Art therapy for all artists

At-home crafts can bring out people's creative side while relieving stress. Photo: April Kinney The Sentry

At-home crafts can bring out people’s creative side while relieving stress. Photo: April Kinney The Sentry
Creative ideas while staying at home

Staying home doesn’t have to mean staying bored. Creative outlets help pass the time and work through stress in these uncertain times. Traditional activitieslike painting and drawing, fit well into the social distancing lifestyle, but even those without a studio art background can get creative. Most art supply stores remain open for online delivery, but materials can also be found inside and outside the average home. Feel free to take inspiration from these suggestions and stay creative while staying at home. 

Piece Together Collage 

Collage exists in endless forms. Tearing and cutting apart photographs, magazines, newspapers (like this one, even in digital form), or books to reassemble into a work of art allows for a creative outlet without the stress of drawing or painting. Think of mixing scraps of clothing, cardboard, or really anything around the home that might otherwise be waste. Just remember to wash those paws if items are being brought in from outside. Don’t have any glue? Consider using acrylic paint, honey, or mixing a batch of glue with recipes online. Digital applications like Photoshop even allow users to make collages without access to printed materials. 

Get Creative with Paper 

Paper on its own makes for a versatile medium. Techniques like origami transform the two-dimensional sheets into three dimensional forms. Other ideas include cutting out shadow puppets or carving out shadowy silhouettes from construction paperlike the work of artist Kara Walker. Making zines, basically DIY books, also helps pass the time and work through mental struggles. Check out diagrams online of how to fold and rip the paper to start publishing from home. 

Play with Photography 

Taking photos requires nothing except a camera, even the one on a phone, and some fingers. Look closely at apartment architecture, how the lighting affects the mood of certain spaces. Blow out a candle and capture the ethereality of smoke as it fills the space. Pets also make for decent, albeit challenging models. Take on the personage of a wildlife photographer and catalogue the squirrels and birds around the neighborhood.  

Paint a Still Life 

Still life paintings from art history required exceptional skill, but the real pleasure lies in arranging the composition. Collecting familiar objects to build a theme feels like rediscovering what these objects mean on a personal level. Unlike artists from centuries ago, cameras make it easier to capture the scene before the light changes or before any pets can make suggestions. 

Learn from other artists 

Of course, the soothing yet grizzly spirit of Bob Ross lives on through Netflix, but these half-hour segments are notoriously difficult to keep pace with. Artists on YouTube also share their own ideas and techniques with innumerable hours of content to learn from. Whether just starting out, already advanced, or trying something new, anyone can learn from the never-ending information from other artists on the internet. 

In these trying times, it’s also totally fine to not be productive. Maybe stepping back will bring a renewed perspective and inspiration after a while.  

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