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Original article posted on The Guardian on May 14, 2020.

Zoom with a view: how lockdown art classes are booming online

Quarantine has led to a rise in those with and without artistic experience heading online for a range of immersive classes

 

On 30 March, Big Bang Theory star Jim Parsons posted a selfie on Instagram holding up a painting of two vases – which he made himself.

In the caption, Parsons told his followers that he created the artwork with the help of an online art class. “They’re doing live classes via zoom and, quit to my delight, I was not only able to figure out how to use zoom, but I also painted this in the process!” he wrote. “No museums are asking to display my first still life painting, but I feel just a little bit more peaceful from the process … and I got to see real life other people who were also taking the class – a real gift right now!”

Parsons is not alone. Thousands of us have been turning to Zoom, the video conferencing platform, to get a creative workout. From life drawing art classes to small-town museums, pandemic cartoons and upcycled sculptures, it seems to be the perfect answer for cooped-up creativity in our current quarantine.

Parsons took his class with Art Studio NY, which hosts painting classes, from watercolors, to oil, acrylic and a “fear-free drawing 101”. The school’s virtual art classes draw the likes of international students (one artist recently tuned in from France). “It’s really amazing to see people coming together from every corner of the earth to make art together,” wrote one of the teachers on Instagram. “In uncertain times like these, this is the least we can do to help keep our spirits alive and our feelings united.”

 

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Original Article can be found at CNBC. Posted on April 14, 2020.
valentinrussanov/Getty

Anxious thoughts can be more difficult to escape in sustained isolation, such as the widespread lockdown measures due to the coronavirus pandemic, but arts and crafts have been shown to help distract from these feelings. 

The coronavirus has so far infected more than 1.9 million people worldwide, with 119,686 deaths, according to latest figures from Johns Hopkins University. 

The scale of pandemic and its impact on billions of people, in limiting physical contact with others, has meant that many are looking for ways to distract themselves while stuck inside their own homes.

Clinical neuropsychologist Katie Carey Levisay, who runs a private practice in Denver, Colorado, explained that crafting can help as it requires focused attention and forces us to be completely immersed in the moment.

“We’ve all experienced that phenomenon when we completely lose track of time and our awareness of what’s going on around us diminishes,” she told CNBC. 

This is what is known as “flow,” Carey Levisay said, a term popularized by psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi in the 1970s. 

Being engrossed in a creative project temporarily allows us to stop worrying about the future or dwell on the past. 

Creating something for ourselves and others also helps our sense of self-efficacy, or the belief in our own abilities, Carey Levisay said. 

Using time purposefully has also been linked to lower depressive symptoms, she added. 

“The rewarding experience of creating, sharing, and using our time well all stimulate the reward centers in the brain to release ‘feel good’ neurotransmitters (dopamine) and our endogenous opioids (endorphins),” she said. 

Crafting can also keep the brain effectively stimulated because, in many cases, it combines the learning and perfecting of new skills with those that have already been mastered, Carey Levisay explained. 

These activities also use many different parts of the brain, or require “whole brain recruitment.” For example, quilting requires visuospatial processing, which is the ability to perceive, analyze and transform images, while knitting requires working memory and math.

She said it is also unique to other cognitive enhancing programs, such as the memory enhancement present with computer games, because it is a blend of “intellectually stimulating” and “rewarding/relaxing” activity. 

Online classes 

Most in-person arts and crafts classes have been cancelled as a result of lockdown measures, requiring the closure of many non-essential businesses in order to limit the further spread of the virus. 

New York-based school The Art Studio is hosting online classes for adults, teens and children, as well as offering online art parties for children’s birthdays.

Adult online classes include oil and watercolor painting for beginners, as well as “fear-free drawing 101.”

U.K.-based business Sew Confident is holding “Virtual Sewcials,” in addition to online classes teaching people how to make their own dress or jumpsuit via Zoom. 

Marvel illustrator Will Sliney is also giving live classes on YouTube to teach children how to draw comic book characters.

 

Online Art classes for kids
Student at The Art Studio NY participating in an online art class from home.

 

There is nothing like a special and memorable moment watching your kids play at home. The comfort of our homes has a huge impact on our kids’ upbringing. Therefore, it’s essential to nurture a loving and safe home that children are comfortable with. 

 

Unfortunately, parents have responsibilities that need their time away from their homes. Although leaving their kids with the nanny seems like a convenient option, it’s still not an assurance that your kids are safe at all times. 

 

To give parents peace of mind, we’ve compiled five tips to keep your children safe while playing at home – with or without your presence. 

 

 

  • Adult Supervision

 

 

This might be an obvious tip but adult supervision is of utmost importance. Yes, we understand that parents can be busy juggling kids’ supervision and household chores. But there have been a lot of incidents wherein a child’s safety was harmed due to irresponsibility from the parents. 

 

“Quality care begins with good supervision.” A safe environment for kids has a lot to do with shaping their character. Try to do your household chores with your kids at close proximity. 

