Although I have been blessed throughout my life, I know that during the rough and stressful times, breaking out the art or creative supplies has always yielded comfort.
My mother grew up during the depression. She spent hours painting, drawing with pen and ink, designing and sewing clothes, playing the piano -- uplifting her spirit. I taught at-risk teens for decades, and art class was like a balm for many.
Today, as I Googled the phrase “positive creativity helps us through tough times,” I found numerous articles. This Christmas, many of us are reeling from recent tragedies and seeking the comfort of the familiar and natural beauty.
I urge you to think of the creative on your gift list. Consider:
The gift of time
The gift of encouragement
The gift of space
and of course,
The gift of art supplies! or music lessons....
My go-to web sources are Dick Blick, Jerry’s Artarama, and Cheap Joes Art Stuff – and recently, Amazon. (And, believe me, I receive no benefits from listing these). Knowing what to buy may be trickier. Good paper, paint, brushes, pencils, are a personal choice, and you may have to do some snooping and careful investigating. Does she really like that brand of paint? Does he like the brushes he is using? Perhaps an artist friend or other family member can help. Does your giftee have a favorite source?
Can you prepare something for the artist? My dad and husband both cut wood for me, sheets of Masonite or wood planks for a painting surface. They have framed my work as well.
I have even discovered I love using belt sander and a small palm sander when preparing surfaces. AND I have discovered the electric screw driver.
When I was 3, my dad painted door sized Masonite with blackboard paint. I spent hours drawing with colored chalk AND learning my letters! Make sure it is hung horizontally so little hands can reach.
Other ideas include tempera paints, a small easel, a roll of butcher paper (or paper of any sort, the larger the better), inexpensive brushes, watercolors, crayons, colored pencils. For OLDER children – acrylics (remember they do NOT wash off), chalk, markers and art aprons make wonderful gifts. Pinterest is full of ideas.
Here is a summary of her tips with my annotations:
Comforting Smells - Scents such as lavender signal your brain to relax. I find scents can even inspire art!
Childhood Objects - a blanket or stuffed animal that soothed you in your younger years may do it again! I often set up an inspiration table with beautiful objects that were my mother's or I have collected.
Nature remains steady through change. Feeling awed by nature can help you make positive decisions. A walk outdoors or bringing nature inside can inspire - flowers, fruit or even a bundle of dried pods and weeds.
Reliable Reads - Cozy up to books that you have read again and again. What authors comfort you? For me it is often Madeleine L'Engle or a a travel log and always, the Bible (try the poetry of the King James or a modern version like The Message). My mother read Pride and Prejudice 17 times!
Instrumental Music can soothe. Whether you listen or play, it can comfort. I recently bought a keyboard--and my elementary scales bring me comfort.
Soothing positive Self-Talk can remind you that you are loved, safe and strong enough to weather life’s storms.
We need help through both the cold winter and tough times. And if you want to give someone a HINT- you may want to print this blog and leave in an obvious place—for Santa’s helpers!