Sunday, June 16, 2019

Art -- They Say It Makes You Mentally Healthy!

Every now and then when I get on a watercolor spree (or, for that matter, many crafty sprees), someone (usually Rick) might be likely to say, "But what are you going to do with it?" And I might answer, "Maybe sell it if someone wants it, or frame it, or photograph it for a card or just put it in my watercolor binder." When it's a commission, I'm lucky because I know where it's going! (I'm also very frantic -- especially if it's an animal -- because I know I can never bill for all the time involved to get it right.)


But the real question I ask myself is "why do it in the first place?"

It's not like I'm going to make a living off of it. It's more like I can't not do it.


And practice makes things better. I like seeing that improvement. It shows that even though I'm not working outside the home I can do something disciplined and strive to do it better than the time before -- and succeed. And sometimes you go too far. This is the initial pencil sketch of an iris from a magazine. I liked it!


This is the sketch when I added in some color pencil. I don't like it nearly as well as the black and white.

 

Not everything works. And even the ones that work could probably be better. More than once I've finished a painting and thought, "That's not quite right, but I can't do anymore on this one." Because sometimes you just have to stop. I'm not at all satisfied with the one below. But it just means I have to keep trying.


A FB friend of mine, Jessie Rae, nailed it well in a post she recently had: 

Everyone has a lot of bad art inside them. Trite poems, bad paintings, lousy sewing projects that don't turn out, sweaters that flatter no one, or for less definitively creative people maybe it's picking the wrong curtains, buying an ugly jacket or whatever other failed attempt at self expression you've chosen.


She goes on to say that still -- it's important to get that bad art out of you.


Best to get it over with. It's just like popping a zit. Get it out before it festers. It's only a failure if you don't learn from it.  Do the bad art. Learn the lessons it has to teach you and then put it behind you.


She's right -- it can apply to any art or craft, your kitchen experiments, the garden, you name it. I know I had plenty of sweaters I knit that weren't quite right. They were close (some of them). But they were far from perfect or even good. They were good enough. This one, "Millie," came pretty close after a couple of times. But I still wish it was better.


I hate the term "good enough." But sometimes you need to know when to quit -- and then take what you learned and do it better. Sometimes that means doing it over and over again.


None of these paintings of a scene from Giverny are quite right. I did these in 2017. The photo I worked with is on the right. I should try again.


There's another reason why making art is good for you -- and it doesn't matter if it's the "bad art" or you are far more accomplished. An article in Lifehack.org outlined a recent study that explains that even if you aren't good at art, doing it increases one's mental health.  How? The act of creating art reduces cortisol levels which are a factor controlling stress.


OK, sometimes when something's not working out when I paint, I get a little stressed. But overall, I get absorbed. I don't eat or drink or look at the time. It's a different mind state, as real to me as Rick's distance cycling is to him.


 Another study done at Drexel University indicates that 45 minutes of art a day can boost your confidence level. I'm not sure I've personally experienced that -- especially when something doesn't turn out -- but the results indicated an increase in feelings of self-efficacy and the ability to achieve goals and overcome obstacles. On the other hand, maybe it does. I'm not afraid to paint animals or pets anymore. I used to be -- and it's so hard to catch the "soul" of the animal. But I'm more confident I can do it now than a year or two or three ago.


And I really do love trying to get the animal just right!


Numerous studies have shown positive benefits to the art of creation. And while these are approaching what we traditionally think of as art, I say it applies to any arts -- stitching, cooking, gardening, writing. It is the creating that matters, not the media.

So, here's to doing your thing -- whatever it may be. And doing it with joy and as much skill as you have with the intent to just do and be done or to keep on.


Because sometimes, you hit it right. And then the elation is so big, you can't help but smile.

Sharing with:  Let's Keep In Touch     

54 comments:

David M. Gascoigne, said...

