, M.S., Lupus, migraines, cancer, etc. can take a terrible toll on us.  Each day is an effort just to be able to do the most basic things, like brush your teeth or get out of bed.  There are days when these things are simply to much for us to manage.  It is on those days in particular when it is most important to have a daily art practice.

It does not have to involve anything expensive.  In fact, the less you spend the more creativity you will unleash.  Make flowers from junk mail, buy a coloring book and crayons from the dollar store-for two bucks you have several pages of things to work on.  Make an art journal from an old phone book.  They are free and have lots of pages you can create on.  Just do something.

The reason I am suggesting you create, no matter how you’re feeling is simple:  you will be able to create your way to a better day.  Even if you can’t see what you’re doing-create anyway.  Even if you have no strength to get out of bed, create anyway.  Even if your arms have failed and you can’t hold a paint brush-create anyway.

Don’t paint with a paint brush, use a palette knife or a butter knife for that matter.  If you can’t see because your vision is blurred-fine. Use modeling paste, use drywall compound, use silicone caulk…Smear paint around with your fingers.  Use your feet.  If you are unable to lift your head from the pillow, okay.  Roll onto your side and rip paper into shapes, attach to your art journal at a later time when you’re able to be up.  Unravel an old sweater or blanket and roll the yarn into balls for use at a later time on your projects. Cut buttons and zippers off old clothing and toss in a grocery bag for use in later projects.  Shred old shirts, dresses, sheets and use the strips for creating braided rugs.

If you can use any part of your body, you can create.  If you can only speak-tell your stories into a tape recorder.  Create characters and stories for children’s books and narrate them.  Search on line for an illustrator, if you are not able to do that yourself.  Self publish.

Earlier this week I made a discovery.  While I don’t want to get to personal here, it has been a very difficult week for me health-wise.  I realize my faith is what keeps me going through the tough stuff, but having a daily art practice is what pushes me into action.  I made myself a promise I would create something everyday, and I have kept that promise to myself.  Each day I have to think of something to make…I have to get myself moving so I am able to create…I have to engage in the creative activity…I have to forget my problems and focus on the project.

Not everything is art.  Lots of it is utter crap.  But that’s not the point of the exercise.  The point is to get the creative juices flowing so I feel better both physically and mentally.  To enjoy the journey, rather than focusing on the results.  To experience moments of joy when things don’t seem to be going that way.

Give yourself the opportunity to create in spite of it all.  You will be a happier, healthier person because of it.  I promise.

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