Improving the Quality of Life with Creativity in Retirement

Improving the Quality of Life with Creativity in Retirement

Have you retired yet?  Are you thinking about it?

Have you thought about bringing in more creativity for improving the quality of life in your retirement?

Let me assure you it is an exciting time of life.  A time to find new balance, new learning and new growing.

Maybe you are like me, that you've worked and planned and executed all your life, raising kids, having your career, and chasing your dreams.  The thing I've learned is that retirement is an even better time pursue your dreams.  Bringing more creativity back into my life has been a wonderful part of improving the quality of life for me.  It just keeps getting better and better!

Perhaps if I share, it will inspire you, too.

I decided to start painting in my retirement. I decided I need a balance of creative development with my typical left-brain activities. I used to be a business owner. I outlined the goals. I motivated my employees. I watched over the inventory, paid the bills, bonused the deserving. It was a small business, so that meant I wore all the hats at one time or another. Lots and lots of left-brain activity!

In retirement, it was time for some creative right-brain balance in my life. So I'm pursuing more creative outlets n my retirement!  I knew little and had a LOT to learn!

Creative pursuits are fantastic in improving the quality of life in retirement years

Creative pursuits are fantastic in improving the quality of life in retirement years

Freedom of Time is One Ingredient That Helps Pursuing Creative Stuff

Now what?

What balance could I find in my newfound freedom from logistics and detail that I had in my retirement? I decided to try my hand at painting, and to get started I needed to find “Acrylic Painting for Dummies”!

I used to do lots of crafts while my children were growing – macrame- remember that? Salt dough ornaments, hand painted and sold for $0.10 an hour profit for my church Holiday festival. I even tried making marmalade, and baked regularly for my four children and husband. Those were distractions that kept me sane while I was doing the sometimes drudgery of homemaking.

Then I started a business, and all my creativity went into making that work. Alongside a lot of maintenance and more drudgery.

Now, with drudgery behind me, and newfound retirement freedom, I was ready to embark on my new creative pursuit.

pastel chalk for mindful creative lifelong learningAcrylic Painting Is A Brand-New Opening For Me

 

I had never done any painting. I believe painting is in my DNA.

My mom painted realistic oils of flowers.

My dad painted Goya-like paintings of people.

My grandfather painted seascapes.

My sister paints detailed watercolor still lifes.

What and how was I going to do this art form, that drew me and yet I had no idea what I needed, or how to go about it.  I needed to find some tools and some training.

The Tools

I started with pastels. For one, I read about them and learned that they are composed of the purest pigment. That appealed to me. Then I also found that you applied them with minimal equipment, except your hands, perhaps a stick and a brush, and the chalks. I did a bunch of research and bought a good quality starter kit. It cost me about $60 for 48 pastel chalk sticks, and another $25 or so for pastel paper.

Pastel paints for mindful learningI played with it. It was summer, so I enjoyed doing some landscapes from right outside my home, on a lake. I played with color and shape and composition. I got covered in chalk dust, from head to toe. I learned pastels for me, unless I purchase a vacuum system, are an outdoor pursuit!

So, what was to be my art form for the indoor times – since I live in the Northeast and indoors is definitely part of the lifestyle during the year.

Acrylics were one for me. No odor, easy clean-up- that works! Plus we travel part of the year, for a few months in each place, and dry-time is a consideration for me. I had taken a course in college in painting, and used acrylics back then.

acrylic painting supplies hoe art studioAgain, I purchased some basics. A student set.

I was fortunate enough to have inherited brushes, easel and paint box.

I also purchased sets of 9 x 12 and 11 x 14 canvases.

Is This Obsession?

I find when I begin a painting, I get entranced. First there is the photograph. My photography has improved with my awareness of how I want to frame my painting.

Then I sketch it out. I have taken some online painting courses that really help with the techniques. Thank goodness for the internet!

