Why art? Why now?


Things are so weird these days. We’ve been locked down for a month. Not allowed to gather, even outside, with our loved ones.

We’re spending a lot of time with the people we live with. Some of us are spending a lot of time alone.

In chatting with my friends by text, phone, and video call, I’ve noticed we’re all experiencing some of the same combination of feeling overwhelmed and feeling lonely.

We love the people we live with but we could use a new rotation. Or a change of scenery.

We all know how to make the most of a few weeks stuck at home. We clean things. We organize. We do puzzles. In my house, we’ve been playing cribbage and working our way through movies we’ve been wanting to see.

But, eventually, we go a bit stir crazy.

For me, that’s where art comes in. It’s my alone time. My time to flex my creative muscle. And air some frustrations in a way that does no harm.

I don’t think you have to be “good” at art to enjoy it. To get a lot out of it. I’m not sure what “good” really means when it comes to art anyway. Either something speaks to you—or speaks for you—or it doesn’t.

I’ve been experimenting with new kinds of art. Playing with line drawing and watercolours. Trying digital art for the first time. It’s wonderful for bending my brain and devoting my energy to something that is just for me. Creating something for the sake of creating it.

I get to do that with my oils sometimes, too. In fact, this past week I created a few things that are going to be painted over because they’re not up to my standard. But in creating them, I learned new things about painting and about myself. My style. My preferences.

And I got some of my feelings out on canvas. Some of those things that are hard to put in words.

I’m restless and also tired. I’m itching to get out in the world and withdrawing inward. I’m irritable and full of warm energy. All these things exist at once in these weird times. Creating seems to help me sort through them.

I hope you can find a way to experience this. There are so many ways to get creating. Build Lego, do a cross-stitch kit—like these or these—knit, draw, paint, build something out of wood, carve, get some clay.

I encourage you to try it out. See whether the act of creating something for the sake of using that part of your brain doesn’t help you. It may not make you feel totally better, but it might just take the edge off.

In the meantime, I’m going to keep making art and offering it to the world. Even though most people aren’t in a position to buy art right now. Because the act of offering it is an act of love and because I think the world needs a little bit more of that right now.