I believe that one of the best ways to maintain our mental wellbeing is by exploring our creative side. For me, creativity is a way of finding my true inner self. I have always been a person with a creative mind, which is reflected in my work as well. I realized with the unprecedented times, momentary joys, even in grim circumstances, often come through art therapy. While a lot of options are available out there, art has always been a hobby with therapeutic benefits for me. Art therapy has always been used as a method to enhance mental health. It helps people to explore emotions, develop self-awareness, and boost self-esteem. Studies have shown that expressing oneself through the medium of art can help people suffering from depression and anxiety. A documentary called ‘I Remember Better When I Paint’, released in 2009 showed how drawing and painting stimulated memories in people with dementia and enabled them to reconnect with the world.
During the lockdown, work came to a halt and I had little to do, and this is when art came to my rescue. Painting became an outlet for me to show my emotions on the canvas. I set up the room, stocked up my art supplies, and started painting figures, landscapes, and abstract art. One of my paintings, portrayed in a tonal colour palette, focused on the female form and gave me a sense of empowerment. Painting landscapes brought me closer to nature, while experimenting with abstract and fluid art was all about having fun with the vibrant colours. I started uploading my artworks on Instagram and received an overwhelming response, which motivated me to keep painting and honing the skill born out of an otherwise side-lined hobby. Painting gave me a sense of productivity. Whenever I finished an artwork, I could feel a sense of relief, peace, and accomplishment.
I decided to experiment and explore different forms of art without the help of tutorials. This helped me in creating my own style and gave me a sense of freedom to make mistakes and learn from them. I realized how important it is to not compare myself with others. I understand in the age of social media, this could be difficult, but your art should be as unique as you. In my opinion, there is no right and wrong in art, just have fun with the colours and let your thoughts and imagination create magic on the canvas.
Picking up the brush again didn’t only make me survive through the lockdown but also made me nostalgic and brought back memories from my childhood when I used to paint for small art exhibitions. I think the last time I painted was back in school, and somehow lost touch after that, but I am so glad I picked it up again.
Reminiscing the memories and creating art in the lockdown helped me in maintaining my sanity when the world was going upside down. When the situation was at its worst, and everything around me seemed gloomy, art became my escape and helped me reconnect with my feelings. It was my way of self-care and gave me a sense of fulfillment. My advice for anybody looking for an inspirational and relaxing activity in lockdown to help their mental health would be to find something that enables you to escape your troubles and makes you feel motivated, free, and empowered.
I’m back to being occupied with work and have little time to paint now but I can’t wait to get back to my painting room and paint my feelings on a canvas.