It seems to me, Jeanie, that art should be done for the sheer joy if doing it. There is no need to justify it, and I suspect that, like most things in life few of us will ever be really great at it, but that is hardly the point is it? So, have fun with it, suffer the frustrations and enjoy the rewards. There is a certain courage in merely trying.

William Kendall said...

Beautiful work!

Tamara said...

Despite your sense of not quite getting it right, beauty may be best left to the eye of the beholder. I quite enjoy your water colours. The cats are lovely, and i realy love your sketches of the cathederal, but the two of Rick are great. Id frame them and hang them, but then I like bikes.

Sandra Cox said...

Good ones, Jeanie. That last piece is especially beautiful.

Pamela said...

Yes! Creating is good for you! Beautiful pictures and fabulous post!

Misadventures of Widowhood said...

Knowing when to stop has always been my biggest issue with art. I ussually find a way to miss things up. I love your cats, the dog and the last purple tower.

My name is Erika. said...

That is true. Art for most of us is not about being spectacular or making a masterpiece to hand in the Louvre (but wouldn't that be cool?), but it is just because we have to, and you are absolutely right, it makes you feel good inside. Even when it is bad. I love seeing your art today Jeanie. The Eiffel tower piece is amazing and I love how you really caught Rick and his spirit. Happy new week. Hugs-Erika

Miss Val's Creations said...

Your portrait of Rick is perfect. It looks just like the photo! Any kind of art is so important for the soul and must continue to be nurtured. I love that thought of getting that bad art out! Millie is adorable and I really love all your other pieces whether you do or not. You have amazing talent!

Latane Barton said...

It was fun to see your art today. I love the cat and the eiffel tower best.

Joanne Huffman said...

I know art is good for us. You’v Made the perfect argument for it. As always, I love seeing your watercolors.

Prims By The Water said...

Awesome artwork! You are very good! Janice

Lynne said...

Excellent post Jeanie!
It took me awhile to get to the place where I was
appreciating my “try” even with disappointment happening sometimes as well.

I liked your first picture of Rick . . . really very good ...
and no about the Eiffel Tower . . . one of yours which I really like.

I need a room where I can leave things up out there so I can sit down for a few and create.
Plenty of rooms to set myself up, but not the best light . . . so kitchen it is . . . for now . . .

Reading, looking at your post energized me once again.
Thank you . . .

Lynne said...

Excellent post Jeanie!
It took me awhile to get to the place where I was
appreciating my “try” even with disappointment happening sometimes as well.

I liked your first picture of Rick . . . really very good ...
and no about the Eiffel Tower . . . one of yours which I really like.

I need a room where I can leave things up out there so I can sit down for a few and create.
Plenty of rooms to set myself up, but not the best light . . . so kitchen it is . . . for now . . .

Reading, looking at your post energized me once again.
Thank you . . .

Lynne said...

Excellent post Jeanie!
It took me awhile to get to the place where I was
appreciating my “try” even with disappointment happening sometimes as well.

I liked your first picture of Rick . . . really very good ...
and no doubt about the Eiffel Tower . . . one of yours which is sooooo good.

I need a room where I can leave things up out there so I can sit down for a few and create. Plenty of rooms to set myself up, but not the best light . . . so kitchen it is . . . for now . . .

Reading, looking at your post energized me once again.
Thank you . . .

Lynne said...

Excellent post Jeanie!
It took me awhile to get to the place where I was
appreciating my “try” even with disappointment happening sometimes as well.

I liked your first picture of Rick . . . really very good ...
and no doubt about the Eiffel Tower . . . one of yours which is sooooo good.

I need a room where I can leave things up out there so I can sit down for a few and create. Plenty of rooms to set myself up, but not the best light . . . so kitchen it is . . . for now . . .

Reading, looking at your post energized me once again.
Thank you . . .

Pam Richardson said...

Jeanie, I love your art, it is so expressive and brings me into your subject matter. You have so many talents. Have a wonderful week!

