Start With Art

Make art because it feels good. Art is as therapeutic as a glass of wine or a good work out.

5 reasons to make art:

  1. Your imperfections are beautiful
  2. You are in the moment
  3. You see things differently
  4. You connect to your child-like self
  5. You co-create with God
This is from a page in my art journal.

Just about every Sunday night, I sit at the dining room table and move around some gesso, paint, gel, old magazine pieces, ink, pastels, stamps.

I make crazy art collage books — a bunch of randomness. Searching for serendipity, synchronicity. I try to piece it all together. I really don’t care if people like or understand my stuff. I live so much of my life trying to get people to understand – as a writer, I want to be clear; as a teacher, I want my students to get the assignment.

So I appreciate the time with my art; time connected, not to my head, but to my body or spirit or flow. I know I am good with words, but sometimes words fail. Or words exhaust.

Then images remain, replenish.

I doubt I am much of a fine artist. One brother is a professional artist. Another is a graphic artist. And my father is pretty good with a paintbrush. My whole family is artsy. So I might have a knack.

I am okay that my work is messy. Making art is about letting go of intentions. I start one project only to move on to another. Briefly, I was obsessed with painting small boxes. I have more than a dozen. I tried to give them away at Christmas a couple of years ago but one of my sister-in-laws refused the gift! LOL – An indication of how useful these little boxes are? Honestly, I think she was trying to honor her minimalism rather than denying my craftsmanship. And I can honor that and want to downsize too.

There is no reason to make art. But my dad once told me (don’t you love when politicians are always quoting their fathers?) “You should always do the thing for which there is no reason.”

I realize by making art that I have a unique way of seeing the world. I realize that making art is simply playing. Tinkering. I have to believe that the act of creation is something the creator wants us to do. And something that benefits us all. As actors, composers, singers, dancers, artists, we move the human race forward. And we receive therapy. It just feels good.

What are you making today?

my little treasure boxes
my little treasure boxes

Art and Writing Heal

I am rarely sick. I know this has to do with my genes. But I wonder if my basic overall good health has anything to do with my morning routine. Every morning, I get up, drink coffee, and write about my life. I started this more than 15 years ago, a la Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way. Studies have shown that daily writing about stress, anxiety and trauma boosts your immune system.

Writing and art is good for the soul. And maybe the arts are good for the body too. Since January, I’ve not only been writing longhand in a spiral notebook, but I’ve been updating my art journal. I am repurposing the hardcover book, The Rules of the Game by Georges Simenon. The library was discarding this book.

The paper in a hardcover is much lovelier than in any spiral bound notebook. For me, the challenge is that the words are already there. Sometimes the words hinder and sometimes they help. Sometimes the words peek through and sometimes I paint over them.

One of my darlings has strep throat. Of course now the whole family feels a little sick. Even me who never gets sick. I think I will take two aspirins and write or paint in my art journal.

To learn more about making an art book, link to Effy Wild’s Book of Days.