“I realized that when you do something with your hands or you are creative, you create something, you feel more satisfied, you feel more fulfilled.”~Ana Paz, visual artist, teacher, retreat facilitator
Want to stave off shelter-in-place boredom and re-energize your spirit? Ana Paz, a Romanian artist living in Bodensee, Switzerland, says creating art during COVID-19 is the ultimate act of self-care.
This episode isn’t a study in productivity or even fine art. Instead, it’s an invitation to return to something you once loved or engage in a new project. Cooking! Writing poetry! Macramé! Gardening! Watercolors! Whatever!
The medium isn’t important. Nor are the results. It’s all about the process, says Ana, a lesson she shared with students via multi-day artists’ retreats across Europe prior to COVID-19.
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“Even being into this creative and more relaxed life still, sometimes you can get…let’s say stress. It’s very interesting and that you have to check out with yourself and your soul and your body [and] once in that moment, you give up the mind and the plans and everything and just relax and respect your body.”~Ana Paz
Now, the pandemic has severely limited her ability to host offline, especially in nearby Germany and Northern Italy, so she’s taken her inspiring creativity virtual, teaching free workshops and posting replays on YouTube. The pivot has allowed her to stay connected with students and foster new relationships while exploring a new creative outlet.
With her travel schedule currently clear, she’s found time to learn platforms that had, up until the worldwide shutdown, languished at the bottom of her bucket list.
That’s not to say Ana hasn’t felt the pull of a long bath or lazy afternoon of Netflix. She’s given in to fluctuations in her mood and output, a direct result of pandemic fatigue. She’s allowed herself the space to set aside goals in favor of recharging both physically and mentally.
Eventually, though, Ana points out that everyone reaches their Netflix or social media consumption limit. That’s when the urge to create strikes. When it does, she recommends that we ignore perfectionism in favor of connection to that driving force.
Consuming other people’s work is easy. Creating can feel difficult at first.
“Just start,” says Ana. There are no mistakes in the exploration process, no right or wrong way to make something.
Be kind to your art and enjoy yourself.
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