How it all came about
Over the second Covid19 pandemic lockdown, around October/November 2020, I started noticing some paintings that my yoga friend C. was often posting on FB. I was in awe of how beautiful they were! I had these crazy thoughts in my head… ‘could I possibly do that, too? could I get some paints and paint some stuff… just for myself, because it is going to be total rubbish for sure.’
Growing up, I never thought of myself as a creative person in any way. Art or being creative was not something that was encouraged or cultivated where I grew up. Sure, I went to art galleries on school trips and learnt about artists at school. During that time not for a moment I thought that art was something that I could also ‘do’.
I thought that Art is a gift that only certain special and ‘chosen’ people can create. In my head, you needed to be born an artist in order to create and that you need a permission from other people to become an artist and formal art education. Other people need to tell you at a certain point ‘Now you are an Artist’. It is funny, but it is true!
I decided to give myself permission (just a little) to be an ‘amateur artist’ in my spare time. Obviously this would be after dinner is cooked, dishes are done and my baby Sophia is happy and content asleep in bed (just kidding, but the part about Sophia is true).
I stumbled upon an artist and a writer Tamara Laporte of Willowing.org, and her book ‘Create your Life Book‘. I was so blown away by the simple beauty of the messages and lessons that her book contains. She talks a lot about embracing and accepting our imperfections and enjoying the little things that we create.
Over the next few months, as evenings grew longer, colder and darker, my curiosity grew exponentially. I bought a few (too many!) art supplies and I started exploring. I painted, drew and collaged. I spent most of those winter evenings in my freezing cold conservatory, with one small radiator for company, usually wearing three jumpers, an apron and three pairs of socks.
Long evenings and freezing cold
My brain was trying to make sense of what was happening around me by immersing deep in art and colour. Each night, after I put my daughter Sophia to bed, I’d make a cup of tea and disappear for a few hours into the freezing cold conservatory, while my partner Zach stayed watching movies in front of the toasty fireplace in our living-room. He would occasionally come in and tell me how freezing cold the conservatory is and if I am warm enough.
Somehow the freezing cold was very comforting to me. It kept me energized and present. Feeling warm and cosy has the opposite effect on me! I took a step back from the Covid situation, and not being able to see friends and family, by painting and creating art.
At the end of each creative evening I would lay out my artworks around the conservatory to dry overnight. In the morning, I would come in and look at each one from a different perspective. I am no Picasso, but I was quite amazed at what I could create, once I let myself relax and let go of the need for everything to be perfect.
Friends and audiobooks
While painting I would listen to music or audiobooks. I would also talk to my friend, V., for hours on end. Sometimes we would talk every night for a couple of hours. We would make each other laugh and talk about the time when we used to share a flat in London. All of this while I painted. It was almost as if our friendly conversations freed me to paint, instead of overthinking every mark or line I made.
My friend and I re-connected on a whole new and different level. Sometimes we laughed, sometimes we cried, but sometimes we also stayed comfortably silent for a long while. Art and conversation flowed effortlessly, as if the pandemic and the restrictions stripped away all of my anxiety. I started seeing myself in a different light. Each morning I saw the paintings I did the night before and I was full of gratitude and appreciation for spending my time making these paintings.
How about you?
I believe that if I can be an artist, ANYONE can be an artist, too!
How do you know you are not an artist? Have you actually tried exercising your creativity?
You do not actually need a lot of money to make art either. A student quality acrylic or watercolour set will not break a bank!
Hers’s a crazy thought: maybe try other things as well? What interests you? What have you always wanted to do?
Do something different, find out what kind of artist is hiding inside you!
I can really say that art for mental health is really effective!
Here are some of my artworks completed over winter 2020/2021.