Since the lock-down in March, a great deal has been said and written about mental health and ‘well-being’, and what we can do to help ourselves, and others, from becoming depressed and unable to cope with a lot of issues which isolation has brought out into the open. Some find solace in jogging, others in gardening – whether tending a large acreage of perennial borders or nurturing a hanging basket or a window box for the first time.
I am fortunate in having an interest (obsession) in filling a sketchbook, trying, but not always succeeding, in doing something on one page every day. Some days, nothing. Others, a burst of activity flows over a number of pages. I also consider myself fortunate in living in the countryside where a short walk will take me into rich pastures, where life is generally led at a gentler pace. I find myself grounded by being surrounded by what some people may consider to be nothing. But give me a corner of a meadow where I may perch and contemplate. The smell of grass, the buzz of insects and on days like today, the warmth of the sun on my back. Add to this an old barn, not much used now perhaps for being too small for modern farming machinery, a sprinkling of bales of silage or hay, the sounds of birds going about their business, the munching of sheep or cattle in an adjacent field, and I can feel my batteries recharging, my cares lifting and being wafted away by the breeze. It doesn’t matter how the sketch turns out; It’s not important if no-one else ever sees it. It will have been worth it as it will have captured a moment in time which will take me right back to that meadow every time I flip through my sketchbook however many years from now.
Not everybody has access to a meadow. Not everybody will need one. It is possible to find fulfillment in a view from a window or a collection of favourite objects on a table. Sketching is a way of finding that special place where you can lose yourself in the moment and forget the worries that take you away from your inner core. Sketching is a way of recognizing that which is truly important to you. A way of life away from the merciless insistence of modern technology.
I hope you have found your own corner of a field where you go whenever you need to recharge your batteries and boost your own well-being.