It’s probably not uncommon for people to struggle with work/life balance at some point in their career. Ever since I started mine, I’ve noticed that it’s much harder to finish a workday or a trip and find the will to do more than just lay down on the sofa. So, often times, it’s quite easy to let our hobbies go to the wayside.
Historically, I always identified myself as an artist. Having a degree in industrial design, I felt that claim had been further validated by years of schooling. My profession however, as an educator for inclusive play, rarely dabbles in design these days. I used to be incredibly passionate about finding ways to create in my spare time. Over the years I’ve found myself creating less and less.
My style in college had always been hyper-realistic. I either fine tune paintings that take me eons to get the colors correct or the shading accurate or spend months working on pointillism drawings with thousands upon thousands of dots from a ball point pen. Last summer, I wanted to digitally sketch a giant ice cream cone and paint it. The style was simple, the lines were big and bulky, and shading was non-existent. It felt too simplistic, a frivolous project to spend money on for supplies. I felt that to enjoy my hobby, I had to come up with an idea that was complicated and wildly new, otherwise it wasn’t worth doing.
Recently, to force myself to spend less time in front of the screen and to bring back the hobbies I once loved, I drove to the craft store. I bought the biggest canvas they sold, new paints and brushes and committed to painting, even if it wasn’t as complex as I felt it need be. We don’t exactly have a painting studio in our home. So, it was a project that definitely needed some creative thinking. I almost felt guilty when I propped a projector up and finagled it until it was just the right height to project onto the canvas for me to trace my digital sketch.
I started painting and was frustrated! I felt like my lines weren’t smooth or that I hadn’t caught all the details. I felt guilty that I used a shade of blue that I had adored right out of the bottle instead of mixing one. I made myself keep painting and turned my music up. As the night progressed, I was suddenly having a blast. I enjoyed editing my painting on the fly, changing colors, making mistakes and bringing my goofy idea to life.
I propped my painting on chairs, bar stools and even the edge of the sofa and use my Stretto Power Wheelchair with iLevel® technology to raise and lower my height. I could reach any spot on my giant canvas and make edits. The entire experience switched from daunting to something playful, versatile and ever shifting. There’s still work to do and I’m sure I’ll accidentally get paint on a lot more furniture. Overall, I’ve learned there doesn’t need to be anything complicated about giant ice cream cones.
About Jill Moore White: Jill is an inclusive play specialist, bringing accessible playgrounds to local communities. She volunteers with disability organizations, including the Disability EmpowHER Network. Jill enjoys music, sketching and playing video games. Click here to learn more about Jill.