Art as therapy

This is a topic discussed a fair bit amongst the YouTube artist set and probably elsewhere. It’s a weighty topic and I don’t want to make light of it….but I’m not here today to consider the topic too seriously.

Above you can see the results of my beach pour today. My personal life has some pretty big stuff going on in it, and today art really felt like therapy to me. Something distracting, soothing, comforting….maybe even stimulating and fun. Unfortunately, as you can see from the scraped canvas mess above, it didn’t work out.

I spent the morning watching some videos to decide what I wanted to try. What I picked didn’t look too tough (which is the great deception of YT art videos, FYI), and I liked the colors a lot. So mix mix mix paint, leave it to rest, then recheck the steps, and pour. Damn it, damn it, I don’t like it. How to save it? I don’t know, and so I didn’t.

I scraped all that paint into the dump bucket. Many artists would put it in it’s own container so they could re-use it. There are some days when I would, but today I was just frustrated and disappointed and f*ck that paint, I don’t want to see it again, goodbye paint.

Scrape the canvas as best you can, then paper towels to get as much residual off as possible, then into the utility sink to rinse, rinse, and rinse some more to make the canvas as clean as I can for the next go round. Leave it to dry, and what now?

Disappointment lingers, and lack of enthusiasm to plan the next pour. It will pass, but for now I’m left sitting with the same stresses I had before I created and cleaned up a big damn mess, and a sense of frustration on top of them. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’m not too sure art works for me as the only therapeutic tool in my kit. Thankfully it’s not. After I eat a cookie (or two) I’m going to pick up some other tool to help me shake it all off for a while. Grateful for the pretty full toolbox I’ve accumulated along the way.

There’s always failure. And there’s always disappointment. And there’s always loss. But the secret is learning from the loss, and realizing that none of those holes are vacuums.

Michael J. Fox

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