watercolor playing for the 100 day project…

A couple of times in the past, I started to participate in #The100DayProject only to stop after a few days. This year, though, has been different. I began on the “official” start date of April 2 and I’m writing this on day 71… and I’m still going, doing a creative project every day for these one hundred days.

I’m not sure why it’s different for me this year. Maybe part of it is because I chose a daily project that’s something I absolutely love – playing around with watercolor paints.

And maybe another part of it (and maybe even the biggest part) is because I truly am letting myself simply play.

It doesn’t matter what the end results look like.

It doesn’t matter how much – or how little – time I spend on a single painting.

It doesn’t matter if I use many colors or only one. Or whether I use a small journal or a large journal or even no journal at all.

The point, for me, is to play with watercolors every single day.

And that’s what I’m doing.

For me, it’s relaxing. Calming. Meditative. Soothing. Happy-feeling.

For me, it helps with anxiety and stress. (So much.)

It’s part of my healing journey, it helps distract me when I’m not feeling well, and it helps me connect with joy.

That’s my why for this. And because those particular things – those things that make up my why – are so very important for my life right now, and because I let myself simply enjoy the process and play, I haven’t needed to “make” myself sit down every day to do this.

I come to the practice eagerly and joyfully. I look forward to it. And I have fun with it.

Do you let yourself simply play with a creative practice? Do you relax about it, and do it for the joy it brings?

I hope so. It helps with life, it really does.

(I share my 100-days-project posts on instagram with the hashtag #100daysofwatercolorplaying – come connect with me there!)

 

a time of few words…

It’s been a minute since I’ve written here. I keep thinking about blogging, with ideas for posts coming to me… and then those musings pass without being written, and the blog remains dusty and without new thoughts.

It’s been a time of few words.

Oh, I’ve had words, of course. Talks and texts and phone calls with friends. Captions on instagram posts and facebook updates. Brain-and-emotion-dumping in morning pages and messy-raw-art-journaling.

But writing here, as well as fiction writing, hasn’t been flowing.

Creative flow in general, however, has been happening, and I’m so grateful. Creativity helps me (hugely!) in connecting with joy. It helps me get through difficult days when physical symptoms or anxiety flare. It nourishes my soul.

I’ve been painting at the easel regularly – acrylic on canvas.

I’m participating in #the100DayProject (which began April 2) with my project of 100 Days of Watercolor Playing.

 

And faces (along with some words) have been showing up in my quick pencil sketches.

 

Sometimes one avenue of creativity slows down for a while, and another wants to come through us in a larger way.

That’s what has been happening with me lately. And I’m going with the flow.

 

finding the joy connections…

So it’s been a while.

No real excuses other than life happening. And life right now – even with some wonderful times – is a challenge in various ways.  The need for self-care is high, and self-care can look like many different things, and can vary at different times.

One way I’m tapping into self-care is consciously finding what I call the joy connections.

Joy connections are those things, even tiny or seemingly unremarkable things, that connect me with joy.

One very small example that relates to this blog is making the decision to change my tagline and switch my header font color back to blue – because it’s my absolute favorite color, and looking at it brings me joy.

Another joy connection for me is painting. I’ve been deliberately making the space and the choice to spend time at the easel. Because painting on large canvases grounds me, calms me, and brings me joy.

Joy connection for me definitely involves those I love.

Including our sweet kitty…

And I’ve been remembering and reconnecting with things I love, things I used to do, but have put away or pushed aside – or somehow thought I couldn’t have in my life anymore.

Like our old 35mm film camera.

I always loved using this camera so much. Whether changing lenses, or focusing, or simply just holding it in my hands and the feel of it, this camera always made me feel connected to my creativity and to my joy.

But for years, this camera has been put away. Just because it’s not digital.

And then a couple of weeks ago while I was telling a friend in a text about how I never used this camera anymore, it hit me: There’s absolutely no reason for me to stop using something I love, something that’s brought me so much joy.

No reason at all. Sure, it’s less convenient than digital. But the point is the joy it gives me.

So I got the camera out of its case, put in new batteries and film, got reacquainted with its various lenses and settings… and now it’s part of my life again.

It’s a little thing to give myself permission to get out a put-away object I love, and start using it again.

It’s a little thing to take just a few minutes to stand at the canvas and paint a few strokes.

It’s a little thing to give our kitty a cuddle or reach out to hold my husband’s hand.

But sometimes it’s those little things that can connect us with deep joy.

Being aware of what brings joy – and then consciously, deliberately, intentionally bringing those things into a day or a week – it can make such a difference.

And this is one way self-care looks. By choosing to find (and make) those joy connections.