And then I begin to apply the paint. I learned quickly with all of my painting, that I wanted to capture color and light. I bought some more medium acrylics, and some gels, and fixatives for the pastels.

good retirement nest eggThe initial investment can cost a bit.  But once you have some basics, it's like a nest egg for retirement fun and creativity that will last for a really long time.  And I was able to find some supplies at tag sales! .

Once the initial investments are made, you'll have plenty of tools to continue for a long time, with minor supplements from time to time. This is one of the best investments I have made.

Sweet Satisfaction!

There is a sweetness to being able to produce a piece of art that reflects how you see the world around you, whether people or nature or the spirit world.  My art definitely adds dimensions to improving the quality of life for me in retirement.

I see the world differently. I see purples with the greens in the trees and grass. I see sun and sky reflected in the ground and earth. I see expression in faces, and flowers, and trees, that I could not have imagined without this experience of beginning to paint.

I do look forward to continuing to learn and to grow.  I think of myself as a lifelong learner, and that gives me joy.

be a creative lifelong learnerI would love to inspire you to get into painting.  I put some links in this article to other posts and some products I think you'll like. My goal is to make it easy for you, my reader,  to get what you need so that you can pursue all kinds of creative and healthy life solutions.

(When you click on one of my links and buy any products on the site, Annie's Tips will get a small commission, at no additional cost to you.  I appreciate your using the links!)

The intent of this blog is to help you as one of my readers to develop your creative mindfulness, so that you can use it to Design the Life you want to live.  That can happen at any age.  Retirement is one option that is easy because so many of life's pressures are removed at that time.

But don't wait if you can create the space to get more creativity into your life.  The more and earlier that you apply creative mindfulness, the more and earlier you can Design Your Life!

improving the quality of life

 

 

 

 

P.S. One of the things I'm doing in my retirement is writing this blog, to inspire Design Living for as many as I can reach.  Are you interested in learning to become an affiliate marketer?  Check out some information about what I have been learning here.   You may find a match for you to start a home-based business for extra income with flexible hours.

 

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Published by Annie Collyer

Annie is a mom of four, a business owner and blogger. She and her husband live in New Hampshire, where they are both active volunteers in their community school district. She writes about designing our lives with proven design thinking principles. Join her in creating the life we each want.

  • Jillian says:

    Great article – both a teaser, which makes me want to try it out, and an adequate warning – of the potential costs associated with this new hobby. Very interesting!

    • Once you make some investment, you will have plenty of supplies to produce for years even, adding gradually over time. For me, it is SO worthwhile because I love it. Painting is a mindful meditation I find.

  • Brianna says:

    Wow! Love your site. I do most of my art digitally but I do tend to dabble with hands-on art occasionally. I’ve tried to use acrylics in the past but I was a little sloppy and unsure of what I was doing. Hopefully with this site I can try getting back into it since I probably still have my acrylics around somewhere. It would be nice to learn alongside you as well.

  • ariel says:

    Hello Annie, I so do hear you! Painting does indeed induce a state of sheer being. I so enjoy when I am in that space. So happy you found the time to pursue it. And that it brings you so much joy. I agree, retirement is the space of great growing!
    In peace and gratitude, ariel

  • Paul says:

    Dear Annie,

    Its true when you said “There is a sweetness to being able to produce a piece of art that reflects how you see the world around you, whether people or nature or the spirit world.” art is the reflection of our inner world and what we want to convey to this world.

    Your Friend,
    Paul

  • Michelle says:

    Hello Annie,
    Great article. I used to work with acrylics when I was younger. It was fun. Reading your article is certainly bringing back fun memories and reminding me to go back to basics. I just might go shopping this weekend. Thanks and all the best.
    Michelle

    • Hi Michelle,
      Too funny, your going shopping this weekend! Acrylics are so easy to bring out, use, clean up and put away, that they are great for when you have loads of time and great, too, when you just have limited time. Thanks for visiting and for your comments.
      Annie

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