Valerie-Jael said...

Lots of beautiful art. My fave is Rick riding his bike. Have a great week, Valerie

Iris Flavia said...

Wow, you sure are talented - but the smile in the first pic is actually a bit bigger ;-) - If I may say so!
I like the colored one, too! My Brother still has a Mother´s Day card my Dad painted with an "Iris", I like that one also and have to ask him if he can give it to me. (But I guess we lost it)
Is there "bad art"? It´s in the eye of the beholder, no?
That´s what I loved most when studying - you have accurate architecture and then you have figure drawing. Once we had a highly pregnant woman, she was a joy to paint! So round, so.. beautiful!
I love your work and how can "get away" from the hectical life like that!!
I love, love, love the pink Tour Eiffel - despite my dentist has a picture of it (in grey) and I hate someone touching my teeth ;-)

eileeninmd said...

Hello,

Working on your watercolors and artwork is a joy, something you love to do. I love the cute Millie and cute kitty. The Giverny scenes are beautiful. Two great images of Rick. I enjoy seeing your art. Enjoy your day, wishing you a happy new week ahead!

Victoria Zigler said...

Well said! Sometimes art - in whatever form it takes for you - is frustrating. But it's always worth it.

Rita C at Panoply said...

Wonderfully written and a beautiful sampling of your work, Jeanie. You're preaching to the choir with me. I just pity those who think art is an unnecessary part of life and learning!

The portrait of Rick and the Eiffel Tower are my fab faves here!

Sandra at Maison De Jardin said...

Jeanie, you are a most talented soul. I love all the pieces, but my favorite is Rick on his bicycle. Also, loved the colored iris that you liked best in black and white.

Have a lovely week and enjoy your painting.

La Table De Nana said...

Wow!
particularly love Rick..the Iris sketch and la TOUR!
Bravo madame.
Yes super good for us to create.:)
I love it and all my litte toys that go with.

R's Rue said...

Beautiful

Pom Pom said...

Look at you go! I do have a lot of bad art to get out! Ha! That's funny!
Take care and keep art-ing!

Marilyn Miller said...

Your words and those of others is so true when it comes to all sorts of creating. It does our hearts happy just to create, even something very small, a meal, or a beautiful painting. That Eiffel Tower is just gorgeous, but I love all you do because you are doing it.

Mae Travels said...

The cycling image is so wonderful! What I like about it is that it does NOT look like a photograph. It captures motion and color as only watercolor can do. Your discussion of why people want to do creative things is really spot-on.

best... mae at maefood.blogspot.com

Mae Travels said...

The cycling image is so wonderful! What I like about it is that it does NOT look like a photograph. It captures motion and color as only watercolor can do. Your discussion of why people want to do creative things is really spot-on.

best... mae at maefood.blogspot.com

Judy at GoldCountryCottage said...

Jeanie, just living is an art, isn't it? And I think you do it so well. Weather you are painting, traveling, cork popping or anything else, you do it with joy and I appreciate how you go about it all. That Eiffel Tower painting is really beautiful..Happy Week to you my friend..xxoJudy

Red Rose Alley said...

Yes, I think art soothes and relaxes us, and even craft projects are fun, so that relaxes us as well. And if I painted or drew as good as you, I'd be doing it all the time. The Eiffel Tower is really nice, Jeanie. I like the red flowers in the pot too. I think writing and blogging is also a form of art. We express ourselves and show our creative side. Keep it up, you're getting really good with the cat drawings. : )

~Sheri

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

My goodness...you ended with a brilliant painting! I showed it to my hubby! The one you've done of Rick...and Rick on his bike are great too! Well....I have to admit that I have been sketching and painting some every day now for over 3 months. I'm a little shy about showing my art but I feel encouraged. And I still LOVE it! Thanks for this encouraging post and the references to studies made! I feel EVEN better now! heehee! Lots of hugs, Diane

Hena Tayeb said...

