Creating Calm

The world has changed dramatically in a very short time. If you're like me and many others, you might feel helpless, distracted, stuck... the list goes on.

Even for those of us who might be accustomed to spending days at a time at home, making art or doing other work, it's disorienting to know that everything around us seems to have come to a halt.

When I do get the motivation to go into my studio, focus has been difficult to maintain. It comes and goes. I've had one good painting day out of many.

My usual studio routine isn't enough right now. I want to continue my creative practice but I need something more structured that will keep me focused on the positive.

So I came up with a simple, low-stress project for the month of April. I don't want to call it a challenge because good grief, isn't life challenging enough right now?

I'm using the hashtag #creatingcalm2020 on Instagram and you are welcome to join in whenever and however you can.

Here's my concept:

Theme: inside/outside

Shifting focus to the things around me that I appreciate. These could be things inside my home or in the near vicinity. Interpret this any way you choose.

Here are a few ideas for subjects:

  • cup of coffee (you know this is a favorite subject of mine!)
  • stack of books
  • pets
  • family members' portrait
  • your pajamas
  • your slippers
  • toilet paper (sorry, I had to include it!)
  • spring blooms
  • tree outside your window
  • your garden shed
  • a cloud
I'll be working small and on paper (like I did for my #cuppadaypainting series) - mostly 3x3 or 4x4 inches.

I'm leaving myself open to using whatever materials suit my mood - that may be my usual, acrylic paint, or perhaps watercolor, pen or maybe even photography. I encourage you to experiment.

I will also allow myself the flexibility to work representationally (drawing or painting a recognizable thing) or abstractly.

How Often?

I'm aiming to do these every day but that probably won't happen and it's ok. Although we are mostly staying home, we all have different responsibilities now and may not have the time or motivation to create. So if you want to participate, don't feel any pressure to make something every day. Do it weekly if that is more achievable. If the mood strikes, make several small pieces in one sitting. How ever often you can and want to participate is perfectly ok!

What if I'm not a painter?

You don't have to be - there are lots of other ways you could join in.

Here are a few suggestions:

  • write a short poem
  • use photography to take close ups of colors or textures
  • make collages from magazines, maps, junk mail, old lists
  • turn it into a family project - everyone documenting things they appreciate
One last idea...

What can you do with what you have created?

So many people are isolated and feeling low right now. I'm thinking about seniors who perhaps live alone and can't visit their children and grandchildren.

Perhaps we could use our creations to boost the spirits of someone else.

If you can, mail what you've made to someone you care about. If you can't mail it, email or text a picture of it to them with a note about why you made it.

Share online!

If you decide to participate, please share your creations on Instagram and use the hashtag #creatingcalm2020 so all participants can see! I'll try to share some in my stories too - follow @rachelpetruccillo

If you aren't on Instagram, leave a comment below and let me know what you've created!

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