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Love, art, and social media

In this art-in-progress post, I'll show you how I made this fun Bushel And A Peck chalkboard... plus, I'll tell you a happily-ever-after story about engaging with your own creativity.

Here goes...

Once upon a time, when the news had me equal parts outraged, frustrated, and sad, I decided to make a new lyric board (rather than expressing myself online where nuance doesn't exist, and no one ever changes their mind on anything).

c&P9
Step 1: Sketch a lyric
Step 1: Sketch a lyric

Over the last (almost) three years, that's one thing I've learned. Social media and comment threads are just not conducive to thoughtful deliberation or a meaningful exchange of ideas.

To be clear, I think there is value in standing up for what you believe in and making it clear which side of history you're on (something I think will matter when people look back on this moment and wonder what the hell happened). But I've given up on trying to persuade anyone. If there are people left in this world who can be persuaded by a good argument and an arsenal of facts, they are not the ones leaving comments on my Facebook page.

So a few weeks ago I decided that every time I feel like getting on social media to express my outrage/frustration/sadness, I'll instead make some art. It doesn't really solve anything, but frankly neither does yelling at (and then becoming utterly disillusioned with) people online. And anyway, I figured if my plan brings more art into the world (and lowers my blood pressure, and keeps me from losing faith in humanity), there's nothing wrong with that, yeah?

Step 2: Gather my supplies
Step 2: Gather my supplies
Step 3: Chalk in guidelines
Step 3: Chalk in guidelines
Step 4: Resketch the design
Step 4: Resketch the design
Step 5: Light erase
Step 5: Light erase

On this particular day, I looked for a happy, lighthearted song - pretty much exactly the opposite of what I was feeling. I picked "Bushel And A Peck" because it's sweet and silly, and it reminds me of a dear friend who lives entirely too far away from me. I was in a much better mood (and, no doubt, my blood pressure was back in a healthy zone) by the time I finished sketching.

Step 6: Chalk Marker outline
Step 6: Chalk Marker outline
Step 7: Erase the guidelines
Step 7: Erase the guidelines

Along the way, I posted pictures on Instragram, and people kept thanking me; they remembered their mothers or grandmothers singing the song to them when they were little. Kind of made me feel like I was on a mission then - replacing some of the ugliness in everyone's feed with something sweet.

It's a tiny goal, I admit, but injecting something heartfelt into the negativity and cynicism that fills our social media feeds on any given day... I don't know. It felt pretty worthy to me.

Step 8: Add all the fun details
Step 8: Add all the fun details
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