What is Restful Art?
With our lovely world not always playing so nice (thanks humans), we all need some form of calming meditation to relax and de-stress. And since art affects us emotionally, we can leverage it as a way to sooth our weary souls. So let’s learn about the Restful Art movement—what it means, what types of work are considered “Restful Art,” and where you can get some for your home.
We all need breaks from the constant demands of ordinary life.
Stress is on the rise. According to a 2020/2021 Gallup survey of 160,000 people living in 116 countries:
- Almost 190 million people were more stressed in 2020 than in years prior.
- 40% of adult respondents said they had experienced stress.
- According to the results of the poll, 2020 was the most stressful year in a long while.
What makes art restful?
The best works of art make you feel something, and this type of art is no different.
Art can be considered restful if it:
- Imbues you with a sense of calm
- Allows you to slow down and become more mindful
- Enables you re-consider stressful events in a less emotionally-taxing way
In general, restful art should leave you feeling less stressed than before you engaged with it. Even if you’re not feeling down, the artwork should at least help transport your imagination somewhere more quiet and calm.
And while you can use this type of art to temporarily distract yourself from stressors, what’s so excellent it is that there’s no need to completely shut yourself off to negative thoughts. In fact, the art can act as a soothing balm that enables you to deal with intense emotions in a more measured and thoughtful way. There’s a spectrum of zen out there to explore from the comfort of your home.
Art as therapy
Aside from the act of viewing a piece of art that’s hanging on a wall or viewed on a screen, we can use the creation of the art itself to find peace. There are plenty of ways to start using art as therapy whether you’ve ever created art or not. A few ideas to get you started:
- Finger painting
- Stream-of-consciousness doodling
- Sculpting, whether it’s Playdough, clay, or another substance
- Making music using either an instrument, or something in the house (metal bowls are loud and fun)
- Creating collages
- Painting over old toys, devices, or clothes
Many artists over the years have used art as a therapeutic endeavor. One of the most obvious modern examples is Bob Ross. He has said that he used art as a way to escape from his regular life and military work. In creating, he could make his own, peaceful worlds. Indeed, that message soothed countless souls and spawned an entire industry of art.
Here we’ve focused mainly on the visual arts, but indeed, all forms of art can be restful. The sound of a knife scraping across a canvas; gentle music that wrenches your chest and leaves you aching for more; a graceful dance.
Is it truly art?
Without going down an endless what-is-art rabbit hole, let’s consider whether art that’s meant to help you relax is truly art. My answer is yes. Even if the purpose of a piece is to offer you a respite from stress in your life, and in doing so in a sense deprive you of something, then it has affected you in a significant way. How it did it shouldn’t matter; what matters are your feelings toward it.
Where can I find restful art?
In fact, right here on Foundmyself we have a hand-picked collection of Restful Art. How convenient!