Your art as therapy

Nearly all of us who make art in one form or another – whether it be painting, writing, music etc do so because it makes us feel good, and that – being creative, is often the best way to deal with days or even periods in your life when things are not going well. The greatest art often comes out of the most miserable periods in an artist’s life. In fact for some artists their whole life is riddled with despair. Michelangelo wrote, “I lead a miserable existence and reck not of life nor honor – that is of this world; I live wearied by stupendous labors and beset by a thousand anxieties. And thus I lived for some fifteen years now and never an hour’s happiness have I had.”
Yet Michelangelo’s art is glorious beyond words…
I know for myself that I tend to write extensively, pouring out thoughts – brainstorming and deeply analysing all that crosses my path when I am facing a moment of truth. I am aware that such actions can appear extreme and possibly even slightly unhinged to others, but it seems to help me get through. I feel it allows me to reign the chaos in and even draw some benefit from it. At one of the darkest points of my life (the suicide of a loved one), I threw myself into re creating her life – writing a song for her, making videos and music to accompany them, and a web site that celebrated her. It was all I could do. I don’t think I slept more than a few hours for weeks. I lost myself in creative work… and her.
I understand others cope with their down periods by surrounding themselves with beauty – walking in nature, or undertaking excessive exercise regimes, or losing themselves in drink, or watching endless movies, or sleeping a lot or taking a long and expensive holiday. We are all different and that should be celebrated, but if you are a creative you might find that expressing your experience in your art can help. Write a song, or take out that canvas and let it all out. Move the burden you are carrying into the work in front of you. It may or may not be your best work but it will be honest. Your art is your therapy. Be thankful for that as you can’t get much better. If you have the gift of appreciating art whether as a creator or a listener/watcher/reader, then be grateful.

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