I’ve been thinking a ton lately about painting. And why exactly I make art. It’s one of those things people ask me all the time. Why do I love painting so much? Depending on my mood, I give one of several answers. Making art puts me in a state of flow. It’s like there’s nothing better in the world for losing track of time and being completely engulfed in my work. I love to be surrounded by beautiful things, and I feel ridiculously proud when one of those things is something I created with my own two hands. It’s fun! It helps me forget about the world, and my problems, and the never-ending to-do list in my mind. There are about a thousand things I could list that explain why I love to paint.Yet, I always feel like there’s something missing from those answers. And it’s hard to pinpoint exactly what it is.
So I dug for the deeper truth.
The truth is, I have anxiety. Sometimes I do a good job of keeping it at bay, and depending on what’s going on in my life, it might not bother me so much. Other times I feel like I’ve been hit by a freight train of unease, and I struggle. A lot. I could give specific examples of the types of things that cause me anxiety, but the truth is, it’s pretty much everything. There are some situations I’m far more anxious in (like new social situations) and some that I’m far less (like talking with a close friend). But I’ve come to understand myself, and I know that even when, for me, it seems at bay, it’s actually always present in some way. I can’t help it. The physiology of my mind was simply built that way.
And it’s ok. I’ve learned to live with it. And I’ve learned ways to deal when it starts to cause turmoil (or, even better, keep it at bay so that it doesn’t cause turmoil). That’s one of the reasons I started yoga and have kept up with it all these years. It calms my mind.
What I didn’t realize, is that when I talk about making art and being in flow, I’m really talking about calming my anxiety, the same way my yoga practice does. Painting puts me at ease. It allows me to escape my monkey mind, if even for a little while. It gives my mind, and my body, a reprieve from the ill-effects of feeling anxious all. the. time.
If you’re anything like me, you know what I mean. The uncontrollable worry circling your brain. The clenching of your stomach. The uneasy breathing. It doesn’t always have a strong hold, but you know if you let your guard down, it might.
And so I return to my art desk again and again. I know that if I simply put paint to paper I will let it all go for a little while. I’ll stop the cycle, cut it off at its knees. And I’ll feel better.
And that, my friend, is truly why I paint.
Yes, I love to make beautiful things. Yes, it gives me a sense of pride. Yes, it’s meditative. But more than anything, it helps me to feel better. It helps to keep my mind, and thus my body, healthy.
And that’s why I work to bring this beautiful painting practice to you. Because although it’s not something we talk about all the time, I know there are so many women out there that feel the same way. So many women that are seeking ways to feel better, to stay healthy, to keep anxiety (or whatever it is they might be dealing with) at bay. Painting is, quite simply, one of the best ways I know.
If you’d like to pick up a brush and give painting a try, I would love to offer you my free online painting class. Often times, we don’t know where to start, so we never do. But if you’re looking for a creative outlet and a way to calm your mind, painting might be the perfect avenue for you! Sign up for my free class below, and get started.