I love looking at hot air balloons. And I love painting them. They symbolise so much that calls to me. Space, quiet and freedom. And yes, perhaps escape. For that is what it seems to be from the ground. To be lifted from your daily grind into the spacious blue.
From way up there all things below, troubles included, seem so small. Much more manageable. That is what happens when you zoom out. You get a better perspective. And often that is all you need. We can't really escape what happens to us, nor would we entirely want to, I hope.
That is life, the good, the bad and the ugly. All part of the experience. The thing we do have power over is our perspective. What we think about a thing is the way we experience it.
Seneca advises that to escape you don’t need to be in a different place, you need to be a different person. A person with a refreshed outlook, a soothed soul and therefore greater resilience.
As I paint these balloons I realise that the time I spend with my paints and brushes is like a little escape from the everyday. It is my balloon ride.
That really is the point of a hobby, and something creative offers a few ideal benefits. It is diverting enough to occupy my monkey mind. The incessant whirl of constant thoughts doesn’t cease very often. Meditation is the perfect salve of course. And a creative hobby is like meditation for people who don't like meditating - so much easier.
Will a painting session solve all your woes?
Of course not.
But it is a bit like going on holiday. Our daily issues are still there when we return from the vacation. But somehow, a bit more rested and rejuvenated we can handle them better.
The burdens we we are mulling over when we turn in for the night seem less in the morning. A good night’s sleep rests the mind and allows it to address our cares without us even really knowing it. The unconscious mind is a powerful thing.
I believe that something similar happens when engage in some sort of creative activity. Painting, singing, knitting, baking, basketweaving. Doesn’t really matter. (But painting is the best, obvs!)
It soothes the soul and distracts the monkey mind enough to let the unconscious mind do its best work.
Even a small respite is helpful.
If you are looking for something like this yourself, I can't recommend watercolour highly enough. It requires minimal supplies and almost no setup or clean up.
There are those that say watercolor is frustrating and difficult to control when you are a beginner. I have a different idea about this. I think that watercolour is an ideal partner to your creative endeavours because it does so much of the work for you, if you let it.
Why control it, when you could collaborate with it instead?
I feel so strongly about this I have created the perfect resource for the watercolour beginner.
None of the boring drills and preparatory exercises - just the fun.
And all the helpful tips I wish I had in one place as a beginner painter.
There is something special about working with your hands. A lot of the time our daily stress and overwhelm comes from too many decisions to make or small problems to solve.
What a relief it is to have an easy, low consequence problem to solve… like, what colour shall I make this balloon?
Whatever is not to your liking you can change.
Miserable rainy weather outside?
Paint your own blue sky.
Yes, a few small moments spent with colour and brush is enough to refresh the soul. Of course your problems are not magically solved.
But with a restored spirit, what has changed is your capacity to deal with them.
Why not begin your own creative journey today?