A Little Something for my Mental Health

2020 was weird for everyone, right? Not just me…? Okay, cool. I was an essential worker with a young child at home, so I didn’t have the sudden burst of free time that was forced on a lot of people. What I did get was the time saved from the hustle and bustle of our collective rampant consumerism. Aside from grocery shopping, my family pretty well stayed in.

            My work/life balance was out of sorts, as a typical workweek for me was 13 days on…ah, the life of management with corporate overlords that all but dictate skeleton crews. The unpaid hours beyond my salaried 40 drove me to the lows of depression coupled with the static horrors of anxiety.

            I needed something new. So did my wife. Since we were stuck in the house I looked into various hobbies, trying to land on something we could both enjoy. At the end of the search I bought all of the materials necessary to try our hands at acrylic pour painting. Online tutorials revealed to me that one doesn’t need to cultivate aesthetic talent to get quality results. The directions were pretty straight forward, and if you can both follow them and embrace a little chaos…there’s fun to be had and wall worthy results.

            Our first attempt was a simple dirty pour. Various colors poured individually, complimented by tilting the canvas gave us two beautiful pieces of art. They were destroyed the following day, as the paint hadn’t dried before we tried to handle them again. Oh well, it was a fun learning experience. That approach was utilized a couple more times before we pivoted to my current favorite, the flip cup.

            We wait for them to dry, make sure they’re clean, and apply a water based clear coat for longevity.

            We’ve given a couple away as gifts and I’ve sold one piece. There are others available on my Etsy page, with more on the way as I get back into making this part of my routine.

            Lydia laments on the wasted paint that drips off of the canvases during the tilting phase, but I think I have a remedy for that as well that I’ll be revealing later in the year.

I’ve tried my hand (and failed miserably) with the swipe technique. I am yet to break out the hairdryer to push paint around, as the activity tends to be something done after the kids have gone to bed…maybe someday.

This activity started as a pandemic hobby, but has remained a craft we continue to develop long after mandates were lifted. While we aim to get results that appeal to other people, the act of creating provides a relief that alleviates stress. There’s something to be said about making art that makes one feel alive. It reminds me that I’m more than the oil that lubes the cogs in our corporate state. I am a living entity, as are you…sometimes that gets lost in the pressures of consumerism. I create for the relief it provides me, first and foremost. If there’s pennies to be made on the back end, great…but in the act of creation where I feel most rejuvenated.