Caregivers: Art as Respite – 6 Easy Ideas

I am an artist caregiver so for me art is both work and respite. My objective, with this post, is to share some ways other caregivers, who may not necessarily be artists, can use art to give themselves some ways of coping with the stress in their lives.

    Suggestions to try till you find the ones that work best for you

  1. Coloring – Did you like to color when you were a child? You don’t have to be good at staying in the lines if you don’t want to. You don’t have to use realistic colors. Just look at the enclosed spaces, pick up crayon, marker, or colored pencil and have at it! There are plenty of adult oriented coloring books available that are have some appeal to grown ups.
  2. Collages – This has almost universal appeal; from the very young to elderly. There’s something very satisfying about taking scissors to glossy magazines or paint store paint chips and cutting out pretty designs and colored shapes then gluing them on a piece of thick paper or cardboard. You can make beautiful abstracts or sketch out a pattern or drawing and use your cuttings instead of paint or crayon to fill in the colors.
  3. Scrapbooking – This is one that I have not tried, but a few friends of mine are really into it. Unlike the olden days, this hobby now has a whole industry devoted to it with special scissors, hole punches, fancy papers and more. I think of it as journaling with visuals as well as words.
  4. Sketching and Doodling – This has minimal requirements: a piece of paper and a pen or pencil. There are also computer based doodling programs but I think you’ll find more satisfaction with the old fashioned physical result. The really great thing about doodling is that you don’t have to think about it. You can let your subconscious rule your hand. If you hate it, toss it. If you love it, put it in your scrapbook, on your fridge, or you can even frame it or use it to inspire a more permanent or “finished” work of art.
  5. Photography –If you already own even a simple point and shoot camera this is a great choice. Experiment, play with the settings to get images that aren’t necessarily meant to capture reality. This is one choice that works well if you want to involve your loved one (caregivee, as it were). Photography can be abstract or focus on textures or compositions. (A good photo and graphics utility is GIMP which is free to download and has a lot of interesting features. With a graphics utility you can play around with your photograph to create something really new and unusual. Of course this aspect requires you to have some time for yourself and that’s not always possible.)
  6. Drawing – Get a giant piece of paper and draw big! Conte crayon, pencil, charcoal are all excellent media for large drawings. Spread your wings and make a statement. Or, on a smaller sheet of paper take pen to ink and meticulously draw a vignette of small images that represent your stress or your desires or your life as you want it to be… Express yourself in any way that helps you. Connect the drawings with wavy lines, or spirals, or jagged rivers that jump up and down like radio signals. It’s your imagination and this art is for you, not a gallery or your family to judge.

I have purposely not included any pictures with this post because I want you to “do your own thing,” not be over influenced by my thing. But if you have any questions, post below and I will try to answer your concerns.

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