Why I art?
A year ago, I was going through some of my old papers, and came across a series of sketches and paintings that I made back when I was in my 20s. I remembered the joy that I felt when I made them, and started to think about picking up my pencil and sketching again.
I had put away drawing and painting during that long period of graduate school, when I focused all my attention on my studies. With raising my daughters, studying, and teaching, I had very little time for any hobbies. When I finished school, I got a job, and during my first day on the job, my coworker asked me what hobbies I had, and I thought, oh my god! I don’t have any!
Science was all that I had time for, even the act of spending time to watch a sports game, seemed to luxury. I replied, that beyond science, and paleontology I had none…. but it got me thinking.
A few years later I entered into the world of academia, and came to realize that being an assistant professor, was like graduate school, but with ten more layers of responsibility. My level of stress increased, and I tried to balance my caffeine fueled stress during the day and night, with late night alcohol. My health began to suffer, and I knew that if I was going to survive beyond, I would need to find a way to calm my mind.
I started reading about meditation and mindfulness, and started working on practicing meditation in my office to relieve stress, and at night before falling asleep. But the more I read about meditation and started practicing it the more often I would just fall asleep.
So I turned to art. I started first sketching using a pencil, moved onto oil painting, and have lately been doing a lot of watercolor sketches. I find that if I work on a painting each night before bed, I fall asleep and clear my mind. The act of making something beautiful is a wonderful side effect of my art meditation. I find that I often will look forward to that time.
I find the following things to help:
1) Don’t care about how the finished painting will look, enjoy the process of making art.
2) Keep a good steady breath while drawing, and painting.
3) Prevent your mind from wandering by actively looking at your subject.
4) Don’t worry about what people think of your art, the one person that matters is yourself.
I post my art each night on Facebook, and it is nice that I can share my art to my friends, and get feedback from my friends.
If you like to see the rest of my artwork, check out my Gallery of Art here: