It’s Mental Health Month here in Oz.
Wednesday was Mental Health Day.
Just as well, says Sally, as I was feeling super-stressed and I had the opportunity to attend Qi Gong class while watching the rain lollop down the window pane. That helped.
Creative expression helps to alleviate stress big-time.
And small-time. That is, even if you have only a small rainy window pane to express your pain, or simply play with colour, it helps.
You might remember Aunty Art Café. It’s one of the occasions I’ve shared with you school holiday art-making experiences with my niece. Fun.
This school holiday, my niece, sister and I had one hour. Just a little bit of bloomin’ art-making time. (please excuse the My Fair Lady song reference. Do you know ‘With a Little Bit of Bloomin’ Luck’ from another era?)
One hour. What shall we do?
I tear up small square pieces of paper. Let’s not be overly ambitious and begin a project we’re unlikely to finish.
Here’s what Amy Maricle of Mindful Art Studio says about working small:
Many of us struggle to find the time and motivation to create. Work, family, house cleaning, and other responsibilities seem to get in the way and always take priority. Making art often feels like an art “project,” or chore – instead of a joy or a release – it takes a large chunk of time to set up, complete, and clean up. If I approached my art practice this way, I don’t think I’d make a tenth of the art I make.
Small art, here we come. I get out the watercolour Brilliants. The set of 12 and the set of 24.
Let’s each start on one piece of paper with the common theme of CIRCLE. Let’s paint for ten minutes, then pass it on. Ruby, Jennie and I begin. We do a round-robin.
Paint, pass it on. Paint, pass it on until each paper morsel contains the contribution of each person, then returns to the originator for finishing off.
Let’s repeat the process. What will our theme be? The SQUARE. Ooo that’s a challenge for a circle-spiral-swerve-curve artist such as myself. But hey – the Pass it On process is ripe with challenge already.
What if you want to spend longer than your ten minutes on each piece?
What if you don’t like to be rushed with your art?
What if the person before you has filled up the space and there’s no room to add anything?
What if you dislike what someone else has done to your original piece?
Somehow, each of us runs with the exuberant or painstaking rhythm of individual yet collective art. Somehow, each of us accommodates to the challenges.
Somehow, in this contained collaborative creative endeavour, each of us finds a measure of delight and inventiveness.
And look what we’ve made together!
You could say: At least some of the time,
with a little bit of bloomin’ luck,
three art hearts are better than one.
Here’s a link to Mental Health Month, by the way.
With love, art and soul