I’ve never been any good at art. You know, ‘art’ in the traditional sense of creating something with paint, paper, brushes, that sort of thing. My recent Sunday posts have been about my thoughts after the stress of the workweek. I keep hearing about how important it is to ‘de-stress’. To me these were more buzz-words than anything else. However, after a series of very stressful weeks, I knew I had to do something to recharge my batteries. What should I do? Meditate? Go for long walks? Read books about mindfulness and taking the stress out of my repertoire of feelings?
Do you remember a few weeks ago I wrote a post about challenging everyone to learn something new? Enter my de-stressing, scary I’d make an embarrassment of myself, ART PROJECT! Lo and behold, I bought some ‘made for kids’ paints, basic water-color paper, and the cheapest brushes I could find. With newspapers spread around me in a 3-foot circumference, I placed a small piece of white paper on top of my ink-laden ‘easel’ (Sunday’s Chicago Tribune newspaper!).
I have heard that art for the mere sake of expressing yourself is a terrific way of relieving stress. I started by picking up a paint brush and becoming completely paralyzed by the idea of even placing it into the kiddo-friendly paint colors that were sitting before me. I had flashbacks of being a child and dreading art class. I loved English class, but the smell of paint, adhesives, construction paper, and molding clay practically sent me into a scary spin. I have always been intimidated by those who have a natural gift for creating beautiful, artistic work.
But I digress; back to, “Cher’s Art Studio” (a.k.a. the kitchen table). I started to drag the paintbrush across the paper, letting the watery paint do whatever it wanted to do. Dragging the brush in another direction, adding more paint, I started to relax, and (dare I say, enjoy this little stress-relieving endeavor) have a laugh with this ‘foreign to me’ ‘fun’.
I decided to take a thoughtful approach to this entire process. The thoughtfulness in not being hard on myself for the inability to produce something pleasing to the eye. Thoughtfulness in taking the brush and feeling quite pleased with trying; yes, just trying. I realized that this in and of itself was what the ‘de-stress’ talk was all about. Opening up your mind to simply act out of your comfort zone and paint without self-judgement.
I am not an artist; I am not going to make anything on paper look as if it needs a magnificent frame to adorn its jagged edges. What I am going to do is the ‘art’ of allowing myself to simply paint for the pleasure of it. I’d say that is the best, thoughtful way to approach de-stressing, don’t you think?