Oh wow those are so lovely.

http://www.henatayeb.blogspot.com

Doodle T said...

I love this so much. It appears that the subjects you love are the ones that sing and spring from the paper...Your Rick paintings are beautiful and seem to capture his essence...the cat paintings too...And the Eiffel Tower - such a wonderful perspective and magical colors. You must be mixing a bit of your heart and soul with those paints. Made me smile.

shoreacres said...

Personally, I love my Rule of Good Enough. There's never perfection, and there is a time to say, "That's it. It's time to move on." It was varnishing that taught me that. If I redid a coat of varnish because of a few insects, I'd get rid of them and get pollen. If I tried to eliminate the pollen, the lawn crew would blow grass clippings into the wet varnish, or it would rain, or Saharan dust would blow in. Better to accept a finished 99% perfect than keep trying for 100% -- because it ain't gonna happen!

And sometimes, things do turn out to be "just right." That can be fun, too. Beyond that, judging ourselves too harshly can take the fun out of creativity -- and that's no fun!

Blondie's Journal said...

I think your paintings are quite good. I never knew! Sometimes we have an audience that has different taste. I would definitely buy one of your watercolors!

I feel much the way you do with my writing. As a columnist, I have to appeal to the masses. It''s tough. And I need come up with ideas and subjects. But you nailed it. Practice. Keep at it!

Jane

Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...

You make wonderful art. You may not think it's good, but I think it's fabulous. My favs are Rick on the bike and the Eiffel Tower. But they are all great, because I don't draw, sketch, or paint. It's not in my wheelhouse and I have no desire to do so, even though people might say I could do it if I put my mind to it. The thing is, you have to WANT to paint, which I don't. I'm really impressed with the wonderful things you draw and paint. It's a great post that had me smiling, but wondering why you were so hard on yourself. You make gorgeous paintings and sketches.

Tracy said...

A maker's gotta make! It's in our blood! :) I know what you mean, Jeanie! The hands and the brain just can't sit still... haha! I'm not sure about the confidence bit--how art daily can improve confidence. I'm not a super-confident person. But the practice part does make me wanna keep going and trying. Through the years (!!) now it's been a joy to see how you progress and grow with drawing and watercolors!! LOVE seeing all these works of art you've created. The portrait of Rick is sooo good. And JUST love the PINK-tinted Eiffel Tower. :) ((HUGS))

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

You won't be surprised to read that my favorite of all the art you shared is that last painting of the Eiffel Tower. Be still my heart - it's so beautiful! You nailed it, for sure! Art can be therapeutic so I can understand why there are health benefits. I don't do much art these days but some day I hope to pick up my knitting needles again. I did play the piano at my parents lake home on Saturday which felt good. I try to do that occasionally at home, too, so that Paul grows up with music around him!

Sami said...

I love your cats, dog, Eiffel tower and both of Rick's paintings. I think you're a great painter Jeanie and I agree painting and crafts are such a great way to relax and good for your mental health.
I used to paint a lot a few years back but have no more walls for my art, and don't like selling it as I know it doesn't pay all the hours and materials used.

Beatrice P. Boyd said...

Hi Jeanie, I have been falling behind in blog reading while we’ve been on our southern US road trip and trying to catch up. Your art is wonderful and my thoughts are similar to those of several others in that we do art, photography, sewing, embroidery, crafts, and more simpky because of the joy it brings to us and perhaps to others we gift the results to, and it also keeps our minds active.

BeachGypsy said...

well hey, guess what girlfriend!!/---I LOVE ALL THE ART you've shown us! You make such pretty things. I am one of those who cannot even draw "stick figures", so when I look at lovely things you create, I am in awe. We all have different gifts, and this is one of yours for sure. Please continue to CREATE, and please don't ever stop sharing it with us. I think you are particularly GOOD AT CATS! am i right? And also bright color things....like the flower scenes, I love those. Hope your summer is coming along nicely and Rick is feeling all better!

