Washing Away the Dust of Everyday Life (Amy K. Nichols)

Picasso said, “Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.”

Boy, was he right.

When I get too busy for too long, I crave art. Both experiencing it and creating it.

Yes, writing is one way of creating art. But when I need to recharge, the art I crave is visual, experiential. I’m not sure what it is about art that I find so relaxing and reviving, but for me there are few things that compare.

The wonderful thing about art is I’ve found it feeds my writing. For me, the writing process is a pouring out. The process of creating art, or experiencing art, is a filling up. The two work together. It’s a mysterious, beautiful thing.

One of my favorite things to do is visit museums. I love standing quietly in front of artwork, contemplating. The pieces don’t have to be famous or even well known. They just have to be interesting. For example, I love spending time with a piece entitled “Mass (Colder Darker Matter)” by Cornelia Parker, at the Phoenix Art Museum:

Mass (Colder Darker Matter)
Mass (Colder Darker Matter) by Cornelia Parker
When you become very still in front of this piece, you realize it’s moving. I find it compelling, engaging, relaxing.

Portree Bay, Isle of Skye
Portree Bay, Isle of Skye by Amy K. Nichols
I also love creating my own art. I’m by no means a trained artist. I just like to try different things. Painting, drawing, welding, mucking about with different kinds of paper or glass or clay. Sometimes I make something I'm happy enough with to hang on my wall; sometimes it doesn’t turn out so great. But the result doesn’t matter so much as how I feel after. I always come away recharged, renewed, and ready to get back to writing.  

The struggle, of course, comes with finding time. Right now I’m on deadline and the craving for art is growing stronger every day. I have a few weeks yet to go, but as soon as my manuscript is off to my editor, I’m off to the museum. And the art supply store. 

Are you recharged by art, too? If so, I'd love to hear your experiences.


  1. I should try my hand at drawing, painting, sculpting etc...I think I would love to do that. But yes, time seems to be a factor. I already indulge in dance and running and reading to recharge. But maybe someday when the boys are all grown up...

  2. For me it's digital photography. I can snap 100 pictures while on a day trip somewhere, never knowing which one will be the gem of the lot. There seems to be one every time. My wife has her own camera and we make note cards out of the more memorable ones. I find that some of what the camera captures sneaks into my writing later on.

  3. I have tiny art tacked up all around writing space, so that I can take mini-art breaks as I'm writing.

  4. I love to visit art museums, see shows, watch dance. What really inspires me is to be around, or watch, creative people (even if it's only on TV). Their enthusiasm and spirit is contagious!

  5. I love your painting and am fascinated by people who do art with their hands! So impressed with your versatility!


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