Papercut and colored pencil art by Sheryl Aronson X 5

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Coping Creatively

In the description of my blog I state that it is about living with and coping well with chronic illness and pain, using art and other means. I have mostly followed that, but I have seldom written about my art. Off and on throughout my life I have done a variety of creative things, and several times attempted to make a living from my art. Not an easy endeavor, and I have never been successful.
None the less, many people know me as an artist, and ask me how my art is going, what I am currently working on, and other questions like these. Lately I have had a hard time knowing how to answer these questions. For the past year or so, I have done little with my art. So little, in fact, that when I had a commission recently that involved illustrating a poem with colored pencil drawings, I felt nervous from being out of practice. (Once I started working on it, it turned out fine, and they loved it).
So why have I been neglecting my art? I don't think I have. It is true that I have not been doing much drawing, or papercutting, or stained glass or silk painting, all of which are among my most recent media. Neither have I been doing woodworking/carving or silversmithing, past endeavors of mine. I have been doing other creative things, such as writing this blog, and developing the programs for the Chronic Illness/Chronic Pain Support Group I run twice a month.
Most people I know who are creative have a variety of creative outlets. They write stories and illustrate them. They write songs and make pottery. I like learning new things, and trying new media. I may not be creating physical objects lately, but I am creating with words.
My support group has a discussion/education segment and a creative segment in each session. The discussion/education segment allows me to use my occupational therapy training, my research skills, and my writing skills. The creative segment allows me to use my artistic skills. Finding /creating a creative experience that relates to the discussion topic gives me a chance to stretch my analytical and inventive skills.
Writing this blog gives me a chance to use my occupational therapy training, research skills and writing skills. It also gives me the opportunity to connect with and relate to other people all over the world who have chronic pain and illness. Being sick can be very isolating. Even if your pain and illness are such that you can still live a fairly 'normal' life, like I can, there is the isolation of others not understanding. I know that many (most?) of my readers do understand, and they read my blog because they sense that I understand.
I enjoy working with my hands, using various media, and get a sense of accomplishment from my creations. I also have often had the pleasure of seeing others appreciate my art. There is a difference, though, between making someone's world more aesthetically pleasing, and making their lives easier and more comfortable. My art does the former, my writing does the latter. Not only do I benefit from writing, but others benefit from reading what I write. That is something that my other creative endeavors seldom gave me. Writing gives me a creative outlet that gives to others and that gives back to me.

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