How Art is Keeping Me Sane

May 2020

This is a strange time we are living in. If you’ve found this blog post sometime in the future and have no idea what I’m talking about, then 2020 won’t be remembered how I feared. But, it will. It’s May 2020. We’ve all been in quarantine for… well, to be honest, I’ve lost track.
Or maybe I never started keeping track, because this should be over soon, right?! RIGHT? (future people can chime in now…)

At this time, I am very fortunate that my work situation hasn’t changed much. I’m a contractor most of the time, while I work on building this business and my own brand.  I’ve always wanted to create my own company. To make something. BUILD something. So for the past several years, anytime I found a new passion, I would wonder how I could turn that into a business. Photography, marketing, and design have been the big three, but I still lacked some clarity around how to make them blend. How to solve a problem with the skills I have or want to learn.  I’m not above learning, and mostly it’s what I love doing! 

Enter October 2018. My husband Jake and I had returned from a 10-month adventure of traveling around the world that March. We were living with his parents, and while I was incredibly grateful, I was also very stressed. I went from having total freedom to living in a small town, knowing no one, and not really having anywhere to go. 

I needed something…else. 

Something that would allow me to be off-line and something that I didn’t want to turn into a business. I remembered taking a calligraphy class in high school and how much I enjoyed it. I did a little of the Googleing, played around with some free YouTube videos, and then decided I wanted to dive deeper. I found an incredible hand-lettering teacher, Becca of The Happily Ever Crafter, and rekindled my love of the pen and paper. 

hand-lettered bullet journal
Gotta start somewhere, right?

Fast forward to now. I’ve continued to work on my hand lettering and in early 2019 I started to dive deeper into graphic design. Now, the graphic design skills were intended to be a business when I started learning more, however, it felt SO good to be focusing on something creative for a change. Quite honestly, it’s been a while! And I never would have followed down that path more creative path if I hadn’t picked up those brush pens and started learning hand lettering in the first place.


As I mentioned, now it’s May 2020. Day 934 of quarantine.
(well, at least that’s what it feels like)

I’m definitely under stress, as we all are right now. And I’ve taken this time to get off-line again and focus on brushing up on my illustration skills.  There is something so satisfying about bringing pen/ paint/ pencil to paper and making something! There have been countless studies that prove that art can help relieve stress and there are even board-certified Art Therapists. So it makes a whole lotta sense that I’m drawn back to art even more strongly at a time like this. 

I feel like when I’m in a “working mode” I forget about play. And I forget to create just to create.
Also, art doesn’t have to be “good”. Art doesn’t have to be shared.There’s a simple joy of creation that I truly believe we all have. When we used to draw as children, we would do so with abandon. No attachment to the outcome. Just crayons, markers (preferably the ones that smelled like weird fruits, you know the ones) pastels, or whatever our stubby little hands could grab! We made art.  It didn’t have to be good. It was an expression. 

As adults, I feel like we’ve gotten so disconnected from simple forms of expression. Be it art, dance, or even just play. When is the last time you moved or did something without an expectation of any outcome? Or the need for it to be good before you gave up and moved on?

My challenge to you is this:
Play. Explore. Make. All with abandon. 

You don’t have to show your expression to anyone. It can be just for you.  And take a beat to notice how it makes you FEEL. 
At this time art with abandonment has helped me feel free in a time where we are not. It’s also rekindled the joy of creation for me and, dare I say, my sanity.

How about you?  

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