-E = +C or Negative Emotions can lead to Positive Creativity

Owl #8 Acrylic on Wood 2 Ft. x 2 Ft.

Owl #8
Acrylic on Wood
2 Ft. x 2 Ft.

Well, you know my stance on art for wellness. Here’s me practicing what I preach. I’m not going into details about why I’m having turmoil, but this was my endeavor not be consumed by depression. I’m very fortunate to have the time and opportunity to work on my creating.

This is a painting that’s actually done over another piece that I wasn’t happy with. I’ve worked on this owl for about a month and finally decided that since I’m not feeling great and I have anxiety, it’s time to finish my bird!

Yes art can help your mental well-being

For those of us who are creatives, we create to live and live to create. The benefits for us are usually obvious but what about people who create only as an avocation or to heal from suffering? I believe that the therapeutic benefits are unmistakable.

In my work as a Health and Wellness Teacher, I have seen the benefits first hand with mentally ill clients. In addition to teaching clients about stress management, meditation and positive psychology I facilitated an art group at a mental health clinic in Phoenix for over three years. People attended to create jewelry, paint, sculpt, draw, collage and some other endeavors. 

Even in the midst of emotional turmoil, my clients found a haven from the storms of their illnesses whilst engaging in flow activities that helped them. To see participants find the mindfulness of creativity was inspiring. When people returned week after week to the art group, I could see progress in their emotional resilience.

It’s hard to quantify the psychological and physiological benefits of creative engagement, but studies done on mindfulness have shown indisputable evidence that mindful activities along with meditation lower blood pressure, cortisol levels, tension and emotional distress.

As someone who’s contended with bipolar for the majority of my life, I can attest to the benefits of art and creating. When my depression and anxiety kick in, I find peace and energetic flow in painting, drawing, graphic design, writing or creating music on my guitar or computer. Without the emotional and creative outlets, I would undoubtedly fall much deeper into a pit of despair. Art helps me to shift the freight train of darkness onto a new course of healing.

Creating stuff can halt your emotional freight train

pntz

We have a deep-rooted emotional system that’s evolved over millions of years. The fight-or-flight (FOF) system in our brains is good up to a point when avoiding disaster, but when the stress train gets chugging for things like money worries, fear of the future, and general anxiety issues, our FOF is often dangerous to our well-being.

I’m sure you’re familiar with the runaway emotional feeling when we you get overwhelmed by emotions. But, did you know that switching over to our creative brain can stop the flood of emotions?

When you feel like you’re going to burst, try shifting into creator mode. Start by deep breathing  (I’m a big proponent of meditation but more on deep breathing (DB) techniques later) and add to the DB  by grabbing a pencil, musical instrument, paint brush or whatever tool leads to your creative process and you can put shift that emotional  loco-motive onto a different course.

Even physicists can shift the FOF by trying to create a theory or simply work on a formula in their heads. Creation as healing and shifting our FOF system is something I’m going to discuss a lot of in future posts.

Give it a shot. I’d love to hear about you and your creative emotional shifting so please feel free to share! I encourage it.

 

Always hone those skills

My friend who is an Art Teacher in Phoenix told me a bit of wisdom that seemed obvious but relevant to us visual artists…try to draw every day. Even if it’s only for a few minutes. I figure five days a week of drawing, painting and doing design on my computers should do it.

What I love about art and creating is that there is not end to the learning and growing. No matter what you create, you’ll always continue to hone your skills and talents if you choose to grow and get better.

That said, since I bought a Wacom drawing tablet, I’ve been flexing my graphic design muscles again. Just for fun, I used a photograph of one of my favorite singers, Ronnie James Dio and converted him into a vector image. I tweaked the photo to make him look more impressive in black and white with a Pixlr program and did the same to his album cover to “Holy Diver”

Now I’m using this technique to apply to my own illustrations so that I can make them digital and be able to manipulate them more easily. and combine them with other techniques. We’ll see where I go with this….

Ronnie James Dio's Holy Diver digital collage

Ronnie James Dio’s Holy Diver digital collage

Don’t Be Afraid To Show That You’re a Creator!

M.C. Escher - DrawingHands

M.C. Escher – DrawingHands

How many people do you know that are afraid of truly expressing themselves? They fear being shamed and ridiculed for showing that they have what all humans have: creativity.

Sure, some of us “creatives” have had that driving passion and support of friends and family to pursue our visual art, writing, music, dancing, acting etc. Remember though, almost every child had the space to express themselves before some became so self-conscious that they buried their creation engines (often around the 8 to 10 years old).

What many people need to re-ignite that flame is to find the flowing mindful energy of creating. It doesn’t matter what it is. It can be public or private. Whether its taking crayons and coloring, knitting, playing with clay, writing poetry, painting, beading, sketching, playing a guitar, thumping on a drum….you know what I’m getting at.

Jaz Coleman of Killing Joke

I did a mixed media illustration and converted it in Adobe Illustrator. I love changing pieces into various media.

The original I did was on watercolor paper with colored pencils and some acrylic paint. There’s something about doing a piece of art based on an Artist that I’ve admired for years. Inspiration created out of being inspired!

Here’s more info on the amazing Jaz:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jaz_Coleman

jaz