A year or so ago a friend of mine invited me to go to a class for 'art journalling' at a local art studio. It involved making a journal from scratch, then decorating the pages ready for any creative idea that came to mind - collaging, drawing, painting etc... I toddled along because I thought it might make me use a different part of my brain (even though I am the world's most useless artist) - and that might in turn help with my creative thinking for stories.
I enjoyed the class and met some lovely people all of whom were far, far better artists than me- but that apparently wasn't the point. The idea was to lose my inner critic and just 'be'. (Which is all fine and mighty when you have a smidgeon of talent, but when you spend the whole class drooling over other people's artwork and hating your own because you could never create anything remotely as good at that then you might have to rethink why you're actually there!) We learnt a few different techniques and got our hands dirty smearing acrylics and I did overall enjoy the whole process and found that it was quite relaxing and yet stimulating to be doing something that didn't have a 'reason'...ie I wasn't intent on selling this, or making a masterpiece, it didn't have to be 'good'. The idea was that what we created each week was a reflection of how we felt that day, or how we wanted to feel, or just to do something different to our usual routine.
The class finished and I was left wondering what to do with the supplies I'd bought. I couldn't find it in me to do the art journalling at home- I couldn't find a reasonable 'excuse' to spend 4 hours on a project...but I did invest in some 'zentangle books' (the art of creative doodling) and now do a bit of doodling when I'm lost for plot ideas and it does take my mind along a different track of thinking. Apparently it's good for us due to the meditative effect it has on the brain.
So I was intrigued by the huge explosion of adult colouring books that have hit the bestseller lists over the last year. And would colouring-in have the same effect as zentangle or journalling? Flushed with enthusiasm I rushed out and bought myself a copy of one of the books. It has gorgeous pictures for us to colour in.
But...well... I just can't bring myself to use it. I can see how creating something might be good for the brain, but I'm not sure how just colouring already created pictures would help. Plus- I'm stuck in a judgey mindset; I can't justify colouring-in. I don't know...It seems...it seems like a step backwards or something. (And I just know what kind of reaction I'd get from dh and my boys). I know it's hugely popular and many women use them for relaxation, but I haven't had the nerve to do anything with it yet.
Maybe I should just start a picture and see where
it takes me? (I also have a fear of ruining what could be a good picture by my amateur colour choices!!!) I think I'm going to need to do some relaxation once I've done a supposedly relaxing pastime!!
Anyone else tried this? Does it help relax you? Do you do any 'creative relaxation? Or do you just prefer a glass of white and a good book?