Sunday, September 17, 2023

The Best Way to Shed Worry

One delightful feature in most senior communities is the easy access to a variety of activities. Without needing to leave the building, residents can participate in various leisure-time opportunities. In my community, there's everything from exercise sessions to lectures, movies to games, discussions and interest groups all under the same roof. 

My favorite is art. A talented artist, Everett, who works fulltime in our food and beverage division, leads afternoon art sessions twice a month on his day off. Anywhere from four to ten people participate, and the art studio gets really quiet for sixty-to-ninety minutes as we concentrate on what we're doing under his guidance. We chat very little as we draw or paint--which, oddly, is one thing that makes it so fun. It is relaxing to be concentrating on the matter in hand--a brush or stick of charcoal.

A few months ago, Everett introduced acrylics to us. For those of us new to the medium, the transition was challenging. The photos here show just one project in which we got to choose whatever photo we liked from a stack of colored landscapes and replicate the subject and color values with only the three primary colors plus black and white. What a challenge it was.

Whenever I take part in 60-90 minutes of this kind of dabbling under Everett's encouraging eye, I love the end result: how I feel.  I wash my hands and walk back to my apartment, noticeably refreshed and even walking with a lighter step.  I am unable to think about anything else while painting, and when the medium itself is new, it's like a vacation from all the thoughts typically whirling in my head. I rarely keep the result (i.e. painting/drawing) of the art session, but I keep its residual  effect for the rest of the day. The project keeps me fully engaged, and I love it. 

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