by Kelly Lingen
There’s no denying the strong connection that lies between art and the emotions. Just think of the countless paintings, sculptures, and other monumental works of art that have been created to pay tribute to a loved one, to forever capture a memory, or to express something words simply couldn’t. Art is, in fact, an excellent way to express feelings, to release emotions, and even more – to promote wellness in the mental and emotional bodies. When you’re healthy and balanced mentally and emotionally, every aspect of your life automatically improves. If you’re wondering how you can incorporate art into your life to feel happier, reduce stress, balance your moods, and be an overall more positive person, read on. It’s a lot easier than you might think. And don’t worry – you don’t have to be Picasso to do it.
Mindful doodling is kind of like doodling while in a meditative state. Have you ever heard of Zen Doodle® or Zen Tangle®? Those are trademarked terms for mindful doodling that are becoming fairly common and trendy these days. For doodling, all you need are a few pens and some paper. Fine point art pens are usually recommended for mindful doodling, but my favorite choice is a nice, smooth gel pen. Gel pens work well on any paper, they come in a variety of colors, and they’re budget-friendly, too! For paper, I recommend buying a pack of plain, unlined index cards or you can try folding sheets of paper and gently tearing them in half or quarters. In my experience, the smaller the canvas, the better the final piece. With pen and paper in front of you, start by making a “squiggle” design. Next, make small patterns inside each section of the squiggle. See where your patterns and designs take you. For pattern ideas, pick up a book on artistic doodling. You can find all sorts of them at your local arts & crafts store or online, too.
If you’re new to painting for fun and relaxation, don’t let the thought of a blank canvas intimidate you. Instead, let the endless possibilities excite you! If you already have some experience painting, choose what type of paint you’d like to use, gather your materials, dust off your palette, and immerse yourself in your art. New to the world of paint? There are 3 different types to choose from: acrylic, oil, and watercolor. With any of them, you’ll need the appropriate brushes for the type of paint you’ll be using, an assortment of paint colors, a canvas (canvas, canvas board, or paper), an easel (optional), a cup of water for dirty brushes, a palette, and any other accessories you may wish to use. If you’re feeling brave, experiment. There’s no right or wrong way to do this because you are doing this for you. If, however, you would like some guidance, consider signing up for a few art classes to get you started, or take a look at a couple of books or videos to get some pointers.
Last but not least is coloring. Coloring? Yes! Coloring! Coloring has long been under-rated and it is finally making a comeback. You can’t walk through a bookstore these days without seeing a display table stocked to the hilt with coloring books geared strictly towards adults. These coloring books don’t feature your children’s favorite cartoon characters or toys – instead you’ll find detailed mandalas, enchanting gardens, whimsical designs, and so much more filling up the pages of these marvelous coloring books designed just for you! So pick up some fine point markers, high-quality colored pencils (my personal favorite), or old-fashioned crayons and a coloring book that appeals to you. You can color anywhere at anytime, and it takes absolutely no skill…well…it helps if you can try and stay inside the lines (but hey – nobody will fault you if you don’t!). Tip: If you have difficulty finding “me time” because you’ve got a little tribe you’re looking after, this is a great artistic hobby to pick up. When you need a little down time, suggest that everyone get out their coloring books and you can all color together.
Taking time out to reflect on your emotions and feelings is a very healthy practice. Since it’s also good to have an outlet, art is the perfect way to put two and two together. Expressing your emotions with color and technique, releasing them onto some sort of canvas – it’s a really beautiful thing. So why not give one or all of these artistic hobbies a try? With a few materials to start and some time set aside just for you, you may find that a bit of creativity and color was just what the doctor ordered.
Copyright © Kelly Lingen