I felt like crying…that “I’ve given up and need to lay down with my head in a pillow and sigh and let tears roll out” type weeping…no racking sobs…just defeat in action. Why? My Institute of Cute website just blew up. I upgraded the software and the shopping cart hit a snag, and …voila…a shambles. I need to completely re-build it…urgh…I’d rather be painting!
So with the physical manifestations of full-blown stress…my neck on fire, shortness of breath from a squeezed in ribcage, fluttery nervousness in the pit of the stomach and I teetering between insane anger, nausea and generalised “eeeeeeeeeeks!”. My “I’ve just been to Paris” buzz was in grave danger.
So what do I start doing? …doodling faces. Just loose, scribbly things. Then the overwhelming urge to get out art supplies and start rendering takes me, the involvement with the piece overtakes me and quite transforms my state of mind from “the sky is falling…actually its climbed into a wrestling ring and is throwing itself down on me!” to “aaaaah….” and eventually I emerge from this trance-like state with my customary smile and a piece of artwork torn straight from my soul.
And I started thinking back to recent stressful times…and considering if this is a pattern – and yes it is!
On the 8th hour of a 14 hour flight in a jam-packed economy class cabin, when I started to wonder “why am I doing this to myself? Paris just isn’t worth it”…I started drawing. It calmed my impending ‘Cabin fever’ right down. It stopped me from running up and down the aisles screaming “get me out of heeeeere!”. It helped me travel all the way there and back again. I didn’t try and leap out of the emergency exit once.
When I go through my journals and really consider the types of faces I pull out of my imagination when I’m freaked out, hurt, or stressed, I can see the pattern of calm faces. The direct look, the serene colours, lots of blending, soft light. They are saying “Relax petal, everything is going to be alright. ” In contrast when I ‘Draw Happy’ I tend to draw totally differently…happier faces, mermaids, animals…brighter colours, more contrast…like the sun is shining.
I’ve heard of Comfort Food – But comfort drawing? It’s a real thing I’ve just named. Comfort Drawing (TM). I’m going to dive right in to that and explore more!
Comfort Drawing is so relaxing…and drawing faces is my personal bliss…an active meditation.
Give it a try!