 

 

  • Hidden Camera

 

 

Let’s go the traditional way by setting up a spy camera in the area where your kids frequently play. This is extremely useful especially when parents are always out of the house. Although some might trust the nanny a hundred percent, you still want to keep watchful eyes on your loved ones. 

 

Also, hidden cameras now come with mobile applications that allow you to view the footage in real-time. This is great when you want to randomly check on what your kids are doing from time to time. 

 

 

  • Child-Friendly Area

 

 

Set up a dedicated playroom for your kids. This should be a child-friendly area that is safe for all your children. For instance, ensure that you keep away choking hazards like small pieces of their toys. Choking is one of the leading causes of death or injury among children. Therefore, make sure you keep them away from stairs, sharp objects, small items, or any accident-prone areas or materials.

 

 

  • Educational Toys

 

 

Although kids might opt for superficial toys like dolls and toy cars, there’s nothing like excellent education toys that can help hone your kids’ intelligence and personality. All it takes is some getting used to. 

 

Start them young and introduce them to art. Let them participate in online art classes when they’re younger. If you have to buy them toys, purchase those with value and toys that can develop their cognitive and creative skills. 

 

 

  • Basic First Aid

 

 

Minor and major accidents are sometimes inevitable. As parents, it’s vital that we know how to respond immediately when the situation calls for it. That being said, enroll in basic safety and first aid classes that can possibly save your kids from future accidents. For example, the Heimlich maneuver is a very easy and crucial technique parents should learn to save a choking kid. 

 

Additionally, prepare basic medications and tools just in case something unfortunate happens to your children.

 

Final Words

 

Prevention is better than cure, they say. That’s why we need to keep an eye on our children while they’re playing at all times. Although these tips are simple, these could draw the line between the life and death of your kids. 

 

Author Bio

 

Leanne Brooks is a passionate blogger and informative content writer who writes about home improvement, travel, and technology. She is currently working with EyeSpySupply, which offers a wide range of surveillance equipment, including spy camera, nanny cams, GPS trackers, voice-activated audio recorders and more.

Dear TASNY Friends,

If the unknown of Coronavirus is making you feel afraid, YOU ARE NOT ALONE. Creativity is a spiritual practice that boosts your mood, relieves your anxiety, and leaves you feeling soothed during uncertain times.  Practice these 3 EASY tools to ease your stress as we get through this together.

 

1. CREATE PERSPECTIVE: When you change how you see things, what you see changes. When you have fear-based thoughts that trigger anxiety, ask yourself, “What new way can I see this threat?” With creative problem solving, you transform your perspective. No face masks available? I wear fun scarfs, take selfies, and I share my “daily look” with loved ones to uplift us all.

 

 

2. CREATE TIME FOR GROWTH: During this challenging time, what do you miss the most in your life? What do you NOT miss at all? Make an honest list and reflect on it.  How can you create change that will serve your best self when life “goes back to normal”? Start now. Getting real with yourself is grounding.

 

 

3. CREATE CONNECTION: We are social beings, we need each other. Join a structured online activity and put it in your schedule. I am grateful that during this dizzying time, people worldwide share that our online art classes are soothing, healing, and providing a community that feels like home.

Wishing you safety and health,

Rebecca

 

 

Going to The Art Studio NY was the best and continues to be the best gift I have ever given myself. 

 

 

 

When did you start taking art classes at The Art Studio NY, and why did you begin to take classes (what was going on in your life at the time)?

I began with The Art Studio NY in September 2015. I was a fashion photo art director in print retail advertising. By 2015 and earlier print advertising was not the way anymore. More retailers chose web advertising and my creative services were no longer necessary.

I began designing photo storybooks. They were albums that contained stories the client would supply in their own words. They involved being given their photos that needed to be edited, the story, then design and produce as a hard covered book. Very time consuming. It was a great idea and people loved them. However, they were not willing to pay the price.

 

What class/e did you take, and what classes are you currently taking?

I decided to sign up for art classes. I never had fine art training. Never picked up a brush or oil paint. I was really, really scared and at times, frozen.

My first class was Mixed-Media and I did it for about a year and a half. Then I combined Mixed-Media with a landscape, and abstracts.

By around 2017 I switched to “water based oils” These are oil paint that has been manipulated to clean up with water. The paint acts and feels like oil without the toxics. I started off with a landscape then I began painting people. Now I am taking Intermediate Oil Painting classes with Rebecca and I love it.

 

 

What makes your experience at The Art Studio NY unique and memorable?

Going to The Art Studio NY was the best and continues to be the best gift I have ever given myself. Everyone who works there is great. They are friendly and make me feel like I belong. In the classes, the students are welcoming and very supportive of one another.

 

What is something you have achieved because of your art classes that you never thought you could?

 I can paint well.

        

What are you most proud of when it comes to your artistic journey?

