I had a great chat the other day with one of my art heros, Amber Kuileimailani Bonnici. (She runs the most AMAZEBALLS online retreat every year. If you haven’t checked out Woman Unleashed…do it. Seriously. It’s wonderful, and it’s free.) Amber had a couple of pieces of advice for me, and I’m putting one of them into practice right here, right now – and I’m posting for accountability! She told me the one thing I absolutely HAD to do to get my art to where I want it to be is to build a rock-solid creative practice. She’s right – I have these great intentions of painting every day, but then life happens and I slack off. So here goes: I’m joining Art Every Day Month and the Daily Painting movement.
There. I said it.
Really, though, there are a handful of reasons I’m doing this, but the two most important are my own mental health, and getting prepared for 2018.
Art and Anxiety
I’ve struggled with anxiety and depression since I was a little kid. And I’ve tried just about everything to cope with it, from yoga and meditation to meds and therapy. The meds help, but they aren’t a cure. Therapy never made much of a difference for me. Yoga and meditation and essential oils are great…until I stop meditating and have to face real life again. But when I pick up a paintbrush…the anxiety goes away. And it stays away for hours. When I’m painting or making art consistently, every single day, I don’t have panic attacks. For me, art is as much about treating mental illness as the meds I take every night.
I discovered Intentional Creativity in January of 2017 when I enrolled in a year-long painting, poetry, and spirituality course with Shiloh Sophia (another artist mentor!) This process of creating with intention is so powerful, so healing, that I’ve committed to bring it to others who struggle with anxiety like I do. I’ll be taking the Color of Woman teacher training next year, and it’s pretty intensive. I’m basically thinking of it as a 1-year MFA program! Once it begins, I’m not going to have time to build habits – I need them solidly in place by January.
So there you go – my Big Why and my commitment to creating art every day for the next 30 days. Wish me luck – or at least tenacity!