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Artful Relaxation

improving health with mindful creativity

Artful Relaxation

I’ve been reading about art blogs lately – what makes them interesting and successful, and of course, why some go south.

One excellent bit of advice I came across several times is not to be a perfectionist.   People want to read about what you create, but they also want to read about YOU.   It’s important to share what makes you create what you do, what you feel, and so on.  So instead of apologizing for not having incredibly interesting techniques to share all the time, or “disappearing,” it’s better to just share some of the little things.  So, here I am and here I go.

But first, what prompted me to start talking about this today?
I’m sick.  It happens to all of us.  But this time I got really sick and it’s not fun.  I have shingles.  It’s very painful and it really jolted me.  Why did this happen?  I thought only older people get this.  Apparently, it’s not true.  My doctor said the chickenpox virus, which stays dormant forever, sometimes activates years later if the immune system is down you’re too stressed out.  It makes sense.  I live in NYC and I am subjected to a lot of stress, though I try not to take notice of it.  The emails are incessant and the work is nonstop during tax season.  I have to ride a crowded stressful subway.  I don’t sleep enough, I don’t exercise enough, and I for sure don’t do enough art.  Who has time?  I knew I was running out of steam, and here it is, loud and clear.  So guess what?  I stayed home from work and I’ll be out until next week.
I’m not doing taxes.
I’m not doing laundry.
I’m not even cleaning for Passover. 
I am resting and doing what makes me feel extremely happy and relaxed – I’m working on a doll face.   I’ll use watercolors to paint it.  Watercolors are very relaxing.  I mix the colors and add water to lighten them up. Just a tiny drop of paint on a white dish is all I need.  I love my Pottery Barn dishes, but I love them more when I can use them for paint!
Here’s my palette:
  • Rose Madder Lake
  • Lemon Yellow
  • Warm Sepia
  • Deep Ultramarine
  • Blue Indigo

The pupil is done with ordinary black acrylic paint, and the white of the eye is done with white gouache.

It’s time for me to think about traveling to an art class.  I went to Ankie and Marlaine’s  “Dutch Touch” class in Florida two years ago.  It was wonderful.  Very soothing, very relaxing and very healthy.  There is something special about leaving your own regular environment to be with other “doll people,” if you know what I mean.  This is true no matter what your passion is – quilting, painting, comic con, whatever it is you love to do.  It’s so healthy to have some creative “alone” time for a few days.   I saw a portrait sculpting class in NYC that I would like to try, but I still want to travel and change my environment for a few days, so I can really get into that special “artful headspace.”
I like to teach doll making because it gives me a chance to “be myself” but that isn’t what I need right now.  I teach tax classes and although it is rewarding, it takes a lot out of me.  I teach a freelance tax rules class as well as a special class for international students in universities around NYC, and I am also developing a program for performing artists.  My classes fill up with about 80 students.  Teaching is wonderful but I would much rather teach art than taxes.  However, now is definitely not the time.  I need to be a student and create for myself.  And I need this tax season to end so I can relax and plan to make it easier on myself from now on.
I just wanted to share this with you today because sharing art = happiness, especially when you are not feeling well.  Today I’ll work on my doll until I’ve had my fill, and then I’ll put it aside.  I work pretty slowly, and that’s OK.  The process itself is so worth it.
This has taught me a great lesson:  Don’t stop doing art or whatever it is that you love.  Hobbies are essential to life.  Don’t stop socializing with people who share the same interests that you do.  This has opened my eyes, and I am realizing that I have to have art in my life more, so I can stay healthy.   Art is too important and being successful does not mean allowing yourself to become depleted in the process.
I hope that you will leave a comment and perhaps share what you are working on.
Have a dolligthful, healthy day!

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