Usually when I say the “A” word people begin to squirm, declare themselves not an artist and then run for the hills.
The mere suggestion of art can create such discomfort for folks and is immediately dismissed as being for kids. Not anything to be taken seriously or gain any benefits from.
Why is Art Intimidating?
As someone who is not a trained artist, I can attest to the intimidation of art and the creative process. As a graduate student in my art therapy program, I was surrounded by trained artists who had incredible ability and skill. It made me feel small and insignificant because I thought my art didn’t compare to theirs. If you feel intimidated, I understand.
In our society, what constitutes art or makes someone an artist, carries with it a very limited view and definition. I find this definition to be very finicky, narrow, and that it implies that there is a certain or “right” way to make art. This creates a lot of anxiety for those of us that are creatively curious when the truth is, there is no right or wrong way to make art.
Expressing yourself through art making can be a very vulnerable experience. Depending on what your own experience was with art, you likely developed some common negative belief systems about art.
When I was working in the school system with kindergarteners, I watched a sweet little boy coloring his worksheet feverishly and with great concentration and focus. I then overheard the teacher say to the child, “firetrucks aren’t blue”. In that moment I read shame on that child’s face and a desire change his picture, make it accommodate the teacher’s idea of what it should look like. His individuality, experimentation, personal perception, and expression was all abruptly halted by that one comment.
I’m sure you have had experiences like this where you take the risk of expressing your innards through your art only to have someone put it down, tell you you’re doing it wrong or criticize it. Or worse, tell you it’s not art!
Art is simply an expression, a communication of your inner world and experience. There’s nothing that could ever be wrong about that.
How Does WILD Art Making Help?
Can you imagine letting go and not caring about what happens? Well, that’s one of the many benefits that can come from the creative expression process, you can learn to let go and feel free to not care about what happens in the end. You can just enjoy the feeling of being free without needing to produce an outcome. The more you connect to this feeling of freedom the more you want to experience that in your life.
Another benefit of creative expression is being able to work through challenging emotions. When challenging emotions arise, they can sometimes get the better of us. We can feel overpowered by them and easily move into overwhelm. When you express the challenging emotions through art, it helps them move through with more ease, they are less overwhelming, and you can calm yourself more quickly.
Art making can also help you manage stress. Stress can very quickly throw you into a survival response and can quickly dysregulate you. It then becomes hard to think clearly and can make you feel stuck, and then more stressed! Art helps the survival response significantly decrease and your body slowly regulate back to a sense of calm. Once here, you can once again think clearly and be more rational with your responses and make better informed choices.
Amazingly, art making can also move you out of stuckness. When you are in stuckness your body is in a “freeze” survival response. It’s easy to be critical of ourselves when we feel stuck which doesn’t help at all. When you use art to get your body moving again (literally!), you begin to help your body “thaw” out. The reward center of your brain feels happy to be doing something that reveals a “product”, and you begin to get more energized. As you gain energy and momentum, it becomes easier to get started with whatever the stuckness was getting in the way of.
Lastly, art making can help you visualize your dreams and reveal insights about yourself and the direction of your life. Once you can let go of needing your at to look a certain way and trust your inner wisdom to reveal itself through the art, you can learn more about who you are, what you want, what gets in the way, and how to get there.
WILD Art Making as a Tool for Life and Business
Learning to let go, to loosen your grip, is an essential skill in life and business. When we hold on too tight and are gripping instead of flowing, we can lose perspective and create more stress. Art is one of the best teachers to teach us to do just that.
Moving through emotions more easily is essential in life and business to feel more empowered and be able to keep moving forward. Managing stress effectively is important so that you can think more clearly and move through life with more ease and efficiency. Not to mention saving your body from the unnecessary stress of holding emotions in.
WILD Art Making in and of itself is a self-care ritual that helps you connect and attune to yourself more deeply. In doing so, you begin to trust yourself more, build confidence, and learn to tap into your inner wisdom.
When you practice WILD Art Making with regularity, you begin to create a more consciously curated life. A life that is designed by you, on your terms, not driven by fear or unconscious material that interfere in your ability to have the life you want.
By practicing creativity as a tool to help you move through life with less stress, you can live with more purposeful intention and feel more empowered to navigate all that life brings.
WILD Woman Art Tip:
Fun Materials to have available:
Cup of water
Think of something that’s causing you stress. Connect to how it makes you feel.
Choose a color or colors that call to you and create an image that represents that experience for you. Remember this is WILD art, so just let go!
Begin to move the brush on the paper by allowing your body to lead. Don’t think. Just let the brush do whatever it needs to do. Trust yourself. Notice how moving the brush makes you feel. Experiment with different brush movements and strokes. The sky's the limit!
Once the image feels complete, notice how you feel externalizing the stress, to see it outside of yourself. Experiment with naming it. Notice if it shows you deeper meaning for you. Continue to use the image to learn more about your situation and yourself.
The benefits of WILD art making are endless Allow yourself the gift of letting go and tapping into all that art making can offer you.
Myriam Martinez is a Women's Mental Wellbeing Coach, Creativity Mentor, Art Therapist , and stick figure artist based out of Northern California. She gently guides women to embrace their Woman-ity© and love themselves fiercely through the power of the creative process. Her calling in this life is to teach women the power and importance of putting themselves first, loving themselves fiercely, and tapping into their creativity in order to bring more happiness, success, and ease into their lives.
To learn more about Myriam click here: https://www.myriammartinezcoaching.com/