That I worked very hard and I had the ability to listen to my instructors. If I didn’t understand I was not ashamed to ask. The instructors are patient, tolerant and kind.

 

What fears have you overcome, on and off the canvas, since starting to paint?

            ON THE CANVAS: Being afraid that I would not be able to achieve what I chose to paint at the time.

            OFF THE CANVAS: Constantly hoping that my eyes, brain and hands would work as a team.

 

 

How have your art classes allowed you to relax and relieve stress?

It is the opposite with me. First, I stress and once I have succeeded, I can relax.

 

How have your art classes changed your life, either in your art or your everyday life?

I see myself as a different person now. I am very proud that I took such a huge chance for me and it worked.

 

What advice would you tell a total beginner who feels afraid of taking an art class or they feel they “have no talent”?

I would say that if you think about taking and art class, it is a sign. If you have no talent then you would not have thought to take an art class.

When I was 13 years old I had an opportunity to apply to Art and Design High School and I did. A while later I received a letter telling me that I need to come and take a test to get in.

I put together a portfolio of work that was required in the letter I received.

My Dad took me down and on the Subway I told him I was scared. He said “of course you are scared, that’s normal. But remember, just try your best. And besides, the other kids are scared too.

 

 

How to Create A Life You Love

CHANGE YOUR LIFE. NO MORE EXCUSES.

 

I’ve officially begun my own 10-minute a day challenge, and I invite YOU to join me.

What nurtures you, fulfills you, what’s that “thing” you want more of but you “don’t have time”?

The things that make me happy, make me come alive- meditation, painting, exercise, nature, deep connection to others- I push them aside regularly for other “more important” tasks. And yet, what could be more important than our own happiness, health and fulfillment?

Starting my days from now on, I’m creating the time for what matters. And it won’t even take much! Creating just 10 minutes, day after day after day, are baby steps… that combined, equal BIG leaps.

 

 

10 minutes daily during:

1 week= 1 hour 10 minutes

1 month= 5 hours

1 year= 60 hours

5 years= 304 hours= 1 week and 6 days!

 

You have 10 minutes. I have 10 minutes. NO MORE EXCUSES. 

When our lives end, no one will say, “Damn, why didn’t I work more?” And yet, if life ended tomorrow, what would you wish YOU had made more time for?

Create time for what makes you come ALIVE in these easy steps:

  1.  Choose one daily practice that inspires you, fulfills you, and makes you the “you” that you want to be.
  2. Choose a time daily when you’ll spend 10 minutes engaging in this activity uninterrupted.
  3. Add it to your calendar. Daily, for 30 days.
  4.  
Rebecca Schweiger

What do you WANT in your life? I mean, reeeeaaaallllly want. In a dig-down-deep-in-your-soul-kind-of-want. Now is the perfect time to get quiet, take a pause, and ask yourself important life questions as the 2019 cycle ends and 2020 soon begins.
 
My questions include the following. What questions will YOU ask yourself? Share them with us on FACEBOOK. We’re in this together!
 
*What makes me happy, and how will I build more of my life around what feeds my soul?
 
*What stops (sabotages) me from doing more of what I love, and when/how will I address this roadblock, in action?
 
*My health is my wealth. What will I do to enhance my health and well-being?
 
*What angers and resentments (aka poison) can I let go of, and how?
 
*When I get very quiet, what does my inner-voice say, and what do I need to do to listen and act on it daily?
 
My beloved best friend and I experience and talk a lot about a space we refer to as “beyond”. This “beyond space” is a reality that we find ourselves in together often, and yet often, we couldn’t have dreamt it up even if we tried. The magic and wonder of life’s grandest possibilities are available to you if you surrender and open yourself to a bigger reality. When you make space for more goodness, it will rain upon you.
 
In the next days ahead, I’m going to spend time nurturing the seeds of my grandest dreams. I hope you will, too. Plant those seeds. Water them, and they’re sure to grow.
 
Our hundreds of weekly students at The Art Studio NY rave that our inspiring art classes nourish their spirits, enhance their wellbeing, provide stress relief, help to achieve goals and dreams “beyond”, and in a nutshell…. it’s the best part of their week. We hope to nurture YOU through art this coming year.

 

Wishing you a meaningful and creative 2020! May you make the time to nurture your grandest dreams.
Rebecca & The Art Studio NY Family


“I was working, had 3 little kids and a household to run. I wasn’t doing anything for my enjoyment or self-fulfillment. I needed more free creative time. The decision to join the art class changed my life!” – Annette Back

 

When and why did you start taking art classes at The Art Studio NY?

I started taking classes in the fall of 2014. At the time, I was working, had 3 little kids and a household to run. I wasn’t doing anything for my enjoyment or self-fulfillment.

Some friends of mine took me to a paint party at The Art Studio NY for the evening. That night I had a big AHA moment. Since graduating from School of Visual Arts, I had not painted – I used my creativity only for my clients, and that is not the same as expressing yourself freely. I needed some more of that free creative time. The decision to join the class changed my life!

