On Creating Beauty

One of my favorite things about Vincent Van Gogh is that even though he was fighting his inner demons every day, he turned the pain from that battle into paintings of incredible beauty.  People might find the way he cut off part of his own ear or the way he died to be memorable, but those things matter because of all the positive things he added to the world when they could have been all negative.  That would have been the easier route.

I try to do that too, but pretending that I’m always, or even usually, okay, would be lying.

My semester at university ended last week, and now I’m home.  Changes like moving, even moving home, always strengthen my own inner demons, but I’ve managed to be pretty productive this past week despite that.  Started a new sketchbook for my reapplication to the illustration program.  Found a couple books on figure drawing and worked on proportions and structure.  Developed a project I’ll probably tell you all about when it’s a bit more outside my head.  Watched the first season of Agents of Shield.  Met up with some friends.  Drove my little brother to and from rehearsal practice for a school musical.  I might even finish unpacking before I have to pack up and leave again.

My mind is still a pretty unawesome place to be in right now, though, so I’ve been thinking of ways to increase the beautiful, good things I make.  I have a list.

1: Bake cookies.  Obviously.

Chocolate chips cookies make everything better, and the simplest recipes only take five ingredients.  Making them is a good way to expel nervous energy without having to think too hard–perfect for a bad anxiety day.

2:  Listen to music.

I have two playlists of the best songs I’ve heard:  One on Youtube and one on iTunes.  There’s something about listening to the right music that helps me get centered so I can get up and do things like eat breakfast.

3:  Read scriptures.

It’s cliche, but that doesn’t really matter.  Scriptures remind me that there’s a lot more to the world than myself, and that there’s someone watching over everything.  That’s usually enough to kick me out of circular thoughts.

When I do one of those things, I can generally get started on drawing or writing something good, though perhaps a little dark.  When I can’t, reading or watching someone else’s fiction is always an option.

What are some things you all do to get motivation to do awesome things?  Let me know in the comments.


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