In a world gone mad the idea of painting and creativity may seem frivolous. A waste of time. Yet mindfulness, self expression and a sense of purpose are enhanced when you get creative. Taking action with your hands and mind engaged in painting, for example, will do more for your peace and self esteem than you realise. In this video and episode you can find out what you need to do right now.
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Welcome to Loosen Up Your Painting Podcast, a podcast with tips and advice on how to improve your paintings for beginners to advanced. You'll learn new ways to grow your painting fun and enjoyment. I'm your host, Malcolm Dewey. From Malcolm Dewey Fineart.com and let's begin.
Welcome back to a new episode of how to Loosen Up Your Painting. It's your host, Malcolm Dewey. It's good to be talking to you again. And this time I'm going to be talking about, I think, a subject that's quite important these days, especially with all the incredible stress and stressful headlines we see in news going on in the world. I suppose that could apply to any time, but it seems particularly relevant now.
Why Painting and Creativity Helps Mindfulness
And the subject is why painting or creativity is so important to mindfulness, mental health and self esteem. Now, I've always believed that some form of creativity is an essential part of life, but I notice a lot of people that I associate with it could be in the family and some friends simply do not take part in any sort of creative activity. They're busy with work and then taking time off, which usually involves something like watching television or reading the newspaper. And of course, that is not going to help anyone's mental well being these days. It seems every headline is geared to create a couple of reactions, either fear or anger.
Mainstream Media is Toxic
And of course, that's not going to help anyone's health and relationships and outlook on life. Many years ago, my wife and I made a decision to give up cable television and the new services that went with it. Reading the newspaper also stopped completely. I don't even get a Sunday paper or anything like that. I don't even bother to consider mainstream media as a viable source of information.
I think it's all designed to keep us off balance or in conflict or in some form of anxiety. Even so, a lot of information still seeps through the cracks. If you spend any time on the internet or social media or any sort of channel where there could be some news coming your way, you're going to find some commentator getting your attention with some clickbaity headline. And we all have our weak points and our concerns. So sometimes these headlines get through and you can find yourself going down a rabbit hole of fear and anxiety before you know it.
Now, recently the whole world was talking about the Oscars in 2022 and of course, the infamous incident of Will Smith, the famous actor, getting upset with Chris Rock, the MC of the event, walking onto the stage and giving Chris Rock a slap in the face, apparently to defend Will Smith's wife's honor. Of course, there's all sorts of rationalizations about why this took place, but I think we're forgetting one important thing. For someone like Will Smith to behave that way, he must have been harboring a lot of stress, anxiety and anger. There are all sorts of theories put forward about why he should feel that way. And I'm not going to go into that right now, but I certainly believe that he must have been harboring a ton of stress and anger to be completely oblivious to the situation he was in, almost as if he was under hypnosis and went on to that stage in front of an international television audience and not to mention all these contemporaries and peers in his industry and committed an act which was so damaging to his image.
And if he has any self awareness, of course, his self esteem would take another massive blow. This can happen to an extremely successful celebrity. Well, it can happen to anyone. So back on to why I believe art is the answer. We have a lot of medical studies and evidence to this effect.
So there's pretty much no doubt that individuals who have some issue in their life, some mental issue, whether it's simply a bit of stress from work or worries about health or family or a world situation, self esteem issues, everybody shows an improvement to their mental health by engaging in some form of artistic self expression. We've seen this in so many ways. If you've got children, you know that if the young children are acting out very often, you can sit them down on the carpet with some Lego and very soon get busy putting Lego blocks together and are absorbed in that and are happy and making happy sounds and a smile on their face. Even when they get frustrated, they get fun out of that as well. I suppose that's why a lot of adults today still buy Lego sets, because there are such fond memories associated with that or such a positive energy.
But of course, we also see that in adults who take up painting or drawing or journaling writing, things like that, that creates an immediate benefit to their health. I still remember a situation myself where in my earlier years going through an extremely stressful business situation where I was angry and frustrated with a business associate, and it got to the point where there was either going to be a confrontation and a lot of damage done. But instead I recall sitting down and just writing out my grievances. It seems silly when I mentioned that, but I wrote about two or three pages of free hand writing. And the most amazing thing was that when I had finished putting down my thoughts and why I thought I was being treated wrong, and the implications of all of that and all of those issues came out from pen to paper.
And when I had finished with that, I felt a tremendous amount of peace. I got all of that churning anxiety and anger issues out onto paper, and immediately any thought of setting up a confrontation disappeared. In fact, I felt so calm after that that I could sit down and plan my future. And very shortly after that I went on my own venture with my wife, and we've never looked back. And of course, today I'm a full time artist and there's nothing stressful about my work day.
I love every day I do this thing, and I'm determined to share that with everybody else. We can also see the influence of creativity in the human spirit and human psyche dating back to prehistoric times. All those caves at Lascaux in France, for instance, show the most amazing prehistoric art. Why would people back then, when survival was all important and so precarious? Why would they spend so much time creating art and venerating art?
Clearly, they enjoyed what they were doing, but it had a much more significant effect in their culture, in their sense of wellbeing and security. Art was extremely powerful to them. Today, we don't have that same connection to art, but what we have instead is a lot of fear, anxiety, and anger running through the world. So we definitely need to connect back to creativity. If we look at writing, for instance, sure, there is a lot of benefit when you sit down and type out something, whether it's a story or you're getting down your thoughts.
Physical Creativity is Critical
However, the science says that the biggest benefit comes when you actually put a pen in your hand and write it down. It is that connection between mind and body and transforming thoughts and emotions into an actual physical outcome. In this case, the pen marks in your Journal, for instance. That is where the real benefit comes about. So there has to be a physical act coupled with a mental and emotional state of being.
In short, pick up a pen, pencil or paintbrush and make marks with it. That is how you get the benefit of creativity. Yes, you could pick up some tools and some materials and put things together, maybe some clay and start modeling that with your hands. It all is the same thing. You are transforming thoughts and emotions into an act that results in something physical being created.
There are many studies as well where individuals have been able to deal with extreme traumatic situations in their past as well. I did an interview last year with Sean Auguston, a veteran from the Iraq War, and he explained how art had done so much to save his mental situation, if not his life, and how many other veterans were taking up artistic pursuits to help them cope with post traumatic stress disorder. So it's no leap to suggest that people who are feeling somewhat stressed out by the social events we're in are going to benefit from that as well. Even people who are facing illness or some other tragedy, anything like that will have benefits. So hopefully we all agree that creativity is going to boost your mental well being, your sense of self esteem, and even help to alleviate the symptoms of illness or some other form of affliction.
More Benefits for You
But what other benefits will it have for you? I do believe that when you start to create something artistic, it improves your sense of aesthetics. You start to appreciate art, other people's work, the surroundings you're in, maybe the interior of your home. You start to see things differently. Maybe you decide to do something about the clutter that is affecting you in your house.
You realize the aesthetics of your environment are not very helpful and are causing stress. If you have to constantly step around clutter in your bedroom, it's going to be a stress point and now you'll notice it and perhaps do something about it. All these little things have a knock on effect. I've also touched on art and creativity benefiting children and of course benefiting adults. Now I find with my art classes that many adults only take up painting later in life, maybe even after retirement from their work, or they've been retrenched and they decide they have to find some time to do something more creative.
And painting fortunately came up as an option. I have had countless testimonials from students over the years explaining what a relief it's been for them to start creating through paint. So what are some of the hurdles blocking people from getting started? One of the biggest hurdles, of course, is simply dealing with the fear of making art that is not very good. A lot of people have a fear about looking foolish or not being taken seriously, or maybe a partner or spouse is going to think it amusing that they're taking up something like art, especially if they've never done that before in their lives.
Overcome Hurdles by Recognising Them
And suddenly you've got the situation where a spouse wants to stock up and get an easel and get paints and brushes and you meet with the response like, what the hell are you doing that for? What's brought this on? All of these things make it very difficult for people to take that next step and they feel like, well, they're just wasting money. This is going to be a waste of time or I'm setting myself up to get embarrassed later on. So if you can recognise those hurdles and realize that you may have to face those hurdles, then at least you can prepare yourself for that and understand when those hurdles get thrown in front of you, you either go over them or around them, but you don't let them stop you.
Once you've got over some of those issues and realize that fear is not an option. Really, once you start painting, nobody really is going to take that much notice. You'll be left alone and you'll get on with it. And as you develop your art and feel the healing benefits to your self esteem absence of anxiety, you'll keep going. Another problem that is often raised is time, and having no time to create is always an easy excuse to raise.
Who's going to challenge you if you raise that as an excuse? Nobody knows exactly what you get up to, and if you say you don't have time. How can anybody dispute that? Well, I'm going to dispute that. I've had this argument with many people over the years, and we've always managed to do a little time audit and find an extra hour a day.
It's difficult for a retired person, for instance, to claim they don't have time, but I find that happens very often. It's quite a shame to discover that you're on retirement and you don't have time for yourself. But when we have a look at what people get up to each and every day, we do find time very often. Several hours a week can be freed up, so there's no problem there. There is time.