What advice would you tell a total beginner who feels afraid of taking an art class or they feel they “have no talent”?

Go for it. Just try it. Most of the time, if you have the urge to paint, you have the talent within you. It’s just not tapped.

What makes your experience at The Art Studio NY unique and memorable?

I take a weekly class “Dare to Paint: Intermediate Oil Painting” on Wednesdays with instructor/Founder Rebecca Schweiger. The atmosphere, the teacher and the comradely of the students is what makes my art class experience unique and memorable. We all love to be there and help each other. It is inspiring to see the progress and completion of each others work. The feedback is invaluable. I have made friends for life.

What is something you have achieved because of your art classes that you never thought you could?

I have achieved the confidence to go out into the art world and exhibit my work confidently.

What are you most proud of when it comes to your artistic journey?


I have learned to paint freely, experiment, and recognize a happy accident. Also, I am currently building a body of work.

What fears have you overcome, on and off the canvas, since starting to paint?

I have overcome the fear of “doing something wrong” or “messing it up” on canvas.

How have your art classes allowed you to relax and relieve stress?

There is nothing like following your inner voice to create.  I love it. I now paint at home as well.

How have your art classes changed your life, either in your art or your everyday life?

Yes, I am now exhibiting, selling, working at home as well as in the studio. I want to paint more now.



To learn more about Annette’s artwork, please visit her website at :










If you’re like me, you may be feeling a certain stress as summer is replaced with “fall takeover”. Amidst the pressures of daily life, we all need a healthy escape. My favorite way to recenter myself is by spending time in the woods. I could sit silently for hours, just simply “being”, listening to the leaves dance in the wind, watching time pass.  In nature, I love to watercolor painting to express what I see and feel, forgetting everything, while letting my paintbrush do all of the talking. 

Students at The Art Studio NY always say how meditative and cathartic painting is. I fully agree.

I recently explored the #blueridgeparkway and #blueridgemountains and now that I’m back in Manhattan, when I close my eyes, I still see the expansive layers of blue mountains for as far as the eye can see.  

The journey with a paintbrush allows me to visit the woods anytime I want. Through watercolor painting, I re-experience the quiet of nature and visit that same escape in my mind, imagination and through painting, without having traveled a mile. 

What and where is your healthy escape that brings you peace in the midst of life’s hustle and bustle? Entering our 15th year at The Art Studio NY, we are grateful to offer nearly 100 weekly escapes in the form of adult art classes, teen art classes and kids art classes. We invite you to our art studio this fall to discover your home away from home, where you can escape, recenter, and reconnect with the fulfilling and meaningful self-expression you’re needing and longing for.

Rebecca

Although Jenny Casey, an Art Director and fine artist in Brooklyn, New York, could be creative in her day job, Jenny craved to practice her fine art, as she hadn’t painted since college. She discovered The Art Studio NY and has been taking NYC art classes there for over seven years. Through these years, she has developed a bold, powerful, abstract style of painting.

“The Art Studio NY not only gave me a place to create art in their NYC painting classes, but I also have an amazing art community and family there. I wanted to take an art class that wasn’t demanding, but still pushed me to the next level creatively, and this art studio does just that. It’s a weekly getaway where I can release my raw emotions on canvas and clear out the stresses from the day,” shares Jenny.

As Jenny reflected on her creative art class journey, she shared, “My teacher, Edward Holland, had a great way of comparing life to art in our NYC art classes. If I was stuck on what to do next with a painting and feeling like it had to be perfect, he encouraged me to try something totally different and make it my own. I learned to not allow the painting to control me, rather to trust the process. I find this to be reflective of the need to try to be ‘perfect’ in our day-to-day lives. It is beneficial to push myself to try new things and get out of my comfort zone. This teaching, and others, have made a huge impact on my creative journey, and I’m so grateful to The Art Studio NY for that.”

Jenny began exhibiting her vibrant, abstract, mixed-media artwork in 2013, and has been featured in art galleries throughout the country, including Walter Wickiser Gallery in NYC, the SOFA Art Fair in Chicago, and the Torpedo Factory Art Center in Virginia.

When it comes to her NYC painting classes, Jenny’s paintings are inspired by her passion to express raw emotions and vulnerability on canvas. She paints in a meditative way, and her artwork stems from her own thoughts and feelings, evolving from one to the next, while incorporating bold colors and textures that evoke a sculptural feel on canvas. Her work depicts feelings of release, while simultaneously balancing the process of refinement and restraint.

Jenny’s latest artwork is currently exhibited in downtown Stamford, Connecticut, at 95 Bedford Street, throughout July. For more information, visit jcaseycreative.com or follow her on Instagram, at @jcasey_creative.


