Colors as saviors

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Some years ago, 2013-14 I think, when I lived through my worst burn-out period and could neither read nor write due to difficulties to concentrate, I was saved by coloring. Coloring instead of writing, let my inner self find a way to express my need to be creative.

Actually, I began having fun with photos already in 2009, but from that time I seem to have destroyed more images than I actually created any. A couple of “hits”, but then it was more of a learning period than anything else. Fun yes, so nothing wrong with that, but I seem to have almost nothing left from those early years.

Four, five years later, I hadn’t yet experienced this type of coloring, an app with already drawn images to choose from. Not even any physical coloring book! Instead, I somehow began to use my own photos more frequently, and with them as a base, playing around with overlays, filters and such.

Very amusing it was, and after a while, I found out I was good at it. Well, not the very first trials of course, but soon enough. And I enjoyed it immensely!

Image based on an old photo of mine

Not long after, I happened to be placed at a church, and that led to that I began to make posters for the Sunday sermons. And that task grew to also make folders, adds, brochures and the monthly internal “newspaper”.

It was amazing to see how much the choice of colors, fonts, images etc influence the total. The layout and the interaction between dark and light are utterly important for what the poster, folder etc will say to the viewer. And this work for the church took over some of the time I earlier had spent on making my own images.

Now, I no longer have a church to make posters for, and actually – I don’t miss it! Not that I couldn’t make images in poster-format… I could if I wanted to.

Just an excerpt from a photo, which I’ve meddled with.

It’s just that I still don’t take many photos! I thought I would, once I came home, but I haven’t! Hopefully, I will again, sooner or later. Instead, during these two years, the coloring has grown on me. And also the apps, have developed into having more sophistic and varied possibilities. So I use these fairly simple drawings, which I color, and then finish with one or more added layers on Pixlr.

And Now?!?
I’m actually considering trying to paint on canvas!

I am considering what?!?!?!?!
I who can’t draw! Not a straight line! Or even less a curved one!!!

But I have three canvases at home, and I have acrylic paint and lots of pencils…

Okay! So it has been on my mind for several years actually. I have tried to paint with watercolors, aquarelle, the technique where you dilute the paint with water to get a paler, more or less transparent look, but that seemed to NOT be my cup of tea. (Oh, these British expressions…) Using watercolor without diluting it with water, seems to be more coherent to me. Painting gouache, in other words. Or with acrylic paint!

I admit!!! I’ve been storing this equipment, paint, pencils, and canvases for several years now – because I’m afraid! It’s so much easier just to take something where the sketch is already made, and just add colors! Clicking on icons on the iPad. EASY! How could my hands obey what my mind tells them when they never have done so in the past?

But just now, I came to think of those short “sketches” we did when I studied writing. Not draw, but write for five minutes or ten, whatever came into one’s mind. Perhaps we had a photo as inspiration, or a random sentence, or a couple of words…

At first, it was terrifying and difficult, the first years actually. But oddly enough! The closer I came to that “brain shut down burn out”, the easier it became for me to just let go in these short training sessions! That was really odd…

It must be the same with painting. I “just” have to relax and let go!

(And I have lately been having fantasies about having an easel standing here in the window corner… )

One of my latest coloring pieces.

6 thoughts on “Colors as saviors

  1. Hi Thea, I can relate so much to your post. I went through a few years of writer’s block, I needed a creative outlet so I started creating simple line drawings in ink. If I made a mistake I had to incorporate it into the image, it freed me of my perfectionistic tendencies. The line drawings were black and white and I added bits of color with watercolor pencils, it felt similar to coloring books. Then I entered another bad relationship which silenced my art making again 😦 so I switched to painting with acrylics, on tiny canvases. Now I’m writing again but not painting ;), I wish I could have time to do both and I especially wish depression didn’t have such censorship powers over my creativity!

    I love your artwork, you have a natural sense with colors and composition. Silence the inner critic, I think you’d be great at painting. I’m still learning and I love finding/inventing new techniques. I think more important than the realistic depiction, is the feeling in artwork.

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    • Thank you for your answer! You’re very encouraging, and I really do appreciate that. Feels good not being alone in this. It gives hope, both to writing “properly” again, and to go further with painting. Any kind!
      And even though I wish for more, I’m glad I at least manage to write blog posts AND do some coloring almost every day.

      Thank you for your praise of my artwork! You made me very happy, and I’ll try to silence my inner critics, let go and just keep on doing what I long for..

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      • You’re welcome Thea❤️, I like creatives supporting each other, it gets lonely, we need encouragement. Most of us are so hard on ourselves, overly critical. It takes much courage to create and post, I want to celebrate that. It makes me mad that art/creativity isn’t valued in traditional schools, I think it’s why most of us don’t think we’re artists, but we are. I think “perfect” art is kind of boring, I prefer seeing the intention and soul of the work. Messy lines are cool and make art feel real in my opinion. You’re already doing the creative work and it’s beautiful!

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      • *Sighing* … what would we do without the Internet!!!
        I would so much to find some kind of evening classes for creative writing in this city! THERE IS NONE!!!! You can find classes if you want to learn a language, even Swahili and Farsi… (?!?!?!?!!?!). Cooking classes, of course, learn how to use a computer, or make a homepage on WordPress……..
        But nothing for us who wants to increase our writing skills and meet other people with the same interest. It’s absolutely horrendous! This city is quite big, and the town I lived in from early 2006 to early 2017, which is way smaller than this one, had at least three different evening schools who also had at least one course each semester. Where I chose to be, I could choose between three in the same period. Though I didn’t choose “Write your own autobiography”… hehe…
        Attending one or more evening classes gives so much support and friends, and you get so much pep that makes you want to write more and more…

        It’s really sad that all creative stuff are so undervalued. When I was little, we had drawing lessons, and music, and some writing in the Swedish lessons. Not only reading, writing and grammar
        Where did all that go?
        And where can I go to find writing-loving friends? Not even the library have anything like this! Not for grownups!
        Sitting home alone with no one to inspire and be inspired from… no wonder it’s hard to get going.

        Now I have obviously been venting here. And almost forgot about the painting topic. I agree with you! We are in fact artists! We paint with colors or with words! (I do a lot of word-painting when I write). We create make-believes and give them life. In our hearts we are artists, writers, painters… whatever … even if we are not publish or established in any way. Besides our blogs and Instagram accounts.

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