Waste of Time
If you cut out some of the things that waste your time, like scrolling through social media, watching television, reading the newspaper. In those activities alone, you'll be able to free up an hour a day of that, I'm pretty sure. So what's the next step in getting started with painting? Well, you can do painting as a hobby and doubling it on the weekends. You can take it more seriously and try to do some painting every second day, half an hour here or there.
The best result, though, is that if you can set up your painting environment in a small corner of the room, an entire room or studio, whatever the situation may be, you don't need a lot of space. One little table easel or table box easel can hold all your equipment and everything you need to do a nice small painting. So if you're going to start, what do you use? What materials do you use? What medium do you use?
These are questions that often raise and end up blocking people as well, but I suggest starting off with something like acrylics. And acrylics are regarded as quite a friendly medium because they are water based, they dry quickly and they're easy to find. There's thousands of brands, it seems, and no trouble. You can pick up a set of acrylics just about anywhere from toy shops to art stores. You only need a few colors as well.
How to Get Started Painting Quickly
The primary colors like red, yellow and blue and some white paint and maybe some Brown like burnt Sienna, and that's enough to get you started. I'll show exactly how you can use a few colors like that in my course, acrylic painting for beginners, and it shows how anyone can simply make a start. A couple of brushes and something to paint on. It could be craft paper. Relatively good craft paper, like 300 grammes or £140 craft paper will work just fine.
You can use canvases, but why bother spending so much money when you're learning to paint? Most important thing is to paint a lot, and you don't want to waste money on canvases. At this stage. If you're just starting out, you need a couple of brushes, like a number four and a number eight long flat brush. I recommend acrylic brushes by Daler Rowney. They are called Crylla. Get two of those and you're ready to go.
Fairly big brushes those and you can make nice big marks with that. And express yourself through lots of paint and big brushwork on your painting surface. And a full size paper is perfect. You don't need bigger than that, and that's it. You're really good to go.
A jar of water and a palette. You can even use a tear off palette, something like an A3 size gives you lots of space to mix color and you just get started from there. Things develop. Just be curious. Take a few courses online, very easy to do.
You can download videos you can watch on YouTube. There's a ton of information and a lot of artists helping beginners get started. You can find that on my YouTube channel as well at Malcolm Dewey, just look that up. As I said, I've got courses as well for beginners who want to paint with acrylics, and it will help you start right at the beginning and share your experience. If you have close friends who will support you, talk about your art, express your excitement, and they will take that up and encourage you.
If you have young children, involve them as well. The most important thing is to get people creating from an early age. Creatives are happier people. That's all there is to it. And now it's your turn to make yourself happy as well. And to take care of yourself.
You have to keep a grip on your own emotions, your own self development. And doing something creative a couple of times a week is a great start. So if you're thinking about starting something creative, whether it's writing music or writing a book, creating art through different mediums like paints, clay, drawing, any of those activities, then do it. Just make a start. Get the essential, basic materials that you can afford and begin.
And then at the same time you'll find you'll start to reduce the amount of toxic information coming into your life. Through TVs, newspapers, journals, whatever it may be, we find that the need for drama begins to diminish and the need for creativity and art will increase. You'll start looking at more of those subjects online as well, whether it's on YouTube or Pinterest. Instead of looking at the clickbait that upsets you, you'll be looking at art and artists and ways to try new creative pursuits. So that's the challenge right now, when I'm finished with this podcast is to think about where you're going to start creating.
If you've already kicked this off but are not sure about how to carry on, well, now is the time to get out your art materials again and simply begin and visit my YouTube channel or any other artist you're interested in and get some inspiration there. Just sit down, watch a lesson or two, and then try it out for yourself. It's as simple as that and you only need to invest 30 minutes to an hour. It's all important and it will give you a lot more benefit. So that's the challenge.
Are you ready to get back or start? I hope so. Please let me know how it's going for you. Visit my art school. You'll find that on my website malcolmdeweyfineart.com.
I've even got a couple of free courses as well so you don't have to spend any money to get started and just join in and let me know how it's going for you. All right. I hope that's given you something to think about and some inspiration to begin and now we can move on and begin to improve our life. Now, if you haven't subscribed to my podcast please have a go and do that. I'm also asking you to visit my email@example.com, sign up there for my free painting course, get some inspiration and some valuable tips as well.
And don't forget my YouTube channel. It's YouTube Malcolm Dewey and there's several hundred videos on that channel already so I'm sure you'll find something that's going to help you in the various mediums from watercolors to gouache to acrylics and oils and even pastels. All right. Thanks very much for joining me. I hope you've got some useful tips from this podcast.
Until next time, happy painting and cheers for now.
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Malcolm Dewey: Artist. Country: South Africa