The Thursday after I had my knee surgery, my good friend (and art therapist by trade) Suzanne wanted to entertain me and my mom, who was staying with me and taking care of me. So she came over with an easel, some canvasses, and a slew of paints and brushes. I’ve never painted anything for real before (whatever, paint-by-number totally counts) so this was definitely a stretch for me. My mom and Suzanne are both “real” artists (as opposed to me, a not-even-close-to-an-artist artist) so I was a bit scared to even attempt to paint. But, Suzanne set up a few on-hand items (a bourbon bottle and a wine glass, naturally) on my coffee table and, under her guidance, I started to create a “still life” painting. Shockingly, I actually didn’t fail. I wouldn’t so much say I “succeeded” or even “painted” but I did create something using paint.
TODAY’S SELF-LOVE TIP: CREATE
I can’t even begin to describe how therapeutic and calming it was to sit down and create something that simply wasn’t there before. It may or may not have (read: may not have) looked like the still life I was trying to mimic, but my own hands put that thing together. By my movements, what started the day as a blank canvas ended the day a work of… creation (the term “art,” perhaps, may be a bit of a stretch.)
The thing about creation is this: everyone can do it. Everyone can be a creator.
Side note: I have a hard time saying anyone can be an artist, but most modern art has actually proven that yes, anyone can be an artist. I once saw an exhibit in a modern art museum that was a photograph of a woman shoving dollars and change into her vagina. I mean. If that’s considered art, well… I guess anyone can do it.
At any rate, whether you want to use the term “artist” or not, I believe we were all created in the image of our Creator, so it stands to reason that we can all create. And I think creation and art is a wonderful, tangible way to learn how to love yourself. In a world where PERFECTION and BEAUTY and FLAWLESSNESS all sit atop the highest of pedestals, it’s freeing to create something that’s unique, honest, and maybe even a little bit disorganized.
While my painting won’t ever hang in any art gallery ever, it will hang in my house. And it will always remind me that no matter how perfect society pressures me to be, true art isn’t ever really perfect. It’s a unique collection of colors. It’s a messy collection of different-sized brush strokes. It’s priceless and unlike anything else before it. And no one else could have created that painting. Even though Suzanne’s painting looked a lot more professional (and um, more like the wine glass and bourbon bottle in question) my painting was still exactly that: mine. Mine and mine alone.
So. I encourage you to create something. Maybe not a painting. Maybe a sketch. Maybe a sculpture. Maybe a sandcastle. Maybe write a song. Maybe take a photograph of something that matters to you. But at the end of it all, stand back and admire your work. Admire your art. Remember no one will ever create anything like that ever again and, similarly, nothing like you will be created ever again.