Making art is not for members of some exclusive club. It's not reserved for people with exclusive educations or people who have dedicated their whole life to their "craft." The truth is, anyone can and SHOULD create art. No matter your level of skill, art can be incredibly beneficial! There are materials made specifically for beginners, or you can just jump in!
But why do I think everyone should create art? What benefit does it have besides "making pretty things?" Here are seven of my biggest reasons why everyone - including you - should take a moment and make art...whenever you can!
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- Getting creative is good for the brain! Though it has been difficult to pull any "hard statistics" on the connection between art, creativity and the mind itself, advances in medical technology now allow for better study of the physical effects of art and creativity on the brain. Exposure to art can stimulate both hemispheres of the brain, which can be beneficial for the average person, of course, but also in the treatment of neurological conditions like strokes and traumatic brain injuries. (Read more about the science of art and the brain here). Also, studies have shown that engaging in artistic activity can help you maintain your brainpower. One particular study found that people between the ages of 85 and 89 with no current memory issues who engaged in artistic activity were 73% less likely to develop mild cognitive impairment. Additionally, there were links shown between creativity, cultural enrichment and a decline in depression. (Read more about all of that here). The bottom line? Art helps you maintain your brain! So get creating!
- It’s relaxing! This shouldn't be a surprise to anyone, but creating art can have a relaxing effect. And especially in a year like 2020...we can use all the relaxation we can get, right? I know I've seen plenty of people start making art in 2020, and I can't say I'm surprised at all. I know that when I'm creating art, I relax. Yes, even during those frustrating commissions and pieces that aren't going my way. The fact is, I get wrapped up - you could say I "get lost in" the piece I'm creating. That's relaxing to me! Also, especially in the case of creating my paintings, spewing ideas and colors onto a canvas or a piece of paper is like a release of stress, anxiety and even some forms of depression. It's a way to express my emotions and turn them into something beautiful. Creating art releases the negative emotions you may feel, and it allows your brain to just LET GO. So try out something simple today. Pick up some paper, a beginner's painting kit, a few brushes and try out some stress relief! Or break out some paper and a pencil and just sketch! Whatever you feel like - give it a shot.
- Discovering hidden talents - Have you tried every form or art in the entire world? Probably not! So don't tell me "I suck at art!" Look, first of all, who cares? The point of art is not to be "great" or even compare yourself to anyone else. If you are enjoying it and expressing yourself, you are kicking some artistic behind, and you should keep going! But if you are awful at, say, drawing...does that mean you'll be awful at everything? No! Maybe you can't draw well, but you are an incredible painter. Maybe you can't get the hang of oil painting, but watercolor is your JAM. Maybe you don't know how to draw a realistic eye, but your cartoon skills are insane! Keep trying new things - you may discover you are REALLY GREAT at something you never thought to attempt!
- Break in your routine - Do you really want to do the exact same thing, every day, every hour, for the rest of your life? No, you probably don't. Look, I love a good routine. As a mom, I thrive on predictable days and love when my daughter is on a consistent schedule. It lets me get things done around the house and have time for "me." But you know what I fill that "me time" with, most days? Yep, creativity - art, writing, planning out a career step - something that gets my creative juices flowing. And while sure, I'm on a schedule to do these things, what I'm actually doing changes so often! We all need a break in our daily, mundane routine on occasion. Why not fill that time with art? Pick up an inexpensive drawing kit like this General's Drawing Class Essential Tools Kit and some paper like this Canson Pure White Drawing Pad and step away from the everyday nonsense - you deserve a break!
- Helps to communicate a message when words may fail - I know it sounds cliche, but art speaks. Art is designed to produce emotions. Colors, shapes, textures, strokes...it all makes us feel something - yes, even those sports portraits that I create. No one picks up a piece of art and feels nothing! Even if you just feel "hey, that's cool," that's still an emotion! But as I mentioned in reason #1, art can help release feelings of anxiety and stress. It can also be a great space to share joy and excitement. Sometimes we have things we want to communicate, but we just can't find the words. We know what we are feeling, and we know it needs to be expressed. But how? This is where art comes in. Are you feeling some heavy emotions lately? (It's 2020 - I'm sure you are!) Take some of them out on an art piece. Even just throwing paint on a canvas. I can almost guarantee you that what you end up with will make you see what you are feeling inside. It's incredible how it works, really! So release some of your emotions! Share your work and communicate what it is you're feeling! When you share your work and you let it be true to your emotions, you could lead to my next point...
- You can develop a pretty healthy side income! I know, not everyone will be on board with this one, but I have to mention it because it's true. Even if you never had any intention of selling some of your art, you just never know - someone may be interested! Especially if you are connecting with your work on an emotional level, your work could be incredibly lucrative. I'm not saying you should quit your job and become an artist, but what I am saying is that you never know - if you create art that is true to YOU, people can take notice! I didn't start creating art with the intent to sell it - people wanted it, and now here I am. So create some art, share it, and you never know...you could be partnering with me soon!
- It’s FUN! Last but certainly the most important reason...FUN! Sure it relieves stress and activates the brain and blah blah blah, but the bottom line with art is that it is something you can do that is honestly enjoyable. There is no formal structure. There is no right, no wrong, no final grade. Art is whatever you want it to be. You can draw, paint, stitch, create digital art, work with any combination of any art types you can think of - and create something that speaks to you and really enjoy yourself! So what are you waiting for? Grab a friend, grab your significant other, wrangle up the kiddos, take an hour or two this week to have some fun and create some wonderful art pieces!
Art is not for an exclusive club of talented superhumans - it is for ALL of us. Every single one. Every age, every life experience, every mental state. Art brings joy to our hearts. It makes us feel! I want to challenge you to start making time to create art TODAY. Even if it's as little as 5 minutes of doodling on a post-it note between work projects. Everyone starts somewhere! Use what you have - notebooks, ballpoint pens, pencils, old watercolor paints, cardboard, glue...it doesn't matter! Start where you are. And when you're ready, pick up a few supplies that capture your interest! I'm a huge fan of Blick Art Materials because they always have exactly what I need (and some stuff I didn't realize I wanted!). So try out drawing, painting, sculpture...whatever you'd like! I guarantee you'll wonder why you didn't start earlier!