Make your life a work of art
Five things paintings can teach us about a happier life
“When people are ready to, they change.”
- Andy Warhol
From the trees in your neighborhood park, to the socks you put on this morning – we often forget that even the simplest moments can be works of art. Sometimes all it takes is a great painting to remind us.
Artists are very mindful of what they put into their work. When it comes to leading happier lives, there is a lot we can learn from this.
So, what are some of the things that ‘make a painting’ and how can you use them in making your own life a work of art?
Color sets the feel for the entire artwork. Much like an artist chooses the tone of his painting, so can you set the mood of your day.
Neuroscientists have shown that color can impact our emotions and behaviors. Artists often use this trick to make us see things from a new perspective: they can make happiness seem dark, or loneliness warm and inviting.
Try it: the next time you’re in a stressful situation, pay attention to how you feel. Are you getting impatient, frustrated, angry? Realize that it’s up to you to set the mood. Take a deep breath and tell yourself “I’m choosing a different color.”
In art, lines create direction, movement, dimension. Think of them as the actions taken towards your goals: if you know what you want the final painting to be, you’ll understand what lines you need to draw.
Lines transform a blank canvas into a meaningful work of art. What lines have you been drawing in your life?
Try it: visualize your best life. What does it look like? What has been holding you back? Realize that, like a painter, you are in control of creating the artwork you want. When you know where you’re going, it’s easier to paint the lines that get you there.
What should take up more space on a canvas, what should take up less? It’s up to you. But, just as in life, these choices will impact your overall experience.
Painters play with spaces in unexpected ways, often making the background the main subject of a painting.
Try it: What have you been leaving in the background? Psychologists say that our wellbeing relies on a balance of five things: our social circle, our job and material stability, our body, our sense of purposes. This month try to do more of the things you’ve been ignoring and see how your overall picture changes.
Rhythm is part of our everyday lives. It sets the pace and direction of movement.
In art, something as simple as repeating a color or a line can mess us the rhythm of the entire painting.
The key to an enjoyable rhythm is balancing strong and subtle elements.
Try it: what has your rhythm been like this week: fast, repetitive, slow? Pick one thing that has been messing with your rhythm. Get creative, change things up. Try switching when, or how, you do the things that get in the way of your perfect rhythm.
Contrast makes a painting. Much like life is made up of different moments, so does a canvas come alive because of contrast.
Looking at painting up close, it may seem like one color. You need perspective to see how all the contrasts come together to make a masterpiece.
Try it: catch yourself the next time you get sad. Look beyond what you’re feeling in that moment. If you take a step back, you’ll see the contrasts: there are blue skies beyond the gray.
We’re here to remind you that your life is a work of art. So, the next time you’re wearing our Artsocks think about the importance of colors and lines, the spaces, rhythm, and contrasts in your own life. And don’t forget that life, like art, needs perspective to be appreciated.