My initial idea was to complete a "Drawing-a-Day". I love to draw and paint, but dedicating time each day to creative practice has always been a challenge for me. I felt like this was a way to develop the habit of engaging in creative practice, in a low-pressure environment. The drawings or paintings have no pressure of being exact or perfect, and can be done in as little as 30 seconds. 

I consider this project to be a meaningful part of my self care because it encourages daily creativity through mindfulness. As the weeks went on, I found myself slowing doe to "notice" things that I might like to draw more often. For example, while tidying house and picking up dog toys, I found myself interested in the surface texture and shape of a dog bone - enough to do a drawing study of the bone. I truly believe that mindfulness is at the core of all self care practices - it encourages being "in tune" with yourself and your surroundings, and encourages thought before action. 


Drawing-a-Day. Seems simple enough. Draw (or paint) one thing each day! Yes, simple until you realize it's 11:59 pm and the page is still blank! Above you'll see the daily images of my drawings. Some were 30 second sketches, others took up to 10 minutes or so. I also took the time to jot down a few thoughts either about the environment or subject matter of each drawing or painting. Journaling allowed me to better review the project as a whole, and helps me to connect each image with the moment it was created.

Over the past few weeks, I've enjoyed the added state of mindfulness and creativity that this project has provided me.  One theme that I found in this project was the emergence of my series of "treasure maps." I started to think about how the idea of a treasure map could be a metaphor for the journey of self care. The path may seem confusing, or written in another language at first. But looking closer, you find clues and start to follow a path. Along the way you may find both advantages and pitfalls, but eventually the reward is worthwhile. As a creative practice, I found the elusive "Flow State most often when making the treasure maps. I've been thinking of different ways to continue the series - both through more drawings and paintings - but also through ceramics and maybe even dance. 


I think this project was successful to me, and I hope to continue it. I particularly want to explore the emergence of the treasure map theme. As I alluded to above, this process has allowed me to add a layer of mindfulness to my day as I am always curiously looking for something interesting to depict. This attention to detail requires a kind of "slowing down" by nature, which I think helps me to maintain a sense of composure and perspective while facing day to day challenges. I learned that I really like going about my day with my sketchbook in my bag. In a kind of physical-meets-mental way, it helps me define myself more fully as an artist. I believe wholeheartedly in the practices of arts in medicine, and the transformational properties of creativity. So why do I so often avoid my own practice? This project forced me to engage daily, and through my engagement I created some pieces that I really love, which gave me a real boost of confidence in my inherent artistic abilities and therefore identity. In a small way it kind of legitimized my self-identifying as an artist. If I make art everyday, than I must be an artist!


In the initial Multidimensional Wellness Wheel presentation, creativity was described as the core of the wheel, able to influence the many dimensions of wellness. In my experience, I think that my Drawing-a-Day practice most influenced my Emotional Wellness. The project didn't change the environment in which I live, but it changed the way I look at the environment. It made me more curious, more attentive, and more interested in my environment. Seeing my world with new eyes, I am never bored. It's an adage (or a song lyric?) "If you're bored then you're boring." Well, I hope to never be either. Our day-to0day lives and our homes and workplaces can become mundane day after day. But by looking around, curious for a new subject to draw each day, I was able to be surprised each day - finding a new and interesting perspective.