As children, we are encouraged to express our artistic side – Color! Sketch! Draw! Use scissors and glue! Paint! It is one of our earliest and most tangible joys – watching the products of our imagination come alive in beautiful hues of reds, greens, and blues; animals and flowers and spaceships and dinosaurs suddenly alive on paper and canvas in our hands and on our parents’ refrigerators.
But as so often happens for so many of us, life distracts and us and takes us in other directions – sports come along, television too, girls, and boys, and movies, and parties, and unless we are supremely gifted or supremely motivated, our modeling clay and watercolors are usually set aside as we step into the adult world.
We revisit the world of art ever so briefly when our children and grandchildren reach that similar stage, but for most of us, art is something admired, mostly from afar, but seldom enjoyed or practiced on our own time.
The good news is that rather you’ve had an artistic itch in need of scratching for a few years, a few decades, or just when you started reading this blog, there are tons of fun, creative ways to explore your artistic side, many of which are available on a regular basis at Rittenhouse Village.
Here’s a closer look at some of the visual arts that are popular among people of all ages, and how they can benefit your health, stimulate your mind, and keep you young and discovering in your golden years.
Painting: Perhaps the best thing about painting is that there’s no wrong way to do it. Whether you’re mimicking real-world objects and people, drawing landscapes that exist only in your mind’s eye, or going the way of the abstract – where it looks like you just spilled paint to everyone else, but to you it’s a look inside man’s tortured soul. From a health perspective, painting works wonders with improving your memory and your imagination, in fact many Alzheimer’s disease patients are prescribed to both paint and draw as it boosts their recall abilities. If stress is a factor in your life, perhaps if have recently moved to a new community and are struggling to cope with the life change, you can also find that painting reduces your stress levels as it causes your mind to relax from worry and focus on the problems at hand – what color to make the flowers; how best to represent this form or that shape, etc. Painting is also proven to build positive emotions and release hidden emotions, which can be essential in dealing with psychological issues that have plagued us without ever determining a root for the problem.
Sculpting: Whereas painting is largely done with lots of delicate movements and the focus of your eye and your brain, sculpting is for those of us who like to get our hands dirty and create something that we can truly touch, pick up, and perhaps even use in a functional way. Sculpting can have a steep learning curve, but the equipment and professional help is there for beginners who want to take their first steps. Sure, you might be stuck on clay pots for a while, but you’ll soon find that every lump of clay has a finished piece hiding in it, it’s just up to you to discover and set it free. Being able to create actual items, and perhaps gifting them to friends and family, can have a tremendous effect on self-esteem and provide a sense of accomplishment, which can be vital for people who have recently retired from their jobs and are feeling inadequate or unfulfilled as retirees.
Photography: If you have photography experience from before a certain year, taking your own photos likely means dark rooms, sour-smelling chemicals and the anticipation of what those long strands of negatives will reveal once they are exposed to the light of day. “Old-fashioned” photography is still practiced by plenty of enthusiasts, and can be something to revisit if you knew it in your younger days. If you’re just getting into being a shutterbug, you’ll find that just about every smartphone is equipped with a better camera than most of us have seen in our entire lives, and that digital cameras as a whole bring new meaning to every image we click upon. Even if your days of traveling and sight-seeing are largely over, photography is a fantastic way to see objects, nature, and other people in a whole new light. Easy to use computer software gives the added bonus of being able to manipulate images for different colors and different effects that can reveal beauty we never knew existed.
Each of our residential communities is equipped with an arts and crafts studio in which we encourage residents to indulge in their creative side and discover worlds they never knew existed.
Rittenhouse Village At Valparaiso provides a range of senior living programs to help support a healthy and happy lifestyle for our residents. We also offer several senior living options for our residents to choose from. Contact us today at 219.531.2484 for more information.