Painting and Drawing for Peace of Mind

 Cascade Springs oil painting by Virginia Brimhall Snow

By Virginia Brimhall Snow

I am very happy because I just finished an oil painting of Cascade Springs. It is a Christmas present for my brother. Yes, I know that it is mid-February and Christmas was almost 2 months ago. My siblings have learned to be patient with me. I usually take the oil painting to give to one of my husband’s siblings to the Christmas party with the paint still drying. Now his siblings are telling me that when it’s their turn to receive a painting, they want me to bring it to the party with wet paint. I guess wet paint has become part of the tradition.

I started painting years ago when I was struggling with depression. I discovered that doing something fun for myself an hour a day really helped. Friends would ask how I found the time to paint while raising 7 children. I didn’t find it; I stole it. For me, it was a better remedy than doctors and pills. Painting still lifts my spirits and brings me great joy.

Vases and faces doodle lines

There are many practical uses for art. A while back, I came across a wonderful book, Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, by Betty Edwards. It contains exercises to learn how to draw, and discusses how the brain works in connection with drawing. (It satisfies both the geek and the artist in me.) She tells of an exercise she calls vases and faces. I’ve made it into a game that I play with children, usually while we are someplace like church or a concert where I want them to sit quietly for a while. My adult children who have ADD tell me that doodling helps them focus in these situations.

The game starts with the first person drawing an interesting vertical line, like the profile of a face. The second person tries to mirror the line, thus creating a vase. Then the roles are switched, with the person who drew the mirror the first time now creating the line to mirror. My grandsons love to see if they can draw a line so complicated that I cannot mirror it, while I try to draw lines that will be challenging for them, but not so hard that they want to quit playing.

doodle sketch

Another fun form of doodling that my daughter taught me involves drawing overlapping loops similar to flower petals, then filling in every other space. The picture says it a lot better than I can write about it. Drawing triangles are a fun variation on this game.

What are your favorite doodling games?



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