Some of you know my “real” job is that I’m a writer.
One topic I recently wrote about again was art therapy.
I’ve always played around with artsy projects and garden “stuff,” but I’m not sure I realized the therapeutic role it played in my life.
Lately, I’ve been struggling (like most of you, I’m sure) to stay informed about the political scene without totally loosing what’s left of my mind. And I’m trying to cope with serious illnesses in both my parents and help them out wherever I can.
My art projects have fallen to side because of jam packed days. And I’ve noticed a big difference in how stressed I feel.
Are you still with me? I know I’m babbling more than usual today. But it’s for a good reason y’all!
So I decided to issue myself a challenge…throw down the gauntlet…or the glove or whatever it is you throw when you issue a challenge.
I’m going to take time to create something every. single. day. during the month of February.
Create Everyday: Creativity Inspires Us, Empowers Us & Calms Us
Way back in the dark ages when I was a bright eyed college student at Virginia, Maya Angelou was the poet in residence at my campus.
Seriously. She was a rock star!
I remember one cold winter night (okay, in terms of cold, it was Virginia cold not Michigan cold), Ms. Angelou was giving us a preview of some projects she was working on right before her time with us was up. By that time, word had spread across campus about how amazing she was and no one wanted to miss it.
She talked with us about the importance of staying creative.
Keep in mind, this is a highly competitive college and a crowd primarily made up of students headed for medical school, grad school, law school, jobs with the CIA…
Not exactly a crew you would think would be spellbound by a talk on creativity.
But that auditorium was stuffed to the musty old rafters with students and faculty alike. Standing in the aisles. Sitting on floor, the piano bench and the steps going up to previously mentioned musty rafters.
She inspired everyone of us. No one left early. No one even wanted to leave when she was done.
Most of us in that auditorium had always lived with the idea that because we were headed for careers in fields other than the arts, we couldn’t be artists.
Yet there we were. Spellbound by the idea that anyone can create and that we should do so often.
It’s like the time a little girl told my 3 year-old nephew that, despite what my brother (his dad) said, boys could play with Barbies.
So why am I telling you all this?
Because I’m hoping you all will join me in this challenge!
Creative Projects for People Who Swear they Aren’t Artisitic
One of the great things about the internet is you can connect with loads of classes online. While it’s not as much fun as taking a class with others, it can be a great way to learn at your own pace and on your own schedule.
Here are a few ideas for you to tackle if you are convinced you aren’t artistic:
An Online Photography Class
I’m currently working my way —slowly but surely— through a few of the photographyclasses offered by Shoot Fly Shoot.
They are amazing! I’m finally feeling like I have a shot at using my DSLR camera in Manual mode and taking better photos!
Watercolor Lettering and Painting Online
This is another super fab class for beginners. She offers lots of online watercolor classes ranging from birds to butterflies and herbs. Prices are reasonable and her step-by-step instruction is great! This watercolor lettering class is one I took and really enjoyed.
If you’ve been envious of all those great art journals you see on Pinterest and Instagram (count me in that crowd!) this is one to consider. I’m just signing up for it… Get Messy!
This is an online art journaling community where you can learn how to create your own journal.
They have a free class and have a few specials going on right now to make it easy to get rolling…
Other Creative Activities for Non-Creative Folks
And if you are just looking for a few ideas to play around with, check some of these out!
Petoskey Watercolor Journal Book
Another inexpensive option for getting creative is A Petoskey Watercolor Journal. Its by a talented watercolor artist named, Catherine Carey.
I’ve taken Catherine’s summer classes in Petoskey and they are so much fun! I was excited to snap up her book so I could play more at home during the rest of the year.
If you can’t find it near you or online, call my favorite independent bookstore ever. (McLean & Eakin in Petoskey, Michigan) They’ll ship it right out to you!
Arranging Fresh Flowers
How about grabbing an inexpensive bouquet of flowers from the grocery store each week and creating your own arrangement? I don’t know about your local grocery, but here you can find them for $3 and $4 a bunch!
Most of these bouquets have dates on them just like other produce so take your time and find one that is the freshest.
Better Homes & Gardens has some great tips and I’ve written about arranging grocery store flowers a time or two on this blog. And shared tips for helping tulips last longer, and ideas for arranging flowers in crazy containers like boots and tea pots.
Mr. McGregor’s Garden
A year or so ago, the peeps and I created Mr. McGregor’s garden in a galvanized wash tub.
We bought an old red barn and then I hand built and fired the rest of the pottery pieces.
The kiddos took it from there and painted everything on a dark and dreary winter day.
You can read about it here. If you don’t have access to a pottery studio, I’m sure Sculpey polymer clay will work just fine, too!
If Peter Rabbit’s crew isn’t your thing, pick up one of your kids favorite books and see how you can bring it to life!
So are you in? Will you take up the challenge? I’m sure you will find creating “stuff” helps beat the winter doldrums and relieve anxiety…And let’s face it… anxiety is high across our country right now. We could all use a little relief!
Until next time,
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