Did you know that creating/painting is a form of meditation? Think about it. When you are painting, you become totally absorbed in the here and now. You are thinking about your composition, which colors to use, how to load your brush, etc... During your painting session, your brain is turned off to those pesky thoughts we all have about the world news, the stock market, worries about the future, your health and more. And boy do we need that today more than ever. Add into the mix our ever increasing use of computers, cell phones, TV, and video games, and I find that during my art classes, my students are so happy to find a few hours of peace where they can just "unplug" and create the old fashioned way.
I just met a very interesting lady who is a special education teacher for some very tough inner city kids. She told me the story about how she pulled out the watercolors one day and let her students create. She said she'd never seen them so quiet, focused, and well behaved. Is watercolors the next substitute for Ritalin? Probably not, but this story does raise an interesting point. Children really do need a creative outlet in their lives. Whether it's art, music, dance, or writing, it doesn't matter as long as it's creative time. Unfortunately, these are the areas that are first to be cut in our education system. As parents, grandparents, or friends, I urge you to encourage the children around you to spend some time creating. It's as simple as giving them a box of crayons and some blank paper. Believe me, they need a break from their iPhones, iPods, and computers.
Creative time is not just for kids. Oh, no! We adults need it too. I truly feel that art can help us to relax and heal. Like I said earlier, it is a form of meditation that you can do without getting into some weird sort-of yoga pose, and you don't have to chant or say any sacred words. Just find an idea to paint, set up your supplies, and lose yourself in your art for a couple of hours. You will emerge relaxed, happy and maybe even a little tired since your brain was fully engaged in creativity.