My love of the visual arts extends as far back as I can remember. I have always loved creative activities. When I was young, I had a wood-burning set which I used to sear designs and pictures onto small pieces of wood. I can still recall the pungent smell of burning wood wafting through my childhood home. I took painting lessons when I was around ten and one of my paintings was selected to travel the world in some type of exhibit. As a native Floridian, naturally I painted a picture of an exotic bird. Come to think of it, I never saw that painting of a cockatoo again. Perhaps it is still traveling the world 50 years later! In Junior High School I learned to needlepoint in Home Economics class.
A few Christmases ago, one of my daughters gave me an adult coloring book. Honestly, every time I took it out and started to color in it, I felt guilty; as if I should be doing something more “worthwhile” with my time. Then I started coloring when I was on long conference calls which required more listening than speaking (thank heavens those on the other end of the line could not see me!). This simple activity proved to be a great stress reliever. When I spent some time in the hospital following back surgery and recovering from surgical complications, as soon as I could sit up in a chair, I had my coloring pencils and my coloring book out. I colored almost all day. Coloring feels almost meditative to me. Time and stress both evaporate. I can’t tell you the number of hospital employees who came into my room during my stay, looked at my work, and then said they might start to color again.
If you follow me on Facebook, you know that my life has recently been challenge-filled. My husband has been diagnosed with cancer and other immediate family members are facing their own difficult times. Needless to say, all of this stress has made it difficult to keep my lupus under control. Every month, I spend two long days back-to-back in the infusion center receiving drugs in an attempt to quiet this stubborn disease. During these infusions, I pass the time by coloring. Most recently I have taken to lugging along my watercolor paints and painting in my coloring book. I’ve threatened to bring my easel, canvases, and acrylic paints and paint “for real,” but that hasn’t proven to be very easy to manage. So, I sit with my ear pods in, listening to a book as I color or paint. It is amazing how much this helps me get through what otherwise might be an ordeal.
Several years ago, I began to pursue painting in earnest. I took watercolor and acrylic painting instruction and discovered that I could do more than paint images of exotic birds. But my “real” painting as an artist has taken a bit of a back seat lately due to the stressors in my life. Now, I plan to remedy that very soon and turn back to my true passion of painting. My creative spirit is unsinkable and has been sitting quietly in the background. She’s settled for coloring books long enough! Now, she’s now ready to come out and play again in full force. What might be created on that big artist’s canvas sitting untouched in the corner of my office? Coloring in the lines is good for the meditative, quiet times we all need to cope with stress, but there is truly nothing like putting the first brushstroke of color onto a pure white canvas. Who knows? If I start feeling very brave, I might even get active on the Instagram account I created (cindyconeyart) before life became so stressful and invite you to you follow along on my journey back to painting!