Spring 2013, New York City, Albert Einstein College of Medicine. An undergraduate student and medical student are struck by the lack of  interaction and activity amongst children hospitalized in the wards. There was a complete lack of mental and physical stimulation for the kids, and they were listless. Encouraged and mentored by Dr. Edward Burns, the two students started TEACH to promote healing for hospitalized children through creative and engaging teaching. 



Studies show that happier children have better medical outcomes, which is why TEACH is so proud of how the work engages hospitalized children and stimulates them.  



TEACH is a completely volunteer run not-for-profit that has undergraduate and graduate students engage hospitalized children with exciting STEM module activities. Since its inception in 2013, it has reached over 3,000 children across more than 30 hospitals, in more than 8 states. 



The Executive Director of TEACH remembers the young boy in Downstate hospital in Brooklyn, who was so unhappy that he had tried to run away the day before. At that time, TEACH was running a Yeast Balloon module, which uses yeast, sugar, a balloon and a water bottle, to teach children about respiration. After listening to a brief description of the exercise,  the young boy was intrigued enough to emerge from under the covers and became completely engaged. He had so much fun doing the experiment that he would not let the staff take it away from his bedside the entire day. Surgeons, staff and volunteers were all amazed by the response the Yeast Balloon had received from the young patients. One surgeon even wished he had performed the experiment himself! 



Help TEACH attain the goal of reaching 500 to 700 children in 2019 by supporting their first fundraising event in collaboration with The Art Studio NY, a paint night! Kosher appetizers and refreshments will be served.





How To Create A Life You Love

I’m Sick Of Your Bullsh*t

You may find a blank white canvas scary, intimidating. You’re not alone. I once taught a private painting lesson to a woman in her 50’s; She was so overwhelmed with terror that she needed to pause and take a Xanax. Of course it wasn’t painting she was afraid of. Rather, her old self-doubting, “I’m not good enough” narrative reared its fangs.

She could have given up, we all know how convincing fear can be. Instead, she chose courage and chose to confront her own bullsh*t. In time, her fear was replaced with confidence and strength. She created meaningful artwork that inspired her to also make new empowering life choices “off the canvas.”

@elizabeth_gilbert_writer posted this stitching by artist @badasscrossstitch, and my “TRUTH!” bell went off. On the other side of your fear and bullsh*t is freedom. Power. Transformation. PERIOD.

The blank canvas has become my spiritual teacher, always asking (telling) me to face myself full-on. The REAL blank canvas, of course, is facing every day anew. Waking up, seeing the day as the ultimate blank slate. Pregnant with possibility.

Lately, I’ve been making every attempt to apply in my life what I do freely on the canvas: Experiment with new life choices, dare to face and move towards that which scares me. Embrace and play with the unknown. Surrender. Let go of control. Be fully present. Accept that life is often different than what I expected. Make space for a life that is colorful and messy and rich and layered. See that there are no such thing as mistakes, and that I can turn errors into learning and beauty. Realize that I am carving my own life path and it’s not going to look like anyone else’s life, and that’s something to celebrate rather than be ashamed of.

What if everyday, you woke up, clicked OFF your autopilot switch, and clicked ON your self-awareness, your choices, your button of “I’m sick of my own bullsh*t, today is the day I’m going to stop worrying or replaying _________________ (insert your own bullsh*t here), and instead, CREATE and lead with my truth, authenticity and courage.”

What would your tomorrow look like if that’s how you started your day? You’re that powerful, you know.

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Not only do enriching art classes take place in our Upper West Side art studio, we bring our art classes to schools, libraries and businesses throughout the New York City area! It’s an absolute pleasure to teach hundreds of children about art, self-expression, and personal creativity at the 22 various branches of the Queens Library system. Some of the kids we teach do not have art offered in school, and our art classes are their opportunity to tap into their inner-artists. These spirited pastel paintings are inspired by aboriginal animal art. 

“Ada and Francesca are warm and gifted instructors.  They were patient and supportive of everyone’s work and process.  Everyone enjoyed their sessions, finding the projects engaging, challenging, exciting and more.  The work was really beautiful, too – see photos attached. Thank you so much again for your help in arranging The Art Studio NY program at DOROT.” – Wendy Handler, LMSW –  Director, Lasting Impressions: DOROT’s Legacy Project

 

For the past 8 weeks, we have been teaching an art class to 20+ senior citizens at Dorot  for what is called their “Legacy Project”. Each person created artwork that is deeply personal to them, while learning new creative techniques and modes of authentic self-expression in every class. The course culminated in a final project where participants created artwork that reflects what legacy they want to leave in the world. Some pieces included photos of family, grandchildren, and meaningful chapters of their own lives while others created self-portraits reflecting their own unique spirit.
 

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Countless studies now point to the importance of both creativity  and spending time in NATURE as a path to your happiness and wellbeing. Enjoying art and nature together is so great for your health that some doctors are now prescribing it.  



Psychologists have conducted studies that show being in nature reduces stress, strengthens relationships, and improves health. “Experiencing awe in nature is a powerful way to impact people’s psychology, even as they’re doing something they really like to do,” says Researcher Craig Anderson.



