ART is a Gift You Give Yourself

I never really thought of myself as an artist before. As a child, I did enjoy photography and I vividly remember my Dad buying me a polaroid camera and a few years later a super 8 video camera. I had so much fun documenting memories by taking photos, and filming.  Every now and then, I would do a sketch or two, but I can't recall saving them or even displaying them anywhere. Truth be told, I have no idea where my early works of art are now. 

I recall my daughter Malaika's surprise at her 9th birthday party, when I drew Nala and several tails for a Pin the Tail on Nala game. She was amazed that her Mom could draw, and that should have alerted me to the fact that art was not something I did often enough.

Needless to say, it is only in the last 3 years that I really started to take a keen interest in drawing, painting and card making.   We have a 2 room shed behind our house. One section was  for our generator, and the other room was supposed to be a potting shed for me to deal with my orchids and other flowers. Eventually, however, it became  a junk room - full of clutter, and not much else. 

Lucky for me , every summer for the last few years, my two youngest have been spending several weeks with their grandparents and other relatives abroad. This gives Ferron and I a vacation without having to travel or take time off of work. Two summers ago, while the kids were away, I asked him to help me to clear out the shed  and convert it to an art studio. It was a tough task to complete in 4 weeks, the hardest part was sorting through the junk - most of which was thrown away, although we were able to donate a few things. The most enjoyable part was picking out the colors and painting it in our spare time. I ended up with a beautiful space to be creative in, and I have been putting it to good use regularly. Even my youngest, Kalonji, has been enjoying doing art in there with me. My husband is happy too, because now when he is out in the garden, one of his artistic pursuits, I am too busy creating  to miss him or try to cajole him to come in before he is ready .

Potting Shed before being converted to my Art Studio

Potting Shed before being converted to my Art Studio

My Art Studio, with special thanks to my husband Ferron.

My Art Studio, with special thanks to my husband Ferron.

That same summer, I attended a beginners acrylic painting class at TAMCC that was taught by a wonderful local artist, Stacey Byer. I really enjoyed learning some of the basics of drawing and painting, and socializing with other creative people.

Art is not only drawing or painting, it is any creative endeavor such as cooking, writing, making music, dancing, gardening, photography, sculpting, doing yoga.... etc. It is any practice that you can participate in creatively and be focused. Art is good for you, good for your soul. Making art is an opportunity to spend time with yourself, doing something fun that you enjoy. It improves your self-esteem, helps with stress reduction and decreases depression. It stimulates your brain in a different way than work does.  It is an opportunity to get to know yourself better. There is no right or wrong in art, it is what you interpret it to be, and you don't even have to share your creations with anyone if you don't want to.

 I am currently participating in an online drawing class on Craftsy and yesterday, I completed my first charcoal drawing. I am enjoying trying new media, and developing my skills.

Kalonji showed me a sketch he drew and colored when he came home after school today. I feel great knowing that my actions are influencing my son in a positive way and I hope he continues to create art regularly.

Kalonji's after-school sketch.

Kalonji's after-school sketch.

I hope you make time to pursue something artistic to enhance your life and your mood. Your actions may also encourage your loved ones to start doing creative activities too.  Enjoy!