Time and again, this blog has dealt with topics of mental health. Often, my own experiences and reflections on stress in academia, burnout, mindfulness exercises and whatever takes up brain space for me each month. In today’s post, I would like to introduce you to my art – a hobby I engage in often to keep myself sane. At the start of the year, Tolerance to Ambiguity got an Instagram account, and here, you can find all the artsy stuff I do, sometimes to relax, sometimes to work through things, and sometimes just as an outlet to the range of feelings all of us experience. All of them share one thing in common – they help me tolerate the ambiguity of the world we live in.
A lot of the art I do and post is around me colouring in my brilliant colouring book by Johanna Basford called ‘Enchanted Forest’. Depending on the level of detail, these works fill an afternoon off, or I may have spent a few days on it. These are the hours I like spending alone, with my colours, a cup of tea and a nice podcast for company. My colouring sessions almost always end in a smile and a stiff back. I hope you see my moods reflected in my colours, and I hope they bring you some joy too.
Another selection of posts is my ‘word art’. I am one of those people who need to talk or write to make sense of their emotions. Verbal over figurative, and therefore my sense-making-sessions involve making art out of words! This style was inspired by a friend who introduced me to artists who write or print a word over and over again and the artwork is just made of words. I found something appealing about engaging with just one word, or phrase in this way. It can be very mindful to repeat a certain thing in your head, hand and on paper. At the end, I have an artwork (sure!), but also a lot of associations and reflections on the topic at hand – literally. These are artworks I typically make to sort out predominant thoughts or situations. Some may zoom in one a very specific emotion or theme, some may zoom out to give me a bigger picture. I don’t spend too long making these, but they are very close to my heart and often end in new insights. On IG these are almost always accompanied by my thoughts in the description and #artformentalhealth or #mentalhealthart and #wordart
And finally, you may see me experimenting with different artforms once in a while. I recently did my first ever ‘colouring with numbers’ canvas (a gift from a dear friend) that took 15+ hours to finish. Rest assured, there will be more canvases in the posts coming up. You can also keep your eye out for my experiment with epoxy, charcoal sketching and who knows what else the future has in store?!
Hope you enjoy my art as much as I do. Hope it gives you an anchor to tolerate ambiguity, just as it does for me.