In the UK, a rash of reports in the last few days have indicated that normal seasonal blues will be made much worse this year due to the recession and economic worries.
The theory is that in the middle of January each year we always tend to see a number of factors conspiring to make people feel particularly gloomy. Things like:
- Christmas is over and it's a long haul to the next festivity
- the credit card bills are coming in
- more New Year Resolutions have been broken than kept
- that new regime around getting more exercise hasn't quite taken off
- the weather is cold and gloomy and getting ready for an outing can feel like taking off for an expedition in the Antartic!
- the levels of uncertainty around the economy are unprecedented in recent decades (see this BBC report)
- people have been well and truly scared by the media and are acting in a cautious way irrespective of whether or not they are likely to be affected. Everybody is behaving as if their job is at risk - even if it isn't.
- the recession is beinning to wear us down. Psychologists reckon that people cope well for about three months - and then things start to go downhill. This quarter is likely to see more people buckling under the pressure
The best insulators against gloom are generally agreed to be family, friends, exercise - and being creative.
Some creative solutions
Here's what I've been doing.........
Sketching outside in January: This is something I've never done before because I thought it was too cold. It's not - but you do have to work out the best method of insulation and generally make quick sketches. It also gets me out and about and taking a bit more exercise in a month in which I tend to hibernate.
Developed a project about drawing one place all year round: Good intentions are not enough! Developing my Ecology Park Pond Project REQUIRES me to both take exercise. Plus it's also a project which has reenergised my production of artwork - and producing more artwork makes me feel good and I produce more artwork...........
Helped to create a group which has a common focus for artwork: Watermarks is proving to be very beneficial to my creative processes. It's a place where I can explore processes which are new to me and take a look at the other way in which people work. Plus of course working with ones art cyber buddies is another way of insulating against the economic chills.
None of the above has cost me anything. I'm using existing art supplies and my resources found in the locality of where I live.
I do however think I might be investing in some lino cutting equipment so I can try a new approach to making art and learn a new skill - which I'm really looking forward to!
Your options to be creative, be positive and feel good
Here are some of the things you could be doing.
If you can afford to:
- why not start a collection of artwork? Set aside an amount each month and buy one piece of artwork. Remebber your budget could be used for an installement. Buy for your own enjoyment and not with an eye for making money. Buy artwork which makes you feel good. It'll not only give you something you enjoy, it may also help another artist's finances.
- start planning to invest in your own creative development. Have a good look around at all the courses, classes, workshops and painting holidays on offer and do something new.
- Try a new approach. Expand your creative horizons by trying something new. Would-be lino-printers should form an orderly queue and keep visiting Watermarks!
- visit more exhibitions. A lot are free and seeing art can be very rewarding and provide you with a huge visual stimulus to your own creativity
- swop art with another artist. You don't have to buy art to have art by somebody else hanging on your wall.
- create a group with your cyber art budiees around a common interest. The feeling emerging from members of Watermarks is that knowing some of the group very well and others rather less well has proved to be very educational and productive. The fact that we're not all the same and all work in different ways is stimulating!
- reorganise your art supplies so you can see just how much you've got already and can access it all easily. Often we feel deprived if we can't afford to buy more supplies - without realising how much we already have! Give yourself a boost and remind yourself just what you've got! See also my earlier blog post on The art of economising - on art materials
Yesterday I went sketching with one of my art groups around Spitalfields (the sketches will be appearing on my sketchbook blog this week). I've been looking around for some fingerless gloves and was really pleased to find these which are knitted in alpaca wool and so are really warm. The best bit is that the fingerless bit has a mitten cover for when you've finished needing your fingers. I bought them off one of the craft traders in the new part of Spitalfields market. I knew thet were made by in Bolivia by a fair trade group and when I got home I found out a bit more about Artesania Sorata.
Artesania Sorata provides work for families with low incomes in both rural and urban Bolivia. The income generated enables the artisans to provide a higher standard of living for their families. The nutritional and educational opportunities for their children are improved, indeed many have now graduated from university.So I invested in a piece of creativity by somebody else, contributed to the health and economic well being of others, added to my warm gloves collection, got some necessary supplies for my artwork outside and gave myself another reason not to duck out of the walk to the pond for a quick sketch! :)
Over the years Artesania Sorata has supported adult literacy and health programs, creativity workshops in state children´s homes and a children´s hearing program. We believe in the right for all to live a healthy life with a positive outlook for the future.
What are you doing to beat the gloom?
How about you? What are you doing to beat the gloom?
Do comment below if you'd like to share your creativity, your thoughts on being positive and your ideas for investing in the creative and economic development of yourself and others.