Here is my ideal world: EVERYONE is an artist in their own unique way. They don’t care what people think. They don’t judge their work harshly. They create for the JOY of it & share it only if they want to and it’s not for the likes, success, fame, or money. In this world, kindness is the norm because we love to support each other, inspire each other, grow together, and express our deepest selves. Everyone’s art is loved, especially by those who made it. There is no inner critic, only creative FREEDOM & PLAY! Is this so really so improbable?
Here’s a little fact that might change your mind: Vincent Van Gogh, the artist of this gorgeous and famous piece, only sold ONE PAINTING in his WHOLE LIFETIME! (& It wasn’t this one!) He’s not the only one, lots of artists that we now revere didn’t achieve success until after they were dead. But it didn’t stop him from creating 2,100 artworks in one decade. Why did he continue to create even in the face of rejection and lack of financial success? It’s because creating brought him joy and allowed him to express himself, regardless of outside opinions. How different would the world be if he said no to creativity because he didn’t have success? He’s one of my favorite artists! Yes, he did tragically kill himself, but his art brought him joy in a dark world, and continues to do the same for others to this day.
“Art is to console those who are broken by life.”
― Vincent van Gogh
Now, most of us won’t be super famous like Van Gogh, even after we die. That’s not the goal. The important thing to realize is like meditation, being creative is something we can do to have a happier and healthier life, not only for ourselves but for everyone around us too. If we don’t feel as stressed, sad, or angry that reflects in everything else we do. I find that the joy of creating really helps one to unwind. Especially in this time of constant digital overstimulation. Everything is competing for our attention. We are being stretched thin. Having the time to take out a pencil and just draw a bird that you find beautiful carves out a moment for you to be in the present, cherish something, and use your hands for something that doesn’t necessarily require any kind of “result” or “outcome.“
But the benefits of creativity go beyond just relaxation and stress relief. Creativity also has the power to foster self-discovery and self-expression. Through the act of creating, we can uncover parts of ourselves that we may not have otherwise recognized or understood. We can express emotions, thoughts, and experiences that may be difficult to put into words. Think of it as a mostly free kind of therapy that helps to explore your inner self.
Another powerful aspect of creativity is its ability to cultivate problem-solving skills and innovation. Through the creative process, we are forced to think outside the box, experiment, try new things, and see things from different perspectives. These skills can then be applied to other areas of our lives, such as work, relationships, and personal growth. Science shows creativity isn’t just ‘a waste of time.’ It’s important for our development!
Creativity can also help us connect with others on a deeper level. Sharing our art with others can create meaningful connections and give us a new way of expressing ourselves. Whether it’s through a painting, a song, a photograph, or any other form of art, we can communicate our experiences with others, and in turn, learn from theirs. Also, what a beautiful gift it is to give someone some piece that you made, that you poured some of your soul into. It always feels so special to me when my husband makes me a card, even if it’s not museum-worthy and I try to always make a card for those I love as well because I know how special it can be.
But to me, the most important benefit of creativity is the sense of fulfillment and purpose it can bring to our lives. By creating something that is uniquely our own, we tap into our soul and this can feel very meaningful. This sense of purpose will drive us to continue creating and make our days that much sweeter. When I went through my super long burnout, I just didn’t feel complete and was extremely depressed.
Creativity is such an important part of my life and I know everyone else can and should feel the joy it brings too!
So, how can we cultivate more creativity in our lives? The first step is to give ourselves permission to be creative. We need to let go of the idea that we have to be “good” at something in order to do it. Creativity is not about producing perfect works of art; it’s about the process of creating and expressing ourselves. Plus if your goal is to make gorgeous art, just remember that EVERY artist out there started from the ground and had to work their way up. They too made ‘ugly work’ at first! There is so much value in just practicing and whether art is a hobby or a professional dream for you, just enjoy the process! If you focus on just creating pretty things and ‘fail’ you will have a harder time trying again, so please don’t think that way. It’s really just about the joy of creating and the results come with TIME! Nobody came out of their mother’s womb a master artist. Practice is always needed. But it’s not necessary to make ‘beautiful’ art to get all the benefits of creativity nor should it be everyone’s goal. Your art has value just as it is!
“If you hear a voice within you say, ‘You cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.”
―Vincent Van Gogh
Another way to foster creativity is to make time for it in our daily lives. Whether it’s setting aside a specific time each day to create, even just 10 minutes a day, or taking a small sketchbook with you everywhere you go. If you can make it a habit and a priority you will reap more benefits.
Do keep in mind, all of this doesn’t have to be just art related. You can be more creative by dancing while cooking or trying new ingredients, or even taking a different route home and noticing the wildflowers. Maybe planning a date with a twist for your spouse. Or make a blanket fort in your living room to re-live your childhood. We can have creativity in every part of our lives, just do what feels fun to you!
Another great thing to do is keep your eyes peeled for inspiration. You can make a Pinterest board of inspiring art or follow some new artists on Instagram. But there are other ways to get inspired. Draw outside. Take a class and learn something new or from a different angle. Movies or books can be inspiring. (Ahh how I love Howl’s Moving Castle!) Or getting new art supplies to play with. Maybe listening to different music while you paint. Maybe plant a flower garden! Find things that bring you joy to experience and surround yourself with them!
Exposing yourself to new ideas and experiences can spark your imagination and inspire you to create.
The benefits of creativity are numerous and far-reaching. From improved mental health and well-being to the joy it brings to us and those around us, creativity has the power to enrich our lives and society as a whole. So, let’s embrace our inner artist, let go of self-judgment and fear, and create just for FUN! Who knows what beautiful things you’ll make or what fun you’ll have? As Vincent Van Gogh once said:
“I am seeking, I am striving, I am in it with all my heart.”