In response to my #ChallengeRichard quest, Project Art tweeted me: “You're a creative person – have you ever created (and exhibited) your own piece of art? How about it?”
The answer is yes – well, sort of. The New York Times T Magazine recently asked me to complete an interview by doodling my answers. At first I was a little daunted. I am a creative person, but I’m certainly no Picasso. However, when I got down to putting pencil to paper I found I really enjoyed the experience.
It made me think about myself and my life – my achievements, values and hopes and dreams for the future. Not only did I have a lot of fun, I found that process to be relaxing, reflective and therapeutic. It was a nice bit of time out from a busy day to stop and just create. I must admit, I particularly like my Peter Pan!
I may not be Picasso, but I agree with him when he said, “Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.” In an age where people are placing more focus on their wellbeing, and taking part in practices like meditation, yoga and mindfulness, art is a wonderful way to stay clear, calm and conscious.
Activities like painting, sculpting, drawing, and photography can lower stress levels – providing a distraction from occupying thoughts. They can induce meditative-like states, which temporarily push aside worries. The act of producing art is great for boosting drive, focus, and concentration, and enhances creative thinking and problem-solving skills. It encourages emotional awareness and forward-thinking. And ultimately it leaves us with a sense of accomplishment.
I encourage everyone to take some time out of their busy lives to create something. Art is for everyone. We are all born with a desire to express ourselves, and creative expression in the form of art benefits our mental health to make us happier and healthier people.
That ticks off challenge number 12 of my #ChallengeRichard quest. Don’t forget to keep sending in your challenges.