Why do psychologists think nature is so healthy? The sense of awe. Experiencing awe helps you to pause, slow down, experience beauty, and feel how massive the miracle of life truly is. This perspective shift allows for your own stresses and problems to suddenly become smaller when placed in a new, larger and more expansive perspective. 



Bonding with nature is even becoming a common form of preventative health care in Japan. Studies share that spending time in forests, known as shinrin-yoku, or forest bathing, find that time outdoors improves cognitive abilities, reduces anxiety, and decreases rumination. Try disconnecting from technology while taking a walk, drawing outside, or even sitting on a bench to look at the intricate details of a blooming flower. Studies show that even being outside for 30 minutes a day can benefit your mind, body, and soul.



“Our findings suggest that you don’t have to do extravagant, extraordinary experiences in nature to feel awe or to get benefits,” says Anderson. “By taking a few minutes to enjoy flowers that are blooming or a sunset in your day-to-day life, you also improve your well-being.”



The Art Studio NY is dedicated to nurturing the happiest and most fulfilled YOU. This summer, nurture your health and wellness through creativity, artistic expression and outdoor art classes in nature. The beauty of nature, the freedom of creative expression, and the warmth of community. What could be better? 

NEW DRAWING CLASSES IN CENTRAL PARK start JUNE 1.

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Countless studies now point to the importance of both creativity  and spending time in NATURE as a path to your happiness and wellbeing. Enjoying art and nature together is so great for your health that some doctors are now prescribing it.  

Psychologists have conducted studies that show being in nature reduces stress, strengthens relationships, and improves health. “Experiencing awe in nature is a powerful way to impact people’s psychology, even as they’re doing something they really like to do,” says Researcher Craig Anderson.

Why do psychologists think nature is so healthy? The sense of awe. Experiencing awe helps you to pause, slow down, experience beauty, and feel how massive the miracle of life truly is. This perspective shift allows for your own stresses and problems to suddenly become smaller when placed in a new, larger and more expansive perspective. 

Bonding with nature is even becoming a common form of preventative health care in Japan. Studies share that spending time in forests, known as shinrin-yoku, or forest bathing, find that time outdoors improves cognitive abilities, reduces anxiety, and decreases rumination. Try disconnecting from technology while taking a walk, drawing outside, or even sitting on a bench to look at the intricate details of a blooming flower. Studies show that even being outside for 30 minutes a day can benefit your mind, body, and soul.

“Our findings suggest that you don’t have to do extravagant, extraordinary experiences in nature to feel awe or to get benefits,” says Anderson. “By taking a few minutes to enjoy flowers that are blooming or a sunset in your day-to-day life, you also improve your well-being.”

The Art Studio NY is dedicated to nurturing the happiest and most fulfilled YOU. This summer, nurture your health and wellness through creativity, artistic expression and outdoor art classes in nature. The beauty of nature, the freedom of creative expression, and the warmth of community. What could be better? 
NEW DRAWING CLASSES IN CENTRAL PARK start JUNE 1.

A family that paints together… 

Bring mom and the family for a painting workshop and go home with a beautiful painting. Instructors will guide you so if you’re not the “artist” of the family, you don’t need to worry. You can pick from 2 different workshops happening on Sunday, May 8th. Mom will surely be happy to have the family together and create something beautiful. In addition to something to hang up on your wall, you’ll also have the great memories of creating together. ALL levels welcome, and we recommend ages 5+ participate in the family workshop. The 2 hour workshop starts at $45. Get your paints, canvas, and family ready!!! It’s gonna be a great time. 

Happy Mother’s Day! 

Need some Mother's Day craft ideas? Take a family workshop and even create Mother's Day crafts for kids and other family art projects at The Art Studio NY.

Day in and day out, people tell me they are not creative. When you realize that you have an inner-resource (yes, you are an artist, you might just not know it yet!) that you never knew existed, it is life-changing. You then ask yourself, “What else am I capable of that I never imagined possible?” 
Unlock your creativity and enjoy a taste of art with our NEW 1-day workshops. You’ll discover a gift that will change your life: The gift of your authentic self-expression. 
With love,
Rebecca Schweiger 

Learn more about our kids art classes and after school art programs in NYC. Also, try our a 1-time adult workshop art class this season and get a taste for art, or try a new medium! Click Here to learn more.

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Day in and day out, people tell me they are not creative. When you realize that you have an inner-resource (yes, you are an artist, you might just not know it yet!) that you never knew existed, it is life-changing. You then ask yourself, “What else am I capable of that I never imagined possible?” 
Unlock your creativity and enjoy a taste of art with our NEW 1-day workshops. You’ll discover a gift that will change your life: The gift of your authentic self-expression. 
With love,
Rebecca Schweiger 

Learn more about our kids art classes and after school art programs in NYC. Also, try our a 1-time adult workshop art class this season and get a taste for art, or try a new medium! Click Here to learn more.

