Sunday, January 31, 2010

Inspire Your Heart with Art

Today is "Inspire Your Heart with Art Day" and while I'm sure that all of us have had the experience of being inspired by a beautiful piece of artistry, you may not realize just how much of a positive effect actually creating art can have on your overall well being!

Whether it's fine art like painting or sculpture, performing arts like dance or music, digital art and photography, fabric arts, or any of the other myriad artistic crafts like metalworking, woodworking, or jewelry design (just to name a few), the creative process has a profound effect on our mental and physical well being. Immersing yourself in artistic self expression can alleviate pain, elevate mood, reduce anxiety, lower blood pressure, and improve your general health!

It's not surprising that so many of the artists and artisans that I run across on Etsy mention that their creative endeavors are a way for them to achieve balance with the stresses of day to day life. I'm a firm believer that artistic expression, in whatever form, should be encouraged in day to day life. I've watched our school systems waver on their arts programs, which saddens me because children have so much unbridled artistic talent.

I was lucky that I went to school during a period of time when art was a standard part of the curriculum and even more fortunate that I was able to take music lessons and participate in local park district drama programs...add in the fact that I came from a family that was both creative and artistic in many ways. As kids we were encouraged to explore virtually everything artistic - my sister and I learned sewing, crocheting, tatting, needlepoint, and cross stitch from our mother and grandmother, went on to explore sketching and painting (I hold my own in the painting arena, but my sister is an amazing painter!), dabbled in pottery making (my sister), floral design (I shared my grandmother and father's love of flower arranging), music (my mother played piano and violin - and yes, I took accordion lessons and went on to learn keyboard and some guitar), and even baton lessons (my sister was part of an award winning baton troupe!).

As my children grew up, our house was always full of craft project "stuff" for them and their friends to pass the time with and the kids were encouraged to at least try music for a year... and needless to say, all of my grandchildren are being equally encouraged to explore their natural creative talents. The girls all love to color and paint and make their Play-doh creations, and my older grandson is showing an interest in music already. Will it make them healthier? Healthier than sitting around passing time in front of a tv or video game, I'm sure. I do see it giving them a sense of pride and accomplishment, not to mention that it's a wonderful self esteem builder - and it keeps me from ever having a naked refrigerator...since I love to keep it covered with their artwork!

Let's hear it for art and the way it inspires us - I hope you find a way to inspire your heart or that of someone else with some art today! I'd also love to hear what your particular creative arena is, so please share and feel free to link to your shop or online posting of your work! Happy Sunday!

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