Creativity and happiness, when in doubt, force it out.

There are countless scientific studies showing that creativity increases happiness.  It has a positive effect on our feelings of well-being and attitudes. So why in an era of adult colouring books and Pinterest boards are we still struggling with being creative?

The answer is simple, we don’t have the time, we don’t have the equipment or we don’t have the skills. At least those are the excuses that we tell ourselves. The excuse I most frequently tell myself is that I’m just not in a creative mood. As it happens I haven’t been in a creative mood for years now. It’s not that I don’t want to create lovely things, I really do, but I just can’t feel ready.  I can’t feel ready to give something of myself and to open up and allow the process to flow.  So what next?  Force.  I decided today that if I can’t feel ready, I will simply just begin. Begin without a plan and allow my mind and my body to work as one.

Over the years I have spent more money on art supplies than I care to admit. They sit in a closet that I wish I went into more often, waiting anxiously to be used. Forcing myself to enter the closet and begin was the start to my day. I had no plan, only supplies. After a couple of hours with a large canvas and paints, here is the result:

Do I like it?  No, not really. I can’t see myself ever hanging this on my wall but I truly enjoyed the process.  I enjoyed selecting the colours and the long and painful process of blending them all together. I enjoyed the pain that my arm felt after the countless brushstrokes I made. I enjoyed the juxtaposition between the dark and light colours and my attempts to soften them. I enjoyed the time that I spent focused on one task.

I can always paint over it when the creative mood really strikes me but for now I am content in process of creation.

As an aside, my spouse feels that this painting looks like a buttocks. If your buttocks looks like this, please seek medical attention.

November 22, 2014: draw your feelings

Yeah, that title sounds quite clinical and dull but it does summarize what I did this evening.

When depression has a strong hold on me I don’t do art at all. In fact I don’t do much of anything at all. I’m quite content (relatively) to do absolutely nothing, not reading, not tv, nothing. I almost did nothing this evening. I almost laid in bed and did nothing. My morning started off well, I felt ambitious and did a couple hours of cleaning. After that I faded fast. I felt lethargic and didn’t want to see or talk to anyone. I knew I was feeling depressed but was not ambitious enough to even attempt to snap myself out of it. I slept on the couch and then in my room. I woke up feeling as though I wasted a day and was even less ambitious than when I went to sleep.

My daughter slowly pulled me out because she held me to a promise I had made to do homemade soap with her. Children suck the life out of me, but sometimes they are the only thing that can force the life back into me. We made soap, we had fun. That led to my evening of painting.

This is what I made:


It’s still wet in this picture but you get the idea. That’s me, I’m the skull. I’m empty, alone and hollow. I’m dark and amongst the shadows. Im surrounded by beauty, life and joy. I’m not so far gone that we can’t all be in the same picture. We share a screenshot. We’re close together but still apart. Almost within reach.