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Report: How Painting, Sketching Eased Lockdown Stress

As the self-isolation period weighed down heavily on one's mental health, taking to the visual arts has been nothing short of therapeutic for many

With the COVID-induced lockdown requiring most to stay indoors, what flourished was a reconnection to the arts – music, literature, dancing, and even painting and sketching. As the self-isolation period weighed down heavily on one’s mental health, taking to the visual arts has been nothing short of therapeutic for many.

Bengaluru’s Payel Saha, currently a homemaker previously worked in recruitment, she had been an art enthusiast since her childhood with some prizes in her kitty. Saha says the pandemic situation has somehow encouraged her to go back to her love.

“It was getting monotonous staying at home, with only online classes and work from home, where we as a family were only engaged with our screens which were tiring and boring after a time, and it was reflecting badly on my kids making them more cranky and restless. Then I thought to engage my kids in art and creativity, which could give joy like nothing else. It is one of the sweetest memories for us as a family in the pandemic days.

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It also, helped me find my interest in the lost passion for art,” Saha, who indulged in DIY art and craft projects, glass and canvas paintings, and the making of a dollhouse from waste materials like cartons, told IANSlife.

In quite a similar journey, Mumbai-based Zohair Shaikh, the co-founder of a full-service marketing and communications agency, says the lockdown and the intense number of hours of curiosity and confusion were a road back to his long-lost romance with art. “A passion I always held dear but never found the time or inspiration to really submerge myself into producing quality output.

painting
Art is a calming activity. Pixabay

In the early days when the world came to a standstill, I found what it took to translate my hobby and passion into something more fruitful. Reconnecting to the basics of creating sketches out of nothing has given me a purpose in life that I seemed to have lost in the crazy hectic life of the advertising world and has also helped me relax and look at things from a whole new perspective.”

But, why is art a calming activity?

“Nikki Giovanni once wrote Art offers sanctuary to everyone willing to open their hearts as well as their eyes’. In a time of such immense uncertainty and anxiety, a sanctuary is something we all crave and can find in the simple act of taking a brush to canvas or pen to paper. Biologically, immersing ourselves in art reduces our stress hormone – cortisol and releases endorphins making us exceptionally happier. Art in both forms, creating as well as observing can nourish our soul and lift our spirits,” explains art entrepreneur Amrita Deora, founder, and CEO of The Designer.

Ekta Nankani, a New Delhi-based public relations professional, told IANSlife: “I have always been an admirer of art and the mere process of creating something astonishes me. I bought some art supplies two years back and used to paint not-so-often, maybe once in two months. While I was always inclined towards painting, I didn’t know where and how to begin. Initial days of lockdown were a relief from the hectic life we all lead. But eventually, being home started to get to me. There was chaos inside my head and the build-up of stress, anxiety, restlessness took over me.”

Adding, “that’s when I rediscovered my supplies and began painting again. The process helped me calm my nerves and gave me something to look forward to at the end of the day. I have now bought different types of painting colors, sheets, and brushes and also attended a Zoom class on watercolor painting. From painting once in two months to now making 4-5 postcards a day, I have relished every bit of it. I have created many mini watercolor and gouache paintings/postcards and I learn something new every day. I usually paint florals, leaves, and mini landscapes of the pictures that I have clicked. It’s so therapeutic, soothing, and such an indulgent activity; I absolutely love it.”

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A Greater Noida-based communication consultant Shruti Mathur said, “I only pursued art till school, and used to enjoy it. However, during the pandemic, due to the high-stress levels and work-related pressure, I started looking at ways to express myself better and channelize my thoughts and feelings in a better manner.

I randomly picked up watercolors, an art notebook, and glass colors and started taking time off in between work projects and on weekends. It really helped me calm down my otherwise hyperactive senses. I never set out to achieve a perfect painting, instead felt relaxed during the process. My mood uplifted instantly by doing this and I could bounce back and respond to the real-time issues much more quickly and effectively.”

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