Project Focus: I will be engaging in painting various forms of nature (flowers, landscapes, etc.) throughout each week for the course of this semester and hopefully beyond. I intend to use this form of art therapy to benefit my holistic wellbeing (mental, spiritual, physical, and social).
Inquiry Question: Does “Art Therapy” positively impact ones holistic wellbeing?
Time Line: I will aim to engage in art therapy through painting for 30 minutes to 1 hour at least two times per week for about eight weeks from February 1st to April 5th. I plan on painting on Wednesdays and Sundays but this may change to fit into my busy schedule each week. I imagine that once I experience the anticipated benefits of art therapy, I may want to practice more than 2 times per week or for a longer duration, so this is just a minimum goal for now.
1. Time/prioritizing issues – when I am very busy with full time classes, work, other hobbies, and my pre-internship in March I imagine that I will struggle with setting aside time for painting. I will move through this challenge by recognizing how sitting down and engaging in art therapy amid by busy life is beneficial to my holistic wellbeing, especially mental health. I know that doing this will help me manage my emotions and balance my stress so I will plan out my weeks and days in my planner and ensure to schedule specific time to dedicate to this project.
2. Feeling incompetent/incapable – I have never practiced painting outside of a few times in art class in school and its been a long time since then. What got me back into wanting to take up painting was seeing so many amazing videos on the internet of people painting nature so beautifully and me finding myself wanting to do the same. Specifically on TikTok, I have come across many “How to” videos of people painting flowers and such that look really easy to replicate. I imagine that once I am actually doing it, especially in the beginning, my artwork is not going to look anything like the works of those professionals or how I want it to look. To overcome this I will focus on the process rather than the product, find joy in small wins, be aware of my progress over the eight weeks, and be sure to reflect on my emotions and feelings before, during, and after painting and how art therapy is benefitting me, regardless of what my artwork actually looks like in the end.
3. Overwhelming amount of resources – with access to the internet and the plethora of information constantly being thrown at us online, I often find myself wanting to do everything but not having the time, energy, plan, means, etc. of actually doing it. I know that when I go online looking for inspiration, tutorials, examples, etc. I am going to easily find more than enough ideas. Rather than really scheduling it out and attempting to create a strict “progressive” type of plan from easier beginner works to more advanced, as I normally would do to approach something like this, I am going to just do what feels right. Each time I sit down to paint, I will do the research right then and decide what I feel like painting that day. If I discover a certain technique I want to practice or I find myself wanting to try something I did again, then I will do that. I am not going to make a strict plan of what to paint or what order to do it in, and I am not going to stress myself out with way too many ideas to do. I am simply going to take this as it comes and really focus on enjoying the actual experience of painting nature, rather than worrying about what to do, how to do it, trying to progress in some way, etc.
4. Lack of motivation – a combination of the challenges mentioned above often influence many of the artistic hobbies that I try to pick up (ex. guitar, embroidery, quilting, drawing, piano, etc.). I often put too much pressure on myself from the very beginning, which results in me feeling unnecessarily overwhelmed and thus just quitting. As I have begun prioritizing my time a lot differently, and like Elizabeth Gilbert mentioned in “Big Magic”, “finding the value in my own joy”, I have been getting better at doing things that I enjoy simply because they bring me joy. To overcome this general lack of motivation that I often experience I am going to (as mentioned above) not put so much stress on myself worrying about getting as much information as possible, trying to be perfect off the bat, pressuring myself to commit to strict plans, etc. and instead just be, or rather, just do. When it comes to artistic hobbies, such as the art therapy I am trying to engage in here, we often focus on the wrong things and burn ourselves out before we even begin. So for this project, I am simply going to sit down and paint. I might draw inspiration from another artist or I might just do what feels right at the time. I am going to be fully present when doing this task and just let my own creativity run wild.
My support pal will be my mom. With absolutely everything in my life my mom is always there for me to support me through good and bad, tell me what I sometimes don’t want to hear, encourage me, and listen when I need it. She keeps me on track and always makes sure that I am doing my best and what I need to be doing. This project will be no different, and I know that she is the best person in my life to get me through and have the best opportunity for success!