Thursday, January 21, 2010

Well, color me...

I made the picture above using Microsoft Paint. B is really into this dinasaur of a program for making art, so I decided to give it a try. This one was made about a year ago. It's funny because at the time I didn't think anything of it. But the other day B found it saved on his desktop and I said, "Whoa, that's pretty.  Who made that?" (yes, I was temporarily blinded and did not see my name scratched out in the corner)

I have always had some blockages around expressing myself creatively.

Maybe it has to do with the counselor at summer camp who, after hearing my rehearsal for a choral performance we were going to give for the parents, said to me, "you know, we all have different talents in life, and perhaps for the concert you should use your inside voice." 

And then there was the time when our art class was assigned a self-portrait assignment and mine came out looking more like a deranged sociopathic version of myself....

But, when I give myself the opportunity, I actually love to express myself artistically. I love seeing color spread itself on paper. I take great pleasure in expressing myself through fashion and home decorating. I like to make collages. I am a secret intepretive dancer.

Yet, increasingly in my adult life, I allow very little time for these modes of expression.

I realized that when you are younger, your life is set up to support you in expressing yourself in diverse ways. In school you have Art, English, sports, and even dance. However, as we get older, and discover our talents, we tend towards the same modes of expression and rarely challenge ourselves in this department. 

The other day I had an opprtunity to draw as a part of my work with teens and it was so amazing! Playing with color and form awakened foreign parts of my brain. It reminded me of how important it is to challenge myself to push into less-traversed territory.

So, I have a challenge for you in. wellness readers. I want you to try to express yourself today (or in the coming days) in a way that you don't usually... whether that means taking a dance class or painting a picture, or writing in a journal. If you are already an artist, perhaps you want to do something academic, or switch your medium, etc. The point is to try to stretch to express yourself in way you don't normally do. It may feel uncomfortable, and well, that's sort of the point! The challenge is to push through the discomfort and see what you find on the other side. You may be surprised.

As an added incentive, the first person to post a comment about what new form of expression they tried and what they discovered will receive these journals from the MoMa Store!

*** Update. Overnight, Kylie Larsson won the challenge! To make this fair to the email subscribers (who get the post this morning), anyone else who posts a comment today will be entered into a lottery to win another set of the journals!


  1. I tried papermaking a while back. It was a lot of fun. I discovered that I have a crafy side to me that I never really thought that I had.

  2. I began a knitting project two weeks ago. It's a more complicated pattern than I would usually attempt (and I've already had to start over), but I like having an ongoing project I can look forward to working on.

  3. We do "un"-schooling here with the kids, and there is a lot of focus on self-expression activities. It's surprising how much they learn from this type of work! I often join in and paint a watercolor picture or two - even though I'm no artist, there is something really satisfying about it.