April 8, 2020


Art Relieves Stress

We are all under so much stress from the Coronavirus, Covid-19. Stress increases the cortisol level, the stress hormone in your body and can make you sick or exacerbate any illnesses that you have. Art is relaxing and is the antidote to stress! 

So, you may find out that making art can save your life. You need to have a stress relief practice right now that will lower your stress level. Creating art can relax you and relieve stress! So yes, doing an art project, no matter how "uncreative" you say you are, can lower your stress and may even save your life.

making art lowers stress - painting for stress relief

Stress from Social Isolation

Social isolation is necessary to prevent the spread of Coronavirus, but it is very stressful. Some of us are even quarantined waiting to see if we will develop symptoms of this horrible virus. But all of us who are responsible are practicing social distancing and not spending time outside our homes with others nearby. You may be bored out of your mind or worrying about catching Covid-19 and dying. That creates stress. But becoming a couch potato, a TV watching zombie or an iPhone addict will do nothing to allay your fears and help your health. But doing art can actually help your health!

masked woman feeling trapped from covid-19
bored cat on a couch
man bored from social isolation from Coronavirus

Learning Art can be Stress Relieving

You don’t have to be any kind of creative genius. In fact, just picking up a pencil to draw, or a crayon or paint brush to paint is a calming activity. It may even remind you of how much fun it was when you were in elementary school. Those were times before you judged yourself harshly on your creativity vs. other school mates. You just did whatever you wanted, and your mother probably put it up on the refrigerator door!

child creating art with crayons

Making art is relaxing! Making art, just for the sake of expressing some thoughts or view of what you see out your window can lower your stress level. That’s correct! Doing art is can help strengthen your immune system and it's fun. And right now, that’s exactly what we all need.

Art Therapy

Scientific studies have shown that making any kind of art, at any level can reduce the stress hormone cortisol in your blood! When your cortisol level is lower your body can fight off illnesses more effectively. You can think more clearly. Your mood is improved. And there are so many other positive effects.

Get inspired

Youtube is a wonderful way to learn so many different things! All you have to do is a search for how to draw, do watercolor, sculpt with clay. One of the benefits from learning how to draw is that you learn how to observe the things you want to create on paper. Yes, we “assume” so much in life, but drawing is really learning how to see. And no, you don’t need to draw a straight line! Most of nature does not even have straight lines! So if you’re drawing a tree or a flower there won’t be any straight lines to draw.

Learning Calligraphy

When you learn how to “see” a letter it will be the first step in learning calligraphy! It’s hard to believe, but there are many “rules” to creating letterforms. You have to see the shape of the letters, the width, height, what the serifs look like, where the letters branch and connect. Drawing them first with a pencil will help you when you’re ready to pick up a calligraphy pen.

exemplar of construction of calligraphy letter forms with rules how to create letters

In fact, I encourage my students to learn how to draw the “negative space” in the letters. That’s like drawing a donut hole! But it actually shows you how the letters are supposed to look and will help you tremendously when you start using a calligraphy pen.

calligraphy piece ruined by spilled ink and splatter

If you’re stuck in bed, you probably don’t want to use a messy dip pen with ink! Once you know what the letters look like, the next step is learning how to hold the pen so you can make thick and thin parts of the letters. That can be quite a challenge in the beginning. The pen nib has to be held at a constant angle from 30-45º. When you consistently hold you pen at that angle, no matter what part of the letter you are writing you will create thick and thin parts of the letters.

What Style of Calligraphy?

There are many styles of calligraphy. I recommend starting with an easy “hand”. In computer terms, that’s a “font”. I love Italic which is what I generally use because there are so many ways to adapt it. I can write it with compressed ascenders and descenders (the parts of the letters that go above the “x” height of the other letters). I can slant it more, or make it straight. I can flourish it, or keep it tailored.

Picking A Good Teacher

That’s going to be the hardest thing to do on Youtube because there are so many inferior videos of calligraphy. My very good friend Joanne Fink has done a good video to teach you how to write calligraphy.

Don’t give up, don’t be hard on yourself. Remember a baby keeps getting up from falling when they’re learning how to walk.

Use your time to Learn Something New

Learning to make art during the time of social distancing is a good way to have a new hobby and calm yourself and lower your stress level! It takes a lot of practice, but you have time now!

calligraphy takes time to practice

And if you want to try calligraphy and get feedback on your progress and what to do to improve, just contact me for “cyberlessons”!

Stay safe- Be well!  Practice art for stress relief!

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