BeachGypsy said...

I'm behind!1 I just enjoyed your previous post. I love the picture of your Dad with the fish!! And the pretty wedding pictures.....what a gorgeous couple! Pretty wedding and I love her bouquet. Did y'all go to Detroit and how was it? Hope it was a good Father's Day and y'all had safe travels. I hated to hear about the flooding.......dang that's awful!! We don't have basements here because of hurricanes. Hope it's all dried out by now? I love it when you post pictures of little diners like that too...we love to go to places like that!

Katie Mansfield said...

Your art is amazing. I love all your different versions of Giverny. I may have stood in that spot and snapped a photo. I agree with you. I have to create and if I don't, something is amiss. Beautiful post.

Running on empty said...

I love a lot of the artworks you do, Jeanie, and you could make $$$ with that last one selling posters etc.

Jenny Woolf said...

That Eiffel tower picture is awesome! And actually I really liked the black and white cathedral sketches that you weren't so keen on. You are quite right, doing something creative can set up a particular mental state which is really quite elating. So many busy people don't have the time to get into that state, so it is very good to have the chance. I write these days rather than draw, but when I do draw I usually do it from life, I like being able to move my position slightly and see it from a slightly different angle, to get a feeling of the depth of it too. But I never know how people paint outdoors from life, the light is changing the whole time. I have a special admiration for painters who can somehow catch the feeling of "time of day" and atmosphere, I think David Hockney is very good at that.

Olka said...

I totally agree with Jessie!
Keep practicing - you're already really good at painting! And you'll become even better :)

Carol @Comfort Spring Station said...

I believe working with your hands as in art is very healthy. I even feel better folding socks in a drawer when I'm stressed. Makes me feel like I am in control (ha!)

Judy at GoldCountryCottage said...

Thanks for your visit Jeanie. Blue and white seems to be a big favorite of everyone..Happy Wednesday..xxoJudy

Sketchbook Wandering said...

It's lovely to see your art. Yes, good for the brain, especially the heart and soul. The Iris, both versions has such sensitivity of line...fluidity. And the cathedral sketches are very alive and fresh and sweet. And Rick, such a likeness!
I guess I've been trying to enjoy the process without the judgements on my end product. A sketch I did recently felt sooo good to do, complete with watercolor, but the final product was mucked up. In the past that would have disappointed me, but I enjoyed the whole process so it was OK!

Amy at Ms. Toody Goo Shoes said...

Wow, wow, wow, Jeanie! Just beautiful! The cat pictures, the Eiffel tower, and yes, I love the Giverny pictures! I can relate to your post completely,in terms of my photography (and my writing). Sometimes I know I hit it out of the park, and sometimes, it's dreadful. But when my photography teacher told me that most good photographers shoot 100 pictures, and 99 are crappy, but one is great, well, that made me feel more competent. And like you, I love striving to get better and better at it.

Pam said...

OH WOW>.....GREAT art work. You are doing so amazing with your watercolor.

thepaintedapron.com said...

We are our own worst critics! You don't have to have a reason to do art, nor does it have to have a purpose, you do art as you said Rick rides his bicycle, it challenges you, it's hard, but it is also fun and rewarding! You have some wonderful paintings here, I love the portrait of Rick and I think you paint cats so incredibly well! Paint away Jeanie!
Jenna

Lowcarb team member said...

Art is to be enjoyed … where would we be without it?
Lovely post and lovely pieces.

All the best Jan

Sally Wessely said...

You have been through too much! Too much I say. I’m so happy to hear you are feeling a bit better. Couch time is not wasted time. I understand how that time can seem so unproductive, but honestly, you needed it.

Your paintings are so lovely. I think water colors are my favorite medium for art. I wish I had some talent when it came to painting. I so admire your work.

Take good care of yourself. Hugs.

Popular Posts