Tranquility is at Your Fingertips

Art therapy

When we steer our rudder through the calming currents of canvas, color, and texture, we gain an experience.

By Karen Campbell

As a child I loved to color. As a tween I taught myself calligraphy and learned to weave baskets. While in high school I painted watercolors. And as an adult, I dabble in children’s murals and acrylics on canvas. I came to appreciate how all these artistic activities quell my emotions, redirect my thoughts, allow me to create my own story, escape reality and better appreciate a loss or gain of control. It was, and still is, soothing.

Whether or not we’re artistically inclined, art has benefits for all of us.  Studies show and art therapy professes that when we create or observe art, it presents a path to better well-being by giving us permission to deviate from daily, linear and more logical thinking–the kind of thinking that tenses our foreheads, binds us in knots and wakes us up at night. Becoming a patron or practitioner of art encourages a freer, disconnected, more creative awareness. It can also boost confidence and resilience.

Stress triggers are everywhere today, and while the walls seem to be closing in, our social lives are stunted, and travel is limited, art presents creative ways to shift our thinking, release our inhibitions and take a journey on our own time, in our own ways to anywhere our minds desire.

“Art is the only way to run away without leaving home.” – Twyla Tharp

Suggestions for making or consuming art

  • Pick up colored pencils and an adult coloring book. Allow the lines to guide your hand as you bring to life a beautiful shape or subject.
  • Take a painting class and project yourself to a hillside in Tuscany as you dip the bristles and drag the paint in a downward, circular motion to create an olive on your canvas.
  • Find a pottery class and sit at the wheel, hands wet and messy, free to investigate the texture of the clay and mold it into a one-of-a-kind bowl as it spins before you.
  • Purchase a ticket to a local museum – there is literally an entire world of art at your disposal. Each piece, each element, medium, and texture has depth, color, a story to tell, intricacies to appreciate, meaning to interpret, and an artist to applaud.

Art doesn’t have to make sense. It does not come with prerequisites or fit into a spreadsheet. There are no deadlines, it won’t require a suit and heels, or keep you after hours. That’s the beauty of it. You just need to avail your senses and your mind. If you are open and accessible, art can stir up a personal wind of change and transcend you to the very passageway you may be seeking for more tranquil waters. Let your mind go astray and relax as the lines and structure of your world recede. Don your inner Picasso and run away… even if you never leave home!