Many of go through times in our lives when we make radical changes—either by choice or because of something imposed on us by circumstance. But even if the big change is something, we want to make mixed feelings are inevitable and stressful as we let go of the old and step into the new. Big changes challenge the very idea of who we are and how we operate in the world. How can an art practice help us through a time when we either need --or want--to reinvent ourselves?
Sometimes our art changes as a result of our process, ideas, or other aspects of growth. But changes that comes at us from the rest of life affect our studio practice, sometimes in ways we don’t welcome. And any change, even a positive one, like retirement or moving to a place you’ve always wanted to live, creates stress that can alter our work. How can we approach life changes in a creative way?
Sometimes what is happening in our lives means that we need to take a break from the studio for more than just a few days. As long as you do something to hold onto the art-making part of yourself you can weather those times. That might be journaling, meditation, talking to a sympathetic listener. Or maybe you can keep your work going in spite of the limitations—using more portable or less messy materials so you can work anywhere in short amounts of time.
If you can continue to work at some level during your changing situation, you may find this to be therapeutic in helping you process what you’re going through. Drawing, simple collage, and other direct and quick ways of working can help you through a big transition with your art self intact. The practice of making art is itself a stress reliever, a time away from other concerns.
“Nothing is constant but change” is a saying that proves itself over and over. When big changes happen in our lives, can we sustain our art practice? We probably don’t need the additional stress of NOT making art when it is something so important to our sense of who we are.
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