Art Heals

illustration by Kristin Noelle

I recently had the opportunity to write for another online magazine, Zenzpiration. Then, as has been happening recently, the Universe (via Kristin!) delivered an art-themed Monday Motivator illustration to my Inbox, so I’ve decided to share my story on How I got my Art Groove Back“. with all of you. ~xo!

I went to public school in the days where art and music classes were a given. Every kid had them and there was no argument over funding or threats to cut those programs. I loved both. I was never into sports and dreaded gym class, but always looked forward to art and music. Those were my happy places.

Fast forward 20 years and I hadn’t done anything even close to artistic since those elementary school days. I stuck with musical endeavors through college, but the art groove was completely gone.

There’s no tragic story about someone telling me my art sucked or anything like that. I just stopped doing it somewhere along the way. I didn’t necessarily miss art, but you know how it goes – the longer you don’t do something, the scarier it is to start it again and the less you believe you actually can start it again.

So I kept not doing it.

Until a friend encouraged me.

We had simultaneous crappy years, on opposite sides of the country. When she moved back home, she made me get canvas and acrylic paints, brushes, etc. We spread a plastic table cloth on my kitchen table and we painted. She told me it didn’t have to be anything; it was just about doing it. About exercising that part of my brain. About tapping into creativity and paying attention to how it makes you feel.

You know what? It felt great! Like anyone with a new hobby, I quickly started encouraging everyone I knew to paint with me. I have several canvases from that time that are half mine and half someone else’s. I painted a triptych for my parents’ family room. I was hooked!

Until… I stopped again.

Life happened. There’s no rhyme or reason to it, but several more years went by until I painted again. Oh, and the old intimidation of starting was back, too. Good times.

Until… A friend encouraged me.

Different friend, this time. My 2 closest girlfriends and I decided that it would be good for all of us to have a creativity day, so off to the craft store we went. I bought canvases and acrylic paints, brushes, etc. Halleluiah, I actually painted something again! And all of the good feelings came back, too!

This was about 2 years ago, and I’ve managed to stick with it. Not as frequently as I’d like (life still does happen), but I do it. And I love it. I have a space in my home for painting. I have an easel set up and everything is accessible. I even painted a piece for my kitchen and I could not love it more. I genuinely feel that my art groove is officially back! It took a lot of external encouragement to get it back, and that’s OK. I was open to it, and for me, that’s big. I tend to resist doing anything that I’m not absolutely sure I’ll master, and all that self-doubt was quite a hurdle to jump. But I jumped it.

These days, I look at my art groove very differently. I realize that the action of creating is a gift in itself. No piece is finished until I say so, and there’s no shame in painting over a canvas you absolutely hate and starting over (my most favorite piece was created this way!). It’s about the process and I know that I’ll eventually create something I love. I also know that I may, again, lose my art groove, but at least now I also know how to get it back.

?, Lara

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