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How To Create A Life You Love

I’m Sick Of Your Bullsh*t

You may find a blank white canvas scary, intimidating. You’re not alone. I once taught a private painting lesson to a woman in her 50’s; She was so overwhelmed with terror that she needed to pause and take a Xanax. Of course it wasn’t painting she was afraid of. Rather, her old self-doubting, “I’m not good enough” narrative reared its fangs.

She could have given up, we all know how convincing fear can be. Instead, she chose courage and chose to confront her own bullsh*t. In time, her fear was replaced with confidence and strength. She created meaningful artwork that inspired her to also make new empowering life choices “off the canvas.”

@elizabeth_gilbert_writer posted this stitching by artist @badasscrossstitch, and my “TRUTH!” bell went off. On the other side of your fear and bullsh*t is freedom. Power. Transformation. PERIOD.

The blank canvas has become my spiritual teacher, always asking (telling) me to face myself full-on. The REAL blank canvas, of course, is facing every day anew. Waking up, seeing the day as the ultimate blank slate. Pregnant with possibility.

Lately, I’ve been making every attempt to apply in my life what I do freely on the canvas: Experiment with new life choices, dare to face and move towards that which scares me. Embrace and play with the unknown. Surrender. Let go of control. Be fully present. Accept that life is often different than what I expected. Make space for a life that is colorful and messy and rich and layered. See that there are no such thing as mistakes, and that I can turn errors into learning and beauty. Realize that I am carving my own life path and it’s not going to look like anyone else’s life, and that’s something to celebrate rather than be ashamed of.

What if everyday, you woke up, clicked OFF your autopilot switch, and clicked ON your self-awareness, your choices, your button of “I’m sick of my own bullsh*t, today is the day I’m going to stop worrying or replaying _________________ (insert your own bullsh*t here), and instead, CREATE and lead with my truth, authenticity and courage.”

What would your tomorrow look like if that’s how you started your day? You’re that powerful, you know.

“Couples bond with each brushstroke!”

Date night Paint & Sip parties provide a warm, nurturing experience that encourages a meaningful experience with your loved one. Studies show that by creating together and bonding it increases oxytocin levels, which builds a healthier relationship. No matter your skill level, you can enjoy a unique creative experience.

Sign up for an art classes with your special someone at The Art Studio NY. 

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Your Most Important Artwork is Your Life





I’m constantly awestruck by the magic of painting. Once a blank white canvas, now a world of a color, spirit and feeling stare back at me. Did I really create that from scratch? Yes. 


You wake up everyday with a blank canvas in front of you. What you create, what stares back at you in your own mirror, is entirely in your hands. How will you interact with the world and what will your impact be? What decisions will you make and how will they impact your tomorrows? How will you navigate not only joy but sorrow, fear and the difficult conversations that you need to have with yourself and others? What mark will you leave on the people you engage with at work, at home, on the subway? Who will you choose to forgive so your canvas is lighter and free? What actions will you take so you’re one step closer to your hopes and dreams? 


This is what it means to be an everyday artist. You live, choose and create, consciously, the canvas of your own life. Layer by layer, moment by moment, day by day, you create your own masterpiece.

xoxo, 
Rebecca Schweiger

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Penn Station is one of my LEAST favorite spots in NYC. I’ve been known to say I hate it (and “hate” isn’t a word I use much). The noise, the crowds, the shlepping, the pushing and shoving!

And yet, today, I decided to flip this familiar canvas upside down. Instead of grumbling, I chose to create a personal “gratitude scavenger hunt” where I consciously noticed what I felt grateful for in good old Penn Station!

Instead of noticing (and grumbling some more) what I felt annoyed, frustrated and stressed by, a simple attitude adjustment allowed my eyes to brighten with how much I DID like!

And, when it was time to board my train, I felt something I never could have imagined. I was HAPPY! There were so many moments of joy in this place where previously, I only saw dark clouds. One inner adjustment can change how you experience your day and your life.

My Top 10 Gratitude Moments at Penn Station: 
1- LOVE. The Babylon train line brings me to one of my favorite places on ? earth. My grandparents’ home. 
2- SAFETY. In one of the most crowded spots in NYC, I feel that national security has my back. 
3- STRENGTH. My strong, healthy body that can walk, see, and navigate crowds & can carry a heavy suitcase. 
4- HEALTHY food options. And tons of variety. The gorgeous smoothie I ordered… with the PB and almond milk I like.
5- DIVERSITY. Religions, cultures, skin colors, ages, languages, nationalities. We are in it together. 
6- MUSIC. Amazing live music and great acoustics!
7- NEW INVENTIONS, such as lighter weight luggage with 360 wheels. They weren’t always like that! 
8- ARRIVING EARLY and not rushing. Not one person bumped into me!
9- FREEDOM to go where I want to go, see who I want to see and be who I want to be. 
10- CREATING a new attitude. Who knew that I could so easily transform a place I disliked into a canvas of gratitude? I even look forward to going back for more!

xoxo,

Rebecca Schweiger

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Stress Relief / Self-Esteem
Science has proven that making art helps children and adults relieve stress while embracing imperfections. No one is ever too young to learn the value of self-acceptance and self-love, which helps children grow into adults with higher self-esteem, a major key to a healthy and successful life. 

