About two weeks ago, I started a 5 day art Heart to HeART challenge (which actually took me about 13 days to do around all the usual “family stuff”) run by creative self-care coach, Liz Chamberlain. It was great actually, I really enjoyed the experience.
I haven’t practiced art much since before GCSEs when I was at secondary school though I’ve done the odd bit of colouring since, nothing major. I didn’t take it at GCSE level as I preferred to do Latin, something I thought I would do well at, and not something like art as I didn’t think I was very good at it. Though I do remember liking the art of drawing objects that were in front of me, or copying pictures. But to draw pictures on my own without any guidance…. really, I’m no good at that kind of stuff on paper. I get really “stuck” with creating these kind of improvisational works of art, wondering am I doing this right, mistakes being made along the way… Ugh, I hate making mistakes as I’m a perfectionist and want it to look nice, to look right. And what if I make a mistake with the colours I choose, especially if I make it too dark, and how can I change it to become more of what I like to make me feel happy about what I have spent time and effort producing, that feeling of achieving something good.
These were my thoughts as I travelled along the journey of this art challenge not knowing what was in store for me. I initially started the course thinking I would do it for the fun of it and see what happens and comes up for me. Couldn’t do me any harm, and if anything, it could well do me a lot of good, and calm down my life a notch and make me feel more grounded.
So off I went and started the challenge using watercolours, but then to go deeper, I had to start using the acrylic paints I bought… I’ve never used these types of paint before so it was all feeling quite new to me. Depending on the technique I was using, I either used it neat as it was, or added some water to it. I ended up making 5 different versions of my one painting over the course of 5 sessions. It was hard work sticking with it as all sorts of feelings came up as I didn’t like what I saw at the beginning, especially when the painting had gotten too dark, but then gradually, I kept adding another layer, brightening it up as I went along with the colours that make me feel brighter, especially after the clouds of darkness appeared on my painting the second day into the challenge, so I started on Day 3 with the colour yellow to let the sunshine in.
Every day brought up a variety of emotions. I was hesitant about building on my picture after Day 4 as I thought this picture was finished and I couldn’t do much more with it, but somehow, I managed to push through this on the final day of the challenge, developed this painting some more and ended up by surprise going along with my intuition and making the yellow bits more of a pink colour and added some sparkle with my new gold metallic pens. By the end, I was happy and the picture looked like it was shining a bit more, like the sun, with all my favourite colours and shapes included in the picture.
I didn’t feel so awful at art by the end of it. I found it quite a relaxing activity I realised I can easily squeeze into my home life, and with my goal of adding more calm and as a way of building upon my creative self care practices that I already do like playing the flute and writing. I ended up signing up to the new monthly membership group, Tend your heart as a follow up to this challenge to help me keep up my new creative self-care habits. Hopefully, it’ll help reduce the overwhelm and stress of daily life, and to help power me through 2022 which is going to be a crazy but exciting year for me!