Re-Shaping My Life: Art, Fitness, and Play

July 28, 2011 in Figure Drawing by joanvienot

In the late summer of 2008 I started changing my life.

I had been maintaining a fair level of fitness by jogging, but I stopped when the economy picked up in 2001.  For 7 years then, I made hay while the sun was shining.  My business grew by leaps and bounds.  And I gained an average of 7 pounds a year.  I’m sure some of the weight gain was due to the natural slowing of my metabolism as I slid into middle-age, but I expect the rest was due to the stress.  I was keeping very long hours, working fast and furiously.  In 2007, when the bottom fell out of the economy and my business growth ground to a halt, I discovered that my waistline had grown along with my business.  I pondered whether to just buy new clothes, or to try to do something about it, and I decided to get healthier.  It took me another 6 or 8 months to work up the nerve to go to the local health studio in Seagrove Beach.  I first went there to find out whether Boot Camp would be a place where I would get yelled at, and the owner laughed and said No, so I signed up.  It was slow going.  The instructor would tell the class to do 30 repetitions of some torturous activity, and then she would say, And Joan, you do 5!  I focused on the fact that many of the strong and healthy participants were half my age.  A year and a half later, I traded Boot Camp for Spin, and in the fall of 2010 I was fit enough to do a strenuous hike in Peru.

A year after I started improving my physical fitness, in the fall of 2009, I found out about the figure drawing sessions at Studio b. My major areas of study for my degree from the University of Northern Colorado, some 30 years prior, had been health-physical education-recreation, and also fine arts with a life-drawing emphasis.  I was in heaven when I found out about the local figure drawing sessions.

Now, I am making yet another change, for the fitness of my mind and soul.  I have started practicing meditation, and also have been attending yoga.  I intend to continue both practices, while I keep up with my drawing and my cardio work on the spin-bike.  All the signs that I attach significance to tell me I am on the right path, so even though work is busier, I am making a concerted effort to continue my new, healthier habits.

My art also is ready to progress to the next stage.  Step one is to open the store on my website.  My webmaster, Warren, will be setting it up so that anyone wanting to purchasing one of my drawings can know what my price is, and can actually make the purchase over the internet if they wish.  It will be a little bit grueling, I’m sure, to make sure all of my drawings are correctly identified and reasonably priced.  They will be offered without mat or frame, since matting and framing are very personal choices depending on where the art will be displayed.  Following that, I expect I will be getting out some paints and broadening my artistic efforts by participating in outings with the local plein air painters group.

A dear friend told me today that she had learned to love herself again — maybe that’s what I really had lost and am finding again.  My overall fitness and my art are not the end goal — they are the means.  The end goal is a more playful, creative, expressive, and joyful life.

Most of my images are available for purchase.  Contact me if you are interested. — Joan Vienot