Improves Brain Functioning
Multiple studies in the past several years have shown that art improves healthy brain development and leads to greater social and academic success in children. When kids engage in art classes, their problem solving and critical thinking skills, attention, motivation, literacy abilities, and communication skills strengthen for the rest of their lives. This leads to higher academic achievement in math, science and languages, and it results in higher test scores.

Self-Expression / Communication Skills
Art can be used to express emotions where words cannot. Kids don’t always have the appropriate language to express their inner-world, and art is a vital tool that allows children to communicate effectively. In an age where many people feel that they are not “good enough” or that they “don’t matter,” art provides children and adults with confidence and self-empowerment. Through creating art, children learn that they MATTER and that their thoughts and feelings are valid. This, in turn, allows children to know their own worth while raising their confidence as human beings.

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Love is a Verb: Start With Yourself 


Everyone wants to feel loved, heard, seen and understood. From a young age, every person turns to immediate family for this ongoing daily dose of care. If you were lucky, love flowed steadily and was generously given to you by others. 

As you grew into an adult, even in the best of family upbringings, you likely discovered ways that you needed and longed to be loved yet did not ever receive. Shadows and wounds crept up and in when you realized that, at times, your emotional needs didn’t feel important. Or, maybe you were made to feel invisible now and then. Whatever your wound looks like, likely, a parental figure didn’t give you the love you fully needed to thrive.  

Hurts and disappointments were tucked away, only to be discovered years later as you became an adult. Even if your parents were Mother Theresa and Ghandi, they, too, are imperfect, and likely couldn’t have given you every ounce of love you needed and deserved. 

As an adult, you have the opportunity to create your “love committee”. Love is not only a feeling, love is a verb. It is expression in action. While another human is likely incapable of meeting EVERY single one of your needs, the one person who IS available for that level of active love is your own self. 

How do you speak to yourself when you make a mistake? Are you forgiving and understanding, or do you call yourself “stupid” with frustration? How do you treat yourself in times of failure? Do you speak to yourself like a loving parent would to their young child, or do you criticize yourself and engage in self beat-up? Do you look at yourself in the mirror and see your beauty or criticize your imperfections, wishing for a different reflection in return? Do you give space to nurture your dreams, or do you belittle your heart’s desires?

Self-love is possibly one of the most transformative spiritual practices you can create in your life. It starts with you taking a stand with and for yourself. This daily practice leads you to become your biggest fan, most reliable friend and greatest hero. 

As an exercise, look at yourself in the mirror for just two minutes every day. Tell yourself, out loud, the things you wish you had heard as a child, but didn’t. “I’m here with you. I love you. I see you. Let me care for you. You’ve got this. You are deserving. Your needs matter. You are so, so beautiful.”

Speak to yourself in a way that fills you with care. It may feel awkward at first (anything new feels awkward or scary, so don’t let that be an excuse), but just like falling in love with another person takes time, give yourself time to nurture a love story that will carry you through for the rest of your life. Love is a verb, and giving love to yourself is perhaps the most impactful and sustaining love you’ll ever know.

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Tracey Vorus 
I came to painting accidentally. I didn’t expect to love painting as much as I do, but it has become the best part of my week. As a teenager, I spent time drawing and exploring crochet and needlework… but I stopped all of it when I went to college. 

Over the decades, I’ve dabbled in other creative activities like cooking and knitting, yet none were entirely fulfilling. Recently, I needed something new to channel a sudden (middle-age?) intensification of a creative juices. 
Between the demands of work and children, there is so little time to clear my head and have time for my own experience. As a mother of two boys, a psychotherapist with a full-time practice, and a wife, I have one big crazy schedule. When I spotted the 11 am Oil Painting Class at The Art Studio NY, I jumped on it! That was three years ago, and there hasn’t been a semester I’ve missed yet.
Besides a way to express my creativity, painting has become an escape and a form of meditation.  That is what painting provides: time to slow down, focus on what is in front of me, and reflect on shape, color, movement, stillness, composition, materials, and anything else I can think up.
I can commit to something, and then completely change my mind; it is entirely up to meIt’s soothing and energizing and relaxing and exciting, all at the same time.
I feel quite proud of the work I do and I can’t believe how much I’ve developed in such a short period of time. I also didn’t expect the way in which the class has developed into its own little community. We are all such different people, of divergent backgrounds and personalities, with skill levels and artistic bents all over the map. But we all provide great support, friendship and honest feedback for each other, and The Art Studio NY has become real artistic home for me.

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