Healthy strokes

This is my dinner tonight, in preparation for some art making.  Here are the details.

Big cup of green tea

Kale salad
   -sesame seeds
   -hemp hearts
   -slivered almonds
   -dried cranberries
   -olive oil
   -sesame oil
   -balsamic vinegar
   -dijon mustard
   -maple syrup
   -grated cumin and black pepper

Buncha Steamed Brocolli

This is a lot of healthy.  This would be quite a pricey meal, if I didn't grow the kale and herbs.  You can definitely make very healthy meals for very affordable prices if you do it wisely though.  There are tons of blogs devoted to this.

This post is my piece about healthy art.

The relationship between art and health is a tricky one, and one that isn't look at very much.  When people talk about improving their art, there are many go to things, like pure HOURS and HOURS spent on doing the work, or meeting the right people, or signing up for the right workshops/classes.  I'm not, by any means, saying that these won't get you there, I'm just saying that I believe there's far more to the picture than this.

Those who know me, know that I've been interested in general health and well-being for some time.  It's a really big part of my life, and I'm often found reading about nutrition or exercising.  I feel like many artists overlook the value of health and it's synchronistic value to the art that we produce.

I don't think it's worth me finding a reference of statistics to prove that when you're body and mind are healthy, pretty much everything else gets better with them.  There are so many articles that follow this formula: Studies have shown, that _____ much of _____ decreases cancer.  Not to mention the articles about how recent neuroscience shows that if you eat  ____ two times a week it will increase brain function. We know generally what is healthy for us.  At least we should be now.  It's more predictable in this day and age than ever before, even with the disillusionment of the big food industries.

So we've established that being healthy is predictable.  I'm not saying it's easy by any means.  It's not.  Even if your physical body is healthy, your mental may not.  I'm just saying that we all know the things we should do if we want to be healthier.  So let's pair this predictable well-being with some of the unpredictable aspects of creating artwork?  

It's safe to say that this differs from artist to artist, but a lot of creators find that IDEAS seem to just come out of nowhere.  Depending on your beliefs, some feel that they come from some form of channeling or god or what have you.  One way or the other, ideas are very elusive, and at times, they just don't flow.  You can bang your head against your wall as much as possible - sometimes there's just nothing there.  

For the painters, what is it in your brains that decides how and where to make paint strokes?  What moment is it that we decide to change the direction of a brush?  To fill in a dark area of the canvas, or paint the highlights on something shiny?  When performing these incredibly emotional and intellectually demanding actions, I feel that it's our brain that conceptualizes what we're trying to capture, and places it into a localized reality (however distant that reality may be in the painting itself).  We create worlds by providing this illusion of life, in whatever form it visually appears in.

So how can we make these arguably unpredictable aspects of art making a little more predictable, and easy to grasp and produce into the world?  I believe that by allowing our brains optimized functionality and response, so that they can recover as many references, as many experiences in our lives that influence the strokes we make, we can at the very least encourage this process.  If you maintain some form of exercise, it's safe to say that body functions and mechanisms will be working better.  If you eat well too, they're working even better.

If your brain is healthy, it will create more vivid and clear visions and compositions in your mind when you're setting out to begin an artwork.  

I can't say the number of times when I've been in this state myself that I've felt that creative wave come back. The flow that allows us to produce an otherwise 5 hour process (or not at all) in 30 minutes.  If you're serious about your art, especially in the long term, treat your body and mind well, and it will give back.  It will return the favour in making the unpredictability of art more and more predictable.

Oh and as an added bonus, it makes all that other life stuff better too.   

1 comment: